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.
The arrival of spring immediately brings to mind one of fruit, lemon. While citrus is a winter fruit, I can't help but correlate the tart and crisp flavors of lemon to spring. It's refreshing, and March is all about hitting refresh on your daily routines. The layers of clothing slowly come off, the sun doesn't disappear after 4pm, and the warm weather is energizing. Once I learned how to make lemon curd, I was hooked. The combination of eggs, fresh lemon juice, sugar, and butter is tangy, citrusy, and delicious. To highlight one of my favorite flavors, this dessert is a play on a lemon meringue tart. It is made with lemon curd, shortbread shell, meringue crisps, yogurt with blood orange juice, and fresh figs. Just imagine a creamy and citrusy curd, with a buttery tart shell, crispy and crunchy meringue, tangy yogurt, sweet blood orange juice, and a ripe fresh fig. Separately, they're good. But together all the components add up to a light and refreshing dessert perfect for the arrival of spring.
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.
The beginning of Spring marks a whole array of fresh produce and new products for chefs to use. Unfortunately this year, the late arrival of Spring leaves much to be desired. The lack of produce as a result of such a cold and long winter leaves one feeling meh. To start off this new season, I decided to play around with the flavors of lemon, basil, and yogurt. Good citrus is still available and I wanted to ease into Spring without having to use the first of the season's fruits. I love to wait until its the height of the fruit season before fully incorporating it into my dessert. Here's to the first dessert of Spring.