Summer is flying by, it's already August! Taking advantage of this beautiful warm weather in NYC (minus that one week of humidity and rain), we are running a pina colada inspired special. This golden pineapple is a coconut semifreddo with a pineapple center. The center consists of fresh, diced pineapple cooked in brown sugar, rum, vanilla, orange, lemon, and a hint of cinnamon. The bottom is a soft and chewy coconut cake. The outside is sprayed with a light coating of Orelys chocolate and cocoa butter to create a light and thin shell. Orelys is part of Valrhona's newest line of blond chocolate and made with muscovado sugar (yes to unrefined sugar!) and it's notes of molasses go great with the coconut and pineapple. The crown of this pineapple is made with sliced, candied, and dehydrated pineapple. It's a refreshing and satisfying ending to a summer meal.
I know Summer has arrived when there is the sound of ice cream trucks wafting through the humid air, there is a quiet stillness in the air, and all I want is something refreshing and cold, especially dessert. One of my favorite things to eat when it is sweltering out is ice cream, hence this dessert that is currently on the menu. This sweet dish is reminiscent of a Creamsicle, with its orange curd, and vanilla-flecked quark cheesecake. I was inspired when using quark, a fresh cheese, and citrus together, just how much it reminded me of a classic orange Creamsicle. This dessert is an homage to the hot summer afternoons of my childhood chasing down the ice cream truck for a cold treat. A quark cheesecake entremet is molded, with an orange curd center and vanilla cake on the bottom. The quark cheesecake is flecked with vanilla beans, lemon and orange zest. There is orange sauce on the bottom to boost the orange flavor. All this is paired with a tarragon sherbet and orange sorbet that has been swirled together, adding another element of Creamsicle flavor. For texture, we add a white chocolate meringue, using Valrhona Opalys, the white chocolate adding depth to the dairy elements in the dish. To finish this off, anise flowers, for a fennel-esque kick to aid the hint of tarragon flavor. All this equals a very light and refreshing dessert, an adult homage to a childhood classic.
Finally, a Spring dessert! I call this, pistachio ³ (actually it's just pistachio parfait on the menu lol). I adore pistachios, especially the bright green Sicilian variety and decided to add it as part of the Spring & Summer dessert menu. This dessert is a pistachio parfait, a frozen dessert made with cream, eggs, and sugar. To get a rich pistachio flavor, we use a combination of ground pistachio paste, including one made in house. On the bottom is a very thin dacquoise, made with pistachio flour which acts as a base. The entire parfait is then sprayed with a Valrhona Opalys white chocolate spray for a neat finish (and a nice cocoa butter snap). It is paired with a steamed pistachio cake and lime yogurt. The crumble is flavored with fresh lime zest, chopped sicilian pistachios, and green tea. The crumble is sweet, acidic, and earthy thanks to the green tea. So far in the season, the most beautiful things at the market is rhubarb, which we use for the sorbet. All of these components are combined with a strawberry and rhubarb sorbet. On top is a crunchy pistachio honey tuile and it is finished with red-veined sorrel, a lovely acidic addition.
My Fall cheesecake (concord grape, graham cracker, and a classic Philadelphia cream cheese cheesecake) was a big hit, so changing it up for Winter made me a little nervous. You never want to disappoint with cheesecake and you definitely do not want to change it to something worse. This is a ricotta cheesecake (light and creamy, thought not as heavy as a cream cheese based batter), paired with saffron poached seckel pears, hazelnut crumble, cinnamon ice cream and vanilla caramel. The pears are lightly poached in white wine, saffron, vanilla, orange & lemon zest, cinnamon, and star anise. The hazelnut crumble has almond flour for extra nuttyness and hazelnuts that have been toasted and caramelized. I have been told the cinnamon ice cream is reminiscent of cinnamon toast crunch (goal!). The warm caramel sauce drizzled over ice cream and the cheesecake makes this cheesecake comforting delicious and irresistible.
Continuing my series of winter desserts in the Spring (whoops!), here is one that is no longer on the menu. We participated in Restaurant Week this January-February and I came up with a riff off of our current cheesecake (on the next post!). It features ricotta cheesecake, pistachio cremeux, Sicilian pistachios, blood orange segments, and blood orange sorbet. We were receiving the most heavenly blood oranges during this time, and something this simple was perfect to showcase the fruit. On a dreary and cold winter day, it's nice to have a bright, citrusy, and refreshing plate in front of you.