During my job interview six months ago le patron had mentioned that their weakness was on the dessert side, a little bit neglected. And true, they were really not exciting. While I am usually not bragging about my achievements, I believe that I am not completely innocent for the recent reviews that we got on citivox (something like a French online Zagat) that mention that it is a MUST to try the desserts because they are "à tomber" (to die for).
But even without those reviews I know they are good, because my desserts, especially the tiramisu, the cheesecake and the pistacchio cake keep disappearing from the fridge at a pace that exceeded the number of customer orders. The chef has a sweet tooth and le patron called himself "a sugar person" in an interview I found online about him. One night after dinner service I put a paper on the tiramisu indicating "ne pas toucher !" and wrapped them several times together, because I knew I wouldn't have enough for the next evening if le patron would eat again one or two. Since he found that paper he calls me "the Stasi"...
Anyway, this was a lot of bragging just to say that I have realized that dessert creation and preparation are my strength. For the menu planning meeting last week, le patron had brought zero proposals and the chef had three suggestions for desserts. Which on one side was flattering, as it shows how much they were counting on me, but still I was a little surprised about the missing creativity and effort on their side.
The chef's proposals :
1) assiette gourmande café
variations of café flavoured desserts.
I liked the idea, but le patron killed it, as he said from experience this would not be selling well, and we should rather think about an "assiette autour du chocolat" for the future.
Cécile si tu lis ça, donne moi des idées ;)
2) Tuile d'ananas rôti à la coco & crémeux au rhum
Wafer with roasted pineapple and coconut with rum flavored cream
Accepted by all, the struggle will be to produce thin cylinder-shaped tuiles (wafers), that last a couple of days. I have been experimenting since a week and believe I found a solution.
3) I forgot the chef's third proposal...
My proposals :
1) Sablé de tatin de poires au réglisse & crème à l'amande
Licorice flavored pear shortbread tatin with almond cream
Accepted. In order to use pears I hesitated between a classic tarte bourdaloue, which had been my favorite in the Ferrandi pastry class and a tarte tatin with pears instead of apples. I decided to popose a kind of mix of the two, bringing the almonds of the tarte bourdaloue into a cream for the tatin. I have a rough idea about the presentation and the elements, but rather clueless yet about the almond cream. Tuesday I will try to mix almond paste / marzipan into whipped cream.
2) Brownie au piment d'Espelette & caramel beurre salé
Brownie with Espelette pepper and salted butter fudge ice cream
Accepted, at least temporarily. We needed a chocolate dessert on the menu and I had the idea to suggest an American classic, as the cheesecake in spring was running really well. But there are doubts this is "sophisticated" enough for dinner, the chef is not really excited. Mid term the plan is to move to a chocolate variation plate. With this dessert I have the least worries concerning production. The brownie is done, even though a little overcooked, but the next batch will be perfect. And the salted butter caramel ice cream is one of the best things I have ever produced. The chef asks every day for a portion, and so even though it is not on the menu yet, 50% of what I have pre-produced is already gone. The only thing to figure out is a nice presentation, I am thinking about cutting the brownie out with a circle rather than presenting a square.
3) Salade d'orange à la mousse de datte & gingembre
Orange salad with date and ginger mousse
Accepted. Flavors I wanted to combine for a while into a dessert, but I had to wait for the season. I have no recipe, and just an idea of the taste in my head. I will use mascarpone and mix the dates into a purée with the pacojet, adding a very light hint of ginger and maybe orange zest into the mascarpone. This will be true trial and error. Maybe quenelles for the presentation, next to a rosace of orange segments.
4) Bali-Brest (mango, coconut), Tokio-Brest (yuzu) or Capri-Brest (lemon)
Tokio-Brest accepted. This is the toughest one. I thought about playing with the very classic Paris-Brest dessert and changing the cream filling flavor as well as the name accordingly, and came up with three different alternatives. The most "tendance" (trendy) ingredient in Paris is Yuzu, a Japanese citrus fruit, so I thought to use it in a dessert. The patron picked the Tokio-Brest among my three suggestions. A day later I found out that a liter of Yuzu juice costs about 50 Euros, so I have no clue now how to make a dessert that is less expensive to produce than the selling price. Either there will be no taste of Yuzu in this dessert or we will lose money. Outch...
5) Trio de pannacotta (flavors I suggested : yuzu, green matcha tea, chestnut, café, chocolate, cranberry)
Accepted. The three flavours / colors will be : Green matcha tea, mango, pomegranate. No difficulty at all for production. After the decision for this had been taken I asked le patron for new verrines specifically for this dessert, although I had no confidence that in the current situation any investment would be made... But surprise : Saturday la patron went to Metro and returned with 80 verrines exactly as I wanted them. Unbelievable.
6) Pomme au four ou Apfelstrudel vertical
Rejected. The chef thought that it would be too complicated to organize the mise en place for the pomme au four, and also it is a little early in terms of season. My Apfelstrudel idea was very similar to Chef's 2nd poposal, as I also wanted to present the roasted apples in a cylinder tuile (wafer). So somehow it will be implemented, but with ananas instead of apples...
7) Cocotte de Camembert aux groseilles
I thought it was time to introduce a nice cheese plate, since more and more customers ask for the lunch cheese platter during dinner service. The chef agreed. We both thought about melted Camembert (well he's from Normandy...), and I had found a recipe where the Camembert is served on dark bread in a Cocotte, then melted in the oven, with redcurrant marmelade as final touch.
8) +9) +10) I had three more ideas on my list, but after 7 had already been chosen, I didn't mention the remaining three in the meeting. They were : "Verre de trois gelees mangue-orange-yaourt, clafoutis de noisettes aux quetches toties, verrine de perles de Japon (tapioca) au lait de coco".
That was the exciting part. Now comes the difficult one : Transitioning the old menu to the new one within two days, Tuesday and Wednesday. In order to ensure a smooth start I decided to spend my day "off" today again on organization planning for the new "mise en place", final recipe research and trial and error in my kitchen.