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.
This dessert was made out of the desire for the warm weather to just arrive. And arrive it has. The first of shipment of rhubarb is here and they are beautiful. I wanted something simple to showcase the rhubarb, and went with a cheesecake/baked crumble approach. This dessert consist of a quark cloud cheesecake, vanilla cake, white wine poached rhubarb, rhubarb raspberry sauce, and crushed crumble. I like adding crushed raspberries to poached rhubarb as a natural food coloring, as sometimes the green stalks can turn the final product a muddy brown. When the warm weather arrives, desserts tend to become simpler. The fruits that are coming into season are delicious alone, and they need a light hand to really showcase their true flavors. If you're wondering what quark is, it's a fresh dairy product that is similar in taste to a cream cheese, or sour cream although with more tang. It can be considered a fresh cheese, although some methods in producing it do not contain rennet. Alone, it's a delicious snack (and cheesy spread when strained in cheesecloth overnight), but like any other fresh dairy product, can really be delicious when paired with seasonal fruits. I probably would have never heard of it if it wasn't for working for a German chef as it is common in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.
We're in the midst of rhubarb season and I'm ready to call it quits. Sure, it's got great acidity, but so do lemons. Otherwise, I can't seem to get on the rhubarb fan bandwagon. I have been known to call it the pink celery (my lack of enthusiasm regarding celery is quite known at work). My feelings are neither love or hate, just meh, which is how it becomes when you overcook it. I decided to update one of my menu dessert staples with some rhubarb, since it is in season. Sometimes, playing with an ingredient is enough to get you started. Now, I currently have it as a garnish and sorbet in the restaurant and a whole week of rhubarb & strawberry crumble piping hot and bubbly with a side of luscious whipped cream coming next week at the cafe. I'm easily won over.
Breakfast is one of my favorite meals, except I tend to eat "breakfast" at all hours except morning. This idea of a breakfast inspired dessert started when I decided to make mochi again. My first attempt at mochi dumplings resulted in two dumplings out of who knows how many. Mochi is a japanese rice cake made with rice flour. I specifically used Mochiko flour. I chose to roll out the dough(paste?) and punch out circles, and add flavor in the actual mochi as oppose to putting it in the filling. One day I will master mochi dumplings, but for now these are just as yummy. Dried yogurt powder in the mochi gives a nice tang that balances nicely with the naturally sweet flavor and glutinous texture. The other flavors in this dessert are yogurt, rhubarb, granola and blueberry. There is a greek yogurt sorbet, yogurt tuile, and a greek yogurt. The key is to use good quality greek yogurt. I used Argyle Cheese Farmers, and I cannot stop singing it's praises. Its fluffy, thick, and tangy. The rhubarb is poached with some white wine and raspberries, while the blueberry is made into a compote. The granola is a delicious crunchy snack, made with cashews, maple, cinnamon, nutmeg, and oats. I'd consider this one healthy dessert.