Sunday, June 21, 2009

Double the Fun

This week we put together two new desserts. The first, Lime Tart, was created for our banquets menu. I make the dessert by combining chocolate cookie crumbs with soft butter and building individual crusts in small metal rings. The crusts are baked, then filled with a mixture of fresh lime juice, sweetened condensed milk and pasteurized egg yolks. The filled tarts are baked at a low temperature for about 15 minutes. They can be refrigerated or frozen after baking, and removed from the metal rings by heating them (carefully!) with a propane torch. We plated them with a lime caramel, fresh whipped cream and lime zest. MJ, our banquet chef, said one of the guests told him that it was one of the best desserts she's ever had, and that another guest was practically licking his plate clean! It's the best feeling in the world to know that someone has enjoyed something I've made - nothing makes me happier!

The second dessert is making its debut in Grange on Tuesday. It's the Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Blackberry Hazelnut Linzer Cookies, Creme de Violette Glaze and Fresh Berries. I'm excited about this dessert because I've incorporated two of the new ingredients I've been playing with - Valrhona Absolu Cristal neutral glaze and Creme de Violette liqueur. The panna cotta is made with half and half, milk, sugar, vanilla bean, vanilla and just enough gelatin to set it. It's unmolded onto a glaze of the Absolu Cristal combined with blackberry vanilla sauce and Creme de Violette. Fresh blackberries and raspberries (and perhaps loganberries and tayberries from the farmer's market) are tossed in the blackberry sauce and set on the plate together with a couple of the linzer cookies. The dessert is full of vanilla, blackberry and hazelnut flavors, and when you eat the panna cotta you get a lovely violet essence from the glaze underneath it. I think it might be my new favorite!

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