Fall has come quickly. Breezy days and brisk summer nights require a sweater. Shorts are no longer an option. September is here and so are beautiful fall days. I find September always a chaotic season in terms of it being a big change from the lazy days of Summer. Suddenly you're preparing for the busiest time of the year and there's always a bit of chaos. It feels too early for Fall, but too late for all things Summer. My menu reflects this transitional period in terms of offerings. I find it too early for pumpkin and pears. The first fruits of the season are not always the best. Grapes are king now. Nothing taste better than a bunch of cold grapes, the crunch of tart grape skin, the jelly inside, the sweet and tangy flavor that elicits you to eat more. This is a brown butter clafoutis, concord grapes, anise hyssop greek yogurt, elderberry sauce, orange jelly, red currants, and lemongrass ginger ice cream. I love the licorice-like flavor of anise hyssop and the contrast to concord grapes. Clafoutis is a rustic cake usually studded with fruit, but I love the plain cake itself with fresh fruit. This brown butter clafoutis is floral, and pairs well with the lemongrass and ginger ice cream, my current obsession. Elderberries are interesting, as they are sweet with a bitter finish, not at all unpleasant. I added quite a bit of St. Germain to the sauce just to pair elderflower with elderberry.
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.