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.
Naturally, the first fall dessert to debut on the menu has to include pumpkin! Pictured are pumpkin white chocolate ganache, pumpkin seed oil semifreddo, caramelized pumpkin seeds, splatters of pumpkin seed oil, fraises de bois (while they are still available at the market!), and sunflower sprouts. The acidity of the strawberries add a nice contrast to the richness of the ganache and semifreddo. Most people use pumpkin puree exclusively in a dessert, and while there's nothing wrong with that, I wanted to do something different. Lucky for me, working for a German pastry chef introduced me to the wonders that is pumpkin seed oil. The pumpkin seed oil is delicious, rich and nutty, with the flavors further enhanced by vanilla in a semifreddo. Sunflower sprouts usually show up in salads, but I just adore them in a dessert. They are so delicious, crunchy, and nutty. It adds an interesting vegetal element to the dessert, with the nuttiness from the sprouts echoing the pumpkin seed oil.
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.