Sunday, January 13, 2008

Been Practicing a Dessert Dish

I've been getting ready for a culinary competition that is coming up in a couple weeks. The competition is called a market basket, but it is often called a mystery basket by competitors. The competition is four course, ten portions each prepared in four hours. When we go in, we have no idea what the "basket" will contain. Usually there will be some sort of meat, a type of poultry, fish and a number of vegetables and perhaps a starch.

There is also a "common-stock" of items we know will be available to us for preparing these items. This list ranges from common vegetables like onions, celery, carrots and garlic, along with some fruits, flour and sugar and the other general stuff you might expect to find in a well-stocked pantry.

Now most people I see compete in this category go in with almost no plan. They start off so over whelmed this way because they have to take the full 30 minutes to come up with a menu and then figure out what they are going to do with the items. I choose to have a template that I have made up and even have certain course pretty much planned with the menu changing by the addition of the ingredients in the basket.

One course I pretty much plan out completely is the dessert course. I enjoy coming up with desserts, but I am by no means a pastry chef. So I come up with a plan that utilizes ingredients from the common-stock and then plan to add in a fruit to one of the components in the course. I just came up with my new dessert today and I thought I would share it. I am preparing a chocolate polenta tartlet with zabaglione sauce, frozen yogurt (flavored with a fruit from the basket) served on a honey tuile cookie.

Chocolate Cornmeal Tartlets
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
4 oz. butter
1 each egg
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
zest from 1/2 a lemon

4 oz. bittersweet chocolate
4 oz. butter
2 each eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons cornmeal
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar and salt for the crust in a large mixing bowl and blend together well. Add the butter, egg, olive oil, vanilla and the lemon zest and mix until well combined. Dust the counter liberally with flour and roll out the dough until about 1/8 of an inch thick. Prepare ten 4 inch tartlet molds with olive oil spray or use non-stick pans. Cut the dough into ten sections and set in tartlets molds and remove the excess from the edges. Set pans in refrigerator until needed. (Note: you can also use one large tart mold with a removable bottom instead)

Place chocolate and butter in a bowl over simmering water until melted. While melting, place eggs, sugar, vanilla and a pinch of salt into a mixing bowl and beat on high speed until the mixture has tripled in volume. Once the chocolate is melted, fold the egg mixture into the chocolate. Then fold in the cornmeal and flour until completely combined.

Fill each tart shell with the filling. Place in the oven and bake for 15-17 minutes if using small tartlet molds. If using a large tart pan bake for 23-25 minutes or until top begins to crack. Remove from oven, chill on rack for at least 30 minutes and then remove from pan.

Frozen Yogurt
Makes 32 oz.
16 oz. plain yogurt
6 oz. fruit juice or puree
6 oz. granulated sugar
1.5 oz. light corn syrup

Combine all ingredients in a bowl until throughly mixed. Place mixture into ice cream maker and freeze until firm. Place yogurt into a quart container and place in a freezer for at least an hour or until hard enough to serve.

5 oz. egg yolks
5 oz. granulated sugar
5 oz. marsala

Mix ingredients in a stainless steel bowl and place over a pot of simmering water and continuously stir with a wire whisk until thickened and the temperature reaches 180 degrees. Place the cooked sauce into a bowl and mix with an electric mixture until it reaches room temperature. Serve at either room temperature or chill.


Anonymous said...

Nice place you got here!!!

The dessert is actualy spelled zabaglione (sabayon in french).

Chef Rafael Agam, Israel.

Chef Christopher Allen Tanner said...

Thanks Chef, I'm not quite sure why I spelled it that way. Sometimes I write these posts late at night on too much caffeine.

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