Winter truffle season hits Hong Kong hard and fast. Before you know it most French and Italian restaurants are busy shaving these black diamonds all over their wonderful truffle menus.
Not wanting to let the savory chefs have all the fun we created a few things to get in on the action and although I am not 100% supportive of savory ingredients in desserts, I do make an exception for truffles!
One dessert that I go back to every winter to feature these beauties is a version of a tiramisu. Coffee and chocolate are perfect partneres to pair up with the black truffle.
This year we featured our Truffle Honey Tiramisu in our coffee/cake shop Dolce 88. To be honest I was not 100% confident that people could except this version of their beloved classic. Too my pleasant surpise we have had nothing but great feedback. We had planned on featuring for January only but decided to extend untill end of February due to it's popularity.
Each indvidual cake comes with its own "truffle truffle" and a chocolate truffle slice. Order the 1lb cake and it also comes with its very own chocolate truffle shaver!
Purdey, one of our lovely baristas in Dolce also got creative and created a truffle honey latte, amazing!!
yes that is chocolate and only chocolate!
As always there is a team involved, thank you Sammy Cocoa and FU Man for elevating the concept and striving for perfection
Although it is not my first hiatus as quite a few times I have strayed away from posting here for many different reasons.
I have not too recently taken on a new challenge and have moved to JW Marriott Hong Kong Hotel since last September. It has been a fast and furious 5 months. There were many challenges and changes to be made and stepping in at the start of a very busy banqueting season did not make it any easier!
Things are quite different from my previous place of employment. Not to say positive or negative, only different. Change is good is crucial to developing skills, knowledge and experience.
My favorite change has been having a "pastry shop" to take care of. Dolce 88 had been opened for 10 months when I joined. It is a beautiful little corner shop selling Graffeo coffee which I think is easily one of the bests cups of coffee in Hong Kong.
From the pastry we offer freshly baked breakfast pastries, cookies, chocolates, whole and petit cakes. It is a great way to display the teams talent on a daily basis and has been a rewarding challenge to see the business grow in a short amount of time.
In the past I had primarily focused on the desserts for Cucina as that is what I loved. Creating and plating is still my favorite but although we do have great restaurants here they are not pushing the boundaries and desserts must be more on the traditional side of things.
As a hotel pastry chef you have so many different things to focus on and in a operation such as this you spend less time cooking and more time organizing and directing.
Much was accomplished between menu changes, mass banqueting, new buffet set upsand Christmas. I am extremely fortunate to have inherited a very talented and great team who without them the success would have been a much longer and painful process.
Things have changed, so will future posts content of the blog. I do not expect too much funky plating and techniques as before. What I do expect is to see more of what the team as a whole is doing here around the hotel and creations from Dolce 88.
Ever since attending the mugaritz experience demo hosted by THE DOOR last year I was anxious to get the bulgar ice cream on a menu. It took some time but it was worth the wait. On it's own it is fantastic and special in a good way. Together with all the other components it just works.
I personally think the bulgar is the star of the show here but all the other components are pretty damn good too.
The cold chocolate soup is an emulsion of water, milk and chocolate making it look quite creamy but when eaten is surprisingly light.
Salted caramel cream is also lighter than expected as it is set with gellan, frozen and then processed in paco jet.
Gianduja profiterole is served hot and the filling is also set with gellan. The profiterole is filled and then finished in the oven.
A dessert of textures, temperatures and flavors.
I am also happy to share some photos from my friend CSY who has come several times to do a all dessert tasting menu! It is great to have people request a dessert only menu as it is fun for us and it is also great to get some shots of the food in the dining room!
Arborio Rice Pudding - Pineapple Rum Chip - Coconut Gel - Fresh Mango - Basil - Japanese Puffed Rice - FD Banana - Pineapple Sorbet
Rice pudding for the summer season. Had great results using the arborio rice and cooking it low and slow. The creaminess comes mostly from the arborio rice as we are only using Hokkaido milk and no cream or eggs. I am a huge fan of Hokkaido milk as it is very tasty and naturally sweet, perfect for pastry!
After many trials errors the puffed rice was best using japanese rice. Cooked, dehydrated and puffed in hot oil. The biggest challenge was the oil. Getting it hot enough to puff with the minimum amount of time in the oil to prevent browning or color, wanting to keep it white as possible. Finally figured out to use Crisco which kept it white and did not add any oil flavor to the rice. After frying and cooling to room temperature the residual oil left on the rice actually coats each rice kernel and also prevents it from taking on humidity and becoming soft, something that is a big problem for us in the hot and humid Hong Kong weather.
Also extatic to have the crucial detail plates available here in Hong Kong, makes a simple dessert look quite modern.
Nothing wrong with the above, however it becomes easy to repeat the same thing over and over.
I like the simplicity of this dessert, no smoke and mirrors, just great ingredients.
Along with using beautiful sicilian lemons we also are Using some stunning olive oil for the lemon cake, EL POAIG, tastes just as good as the packaging looks. We generously brush the luxury olive oil on the cake before serving and use a more economical but great olive oil for the batter.
The milk gelato is made with Hokkaido milk which I have to say once you start drinking this milk it is very hard to go back to any normal supermarket brand. Quite often I will spoil the family and myself at home with the good stuff!
First time I have used sorrel in the pastry, being a perfect match to the strawberry and rhubarb NH jam as well as being a very pretty herb.
As rhubarb is not a popular ingredient in Hong Kong I am hoping people will not be scared off by it. It is second to the strawberry in the jam making it very well balanced. Every time I use rhubarb it reminds me of child hood summers at my grandparents where there were several rhubarb patches that would come up during summer. Cant say I loved to eat it freshly picked but I do remember always being intrigued by the colour and by the texture of the skin and summertime and grandma and grandpas was always the best!