Friday, April 30, 2010

Recent Pastry

I've slowly assumed more and more of the pastry duties at my restaurant. Most desserts are now collaborations between myself and Katie, another line cook. Recent triumphs:

Rum Whipped Cream
If you've had a dessert at my restaurant in the last two weeks, chances are you got some of this. We keep making too much and having to serve it on the next dessert. Good thing it goes so well with everything! Turns out that the secret to great rum flavor without terrible alcohol burning is maple syrup. Who knew?

Green Apple Peel Juice
Granny Smith peels, pureed with a bit of water and a bit of lemon juice. Super refreshing, with a unique flavor that is apple-y and yet not quite apple as you know it. Beautiful green color that fades under refrigeration, so I kept it frozen between services. If only we had some Pectinex Smash XXL.

Gingerbread Dust
This stuff started as an attempt to make some delicious leftover gingerbread into a crust for a cheesecake. When I ground the gingerbread into crumbs, I found they were far too moist to make a crust with the texture I wanted, so I dehydrated them in the oven overnight. Some got turned into a fragile crust (which I eventually bound together by pouring on a layer of caramel sauce) while the remainder was turned a fine powder in a spice grinder. Right now we just use it to dust the top of desserts, but really it's like having a whole new spice in our pantry - Essence of Gingerbread!

Also, the cheesecake this stuff went onto may have been overcooked. If a cheesecake is made of use a bunch of tiny curds, like this one, does that mean it's overcooked? Or is that normal? Or is it normal for cheesecake to be overcooked?

French Toast Crepes
Dwayne, another cook, told me about some guys on Future Food (terrible name!) turning cooked French Toast into crepe batter, so after brunch service one day I decided to give it a try. I took a few pieces of leftover french toast (fully cooked) and blended them with some milk, an egg, and a tiny bit of flour, adjusting the consistency as I went. The resulting crepes tasted (surprise!) just like cooked French Toast, which may be more exciting in real life than it sounds to be on paper. All of the spice flavors came through, of course, but there were the characteristic browned and cooked-egg notes also. The crepes were quite fragile, probably because the french toast they were made from was perfectly cooked, with that creamy inside. If I did it again, I'd probably overcook the toast and add some maple syrup to complete the flavor experience.

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