A chocolate sauce or caramel sauce turns a plain poached pair into an exciting desserts. Photo by Teresa Kasprzycka | Dreamstime.



Dessert Sauces
& Toppings

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July 2006
Last updated October 2017

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Dessert Sauces & Toppings

Dessert Sauces & Toppings Glossary

Page 2: Terms & Definitions G~Z



This is Page 2 of a two-page glossary. Here, you’ll find dessert sauces from hard sauce to zabaglione.

Click on a letter to go to the appropriate glossary page.

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This glossary is protected by copyright and cannot be reproduced in whole or part.


Hard Sauce
The traditional sauce for plum pudding or any steamed pudding, made by blending butter and confectioner’s sugar and vanilla. It can be enhanced with brandy, Madeira, rum or sherry. Here’s a recipe.

A purée is a sauce that has been pushed through a strainer or processed in a blender, into a smooth consistency. Fruit purées are popular dessert sauces. See also coulis.

A mixture of egg yolks, flavoring and sugar, beaten over simmering water until thick, then beaten until cool. It is often flavored with marsala, although Madeira or any other sweet liquor or sweet white wine can be used. Sabayon is the French version of zabaglione, served over fresh fruit or grilled over fruit (when it is called a gratin). Sabayon is also the base for mousses and buttercreams. The difference between sabayon and crème anglaise is that crème anglaise is made with cream and is a heavier sauce than foamy sabayon. There are savory versions of both sauces.

A dessert sauce has a thicker consistency than a syrup (think of the consistency of preserves).

A spread is thicker than a dessert sauce: smooth, creamy and spreadable with a knife (think Nutella). Spreads can be used for breakfast breads, cookies, biscuits and plain cakes like pound cake and brownies.

Sterling Sauce
A brown sugar version of hard sauce.

A syrup is thinner than a sauce and is pourable from the bottle (think chocolate syrup or maple syrup). They are typically flavored sugar and water. Commercial syrups often substitute high fructose corn syrup for sugar—read the label!

Whipped Cream
One of the most popular dessert toppings, whipped cream can be served plain, sweetened or flavored. See recipes.

An egg custard sauce flavored with sweet wine, traditionally marsala, but Port, Tokay and sherry are also used. It is a classic Italian dessert cooked on the stovetop; the custard is most often served warm over fresh strawberries (in this respect, it is very similar to Strawberries Romanoff, except that custard is flavored with Grand Marnier or Cointreau instead of marsala). It can be enjoyed on its own or over a slice of plain cake or ladyfingers. Also try it on coffee ice cream. See also sabayon.



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