Monday, June 13, 2011

Warm & Hot Desserts

Last week was a busy week in Plated Desserts. We executed three full plated desserts and worked on some additional components for things to come. I thought I'd do a better job this summer keeping up with my blogging about class, but last week just got away from me. Hopefully, I'll do better in the future.

Last week's sessions were on warm and hot desserts. Obviously, the key here is timing to ensure that these desserts make it to the table in a restaurant in appropriate time so they remain warm for the guest.

We first worked on Souffles, which are of course extremely popular desserts in restaurants. Souffles are versatile, and flavors can be changed seasonally for so many different options. Guests love souffles in part because of their presentation. They are served tableside, and the server usually uses a knife to poke a hole in the Souffle and then pours in the accompanying sauce. Sometimes guests like to do this themselves; it's part of a fun dining experience. The key with a souffle is ensuring the timing so the souffle doesn't fall before it reaches the table.

My group worked on a Coconut Souffle with a Roasted Pineapple Sauce. Chef showed us a way to clean up the serving dish to ensure height in the souffle. Here's a photo of them before baking followed by a photo during baking:

Check out the great height on these souffles!

After baking, the souffles were plated and dusted with powdered sugar.

Each souffle was plated with a side container of sauce, ours being the pineapple sauce.

These were pretty tasty. I liked the coconut flavor paired with the pineapple. I'm generally not a big fan of souffles because I'm not a huge fan of cooked meringue which is a large component of this dessert; however, this flavor pairing is one that I could get behind on a regular basis. And regardless, exposure to this type of dessert is a key component in any pastry training so it's nice to have done this again in class.

The next desserts we worked on were molten cakes, which my Dad loves to call bomb cakes; a restaurant in Oxford, OH, used to serve a Bomb Cake, and he always had one when he visited. They're not overly popular at restaurants he frequents so I could tell he was excited about me maybe making these for him the future.

My group worked on a Vanilla Molten Cake with a White Chocolate Center. It was plated with a strawberry and blueberry salsa, strawberry sauce, mint sauce, and fresh mint.

This dessert wasn't necessarily one I was crazy about. The white chocolate and vanilla combo didn't really work well for my palate. I liked the blueberry and strawberry salsa and could see using this in various applications, but I'm not sure I would make this overall dessert again.

The other groups made a dark chocolate molten cake with a mexican chocolate center. This cake tasted more to me like a true molten cake. It was moist and had great flavor. Chef showed us a really great technique for garnishing here, with caramelized cocoa nibs which were pulled by hand. This was plated with red hot sauce, made from the red hot candies, and vanilla bean ice cream.

The final dessert we worked on was a take on peanut butter and jelly. We made a peanut butter financier, which I am a huge fan of in general. Financiers are made typically with almond flour and brown butter. I adore brown butter; it's one of my favorite things in both sweet and savory foods. It just brings out such good flavor. For the jelly component, we made a grape gelee from grape juice that was set with gelatin. This was plated with a malt flavored whipped cream and crushed peanuts. The garnish on top is sliced vanilla bean, another really cool technique.

All in all, last week was a great week in terms of exposure and practice to some really useful techniques and desserts.

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