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Pig Newton

This is a variation on a cheese course we did for tentop awhile back, and it came out so good we ran it on the opening menu at Remedy. The idea came from one of our clients at KitchenCru, Mrs. Jody Peppler; owner and operator of Thyme Management. She had made a fig filling for one of her clients that was loaded down with bacon, and she jokingly said “Hey you should make this into a ‘pig newton’ haha.” Being one in possession of a fig newton dough recipe, I didn’t find this as funny as I did inspirational. At Remedy we warmed it up and melted a piece of blue cheese on top. Pictured above I served it with a blue cheese mousse, slted caramel, and candied bacon. I made over 500 of these for IPNC’s Lunch on the Lawn. This set was very well received, I had a couple people ask me for the recipe after the event.  The “home version” of the recipes is what I have posted below.

I was very proud of how this came out and how much people enjoyed it as weird as it may have been. For me though, the best compliment came in the form of an instagram comment from one of PDX’s finest.

Fig Newton Dough

810 g AP Flour
3 g salt
6 g baking powder
140 g sugar
8 oz butter, diced, kept cold

4 eggs

2 eggs whisked (for eggwash)

Whisk together all the dry ingredients and cut in the butter like you would for a pie dough. Add the eggs and mix until the dough forms a uniform dough. Chill at least 1 hour before rolling 1/8th inch thick into a rectangle that is twice is long as it is wide. Place the prepared filling in the bottom third of the dough, in a cylinder, and then roll the dough around the filling, creating a long cylinder with the filling inside. Egg wash the entire thing generously, then place in the freezer overnight.
Next day, preheat the oven to 325 F. Bake the Fig Newton until golden brown. Cool entirely before cutting with a serrated knife into portions.

Pig Newton Filling (I didn’t really use a recipe for this, so this is best guess)
3 lbs dried mission figs
5 lbs bacon
1/2 lb brown sugar
1 cup red wine or port if you have it
water as needed

Bake the bacon until crispy and reserve the rendered fat warm. Cut the stems off the figs and place them in a sauce pot with the brown sugar and cover half way with water. Simmer the figs until they are soft and pull apart easily, stirring often. Transfer the figs to a food processor and blend smooth, adding the warm bacon fat to adjust the consistency, or water as needed. You’re looking for a thick paste, like you would find inside a fig newton. Err on the side of thicker, it should not be fluid. Small dice the bacon and fold it into the fig paste. Chill thoroughly before using in the above recipe

Blue Cheese Mousse
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
12 oz white chocolate
30 oz blue cheese (I used Pt Reyes)
4 sheets gelatine, bloomed and drained (or 1 package of powdered gelatine used according to the box)
3 cups heavy cream whipped to soft peaks

Weigh the chocolate and blue cheese into the same bowl, which needs to be big enough to hold it and the first measurement of cream. Scald the 2 1/2 Cups of cream and pour it over the cheese/chocolate mixture. Let this sit a minute, then whisk it smooth. I used an immersion blender to achieve a super smooth consistency. Whisk in the prepared gelatin and let this mixture cool to room temp before folding in the whipped cream. Chill for at least 4 hours before using.

Fried Chicken Ice Cream

It shouldn’t exist. When you put it in your mouth your palate is all “WTF?!” More than half of the people that tasted it laughed out loud just after they wiped the confused look off their faces. But much like that hamburger you once ate that used doughnuts instead of buns, sometimes things that defy reason just work; and should be embraced like all other forms of gluttony.

Full disclosure: this is not an original idea, nor is it an original recipe. Faithful Readers know I don’t have an original bone in my body. I once Googled “fried chicken ice cream” because that’s what guys like me do. What I turned up was this recipe based on a treat from the prolific Coolhaus. As I read through it I became very excited, agitated to the point of fidgeting in fact, because I saw a huge potential to improve upon the idea that they had spearheaded. What they do is create an intense fried chicken caramel, which has a ton of disgustingly good applications on its own, and ripple it into a maple brown butter ice cream. Solid. Super solid idea, none could argue. However, is this as “chicken-y” as can be? I mean if everything tastes like chicken, this needed to Chicken Punch me in the face. Why isn’t the dairy infused in this recipe? It seems like such a huge missed opportunity. Roasted chicken bones will flavor milk or cream just as well as water will when making stock, so why stop at the fried chicken caramel to drive that flavor home; I thought. Because…subtlety? Well there’s your problem right there!

Anyway, enough about that recipe, let’s talk about how I do it. First of all, one of the great joys of making this recipe for tentop was I found out a ten pound case of chicken skin is a thing that I can buy for $15. I never thought I’d be grateful for the huge demand for “boneless, skinless” anything, but here I am; a beneficiary of bi-product. At this juncture I’ll point out another flaw in the original recipe, especially when you double and triple this recipe as any self respecting, Hot-Blooded American will be wont to do. Chicken skin has a shit ton of fat in it, way more than the the amount of egg yolk in this recipe can emulsify into a smooth ice cream base. So if you are closely comparing the two recipes as I imagine all three of you that are reading will be, take note of step 2 in the custard method below. Another glaring misstep in my humble opinion is the inclusion of cornstarch in the OG recipe. Is it here to mitigate the excess of fat? Especially since the brown butter is left in it’s entirety in the recipe? Perhaps, but…well shit man be proactive, not reactive to ingredients’ behaviors. So I did the brown butter infusion as I would have for Brown Butter Ice Cream, but I also fried up some more of the chicken skin in that butter before proceeding with the Brown Milk process, which was created by Chef Sam Mason. The excess fat is discarded, so the custard base is my own basic recipe I’ve used for years, which requires no corn starch to work. We used this ice cream as a component of a dish at Supfast 2.

Fried Chicken Ice Cream

For the caramel:
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 lb chicken leg and thigh bones, roasted hard

For the fried chicken sauce:
¼ pound fresh chicken skins, roughly chopped
2 cups rich chicken stock
½ tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp coarse ground black pepper
1 tsp dried sage (or 2-3 leaves of fresh sage, chopped fine)
¼ tsp cayenne pepper

1. Place the chicken leg and thigh bones into a pot and cover with the cream. Bring this to a boil, cover, kill the heat and let steep 30 minutes. Strain of cream and add more cream if you need to to get 2 cups. Some of the cream will be soaked into the bones. Set aside infused cream

2. Place the sugar into a sauce pot with enough water to make a wet sand consistency. Caramelize the sugar to a rich amber, I look for the color of an old penny. Whisk in the chicken infused cream, return to a boil, then strain through a fine mesh sieve. Set aside the caramel.

3. Make the fried chicken sauce: Render the chopped chicken skins of their fat and cook them do a deep, fried chicken color. Pour off 95% of the rendered fat before adding the stock and remaining seasoning ingredients. Let this step simmer 20 minutes over low heat.

4. Whisk in the chicken caramel and bring to a boil. Pour the Fried Chicken Caramel into a storage vessel and let cool to room temp before covering and chilling overnight to develop flavors. Next day strain and save for use in the ice cream base, or to impress your friends.

For the Custard Base:

3 cups half-and-half
1 cup heavy cream
1 roasted chicken carcass, hot and smashed up
1/2 lb butter
1/4 lb chicken skins roughly chopped
9 ounces sugar
8 large egg yolks
1. This is a two or optionally three day process, so bear that in mind. Melt the butter in a sauce pot big enough to hold the first five ingredients. Add the chicken skins and brown them as you did for the caramel sauce. The butter will brown as you do this, take care not to take it to dark.
2. Pour in the dairy, and stir the whole mess up well. Add the smashed roasted chicken carcass and pour this whole thing into a bucket to chill over night. The fat from the butter and chicken skin will infuse the cream and half & half as it rises to the top and solidifies. This is the Sam Mason Brown Milk method, the best way to make brown butter ice cream.
3. The next day, poke a hole in the now solid layer of fat and pour off the dairy. The chicken carcass should be semi-stuck in the fat. When the liquid is all poured off, strain it through a fine mesh sieve. Add enough cream to bring it back up to 4 total cups. Discard the fat and chicken carcass.
4. Make a custard by bringing the dairy and sugar to a boil, tempering in the egg yolks and cooking it until it coats the back of a spoon, or 170 F. Optional step: Chill this base overnight to develop flavors in the base. This is what true ballers do.Next day strain it and prep your ice cream machine for spinning.
5. Take your Fried Chicken Caramel and bring it to room temp. Transfer it to a squeeze bottle for rippling into the ice cream.
6. Spin the custard in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. As you are removing it from the machine, ripple in the caramel by layering it in. Spoon a layer of the ice cream, and squeeze the caramel over in a squiggle pattern, then repeat. Do this until all the ice cream is rippled. Spoon some into your mouth and shake your head, amazed.
We served the ice cream as pictured below, with a sour dough waffle, foie gras torchon, and a fat hunk of buttermilk fried chicken skin. Because America.


Tentop has evolved in ways that my faithful readers never would have dreamed at it’s inception, at that is too cool for me to put into words. Our latest dinner however, was a little closer to the basic form we started with. To put it most simply, two guys cooking the food they wanted to cook. We had the fortunate benefit of having Nick Keane on board as our bar tender, and his drinks were the starting point for all the dishes that Michael and I came up with. While my liver may never forgive me for the R&D put in on this menu, I feel it was some of the best food Micheal and I have cooked, and it had to be; to stand up to Nick’s banging concoctions.

The whole menu and pairings were killer, as I hope you can imagine; but I’d like to focus on two dishes. Our entree, Delmonico Steak Frites is a good snapshot of how we approach dish design. Take a classic, in this case two classics, and jam ‘em into something new, something the same but different. Here we started with Steak Rossini, a classic even among the classics, basically filet and seared foie gras. With our typical “we can do better” attitude, we switched out the filet mignon for rib eye, (as we are, in fact, men;) and the seared foie for torchon, because it spreads like butter. We molded the torchon into a fancy flexible mold to get the cool shape. A full rib eye steak seemed a bit much for a multi-coursed meal like this, so at Michael’s suggestion we had it butchered in the Delmonico style by Ian of Tails & Trotters. I know better than to tackle a butchery project like this on my own, and Ian’s skill is widely known. He did such a good job that we ended up cooking the suckers whole, and then sexily slicing them at service. So we’ve got steak, we’ve got foie…how about truffle fries? So yeah, we jammed in yet another classic; Steak frites. Nick came up with the perfect pairing with this, a goose fat washed Manhattan, which had a lingering earthiness to it that rode smoothly underneath the profound richness of this dish. Fuck was it good.

My other favorite of the night was partially due to the pairing, and partially due to the fact that I literally dreamed this dish up. When we tasted through the cocktails the first time, I knew right away I needed to rethink my dessert. This cocktail (originally named the McRittenhouse before Nick settled on Bitter Vieux,) is one of the best I’ve tasted. Thick and syrupy, stirred of course, and perfectly balanced. This drink needed more than a slice of pie next to it. I’d been dicking around a bunch with the Milk Bar cookbook, with mixed results, and the answer eventually came from there…kind of. I had a dream one night, and my better half can verify this, because I woke up spouting gibberish about “the best ice cream sandwich” before rolling over to return to loudly snoring. The dream involved my combining Tosi’s milk crumb recipe with the age-old “crunchy layer” I learned from Chef Tony Martin. I made the crunchy layer, then covered it with the milk crumbs, covered both with a layer of parchment and weighted it down. After it was set I portioned it into rectangles and used it as the “bread” for an ice cream sandwich. In my dream, I did this process countless times. I just kept doing it and doing it until I woke up. Weird huh? Anyway, dreams do come true sometimes, and in this case, thankfully so. Here’s a recipe.

Milk Crumb Crunch

first, make the milk crumbs.

you’ll probably want to double the recipe, it’s a good thing to have around.

then you’ll need:

12 oz of chocolate (I use 64% cocoa barry)

3 cups of feuilletine (if you can’t get feuilletine, you can use an equal amount of ground nuts, corn flakes, potato chips, or any combination there of. Just some crunchy shit you think will taste good in chocolate)

1. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Prepare a half sheet pan with a silpat.

2. When the chocolate is melted, mix in the feuilletine all at once. Quickly spread the mixture out onto the prepared pan using an offset spatula.

3. While the chocolate is still warm, sprinkle an even layer of milk crumbs over it. Cover this with parchment and pile on a few half sheets on top to press the two recipes together.

4. Chill until fully set, at least one hour. Bring the pan up to room temperature before portioning into desired shape. How I used it is pictured below, as the cookie in a butter pecan ice cream sandwich. We served it with salted orange caramel and

Bitter Viuex by Nick Keane

1 1/2oz Rittenhouse Rye
3/4 Laird’s Applejack
3/4 Lillet Blanc
1/4 Green Chartreuse
1/2 oz Benedictine
3 dashes Fees whiskey barrel bitters

  1. Fill a mixing glass half way with ice.
  2. Add liquors and other cocktail ingredients.
  3. Twirl a bar spoon to stir for 20-30 seconds.
  4. Strain the cocktail into a well-chilled glass.

White Chocolate Flourless Cake

If you Google White Chocolate Flourless Cake, you don’t get shit. At least nothing use-able. I mean, almond flour is still a flour of sorts, and any recipe you find seems to use it. I wanted a flourless cake like my dark chocolate recipe;with a rich, fudge-like texture. If you look at my old ratio, it’s quite simple. Chocolate, butter, sugar, eggs, and water. I figured I’d start there. So white chocolate is basically sweetened cocoa butter and milk. Cocoa butter is fat, so I omitted the butter from the the OG recipe. White chocolate is sweet, too sweet for some, so I yanked the sugar. Water? Didn’t feel right. Cream felt right. So I used cream. I put the batter together like the OG, baked like the OG, bottomed it with crunchy layer and glazed it like the OG. What I ended up with; the guests who ate it and I determined, was a baked custard. The texture was like a thick pudding, a decadent “just-set” confection with a coma-inducing richness that left diners with glazed eyes and lolling heads. The plate had raspberry coulis, preserved lemon granita,  and crushed hazelnut brittle.

White Chocolate Flourless Cake

54 oz white chocolate

15 oz eggs

3/4 cup heavy cream

line a 1/4 sheet pan with parchment. Preheat the oven to 250 F.

melt the chocolate over a double boiler.

whisk together the eggs and cream.

when the chocolate is fully melted, whisk in the eggs. Scrape the bowl and whisk again, making sure all is incorporated and homogeneous.

transfer the batter to the prepared pan, and bake until GBD and set, about 45 minutes to an hour. Turn the oven off and let the cake finish inside, Chill thoroughly before glazing and portioning.

Bacon Bread Pudding Egg in the Basket.

First and foremost, let’s get something out of the way here, faithful readers. What you see pictured above here in not a version of Toad in the Hole, which is a common misconception. This is a version of Egg in the Basket, or Egg in a Frame as it is sometimes known. Click the link above, Toad in the Hole is something else.

OK, moving on. My use of bread pudding is well documented, as well as my love of eggs. I have been brain storming how to get a poached egg onto a dessert for some time now, or any kind of egg preparation; and here finally achieved it at tentop’s Supfast. The first version had a coffee poached egg, which had an intensely delicious coffee flavor, but looked like a decaying fetus. I plated the pudding and then the poached egg, then covered it with candied nuts. It still looked like hell. The next version omitted the egg, and we rallied in the end with a true Egg in The Basket, as seen above. The finished dish had banana caramel, coffee salt, candied macadamia, and molasses whipped cream. I scored the bread needed for this from my friend Kathy a.k.a. adoxograph who works at Baker & Spice. She is a laminated dough master, and totally hooked me up. The bacon used was of the un-smoked variety from none other than Tails & Trotters.

Bacon Bread Pudding

6 oz soft butter
6 oz bacon fat
14 oz brown sugar

10 eggs

1 1/2 qts heavy cream
1 1/2 qts half & half

1 1/2 lbs bacon fully cooked drained, and diced

Day old croissants, brioche, or challah.

Weigh soft butter, bacon fat and brown sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer. Cream light and fluffy.

Add the eggs slowly, scraping three times during the process. Mixture will look broken.

Switch to whip attachment and on medium speed add the heavy cream and half & half.

Chop up day old bread into 2 inch chunks and add to custard. Add enough bread to create a wet, pudding like mass…not too dry. Store in an airtight container overnight.

Next day, add in your bacon.

Prepare a parchment lined, well greased hotel pan or silicon mold and transfer the pudding. Fill mold flush with lip of pan. Cover with aluminum foil.

Bake at 300 F until edges are set. Remove foil and bake additional 15-20 minutes, until center is baked and top is golden brown.

Eat warm or chill thoroughly before slicing into clean shapes. 30 seconds in microwave at pick up.

Copyright Infringement Pie.

This is the 200th post on!!

If you haven’t heard of Crack Pie, crawl out from under the rock you’ve been hiding under and Google the shit. I mean, this fucking thing is trademarked! Also, FYI: they brought back the McRib.  Anyway here’s my version of the sucker, served with a sweet potato puree and toasted oatmeal ice cream.  A simple garnish of ground honey roasted hazelnuts adds a crunch.  The pastry is really similar to chess pie; or the more archaic Barbara Fritchie Pie, which to me tastes like pecan pie without the pecans.  Faithful readers and newbies alike will appreciate the simplicity of this dessert, a nod to seasonality and old world pastry, it’s just fucking good.  I recently traveled to New York to visit my family, and on our way back Shorty and I visited NYC and Momofuku Milk bar. We of course had the original crack pie, and it was damned good, and illuminating.  You see, I had been over-baking mine, looking for it to be totally set.  Miss Tosi pulls hers as it’s just starting to firm up, and serves it cold.  I prefer a room temp treat, but if I baked it her way it would be an oozy mess.  Anyway, I still take mine a bit further in the oven and still serve it room temp.  Another tweak I…tweak is this:  I substitute half of the brown sugar with muscavado sugar, and the butter with brown butter, both in the crust and in the filling.  The molasses-y flavor of this almost ebony sweetener adds a nice bitter tone to an otherwise sticky sweet concoction.  I also use a half sheet pan in lieu of the standard pie pan, because i like rectangles better then wedges.  At the restaurant be call this this little bitch a Brown Sugar Bar, because I don’t want David Chang suing my ass.  But look, if they were worried about me using the recipe, they wouldn’t have published the fucker in Bon Appetit The Ice cream we serve here was created by my pastry cook Liz Clements, who has since moved on to a full time pastry gig in a fancy restaurant. I’m sad to see her go, but proud to have her moving on up in the world.  I also bit this recipe off her before she bounced so it’s all good.  The sweet potato puree is piss easy, a simple process I learned from my Chef Michael: peel and slice the yams, cover ‘em with water, a little salt and a vanilla bean, and boil the shit out of them.  When the water is almost completely evaporated, the potatoes should be completely cooked and ready to puree in your Vita-Prep.  pass the mess through a tamis and cool to room temp before serving.

Brown Sugar Bar

makes 2 half sheet pans


12 oz brown butter at room temp.

4 oz sugar

4 oz brown sugar

4 oz muscavado sugar

4 eggs

12 oz rolled oats

2 C A.P. Flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1.  Preheat the oven to 325.  Cream the butter and the sugars; add the eggs and scrape, you know the deal.

2.  Add in the dry ingredients, and mix on low until dough just forms.

3.  Spread the batter onto a full sheet pan in an even layer.

4. Bake until GBD

5. Cool completely and then crumble by hand. Then add:

8 oz brown butter

1 1/2 oz brown sugar

1 1/2 oz muscavado sugar

6.  Mix by hand to form a crust like dough, similar to graham cracker crust.

7.  Weigh the dough and divide it between two parchment lined pans.  Press and roll the dough into an even layer.  Set aside so you can make the


4 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

1 1/2 cups muscavado sugar

6 tblsp milk powder

12 oz brown butter, melted and cooled.

1 1/2 tsp salt

10 oz heavy cream

24 egg yolks

3 tblsp vanilla

1.  Whisk together the first four ingredients well, break up any large clumps of sugar with your hands.

2.  Add the melted cooled brown butter and whisk smooth.  Add the remaining ingredients and whisk smooth.

3.  Weigh the batter and divide it between the two pans.  Bake until GBD and just set, the top will have a nice crust.

4.  Cool completely before portioning and putting into your face.

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Valrhona Flourless, Fernet Menta Caramel.

So here we are again, another blog post and another version of the ever evolving flourless chocolate cake.  Why do I continually return to this cake, faithful readers might ask?  And why do I do so many mother loving chocolate desserts already?  Well, my answer is this:  I fucking love chocolate, and a flourless cake is a clean way to showcase it’s decadence.  Served at room temperature this cake is smooth, rich as fuck, and chocolatey as a motherfucker.  In the past I’ve typically made this cake with Cocoa Barry 64% and it was good.  This past year I made the switch over to all things Valrhona and have never looked back.  The recipe below uses a combination of Jivara 40% and Couer de Guanaja 80% chocolates.  The result is a sweet and creamy smoothness with a nice strong bitter backbone.  I bake the shit in thin layers and hit the bottom with a crunchy layer of milk chocolate and feuilletine, then glaze the top with a ganache of sorts and then the milk chocolate decorative lines.  The cake itself is pretty standard, nothing I haven’t kind of done before.  The blood orange ice cream, yeah…you’ve seen it before.  The ice cream is perched on a simple chocolate tuile, which is stuck to the cake with an equally simple chocolate cremeaux.  The real joy in this plate for me is in the sauce.  Fernet Menta Caramel suckers!!   Again, not a huge deviance from the formula here, kids.  I been putting booze in caramel from the beginning.  But this is Fernet, and I’ve been wanting to work it into a dessert forever.  So here it is.  Also garnishing the plate is a mint foam, and what I think is a nice, subtle use of the ubiquitous mint leaf.

Valrhona Chocolate Flourless Cake

!5 oz Valrhona Jivara 35%

7 oz Valrhona Couer de Guanaja 80%

12 oz butter

11.25 oz egg

9 0z sugar

4.5 oz water

1. Preheat your convection oven to 275 F and prepare the desired mold.

2. Melt chocolate and butter over a double boiler.

3. Whisk together the eggs, sugar and water.

4. When the chocolate and butter are melted, whisk in the eggs until thoroughly incorporated.

5. Pour into the prepared mold and bake in a covered water bath until just set, like a cheesecake.

To review the methodology for this recipe click here.

Fernet Menta Caramel

12 oz sugar

5 oz corn syrup

6 oz butter

1.25 cups heavy cream

1/2 cup Fernet Menta

1. Weigh the sugar and corn syrup into a heavy bottomed sauce pot.  Caramelize according to your tastes.

2. Whisk in the butter, continue whisking until incorporated.

3. Whisk in the heavy cream until incorporated, return to a boil.

4. Pour the caramel through a strainer into a storage vessel.

5. When the caramel has cooled to room temperature, whisk in the fernet menta. Serve warm.

For the Blood Orange ice cream click here.

To see a video of me plating this bitch up, click here.

To see a video of a kitten riding a turtle, click here.

Shameless Self Promotion. Again.

So as my true faithful readers know, I will self promote the shit out of myself, least ways as much as any lazy man would.  But this week, I don’t have to!! In yet another demonstration of this city’s undying and ever pounding lust for all things McCarthy, the Willamette Week Restaurant guide had some very kind words to say about yours truly in their review of Ten-01. Now lets take a look, shall we:

Ten 01’s secret weapon is pastry chef Jeff McCarthy, whose highbrow stoner desserts are addictive. His Valrhona chocolate trio—a light malted milkshake, crazy-rich bittersweet torte and dense sorbet decorated with rice puffs—is freakin’ ridiculous.

Upstairs it’s all about the soup, pork loin and anything McCarthy makes.

Kelly Clarke Willamette Week

Ah yes, the Willamette Week has been kind to me once again, and once again I will regurgitate their words onto this blog in order to make you all aware that someone out there, somebody gets what I’m doing, even if i don’t a good portion of the time.  Let’s see what was said about desserts at Tabla, where I also make the sweets in collaboration with Chef Anthony Cafiero.

…the dessert menu, which has options both rich (chocolate truffle cake) and perfect for summer (a lemon poundcake with blueberries and lemon mascarpone).

Michael Mannheimer Willamette Week

In all seriousness, it sure is nice to have a little validation, a little pat on the back, a little “Nice work, Champ!” every once in awhile.  Do I care that the description of the dessert was a little off? Not really.  The milkshake is not malted at all, the misuse of the word “torte” is flagrant, and the sorbet is garnished with toasted baguette, not “rice puffs,” but hey, do I care?  Not a single iota.  Fact is, the desserts are being enjoyed.  People are thinking and writing about them, so color me happy as shit folks.  Thanks to all who ate and enjoyed, and even to those who ate and criticized, for without you I would not get any better at what I do.   Also, ironically, the cover of this years WW Restaurant Guide is graced by none other than the lovely Miss Ingrid Chen, with whom I am in close relation.

Creme Brulee Can Suck it.

Seriously, ordering a Creme Brulee is like purchasing a golden retriever. Have some fucking imagination.  I mean, its like saying you favorite Simon &Garfunkel song is “The Boxer,” I have had it on my menu for so long for a couple reasons, first and foremost: It sells.  People identify with it.  Much like the golden retriever, it’s an easy out, you don’t have to think about it.  Also, I have the molds, and I have the process down cold.  I don’t even use a water bath to bake ‘em.  I could caramelize a creme brulee in my sleep.  In fact, I’ve often done so in my nightmares.  You see there’s this snake in a vest rolling a big doughnut, and he’s standing over this table that goes on forever, with and endless supply of custard waiting to be torched.  I always wake up screaming.

So enough ranting about custard that can suck it, let’s talk about something that is almost exactly the same but somehow different.  It’s like the difference between spaghetti and penne.  It’s made from the same ingredients; but is texturally different, it somehow “tastes” different.   Pot de Creme and creme brulee are almost identical recipes.  Sweetened dairy product thickened with eggs.  One has a caramelized sugar crust and one does not.  One is typically baked in a low flat dish and one in a cup or “pot.”  One in my mind is totally played out and annoying, and one is pretty cool.  Anyway, here’s a recipe.  My method may seem overwrought and finicky, but it works every time.

Caramel Pot de Creme

yields 14 - 4 oz molds

2 -1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
3 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
12 egg yolks
1. Preheat your convection oven to 275 F.
2. Measure the sugar into a heavy pot and then add the water.  Mix together to form a wet sand-like texture.
3. Caramelize the sugar to a deep nutty amber.
4. Add the cream slowly and bring to a boil.
5. Temper in the yolks and add the milk.  Transfer to a storage vessel and chill thoroughly, preferably overnight.
6. Place a towel in the bottom of a deep hotel pan.  Fill your molds and place them on the towel, evenly spaced.  I use a 5 oz coffee cup and a 4 ounce ladle.  Use a torch to pop any air bubbles.
7. Fill the bottom of the pan with hot water and cover the pan with two pieces of aluminum foil.
8. Bake in your preheated oven for 30 minutes, remove the pan and open the foil, letting the steam out.  replace the foil, rotate the pan and bake another 18 minutes.
9.  Remove the pan from the oven and remove the foil from the pan.  Turn the oven off and return the pan to the oven and close the door.  Let the custards finish in the now off oven.
10.  Chill thoroughly before serving with Chantilly cream and chocolate dipped pretzels.
I buy Snyder’s Pretzel Rods and coat them in tempered Cocoa Barry milk chocolate and sprinkle with fluer de sel. why don’t I make my own pretzel logs? Because they are a pain in the sphinc.
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The Best Apple Cake in 47 Years of Cooking.

So one day I was thinking I’d make an apple cake.  Since I had never really made an apple cake, I turned to my good buddy Google and soon found this recipe on Group Recipes. Kate and I had gotten a Bakers Edge pan for Christmas and on a chilly winter evening soon after I first tried the Best Apple cake In 47 Years of cooking recipe.  At the restaurant I churched up this simple, outstanding, breakfasty cake into something a bit more.  Maybe another 47 years? Who can say without the benefit of time travel. The genius of the cake is it’s basic nature.  A true quick bread leavened with both eggs and baking soda you really just kind of mix it all up; not much to it.  When it comes out of the oven, let it sit for a few minutes ad then glaze it with the brown sugar glaze.  The smell stirs one to salivation, heads turn and sniff, they sniff-sniff.  I actually have a bit of a thing for the raw batter.  So anyway, give it a try.  I change up the recipe a little from the original: where it says 3 cups of apples I just slice three apples, Also and I brown the butter in the glaze before adding the sugar and cream.  At the restaurant I leave out the walnuts so people with “nut allergies” can order it too.  I get back at them by serving it with toasted walnut ice cream, sage caramel, brown butter struesel and candied walnuts.  I fucking love walnuts.  The sage powder is I cool trick I learned working with Chef Eric Suniga, a man of true kitchen prowess.  Pick a bunch of sage, pile up the leaves, and roll into into a blunt with plastic wrap.  Freeze rock solid and micro plane at service.

The Best Apple Cake in 47 Years of Cooking.

3 c flour
2 c sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 large eggs, beaten
1 c vegetable oil
1/2 c apple juice
2 tsps vanilla
3 finely sliced apples
1 c packed brown sugar
1/4 c butter
1/3 c whipping cream
Preheat The oven to 350. Grease and flour desired pan. (9×13 or 7 - 3X2″ cake pans)
• In a large bowl mix flour, sugar, soda & salt. Make a well in the center & set aside.
• In a medium bowl mix eggs, oil, apple juice & vanilla. Add the egg mixture to dry ingredients, just until moistened.  Add the apples and mix until homogeneous.
• Bake for 45-50 mins.
• In a small saucepan brown the butter, then in mix the brown sugar & cream. Cook & stir till bubbly & all of the sugar is dissolved. Cool slightly.
• Drizzle warm sauce over cake, when it has cooled for 5 minutes, so it can seep into the cake, keeping it moist.
Enjoy the Best Apple Cake (In 47 Years of Cooking) recipe.