Dessert #2
March 13th, 2012 by

Now this is a dessert I LOVE. The rest of my class agreed, though some people preferred the dessert in the next post more. I like it because it feels like a dessert, but it is still light and refreshing. My chef agrees that this is a tasty dish; however, he admonished those of us who liked it for having simple tastes, as it has basically three flavors that are repeated, and so there is little complexity or finesse to this dessert.

This dessert started with a great recipe for a sobao cake. Sobao is a cake produced in the Cantabria region of Spain. It’s basically a slightly dense, butter cake, but in this case they added extra salt and froze the cake so that it could be sliced very thinly. Using this cake as a focus, my chef wanted to come up with a dessert in which butter was a major flavor. In his opinion there are six main ways to add the flavor of butter to a dessert, they are: a shortbread cookie, a butter cream, sobao, toffee, brioche, and Filo dough. He chose to use the first four, by having four components with the same flavor, he really emphasizes the flavor on the plate. To this he added two classically refreshing flavors: lime and basil. The lime, because it is a citrus, brings a nice acidness to the plate that helps to balance some of the fattiness of the butter. Lime is a better choice than lemon because it has a little more character: more complexity of flavor and an earthiness. The basil was chosen because it is sweet and comfortable, but also because it has a strong mintiness and even a pepperiness when fresh. Together the two heighten and complement the different butter elements to form a dish that I found intensely satisfying.

This dish is difficult to describe because instead of having all of the components stacked on top of one another,  there are basically two distinct lines of food. I will try to explain the dish in a manner that makes sense but feel free to not completely understand the description, because not understanding it is actually one of the best parts about this dish. The flavors are repeated so carefully that is hard to find a bite without some of each flavor.

On the very bottom of this dish is a smear of very rich toffee which is topped with crumbled up shortbread cookie. This short bread cookie bisects both lines of the dessert and keeps the sorbet from moving around. The sorbet, which is on the left, is made from yogurt and is lime flavored. We would call this a sherbet, because it has milk product, but Spanish doesn’t have a word for a sherbet, so instead they call this sorbet with milk base. In the back (refer to the picture at the top) is a very thin slice of the sobao cake, which sits on top of the toffee and the crumble, and is topped with large piped line of lime-basil mousse. The mousse has white chocolate as its base, so it’s very creamy and rich. It is topped with another thinner line of a butter cream. This is simply browned butter or noisette that has been whipped with simple syrup. This is topped with three small cubes of super acidic lime gellies and micro basil. Returning to the front, on the right side are four cubes of golden apple that have been poached in a butter sauce and topped with a lime foam (easier to see on the bottom picture).  I really admire how each flavor is so effortlessly integrated, and how, even though there are only three flavors, each time a flavor appears it is different in a way that keeps the dish interesting.

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