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Need plating advice


Chufi
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It's time for the annual Husbands Birthday Dinner again! While usually the dessert gives me the most stress, as I try to outdo myself every year with an even bigger and more impressive cake, this year it's different. Earlier this week I made a dessert for a dinner party that Dennis liked so much, that he requested it for the Big Dinner on feb 28.

What I made: basbousa (semolina almond cake) soaked in quince vodka syrup (reduced quince poaching liquid with home made quince vodka), poached quince slices, mascarpone, a sprinkling of pistachios. I want to keep these 3 elements but I feel my plating needs some work!

It can't get too complicated though, because I'll have to plate up right before dessert, and there'll be about 15 people.

Any ideas how to make this a bit more elegant and add a bit of a wow factor to the dessert?

Edited by Chufi (log)
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I'd take the basbousa back to one slice (they can always come back for more).

Perhaps slice two of your poached quince diagonally and push them out in to give a base onto which you can place the basbousa (staggering/overlapping the slices will give a nice rough edge which should look good). Put about half that amount of marscapone on top with a sprinkling of pistachios and put the sauce in a squirt bottle to do a spiral or zig zag across the dessert.

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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I have absolutely nothing worthwhile to contribute, however I wanted to add that Klary is the only person on the planet who can be trusted to make traditional basbousa look passe and unoriginal, after becoming familiar with it only a month or so ago.

This is probably the most tempting dessert I have ever seen!

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So my $.02

I'd use a circle cutter to cut the cake, slice the quince thinner and fan it out on top of the cake, mix in some pistachio paste with your marscapone, add some heavy cream and whip it, then you could quenelle it on the side of the cake. Your sauce is a little thin, so I'd add just a touch of xanthan gum to thicken it up...or better yet, add 1% agar and let it set, then blend it to make a fluid gel, you could put that in a bottle and then pipe little pearls around the plate...it's not that hard to do, trust me...don't fear the agar...

And instead of putting raw pistachios, you could put a few drageed pistachios on the plate.....add some crunchy texture to the dish

just my opinions...

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If you don't want to alter the components too much, you could dice the quince, center a small island of it in a shallow bowl, cut the cake with a round cutter and center a piece on top of the quince, whip the mascarpone with a bit of cream to lighten it and place a quenelle on the cake and pour a little sauce in the bowl around the quince. Then you can sprinkle your pistachio over the mascarpone for a little color and crunch.

If I were doing it, I'd probably thicken the sauce a bit. I would probably do an ice cream with the mascarpone and make a pistachio brittle or neutral caramel tuile topped with chopped pistachios. But most of that is just for textural and temperature contrasts.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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I agree that the sauce was too thin the first time, fortunately with quince syrup that's easily fixed - next time I'll just reduce it a bit more.

The dessert has to be on a plate, because I don't have 17 martini glasses or bowls!

I like the idea of stacking. I know my desserts always tend to be a bit... flat.

I LOVE the idea of another crunchy element. The basbousa is soft, so I agree that a pistachio or almond cookie would work really well.

thanks guys!

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If you don't want to alter the components too much, you could dice the quince, center a small island of it in a shallow bowl, cut the cake with a round cutter and center a piece on top of the quince, whip the mascarpone with a bit of cream to lighten it and place a quenelle on the cake and pour a little sauce in the bowl around the quince. Then you can sprinkle your pistachio over the mascarpone for a little color and crunch.

If I were doing it, I'd probably thicken the sauce a bit. I would probably do an ice cream with the mascarpone and make a pistachio brittle or neutral caramel tuile topped with chopped pistachios. But most of that is just for textural and temperature contrasts.

i like this idea and you can have all the components ready to go ahead of time (even the day before). so plating should be easy if your mise en place is taken care of. i really like the idea of pistachio brittle or toffee that can be chopped and sprinkled or even a traditional tuile that is sprinkled with pistachio before baking and then shaped to place on top of the dessert to give it some height.

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Put your marscapone in a bag and pipe a rosette of marscapone.

Could you cut a little stick of the quince and roll the tip in chopped pistachios and stick it into the center of the rosette?

I'd apply the sauce to the plate in a spiraling swirl, place thin cut quince in a fan shape, place the round* cake at the base of the fan, put the marscapone rosette on the cake, put the stick with the pistachio on the end in the rosette, sprinkle the tips of the fan with the additional pistachios.

*Use whatever shape cookie cutter you have, oval, heart, teardrop shape etc.

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The dessert has to be on a plate, because I don't have 17 martini glasses or bowls!

If that refers to me saying "a shallow bowl", it would work just as well on a plate. The flavors sound really nice so you can't really go wrong. Take any suggestion you like, take bits and pieces from them all, suddenly become inspired and do your own thing... it'll be good regardless.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I´m almost too embarassed to post this but, in the spirit of truthfulness, and trying to be faithful in following up on questions asked, I present you the final plated dessert.

gallery_21505_358_337372.jpg

Yes, that picture is deliberately vague. Because, you see, in the end, the plated dessert yesterday looked almost exactly like the one in the first picture upthread.

It´s not that I did not listen to you all. I made mascarpone ice cream and served that instead of the plain mascarpone, and I made candied pistachios for a textural contrast. But visually.. I had great plans but when it was 11 pm, time for dessert, and I´d had a glass of wine or two or three, I retreated to my comfort zone and did what I always do.

So, sorry about that.

But it tasted really really great.

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But it tasted really really great.

And that's what really matters in the end. Besides, it looks fine to me.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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