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.
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.
The second of my milk & pear pairing is this comforting dessert. With the cold weather, and post-holiday blues, nothing brings the warmth like familiar food that's full of buttery goodness. That was my inspiration for this dessert, especially the hazelnut brown butter cake. I love hazelnut cake in general, but amped up with brown butter, it's rich and divine. When paired with salted caramel, the cake is given a new dimension with the added sugar and salt. Add pears (poached in honey for a buttery finish), creamy milk ice cream, and crunchy caramelized hazelnuts, and this dessert is perfect for the cold days of January.