That asshole being the chick (or dude) who goes to a great resto, puts something expensive in their mouth, and immediately decides that not only can I do this better, but I’m going home and making this and it’s going to be better — and I’m going to blog about it. You know, that asshole.
A couple of weeks ago, I did just that; had an excellent meal at a well-loved eatery with a bunch of friends, and when the dessert arrived my jaw dropped in horror.
I wanted to take a photo.
But I felt bad. The plating was atrocious. I didn’t want to be the person who giggles and posts ugly photos of stuff on the interweb for the sake of cheap laughs or shock value. The Catholic Guilt that was passed down the Irish side of my ancestry started at me — not only did I feel bad for being so disgusted by my dessert, something someone put effort into, but I felt bad for the dessert itself.
Instantly a solution for all it’s woes came to mind.
Then I ate it.
It got worse.
I tried to forget the sad dessert.
But it haunted me. And with it’s lingering image in my head came the version I’d have served, poking at my brain, begging to be made.
The temptation became too much. I was already working on another project, so I was already covered in sugar and dirty dishes. I thew it together in no time.
First, let us look at the original….
Good name. I wanted it in my mouth as soon as I read it. I considered skipping the main for it. The truffle ice cream was good, if a little on the unsweetened side, but the total lack of honey was a major disappointment.
Problem the first: The shortbread used for the cookies was half an inch thick. The waitress told us, through suggestive terms, that eating with the cutlery provided was out of the question. Honestly, if I’m paying almost a hundred bucks for dinner, I’m probably not wearing jeans and a hoodie so I probably don’t want to eat with my hands. Hence why I have never been to Medieval Times. However the shortbread was dusted with black pepper, so it won some points for that, but then lost them when she shortbread had almost no sweetness. I dislike the taste of sugar, it brings a lot to a dessert, I shouldn’t have to tell anyone that.
Problem the second: Dipping areas, or zones as I’ve labeled them on the diagram. I wish they were as funny as that Kids in the Hall sketch about the servers and chefs trying to figure out how to appropriately position the dipping areas on the dessert plate (go here if you like that sort of thing), but they weren’t.
DZ1 – Seemed to be blended raspberries mixed with yogurt. It was chunky and pink and the look of it made me feel…hungover. However, it was the tastiest thing on the plate.
DZ2 – Tasted like…raspberry coulis that had been reduced to practically nothing but overcooked red smear. No comment.
Ganache Quenelles – Not really what I would call quenelles. More like uniform chunks chipped out of the fridge-set 72% chocolate ganache. It was too bitter and crumbled upon cutlery impact. Also, it made absolutely no sense with the other flavours. White chocolate, yes, milk chocolate, maybe, but the dark chocolate masked anything you consumed it with.
See, now I feel bad because I typed mean things about this dish.
BUT IT COST ELEVEN DOLLARS.
I have never seen a dessert (in this city) over $10. Save for cheese, but cheese doesn’t count. The Inn Michel Roux owns served a 51 British Pound crème brulée, but Michel Roux can do anything he wants, including making desserts from unicorns (why else would it cost so much?), but that isn’t the point. The point is this dessert was not worth it, I don’t care how tasty the main was.
And by the way, the goal should not be to dump all the talent into the main. Not everyone orders dessert, this I realize, but those who do leave with the memory of the dessert burning sharply into their brains, the main a distant experience. It’s the last thing they eat, so do it right.
This was my take:
While I liked the blackpepper-raspberry-truffle combo, I didn’t have rasps left, so I subbed with some figs (dried, to my chagrin — fresh would be better for flavour, texture, and visuals) tossed in lemon-infused honey.
I ditched the tough shortbread for a soft pistachio Dacquoise, dusted in black pepper.
Upped the honey in the truffle ice cream, but dizzled it on the plate for aesthetics and added honey value.
It’s good. Not ohmygodthisisthebestthingever good, but I’m satisfied for the most part. With some tweeking, this has the potential to be delicious.
Thanks for the idea?
200g Egg whites
200g Icing Sugar
200g Pistachio flour
20g Flour (any kind, gluten-free friendly too)
Sift pistachio, Icing sugar, and flour. Whip whites with granulated sugar stiff. Fold in dry in three additions. When combined, spread evenly on a 9×13 sheet pan lined with parchment. Bake for 10-15 minutes at 300 in a non-convection oven. If you can smell it and the cake doesn’t tear at your touch, it is done. Don’t overbake, you don’t want this to be crisp.
5 Egg yolks
4 or 5 drops Black Truffle Oil
Make the base as you would any other ice cream. When cooled, use a whisk or immersion blender to incorporate the oil. Use only four drops if you want a subtle flavour, five if you want more. I did six and it came out as strong as the resto’s version, which I found to be too much. I tasted it at five and should have stopped there.
For assembly, just put the ice cream on a sheet pan or in a mold of some kind, freeze, cut the disks and then assemble à la minute (just before serving) or you can assemble them in advance, freeze them, and temper for 5 minutes before serving. I recommend à la minute assembly for plated versions. If you are handing them out to your friends while they drink wine from a bottle on your balcony, pre-assembled is just dandy.