I have been duped. All these years thinking I have been working with real cinnamon. Little did I know I have been working with Cassia, a cheaper close relative to the real cinnmaon; Ceylon. Cassia coming from China, Vietnam and Indonesia and Ceylon coming from Shri Lanka. Both incompasing amounts of Coumarin, which gives them relative flavor profiles. Ceylon cinnamon is very thin and brittle, with a soft almost wintergreen cinnamon flavor. It is an elegant flavor, not as harshly intense as the traditional Cassia cinnamon. My first test with Ceylon is ice cream, figuring it is the best way to showcase the flavor profiles. Maybe I should put them up against each other on the same plate? Hmm....
I've been tinkering around with several different apple preparations in the last week. Wanting to try apple cider meringue or granita I searched local places where I could get a really good apple cider. Then I thought to myself: "Just make a really good apple cider." A quick "how to" search and I was ready. At the same time, this would be a great way to use my new Waring 6 quart food processor. This is a heavy duty food processor with a larger capacity bowl. Grinding all these apples in the little Robot Coupe would have taken forever, but thanks to Waring it took half the time. The key to a good cider though is the apples. I used a mixture of 80% Jona Gold and 20% Granny Smith. The process was quite long, but yielded a generous amount of beautiful fresh apple cider. Now on to actually making the really good cider into something...really good.
Here is the step-by-step process:
It has been 9 months since Greg joined me in the pastry department at Trummer's. As much as it is a great experience to see yourself progress, it is even greater to watch it happen to someone else. At only 20 years old he has already mastered so many things and shown so much potential. With the recent addition of a weekly stage Greg has taught what he has learned thus far and what is still working at, showing great appreciation for his craft. It brings memories of my own years of learning and working under someone, the constant absorbing of knowledge. Funny thing is, I feel like I just woke up and I am all of the sudden a teacher myself, chef and mentor...and very proud. We make a good team.
Beet. Styrofoam. Meringue. All of those, in one little entity. In the first exploration in trying my hand at a sugar-less meringue, the findings were pretty amusing. Just a bowl with egg whites, powdered egg whites and beet juice made a beautiful surprise. Dehydrated at 160f for about 8 hours, it had the texure and weight of styrofoam and mouth feel of dried cotton candy. As soon as you bite into it, its falls and fades away on the tongue. The flavor is the working point that needs editing, but the texture gives so many ideas.
So it's still a little early for the apple I think but I couldn't resist. Last year I made applesauce sorbet and it became one of my favorites. I usually don't go back to any desserts, trying not to repeat myself, but this is a keeper. The taste is so bright and clean, smooth and nostaglic. I taste this and I immediatly revert back to being a kid eating my grandmother's applesauce, warm off the stove. This is what makes my job so fun I think, I can make things beatiful and interesting, yet bring the diner back to being a kid again.
Another try at the pumpkin seed oil. This time it is pumpkin seed oil struesul (say that three times fast). I candied pumpkin seeds, ground and sifted them. Next I made a regular streusel and added some pumpkin seed oil into it, making it bright beautiful green. After it was baked and cooled, I gave it a go in the robot coupe while drizzling a little more of the pumpkin seed oil into it. The extra oil gives it even more flavor and color, while making it more moist. Combining them both reminds me of the colors of fall; green changing into light browns and rust-like colors. The taste gives you the ultimate take of the pumpkin seed, nutty with a smooth finish.
While working on a new pumpkin dessert for the fall menu I stumbled upon something I've never seen before. I was lucky enough to get my hands on some very high quality pumpkin seed oil straight from Austria. Extremely green with intense smooth pumpkin flavor, other oils we've tasted don't come close. So how do I incorporate this amazing product into the dessert? I wanted to make a very intense thick foam. I first made a spiced syrup, consisting of cinnamon, clove and allspice. A little xantham gum to emulisfy the pumpkin seed oil into the syrup, a sprinkle of versa and into the ISI whip it went. Chilled for 24 hours, the result was not a thick foam by any means. I knew going into this that versa doesn't take too kindly to fats or oils, so the outcome may not be what I wanted. The very first second out of the ISI it is a thick foam, it hits the plate and fades into dozens of tiny bubbles, all popping. The result was really amazing to watch. Not at all what I wanted or expected, which makes the result even better. I think the transformation would be a beautiful touch to the plate and the taste is so light and spicy with a smooth pumpkin flavor, but needs to have a little more strength. Back to the drawing board...
I have wanted to take the brunch more into an Austrian direction for some time now, Austria meets America for brunch kind of direction. Researching traditional Austrian pastries I stumbled upon
Mohnkranzerl aus Hefeteig,
a sweet roll filled with a poppy seed filling with notes of cinnamon and lemon. Having a boss that is an actual living breathing Austrian is also a plus in testing new recipes ( he is a very good sport in tasting things new or old .... ). I took the normal cinnamon roll sweet dough and filled it with the poppy seed filling, except baking it whole versus cutting pieces and proofing. The filling generates this unique yet familiar aroma, both nutty and sweet. It needs a couple tweaks here and there but the overall end product was really great, even Austrian approved!