The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern by Claudia Fleming and Melissa Clark (co-author)

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Notes about this book

  • Eat Your Books

    The Last Course was reissued by Penguin Random House in November 2019.

Notes about Recipes in this book

  • Raspberry-lemon verbena meringue cake

    • EmilyR on September 20, 2018

      I have a lot of lemon verbena in my garden, so I decided to give this a go. I liked being able to make various pieces of this cake over a couple of days. The meringue was a massive pain... waiting for those stiff peaks and mixing it with the custard was tedious and the result just didn’t really feel all that special.

  • Blueberry-cornmeal cakes

    • bwhip on March 01, 2020

      These are delightful. Sort of a cross between a blueberry muffin and a financier. Light and buttery, mildly sweet, with a wonderful crispy edge and top. It’ll be tough to go back to regular blueberry muffins after trying these.

  • Buttermilk panna cotta with strawberry rosé gelée

    • caitmcg on August 03, 2020

      This makes a lovely summer dessert. The panna cotta has a delicate texture, with a tang mellowed by the cream and vanilla bean, and the gelée has a sophisticated flavor thanks to the wine. Both have a nicely restrained sweetness. The panna cotta on its own would be lovely with any summer fruits. I did this over two days, the panna cotta on the first and the gelée on the second.

  • Spiced Italian prune plum crisp

    • hillsboroks on October 07, 2019

      This was the best fruit crisp recipe I have ever made. The complex rich Italian prune plums get even better when baked but topped with a crisp that has warm cinnamon and cardamom spice flavors plus lovely walnuts they meld into something amazing. We did not top it with ice cream but just savored the crisp warm and plain and it was a delight. I only had enough prune plums for half a batch so I baked it in a one quart ceramic baking dish and it was perfectly done at 40 minutes.

  • Spiced-quince butter cake

    • hillsboroks on November 15, 2015

      Lovely, delicate cake that combines subtle spices with the intriguing flavor of quinces. The cake itself is quite thin and could also be used as a coffee cake. But dolled up with a bit of whipped cream it was the perfect end to a roast wild duck dinner. The recipe says to discard the liquid that the quinces were poached in but after I tasted it I decided to keep it to use as a flavored simple syrup in holiday drinks. The white wine, sugar and spice poaching liquid gave the quinces a mellow golden color and really brought out their floral aroma. My guests loved the subtle crunch that the almond flour gave to the cake.

  • Maple baked apples with dried fruit and nuts

    • jzanger on February 26, 2012

      These were incredibly good and satisfying after a heavy meal. Having never made baked apples before, I struggled with the coring part, but the rest was a breeze. I added about 1/4 tsp ground ginger to the fruit and nut mixture and only used 5 apples (medium sized) to stuff instead of 6. Apple cider is a must and I suggest adding a splash of applejack to the syrup as it reduces. Use your darkest/highest quality maple syrup as well!

    • ComeUndone on November 06, 2010

      Perfect example of everything a baked apple should be. Maple permeates the apples too. Very nice.

    • DKennedy on June 02, 2013

      Absolutely fantastic. Was able to get the dried cherries, figs and almonds bulk so it wasn't too expensive but otherwise this would be cost prohibitive. We loved this and I would make it again without hesitation. The best bites were the ones on top - the ones that remained crispy. Next time I might cut the apple in 1/2 and mound the topping on top of it instead of doing them stuffed.

  • Lemon-lime soufflé tart

    • Jenny on November 03, 2019

      The ingredients for the filling calls for 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons of sugar but the directions only give instructions for 10 tablespoons of the sugar (5 used in Step 5 and 5 used in Step 7) - seeking clarification.

    • reiandcoke on March 22, 2023

      I noticed the same thing as you, Jenny. I believe 10 Tbsp of sugar is correct. I found an online version of the recipe at that used 10 Tbsp. Odd that this wasn't corrected in the recent re-print of the book (which I have) or the ebook (which I also have).

    • bwhip on February 24, 2020

      Outstanding tart, we really enjoyed this. Like a favorite lemon tart, but one that's fluffy and creamy at the same time. The crust was not very cooperative when rolling out and trying to get into the tart pan, so I wound up just pressing it all around the mold by hand, and it worked out just fine - and was delicious with nice, crispy texture. As the author suggested as an enhancement, I did add a nice layer of lemon curd under the souffle topping before baking. Luxurious! The addition of the lime juice really took the flavor to another level as well. Next time I'll bake it a few more minutes. The top was getting fairly brown so I took it out, but after cooling found that it could have used just a bit more time to fully set up. I'll definitely be making this one again.

  • Lemon-poppy seed shortbread

    • MollyPellecchia on October 27, 2020

      Wow...these are amazing! And very easy to pull together. Mine baked 23 minutes.

  • Roasted pineapple with pink peppercorns

    • Avocet on April 10, 2014

      We found this excessively sweet, not at all appealing. Will not make again.

  • Rhubarb-rose cobbler with rose cream

    • jzanger on July 03, 2013

      This was both delicious and simple. Loved the rhubarb with just the rose water to enhance it. Feeds a crowd!

  • Saffron rice pudding

    • ComeUndone on January 07, 2011

      Delicious twist on a classic dessert. Love the mix of saffron, cinnamon, vanilla, and citrus. Whipped creme fraiche lightens and enriched at the same time. Plus it keeps the pudding from turning gummy in the fridge!

  • Guinness stout ginger cake

    • DKennedy on June 02, 2013

      Perfect for Thanksgiving. Made several times.

    • adrienneyoung on May 20, 2020

      #completeanduttercakefail. Sigh. I will be inspecting other versions of this recipe to see what I could have done wrong. There is batter all over the floor of my oven. Sigh.

    • adrienneyoung on May 21, 2020

      This cake teaches me humility. Second epic fail. I’m giving up Bundt pan next and moving to the humble loaf pan. I am surrounded by crumbs and downcast.

  • Anise shortbread

    • Breadcrumbs on June 28, 2015

      p. 175 – A beautiful shortbread. The author suggests these could be layered with some tarragon-macerated strawberries and topped with whipped cream. With some guests arriving in a few days, this seemed like a great idea for a special dessert that wouldn’t require much active time on the day I’m serving. These shortbreads are light and buttery. Not too sweet with the lovely flavour of anise in every bite. I froze half the dough so I could make another batch next month with minimal effort. My only nit with the recipe was that once I removed the dough from the freezer it took quite a while for it to be soft enough to roll so I’d allow for that next time. Photos here:

    • janeh9 on March 30, 2020

      These are light and lovely. I froze half of the dough in a log, about 1 1/2” diameter - sliced and baked. Less elegant, but equally delicious! I had a roll of World Peace Cookie dough in the freezer that I baked and served along with them. Such a luxury!

  • Buttermilk ice cream

    • cespitler on November 01, 2012

      This ice cream was fantastic-creamy with a lovely tart flavor. It was great with the Blueberry Sauce from Jeni's book. I can't imagine making this recipe all the time as it has a staggering dozen egg yolks! Meringues coming up next.

  • Chocolate caramel tarts

    • taste24 on June 11, 2020

      These are perfect little chocolate caramel tarts. The dough is a kind of finicky - it was dry and cracked a lot when I rolled it out. Made these in the mini muffin tins. My family went crazy over the finished tarts.

    • Jviney on March 06, 2020

      Each element of this dish is delicious; together they are really something special. The recipe notes say to offer sea salt to your guests optionally, but I sprinkled it on the tart before I cut it. Made in an oblong 13x4 tart pan and had just enough time to get the plates to the table before the caramel oozed. Served with cream cheese ice cream (Gourmet cookbook). We loved it.

    • MarciK on September 20, 2020

      I wanted these to look like the photo, so I used tart rings molds. They turned out easier than I thought and made a nice presentation. The caramel drakes a little more than I intended and took on a very slight burnt flavor that worried me. I decided to use the Maldonado sea salt directly on the caramel to offset it. Combined with the chocolate, it made a flavorful, rich caramel, no burnt taste at all. I was confused what they meant by extra bittersweet and decided on a 75% cacao. Combined with the caramel it wasn’t too bitter, but next time I’ll use a 70% which I usually have on hand. I made 6 3 inch tarts with the ring molds. There was a little dough and caramel left over, but no ganache left. If I used more caramel and less chocolate, I probably could have made a 7th tart with the extra dough. I covered these after resting over 2 hours, and the chocolate sweat, so I recommend leaving these uncovered longer if you have the choice.

  • Earl Grey chocolate truffles

    • MarciK on February 17, 2020

      You can mess this recipe up pretty bad and still end up with a successful truffle. I have a habit of not reading the recipe careful enough before starting, so I added all 15 oz of chocolate together. Then my cream ended up boiling up. I'm guessing it was too hot, because my chocolate seized up. Trying to revive it, I added more cream, almost 1/2 cup worth, a little at a time. Then I tried softened butter. Then I added more chocolate because now I was concerned about it being too runny, and put it on a double boiler to melt the chocolate and try to get it un-seized. None of that worked. I took out my immersion blender, and was able to get smooth chocolate. Now I had approximately 17 oz chocolate, 1 3/4 cups cream, and about a tbs of butter. The 10 oz of chocolate was supposed to have been a hard coating, not mixed in with the rest of the chocolate. Oops. In the end, it all worked out. so if you are making this, and things don't go quite right, keep working on it.

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Reviews about this book

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Reviews about Recipes in this Book

  • Guinness stout ginger cake

    • Smitten Kitchen

      This is dark and sticky and chewy and heavy and spicy and a zillion other adjectives that end in y that are so overused... It is not this cake’s fault. It can’t help being awesome, and fragrant.

      Full review
    • Olga Massov

      This is not a cake for the faint of heart. No. This cake is bold, serious, intense, brooding. Yes, brooding. A cake can brood, you see. This one does.

      Full review
    • Epicurious

      This superlative - wonderfully moist and spicy.

      Full review
  • Lemon-poppy seed shortbread

    • Lottie and Doof

      She transforms the already wonderful shortbread cookie into something even more special. The butteriness of shortbread is now paired with tart lemon and poppy seeds to make a very addictive cookie.

      Full review
  • Concord grape sorbet

    • Lottie and Doof

      This sorbet... is a delicious and intensely flavored sweet treat... I was also completely happy eating it on its own. It is absolutely lovely and concord grapes are something you need to try.

      Full review
  • Roasted pineapple with pink peppercorns

    • Lottie and Doof

      The finished dessert is incredibly complicated and rich. The sweetness of the caramelized pineapple is countered with the spice of a few pink peppercorns.

      Full review
  • Blackberry Napoleons with orange shortbread wafers

    • Nord1jus

      sandwiched by the crumbly shortbread biscuits...are blackberry puree, fresh blackberries and créme fraîche scented with orange-blossom honey & orange-flower water...

      Full review
  • ISBN 10 037550429X
  • ISBN 13 9780375504297
  • Linked ISBNs
    • No ISBN Hardcover (United States) 11/12/2019
  • Published Nov 01 2001
  • Format Hardcover
  • Page Count 320
  • Language English
  • Countries United States
  • Publisher Random House

Publishers Text

The 2019 edition has the same ISBN so cannot be listed separately.

Using fresh, seasonal ingredients captured at the peak of their flavor, Claudia Fleming creates highly satisfying desserts without pretension. She smartly matches contrasting textures, flavors, and temperatures to achieve a perfect end result–something brittle and crunchy next to something satiny and smooth, stretching the definition of sweet and savory while retaining an elemental simplicity.

The desserts in The Last Course speak to everyone, as to the 175 easy-to-use recipes. The book is broken down seasonally by fruits, vegetables, nuts, herbs and flowers, spices, sweet essences, dairy, and chocolate. The final chapter is made up of composed deserts. Claudia gives suggestions on how to combine recipes from previous chapters to create the ultimate desserts of the restaurant.

Each chapter and each composed dessert is paired with a selection of wines recommended by Gramercy Tavern’s sommelier. Recipes include: Warm Raspberry Verbena Meringue Cake, Blueberry Graham Cracker Tarts, Apple Tarte Tatin, Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Sauternes Gelee, Warm Chocolate Ganache Cakes, and more.

Beautifully illustrated, with more than eighty-five full-color photos, The Last Course is the last word on dessert.

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