Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Elderflower Chocolates

This is a shape that I have used frequently in the past, but this time I "wrapped" it with a small amount of tempered chocolate to give it that particular look, like it is coming out of a crystal or rock. It is then sprayed with chocolate velvet. The filling is an elderflower ganache (the recipe is in "The Modern Cafe", used to make the Elderflower Pops.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Opera 2.0

I really like the classic opera cake. When it is well done it is the prefect balance of flavors, but the one complaint I would have is that is is one-dimensional when it comes to texture, and often the hardened buttercream and ganache are hard to get through (and over... I mean hard buttercream is just like eating cold butter).

In this version the cake is soaked with an espresso syrup (all the way at the bottom of the dessert), the layers are alternating with chocolate tiles which give the desserts the snap it needs (in my humble opinion). The layer above the cake is a whipped espresso buttercream which is lighter than straight buttercream, and above it is a whipped espresso and chocolate ganache, as light as mousse.

The balance of coffee/espresso flavors and chocolate is just right.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Stout Ale Chocolates

These chocolates are filled with a ganache made of milk chocolate, cream and stout ale from Keegan Ales, right around th ecorner from us in Kingston, New York. The name of this ale is Mother's Milk, which I am not too sure about (I mean, really, couldn't have chosen a different name?), but as far as its taste goes it is remarkably friendly with chocolate, with caramel and oatmeal flavors. As a side note, we also use it to make our stout ice cream. Very dessert friendly ale for sure.
The image looks slightly blue but I assure you there is no blue on the chocolate.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Beautiful Baguette

I don't post on bread as soften as I should. When I saw this baguette I realized it was about time I did.

We make our baguettes with a more traditional method. In other words we use a natural levain as a pre-ferment, not a poolish. No disrespect to poolish, but it doesn't have much depth of flavor and bread made with it stales pretty quickly (think eight to ten hours after baking), while a baguette with levain lasts longer due to its acidity. The color, aroma, texture and complexity of flavor of a rustic baguette has no comparison.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Craquelin v2.0

Craquelin, the original version, is a Belgian pastry that consists of wrapping sugar cubes (flavored often but not necessarily so) with brioche and then topping the brioche with sanding sugar (see photo all the way at the bottom of this posting for the classic version). For this version we used a cube mold and forced the brioche to proof and bake in it with a flat weight over the mold to take on its shape.

Both images above are a test that my head baker, Justen Nickel, did for us a few days ago in preparation for putting them into production soon. I think it looks great and it also tastes very good. I wouldn't say it is better than the original craquelin; I would put them in the same category taste-wise, but visually, 2.0 is far superior. (Note: the empty spot in the middle of both craquelins is caused by the sugar cubes melting into the dough, leaving a crispy sweet cavern behind).