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.
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.