Mar 2, 2008

Demo at The French Culinary Institute : Pastry Chef from Le Bernadin

On Dec. 15 2007, I had the chance to be invited to a desserts demonstration by the Pastry Chef, Michael Laiskonis*, from one of the Top-3 restaurants in NYC, Le Bernardin. The demo was sponsored by Texasweet which provide grapefruits and hosted at The French Culinary Institute.

*Chef Laiskonis, 2007 James Beard Foundation Award winner for Outstanding Pastry Chef
Doing a demo is very demanding and require a lot of preparation, perfect timing and a very good organization. I was impressed by the meticulous pastry chef before the beginning of the demo (as we arrived 20 minutes earlier in the amphi).
In that post, amongst the several dishes presented, I particularly considered tiny elements of the decoration, which always make the plating successful (I love plating you know !) and the difference between great and amazing desserts.
All quantities mentioned yield 12 servings

For example, for the Vacherin (Rose Vanilla Parfait, Grapefruit Sorbet, Citrus Biscuit, Crisp Meringue), you could notice on the photo a translucent tuile topping (called super garnish in the recipe).

  • 200 gr fondant
  • 200 gr glucose
  • 200 gr isomalt
  • Grapefruit zest. dried and pulverized (use blender)
  • Dried rose petals, pulverized (use blender)
  1. Combine fondant and glucose in a saucepan and cook until dissolved. Add isomalt. Cook to 325°F/163°C.
  2. Pour onto a Silpat and cool completely. Transfer to a food processor and grind to a fine powder.
  3. Sift over a stencil and carefully place a second Silpat on top.
  4. Bake in a 300°F/150°C oven for 90 seconds. Remove from the oven and cool.

For the Grapefruit Panna Cotta (Greek Yogurt, Grapefruit Gelée, Basil, Vanilla Olive Oil), the Pastry Chef uses Basil seeds which really look like Caviar. Very elegant on a dessert or an hors d'oeuvre.

  • 25 gr water
  • 25 gr sugar
  • 100 gr grapefruit juice
  • 25 gr basil seeds
  1. Combine water and sugar and heat until sugar has dissolved.
  2. Combine with grapefruit juice and basil seeds. Chill, allowing seeds to fully hydrate.

For the Grapefruit Green Tea (Green Tea Biscuit and Ice Cream, Grapefruit Terrine), the terrine was a very fancy idea using a cylinder to shape a citrus multicolored jelly.

  • 10 gr (5 sheets) gelatin
  • 40 gr cold water
  • 100 gr orange juice. freshly juiced
  • Zest of 2 oranges
  • 140 gr sugar
  • 400 gr grapefruit juice, freshly juiced
  • 20 gr lemon juice
  • 4 grapefruits, sectioned and chopped
  • 1 orange, sectioned and chopped

  1. Bloom gelatin in water
  2. In a heavy saucepan, whisk together eggs and sugar, and then add juices and zest
  3. Over medium heat, bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly to prevent scorching
  4. After mixture boils and becomes quite quick, remove from heat. Add butter in small amounts and blend to emulsify
  5. Stir in bloomed gelatin. Strain through a chinois and chill in an ice water bath

Two other plates served were :

Grapefruit Earl Grey Chocolate (Amadei Chocolate Ganache, Earl Grey Tea, Pistachio, Grapefruit Ice Cream and Reduction) and

Grapefruit petits Fours (Macaron, Pâte de Fruit, Tarragon Ganache)

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