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Friday, May 8, 2015

Culinary School - Session 107: Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Mousse Plate and Coconut-Olive Oil Plate

Culinary School: Session 107 (05.06.15)

Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Mousse Plate and Coconut-Olive Oil Plate

More isn't always better...

... and yet sometimes it is. Two desserts that highlight how complexity can yield spectacular results...

Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Mousse Plate: Even the simple, descriptive name is a mouth full. But when you add up the components and realize you'll need more than ten fingers to keep count, the complexity becomes all the more apparent. Hot and cold... sweet and salty... crunchy and smooth... it's deliciousness with MOMA-worthy plating.

Coconut-Olive Oil Plate: The combination of Chocolate and Peanut Butter has a unfair advantage of being one of the most craveable mash-ups in food history, so any dessert in a head-to-head comparison is handicapped. Nevertheless, an equally complicated Coconut-Olive Oil dessert, with cakes and custards and tuiles galore, holds its own.

I won't attest to being an authority on the subject, but personal experience would suggest that the success of these desserts is the exception to the rule. While a good dessert needs contrast, it also needs balance. With each additional component, preserving that balance become increasingly difficult. Yes, component number 15 may pair perfectly with components 1-13, but it might be gag-inducing with that final component. 

It's also easy to get lost in adding 'fancy' components just for the sake of adding components. Such moves are as criminal as adding inedible garnish. Does the dessert really need that maltodextrin peanut butter powder, or is someone just showing off that he knows how to play with the powdered-fat technique? If it works, it works. If it's molecular-gastro playtime without purpose, then maybe it should be kept in the test kitchen.

Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Mousse Plate

- Ingredients Running Tally -

Ingredients used to date (05.06.15):
  • Flour: 25,815g
  • Eggs: 17,750g (355x)
  • Sugar: 38,045g
  • Butter: 18,425g
  • Milk/Cream: 18,985g
  • Chocolate: 9,265g (since 01.12.15)

    - Recipes -


    Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Mousse Plate

    Where to begin?

    It's hard to determine the focus-point for this dessert. Some may argue that is a failure in design. I would disagree.

    The Banana Cake topped with a quenelle of Bourbon Ice Cream could be served as a dessert on its own. The Banana Cake, made with low-protein Cake Flour and the tenderizing addition of Sour Cream, is extremely soft and moist. The Bourbon Ice Cream is subtle. There is only so much alcohol that can be added to an Ice Cream before the melting point is too low and the product becomes a melting disaster. 

    Another potential focal point is the Chocolate and Peanut Butter Mousse "Candy Bar". With a crunchy Chocolate crust topped with piped domes of Peanut Butter Mousse, it's a dense and rich contrast to the light Banana Cake and Ice Cream.

    Rounding out the plate are several components that serve as complementary garnish. Brûléed Bananas add some warmth (if the plate makes it to the dining room quickly enough) and textural caramel crunch. Peanut Butter Powder adds a saltiness to balance the sweet Banana flavor. And Spiced Candied Peanuts play several roles: heat, salt and crunch. 

    Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Mousse Plate

    Slab of Pate Sucree

    Peanut Butter Powder

    Banana Granite

    Base for Bourbon Ice Cream

    Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Mousse Plate

    Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Mousse Plate

    Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Mousse Plate


    Coconut-Olive Oil Plate

    While the myriad components of the Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Mousse Plate all worked well together, it's hard to argue that the final product is truly composed. No less complicated based on the number of components, the Coconut-Olive Oil Plate is certainly more cohesive.

    A Coconut Dacquoise Cake serves as the base for the entire dessert. The soft-Dacquoise is filled with a Coconut Milk Chiboust, a custard made from Pastry Cream and Meringue. Topped with fresh berries, Vanilla-Lime Sorbet, and both Olive Oil Croutons and Coconut Tuile for texture, this is a modernist tart. 

    Coconut-Olive Oil Cake Plate

    Remains of the Desserts

    Next - Session 108: Deconstructed Plating 1 - Carrot Cake, Black Forest Cake, Lemon Chiffon Cake and Tart Tatin

    Previous - Session 106: Chocolate Mousse, Panna Cotta and Semifreddo

    Take a look at the full syllabus

    Questions? Comments? Send me an email or leave a comment.
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