With the arrival of warm weather, desserts become lighter and more refreshing. To showcase some of the amazing fruit in store, I like to simplify my desserts to showcase the produce. I love cheesecake and I wanted to make one that was lighter than the traditional NY cheesecake that's popular. I love cream cheese, but sometimes it's a bit too rich for my taste. I opted for fromage blanc for that reason. It's also a great base to compliment fruit. Folded with whipped cream, this cake is airy and light. Pictured is a fromage blanc cheesecake mousse, blueberry compote, vanilla compote, vanilla cake, & sesame seed tuile. The cheesecake is tangy and light, with a spongy vanilla cake base. Topped with juicy blueberries, crunchy crumble, and nutty tuile, its a simple but satisfying end to a spring meal.
When winter hits, pastry chefs love to pair beets and dark chocolate together. I get it, earthy beets highlight the sweet, bitter, and complex chocolate and it's delicious when done right. Yet I wanted to do something different. Why not black sesame? It has such a distinct and nutty flavor that will highlight beets. This black sesame cake is made with a mixture of flour, almond flour, and ground black sesame. Using the black sesame as part of the flour gives it a strong black sesame flavor, not to mention a cool color. The ganache is made with pureed red beets and white chocolate. White chocolate tends to be very sweet, so I like to err with caution and add the white chocolate to taste. Produce tastes differently from week to week, and some beets might be sweeter, or earthier depending on the time of the year. Use your palate to gauge the right amount of sweetness. The beet chips are made with simple syrup and cooked in either a dehydrator or low oven. They add a nice texture to the smooth ganache and soft cake. For a bit of spice, this is dessert is paired with a lemongrass & ginger ice cream.
Ever since I tried black sesame ice cream, I have become obsessed with creating a black sesame dessert. This is not your typical black sesame "cake". The dacquoise is made with a mixture of flour and ground black sesame. The black sesame is steeped in heavy cream, for a delicate and luscious bavarois. The first version of the black sesame dessert is topped with red currants, frais de bois, black sesame seeds and vanilla ice cream. While pretty, I wasn't convinced that strawberries and vanilla were the best accompaniments to black sesame's nutty and distinct flavor. What finally made it on the menu is a thicker black sesame "cake" topped with blueberry compote, sesame tuile, honey powder, and ginger and lemongrass ice cream. The texture of the delicate bavarois and crunchy tuile is a great contrast, and juicy, bursting blueberries complement the black sesame perfectly. The ginger and lemongrass ice cream hold their own next to the black sesame flavor. This is the perfect dessert for a warm summer night.