I love spring
May 27th, 2010 by

Strawberry Buckwheat Cake with Strawberry Compote and Sorrel Ice Cream


This dessert provided a lesson. The lesson was this: just because a fruit is in season elsewhere and you desperately want it to be in season where you are does not in fact make the fruit you can get delicious. This week’s dessert should have been delicious: the lush, sweet strawberries perfectly complementing the earthy complexity of the buckwheat flour and the browned butter in the cake. However, the strawberries, while a beautiful ruby red, were in fact watery and flavorless. This made me very sad but I compensated by making them into a strawberry compote: pureeing the strawberries and adding rose wine to punch up the flavor. The sorrel ice cream, my favorite part of the dish, added a lovely color contrast. Sorrel is similar to spinach in leaf shape and size. Its flavor changes drastically as it ages; young leaves have a fruity flavor with hints of citrus; however, age increases the oxalic acid level and makes the taste more woody and harsh. Therefore, for this ice cream I used less mature leaves that imparted a pleasant, grassy flavor. I can’t say that everybody loved the result, but a number of people, including my chef, thought it was delicious. It also complemented the rest of the dessert well. This dessert was neither sufficiently complex nor interesting enough to make it onto the regular menu at Public; however, perhaps someday I will be able to develop the ideas here into a dish that will be worth offering nightly.

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