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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Culinary School - Session 103: Pre-Desserts

Culinary School: Session 103 (04.27.15)


Dessert before dessert...

If there are appetizers for your entrees, why not also have them with your desserts?

Ranging from single bites to miniature composed plates, Pre-Desserts can be anything from simple, one-bite palate cleansers to true mini-desserts that get the gastro-engines running.

As part of multi-course tasting menus, Pre-Desserts should be as dynamic as full-on dessert offerings with a focus on balanced flavors, contrasting textures and temperatures, and thoughtful plating.

Assortment of Class Pre-Desserts

- Ingredients Running Tally -

Ingredients used to date (04.27.15):
  • Flour: 25,650g
  • Eggs: 17,300g (346x)
  • Sugar: 36,995g
  • Butter: 18,160g
  • Milk/Cream: 18,125g
  • Chocolate: 9,040g (since 01.12.15)

    - Recipes -


    Chocolate Mint

    A Flexible Chocolate Ganache served with Chocolate Cream, Mint Granita and Mint Fluid Gel. 

    Flexible Chocolate Ganache: Set with Gelatin and Agar Agar, the base for this dessert sits somewhere between weird and wonderful. The texture is a strange hybrid of flan and pudding. It actually jiggles when poked, which is not the most appetizing feature for a dessert. But when eaten, the texture is not at all rubbery (thanks to the low melting point of Agar Agar). It quickly melts in your mouth and tastes delicious.

    Chocolate Cream: This whipped cream gets a flavor kick from cocoa powder, espresso powder and a little bit of brandy.

    Mint Granita: Effectively a shaved ice, the Granita serves as a refreshing contrast to the heavier flavors in this dish. It's little more than blanched mint processed with a simple syrup, which is then frozen and scraped into a shaved ice. 

    Mint Fluid Gel: Serving as a sauce for the dessert, this Fluid Gel is yet another component made possible by the molecular gastronomy powers of Agar Agar.

    Chocolate Mint Pre-Dessert


    Fruit Tart

    A Petit Beurre Cookie served with Pickled Rhubarb, Hazelnut Oil Powder and Fruit Spheres.

    Petit Beurre Cookie: As a double-baked dough (the recipe actually calls for baking Sable Cookies and then using the crumbs from those cookies in a batter for a second recipe), these cookies just barely hold together long enough to make it from the fork to your mouth.

    Pickled Rhubarb: An argument for salty components in any dessert, the natural sour flavor of Rhubarb is perfect for pickling and accents to sweeter and butter-laden elements on the plate.

    Hazelnut Oil Powder: As a full-flavored oil, Hazelnut is an excellent choice for turning into a Fat-Based Powder.

    Fruit Tart Pre-Dessert


    Fruit Yogurt

    A Yogurt Foam served with Black Pepper Meringues, Pineapple, Fruit Spheres and a Pineapple Chip.

    Yogurt Foam: Demonstrating how an ISI Canister can be used for making more than Whipped Cream, the base of this dessert is an aerated Yogurt. When charged with Nitrous Oxide (which dissolves into fat-based substances and does not oxidize the product, like a CO2 charger would), the Yogurt takes on a lighter texture, almost like an instant Mousse. 

    Black Pepper Meringues: With the addition of Ground Black Pepper, simple Meringues get a pop of heat that both cuts some of the inherent sweetness of the Meringue itself while also bringing a slightly savory element to the dish, which complements the creamy Yogurt.

    Fruit Yogurt Pre-Dessert


    Tropical Fruit Soup

    A Cilantro Poached Pineapple Soup served over Vanilla Ice Cream with a Pineapple Tuile.

    Cilantro Poached Pineapple Soup: Admittedly a challenge for plating in any format other than a cold soup (which never sound appetizing), this spiced simple syrup mixes well with the tropical acidity of Pineapple and herbaceousness of the Cilantro for a palate-cleanser styled Pre-Dessert.

    Spiced Dessert Soup

    Tropical Fruit Soup Pre-Dessert

    Next - Session 104: Maple Phyllo Napoleon and Chocolate Fruit Mousse Kataifi

    Previous - Session 102: Modern Equipment (Sous-vide and Immersion Circulators)

    Take a look at the full syllabus

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