This is a dessert I did in the midst of Summer. In the heart of winter I am clearly reminiscing of warmer weather. I remember spotting these strawberries teeming in their blue cardboard boxes at the farmer’s market, beckoning and glistening in the sun like rubies. I just had to have them. When produce is this ripe & delicious, always keep it simple (my motto!). These berries are cut and lightly sprinkled with sugar & a tiny drop of rosewater and left to sit for a few minutes. They are incased in a sugar cookie crumb, held lightly together with some melted butter, like a cheesecake base. I wanted them to be crumbly when a dessert spoon dived right in. I did a quick pickle with some nasturtium leaves in champagne vinegar. Enough for a slight tang to offset the punchy flavor, but not overly sour. The ice cream (really, sherbet) is a really good buttermilk. It’s sweet, peppery, tangy, & just refreshing enough to cool you down in the heat.
It's been a sunny season of eating fresh fruit and a lot of simple cooking. Earlier this summer I really wanted to create a different lemon tart, but still very familiar. I love a delicate & tangy lemon curd with an extra buttery tart base, a classic for a reason. It's common to top it off with a cloud of torched meringue, but I didn't want that. More decidedly, I didn't need that. Just some whipped cream with a touch of elderflower cordial and strawberries, the first of the season (can you tell how late this summer post is?). I find that in the summer whenever I am holding a piece of fruit or contemplating what to eat for dinner, less is more.
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.
It has been such a cold winter and even thought its officially Spring, there's still a chill in the air. I have been craving all things beach, sun, sand, and all things tropical. The closest I've come to escaping this NYC tundra is this mashup pavlova. It looks innocent enough, but there's a lot going on. Underneath is a green tea white chocolate mousse enrobed in a passion fruit whipped cream. Covering the outside is crispy meringue, candied kumquats, and starfruit. Let's just say, even though I'm lounging near a palm tree, this kind of feels like one.
It's taken me over a year to put an Indonesian-inspired dessert on the blog. I'm pretty embarrassed about that, being Indonesian and all. But when I think about it, I'm not that surprised. To me dessert is ooey gooey brownies, blondies, and chocolate cake with super rich fudge icing. What can I say, I ate a lot of Entenman's cakes when I was younger. Indonesian desserts have a different meaning for me. My memories of Indonesian desserts are of my mom and her friends frying up batches of pisang goreng, while I just ate and eavesdropped on the conversation. Also, sharing es buah with my mom, who always served me a bowl with the best chewy fruits. When I made this I was trying to capture the best of the Indonesian dessert soups, think sweet coconut, starchy element, & fruit. This dessert is comprised of a coconut & green tea "soup", passion fruit jelly, tapioca, candied kumquats, and kiwi. I like the chewy stickiness of the tapioca along with the coconut and green tea. Green tea is not exactly an Indonesian staple, but it's replacing pandan flavoring (which is hard to find outside of Queens, NY, just saying). I used seasonal fruits, and I wanted this to be as simple as possible. Why simple? Because when I eat a spoonful of this, I don't need an armful of ingredients to take me back to my Indonesian roots.