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Feedback on dessert creation


Ling
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Hi everyone,

I have the opportunity to serve a dessert at Mistral for Thursday's service, and would love some help creating something special.

I'm sure the pastry chef has some wonderful things she would like to serve for the tasting menu, so I've decided to do a small transitional dessert in between the cheese course and the regular dessert course.

My only limitation is that it must not be too labour intensive (I'm only in for the afternoon/evening), or something that needs hours of chilling/setting time.

I was thinking of doing an fig and stilton tart, by using some sort of stilton cream and baking it with wedges fig in a macadamia sable crust. I would glaze the figs with port syrup. If I go ahead with this, what sort of garnish should I make?

I don't have a recipe for stilton pastry cream, but I was thinking it wouldn't be too much of a problem if I used fewer yolks, omitted the vanilla bean, and substituted stilton for the richness and body.

Or, does anyone else have an idea I could use? I am leaning towards a savoury+sweet combination using cheese and fruit.

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Hi everyone,

I have the opportunity to serve a dessert at Mistral for Thursday's service, and would love some help creating something special.

I'm sure the pastry chef has some wonderful things she would like to serve for the tasting menu, so I've decided to do a small transitional dessert in between the cheese course and the regular dessert course.

My only limitation is that it must not be too labour intensive (I'm only in for the afternoon/evening), or something that needs hours of chilling/setting time.

I was thinking of doing an fig and stilton tart, by using some sort of stilton cream and baking it with wedges fig in a macadamia sable crust. I would glaze the figs with port syrup. If I go ahead with this, what sort of garnish should I make?

I don't have a recipe for stilton pastry cream, but I was thinking it wouldn't be too much of a problem if I used fewer yolks, omitted the vanilla bean, and substituted stilton for the richness and body.

Or, does anyone else have an idea I could use? I am leaning towards a savoury+sweet combination using cheese and fruit.

Wow, that's the coolest. I love the sound of the fig and stilton tart.

And because I'm always on the look for stuff myself, would you be able to provide a blueprint for that when you get some time? It sounds fabulous.

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Sure, I'll post the recipe when I'm done, but I usually do things to taste so I'll have to approximate. :smile:

I'm now thinking of poaching figs in sauternes or port (with cinnamon, orange zest, bit of honey?) and then laying them at the bottom of the tart, then spooning the stilton cream over top. Garnish with a wedge of fig that's been bruleed.

Thoughts?

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I'm thinking that the Stilton Cream will have a slightly muddy look to it so I would put the cream (or a bit thicker) on the bottom with the poached figs on top (you could brulee them and not just the garnish). Or just drizzle the Stilton Cream over the figs so that they are accented.

Port sounds better than Sauterne for the poaching (and more cost effective). I would think that there should be some acidity in the poaching liquid so that the already sweet figs do not become too sweet - even with the bite of the Stilton cream.

Sounds like fun!

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^Yes, I was going to add some pepper to the poaching liquid, just like a Batali recipe I used in the past. Thanks for reminding me!

eatrustic: I haven't made stilton cream before, so maybe I should do a test batch at home. I was thinking it would turn out approximately the same colour as the stilton cheesecake...a uniformly pale bluish/green. That's a good idea--bruleeing the poached figs. Thanks!

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I really like stilton and have had it in a quiche, but I am wondering if gorganzola would make a creamier filling for your tart.

I really like gorganzola and figs.

Love the idea of a macadamia crust with the figs. Wish I could fly over and have some.

Macadamia nuts are soooo expensive here. Double what they cost in the States.

Edited by Swisskaese (log)
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Ooh, very exciting!

The fig stilton tart sounds delicious. I agree with eatrustic that a bit of acidity is probably good...especially if the tart is coming right after the cheese course, which can be very rich.

I bet this would also be good with fresh goat cheese and a balsamic-thyme glaze.

Good luck, and I'm sure whatever you decide on will be fantastic :smile:

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If I go ahead with this, what sort of garnish should I make?

I don't have a recipe for stilton pastry cream, but I was thinking it wouldn't be too much of a problem if I used fewer yolks, omitted the vanilla bean, and substituted stilton for the richness and body.

I just started thinking way too much about this :rolleyes:

That sounds amazing. For a garnish what about some nice sugared orange peel curlique/s??? Or a small pile of sugary orange peel (like shoestring) sticks would be a nice contrast to the solid cheesey figginess (I would give them a douse of saigon cinnamon too.) Too ordinary??

If you wanted to get crazy you could do a cool "M" for the name of the place in orange peel to stand up in the middle. Cut out the "M" and candy it, sugar it etc. I mean of course you would make a bunch and use your best ones. I mean you could do the m's in advance and bring them with you. Wonder what happens if you just touch the edge of the sugared "M" with the torch...hopefully that would make a cool border around it...maybe...or it might melt it down to an "N" too. :laugh: But you would wanna make them with long legs so if they sink down a bit. I would have a bit of crumbled crust crumbs available to cover up any issues around the base of the "M".

Just some brainstorm garnish thoughts...

Chef-boy has done some awesome amuses with whoopee fancy cheese pate choux & stuff too. If I talk to him today I will pick his weedy brain for ideas. He's made a lot of cheesey savory pastry cream.

Congratulations and how very very cool for you!

Now, me, I would put the M in the middle and have fragile orange peel curliques radiating out & up over the edge of the dish. :raz: But that might be why I'm not a pastry chef :laugh: (I would also arrange the crumbs under the M in a pattern and use a decorating tip on my finger to press into the edges of the crust before baking to hopefully leave an impression in the dough after it bakes.

More than you ever wanted to know for sure! At least maybe that will inspire a thought or two on garnishing this or your next adventure

You could make something interesting out of a bit of the dough too--an "M" to lay flat maybe...

You could cut out & bake leaves and put one leaf on each tart. You could make a thousand leaves and use them as the fluting on the crust...

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I forgot to mention that i really like fig, gorganzola and honey.

I stuff figs with gorganzola and drizzle honey over them. :wub::wub::wub:

But, if you are going to poach the figs in something sweet, then the honey maybe over the top.

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I forgot to mention that i really like fig, gorganzola and honey.

I stuff figs with gorganzola and drizzle honey over them.  :wub:  :wub:  :wub:

But, if you are going to poach the figs in something sweet, then the honey maybe over the top.

Gorgonzola dolce? That would be my choice. Wow. That sounds promising.

And thanks to Ling too.

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I'm thinking that a macadamia shortbread cookie would be good, so that you can do individual servings without having to worry about the cut, and oozy goo all over. I think chestnut honey would be good with those flavors, so maybe a macadamia cookie base topped with a quartered port-poached fig, sprinkled with crumbs of Stilton or filled with a piped Stilton mousse, and drizzled with chestnut honey? I know that's too probably simple for you, but it sounds good to me.

Wait, we're talking about fresh figs here, right? I realize that I'm visualizing the ones that are green outside and ruby inside. In that case it wouldn't really be poached, more brushed with a port reduction glaze.

Edited by Abra (log)
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Ling: I am so glad you're doing this! Brava!

I've made a few pear tarts with blue cheese in the crust, something that would be good with ground nuts replacing some of the flour, so perhaps that is done as well. Recipes crop up from time to time in Gourmet, so you might try checking epicurous. I am pretty sure Stilton was used there since the firmer texture should crumb up like cold butter if you're incorporating it in a food processor. Gorgonzola's great with fruit, but I fear that even when chilled, it might gum up, requiring more flour, and ultimately lead to a tough dough.

I see from this forum's counterpart to the Dinner thread why you thought about putting Stilton on top of the figs, but I like the idea of the crust best. Another possible would be assembing the tart as you would a fresh fruit tart: Bake the shell, with or without ground nutmeal (pistachios?) replacing some of the flour. Then make a "pastry cream" which incorporates blue cheese---in this case a creamy one one would be fine--and spread it on top of the cooled shell.

Alternative: I'd be tempted to go Italian, though, and do a combination of perfectly fresh ricotta, blue cheese and a little egg & cream to bind. Pour into unbaked shells, bake until set, cool.

Then top either with roasted figs, slightly syrupy under a perfumed honey glaze. Of course, fresh figs, glazed, would be lovely, too.

Further variations thereof are endless.

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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Your idea of figs and stilton sounds delicious, but I wonder if it might be too heavy (and autumn-y) since the diner will just have had a cheese course and will be offered something substantial (most likely chocolate) as their dessert. I think integrating cheese would work, but I would go a tad lighter, using your same format but going with a fresh goat and possibly plums, or even nectarines. If you still wanted to go with nuts in your crust- almonds, walnuts, and even pistachios would work beautifully.

"Godspeed all the bakers at dawn... may they all cut their thumbs and bleed into their buns til they melt away..."

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I forgot to mention that i really like fig, gorganzola and honey.

I stuff figs with gorganzola and drizzle honey over them.  :wub:  :wub:  :wub:

But, if you are going to poach the figs in something sweet, then the honey maybe over the top.

Gorgonzola dolce? That would be my choice. Wow. That sounds promising.

And thanks to Ling too.

Yes, gorganzola dolce.

Abra, get out of my head. I was going to say chestnut honey, but I wasn't sure if it would be too strong.

Edited by Swisskaese (log)
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figs and cheese are an excellent combo, one other is a combo of Goat's cheese, poached pears, and walnuts. Although it's been a while since I have done this, I poached one batch of pears in syrup, one batch in port, splice the two pears, and fill with the cheese walnut mixture, a fantastic complement would be some warm fritters, dusted with some 6x. and a splash of chocolate sauce on the plate-just an idea, maybe for next time.

Michael

Edited by dejaq (log)
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My mom got a flat of figs from her friend's farm today. I ate five in rapid succession, then decided to share their voluptuous beauty with you all.  :smile: figs and Bleu d'Auvergne

gallery_7973_3014_984790.jpg

For the record, this post, I am guessing, is one of the reasons Ling began thinking of such a tart. And Ling, I respect the cautionary notes phlawless adds about retaining a seasonal spirit, but trust your gut. Figs have just come in and maybe lighten the tart by omitting the nuts. It's true that the tarts I've mentioned that had blue cheese crusts were autumnal if not wintertime desserts.

As for garnishes: do something with raspberries. A classic combination for clafoutis is fig with raspberry.

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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As much as I love the sound of this tart, I have to agree that it sounds a bit rich and autumnal for such warm weather.

How about a small individual ricotta or goat cheese/gorgonzola dolce cheesecake garnished with the port poached figs for something a bit more summery and tangy??

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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One of the stories I got a kick from many years ago came from one of the Silver Palate books. It tells about the authors trying to decide between going to the beach or making an elaborate dessert finale for some "very important people" expected for dinner that night. They went to the beach after making a sauternes soup with fresh raspberries.

What about a chilled port or sauternes dessert soup, served with a roasted fig half brushed with more of the soup to make it glisten and some crushed macadamia nuts?

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Thanks for all your comments.

I love the idea of the blue cheese crust, Pontormo. I have a good recipe for blue cheese shortbread that I could use.

phlawless: Yes, one of the things I was kind of worried about was the "autumn-ness" of the dessert...I did think about using goat cheese and another fruit, but goat cheese desserts have been done to death in Vancouver, and I was hoping to do something a little different. I know the blue cheese + fruit idea isn't wholly new either, but it doesn't seem as common around here as the goat cheese cheesecake. :)

KatieLoeb: I like the idea of doing a ricotta or gorgonzola based cheesecake...perhaps I could integrate some of these ideas and make a stilton/macadamia shortbread crust, marscapone cheesecake, with figs + another summer fruit (perhaps plums, like phlawless suggested?)

ETA: would a cheesecake even be possible? We are supposed to get there in the afternoon, but the kitchen requested my bf and I make Chinese food for our staff meal, so I don't know how much chilling time I have...unless I do a no-bake cheesecake-like mousse thing.

Edited by Ling (log)
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Looking at your photograph again, especially given the erotic appeal of figs already split before being set before the diner...

AND, in the spirit of keeping things seasonal and light: how about topping whatever you bake and whip up with the fig, split open to cradle a small scoop of raspberry gelato or sorbet?

The downside of this is that the blue cheese would have to go.

Or a light ricotta or chevre gelato. Raspberries or raspberry something as garnish.

Edited by Pontormo (log)

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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^One of my earlier ideas was to fill the figs with ganache (before I had decided on the blue cheese) but I like the mini scoop of ice-cream better! I could roll the little bit of ice-cream in crushed, candied nuts. That would be a really cute fig flower. Thank-you!

I am thinking of skipping the poaching in port step, because that seems too "autumn" as well. I think I'll just serve fresh figs with the ice-cream, and then maybe drizzle some port syrup on the plate.

Edited by Ling (log)
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Another nice flavor combination with fresh figs and raspberries is anise.

I think I saw this in one of the Chez Panisse books, but I've served split figs and raspberries with Pernod/pastis/ouzo flavored whipped cream that is also lightly sweetened. It is a great flavor combination.

Pernod flavored ice cream with the figs and raspberries?

(I think I sprinkled everything *lightly* with some crushed anise seed as well.)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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