This dessert came about as a last minute request for pineapple. Super simple, and super refreshing. I marinated the pineapple in a syrup of orange juice, honey, cardamom, ginger, and brown sugar. Once it was in the oven, I continued glazing it with the syrup until it was cooked. I love seeing the sugars caramelize, and the bits of pineapple that char slightly. Its paired with oats, and coconut sorbet topped with chopped cocoa nibs. It's light and satisfying. Sometimes, when I overthink a dessert, or come up with something with 43859340 components on a plate, I go back to the simplest of desserts, and it reminds me that delicious is never complicated.
I feel like you've reached a certain level as a chef when you start to improve on your dishes from the year before. Last fall, I perfected this butternut squash sorbet (3 months of tweaks!) to be paired with chocolate. This year, I perfected the chocolate components. The second fall dessert to go on the menu is chocolate chiboust, chocolate sauce, chocolate ganache, caramelized cocoa nib crumble, spice cake (with a hint of cocoa), butternut squash sorbet, and bruleed chestnuts. The chocolate chiboust, sauce, ganache, and cocoa nib crumble are my typical foundation for a plated chocolate dessert. The chestnuts are packed in vanilla syrup and so they are very tender and sweet. I like to drain them and pat them dry before sprinkling sugar and torching them for a caramelized crunch. This spice cake is delicate, airy and soft, a nice texture to go along with the bruleed chestnuts and rich chocolate flavor. The star is the butternut squash sorbet. It is decadent with a good blend of fall spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and cardamom. I have to really credit the PacoJet for its texture, as it really helps aerate and create such a smooth flavor without dairy and added ingredients.
When you have an abundance of ingredients, it's nice to challenge yourself to create a cohesive dessert from a variety of extra things you have on hand. This dessert consists of components from a couple of different desserts and extra ingredients I had on hand. I had leftover passion fruit semifreddo batter from the baked alaska dessert. Toasted coconut was already on hand. Cocoa nib crumble leftover from a tart. Coconut cupcakes prepared for family meal. Chocolate ice cream for emergency requests. Sometimes these dessert challenges fail, but this time it yielded something delectable. That's the best thing when you set challenges for yourself, your never quite know the outcome.