Making a slice of pie or chocolate sundae presentable with 3-leaf-sprigs of mint plugged onto a mountain of whipped cream isn't exactly rocket science....and in my opinion should be discouraged when serving a well made dessert composition. I feel deeply passionate about presentation of food; but the Notter School has also taught me how not to make it a primary focus. Food is meant not to be 'eaten', but to be 'tasted'. Taste should always be what a dessert is built around. Meaning the garnishes and components placed artistically around the item should accentuate and compliment it's taste. It really is beyond just placing contrasting colours and awkwardly shaped components all over the place to create a crazy concoction! The thought process that goes behind creating every individual plate should be acknowledged. I will never be able to look at a plate of dessert the same again!
I really think my passion for food has made me a snob. My unfortunate friends who dine out with me have to bare with my opinionated and critical self. It's a constant flow of analysis at the dinner table...they have my permission to roll their eyes and throw sarcasm at my remarks. *laughs* I'm incredibly outspoken and can sometimes come off as whinge-y.. I can't decide if it's better to not voice opinions at all at times. Fellow bloggers+f-loggers...do you feel it comes from the habit of writing? I was never confident with speech as a kid; and am still insecure about many things about myself every day... could it be possible that blogging has built my ability to voice my opinions? .... ....
Enough self reflection for the morning...let's track back to our topic on plated desserts.Each dessert should be carefully composed to appeal to all our human senses- sight, hearing, taste and touch. The first glimpse of our plate gives us an immediate impression of the dessert and an expectation for how it should taste.
Past trends to build architectural structures with components have been abandoned in favour of compositions that, while attractive, are easy and accessible. The colours on a plate play a big role in our perception of flavour and it really is important that the colour of garnishes and sauces reflect what they taste.
Sound plays a smaller role in desserts but is just as important. Adding elements of crunch to a plate provides both texture and sound. For example; when you spoon into a creme brulee, the sound of the breaking sugar coating adds to the anticipation of the creamy and crunchy custard.
Successful plated desserts balance flavours and textures. Contrasts (warm/cold, creamy/crunchy, sour/sweet) add to the enjoyment of a dessert; e.g a warm molten chocolate cake with a scoop of coffee icecream over the top. Similar flavours and textures can also work together. It's important to remember that components need to be balanced and harmonious. Contrast can provide a pleasurable element of surprise; however, too much contrast causes elements to compete with one another rather than work together as a whole. Similarly, too much of the same elements can make the dessert heavy and unpleasant.
It is safe to say, most plated desserts contain the following components;
- primary dessert (star item)
I've done this in my Plated Desserts final composition.
Our class was fortunate to have the talented and knowledgeable Chef Susan Kolman;assistant Corporate Pastry Chef of Albert Uster Imports as our instructor for the second week of our subject. I really enjoyed my time spent with her as our Chef; she gave us very helpful insights on the industry and helped us with extremely thoughtful critic. She has inspired me to improve in many ways as a student and as an individual. She carried out our practicum examinations and allowed us to create our own composition with a couple of required components she had specified. They were chocolate mousse, chocolate biscuit, creme brulee and a sorbet.I decided to give Japanese savoury bento lunch boxes a chocolate-y twist!
This was lots of fun to make, I ran over to Izziban sushi in the morning to borrow a bento box for my presentation. I'm happy Chef Susan loved how fun it was too!
I wanted to create a dessert tasting platter to share between 2.
The nigiri's were done with chocolate mousse on the top and biscuit at the bottom, topped with pistachios and strawberry slices. To the side of that, there were sushi rolls filled with chocolate mousse, gianduja feuilletine, raspberries. I made a little knob of wasabi from white chocolate and a couple of thinly sliced strawberries as pickled ginger to go with my tiny bowl of warm chocolate and raspberry compote as a dipping sauce. My creme brulee was baked in a ramekin resembling a noodle bowl. The tiny chocolate chopsticks and tuile spoon went well to match the theme too.
For something cold; I had a raspberry sorbet quenelle sitting on a bed of toasty salted macadamias, all nestled comfortably in a delicious pecan crisp.What's the little yellow flower? oh~ that was a tiny pineapple chip I swirled together.