TiraMiSu: Lift Me Up

IMG_0010_2 The term Tiramisu, which translates to “lift me up” in Italian, apparently refers to the coffee used to soak the lady fingers (another interesting dessert story).  I have tried various recipes for the dessert and am still looking for the perfect one. Today’s however came out much better than those of the past. I have had trouble with stability and have had more a Tiramisoup. So, using a variation on my recipes from school I came up with this one. Next time I would like to use Marsala but I liked the idea of trying out a bit of Frangelico and Coffee Liquor.  Continue reading

Peanut Butter Pie

IMG_0709 - Version 2The biggest competition in food service is none other than mom. Can you remind people of mom’s cooking? Can you beat mom’s cooking? It is one of the challenges of working in the kitchen. Work versus love. Luckily I love my work. Today’s special I feel will be one of those desserts that everyone will compare to their own experience with it in the past–myself included.  My lovely assistant made a beautiful peanut butter pie today. My only complaint is that she was not there to plate up her masterpiece! Before she even started I had in my mind a peanut butter pie I used to love as a child. It was made by one of my mother’s community theater friends and every time they had a party I hoped with all my heart that the peanut butter pie would be there. As many of my childhood memories are probably warped it is hard to say how much of the pie I ate but I remember I could not get enough and probably ate myself to sleep.

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Bourbon Peach Tart


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After months of creating a dessert cycle my boss vetoed peach cobbler as a dessert even though it was a top seller. Because of the nature of my place of employment I have to choose desserts that are very traditional as many of the patrons are older and expect to see things that are familiar. While I would love to use unique flavor combinations I am limited as to what I can serve that my boss will approve. With peach cobbler vetoed due to its simplicity I started to brainstorm as to what could take its place. I knew I still wanted to use peaches and desserts with alcohol always sell so I thought why not make a bourbon peach tart? With a combination of recipes from Nancy Silverton, Cook’s Illustrated, and my own, I came up with this dessert. Happy Eating! Continue reading

Woes of the Kitchen


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When I was in school tour guides would tell visitors that we learned to work with chocolate in a 90 degree room so that we would graduate with the ability to work with chocolate anywhere. Total crap. The chocolate room was really 65 degrees or lower. In reality, trying to work with chocolate in a 90 degree kitchen is next to impossible seeing as the melting point is generally just above 80 degrees. I always wondered if the baking students spread the same rumor or if it was just misinformed culinary kids. Today I put the theory to the test and it resulted in chocolate dipped strawberries that refused to set, chocolate garnish that melted back into its original block state, and chocolate tort that sagged as if it had lost all will to live.

My cheesecakes fared no better. They too lost the will to live, falling over even as they were laid sideways. Defrosting just minutes after I took them out of the freezer. Sugar uncrystallized on my breakfast pastries, caramel sauce needed no further heating and bread rose drastically out of its bin seeping onto the table and crawling toward the floor. A dramatic and sad kitchen it was today with a pun somewhere about reaching a new low that hasn’t quite formed yet.