Monday, September 26, 2011

a lemon butter-poached dream & pastry cream

I've been so happy to be part of the Market Street Dish! Culinary School team of guest chef instructors. I held my first two classes this past August and September and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

My September Cocktail Party in a Flash! class focused on elegant, seasonal bites perfect for a cocktail party. I also wanted to focus on varying textures so every bite would tickle the tongue.

My first soup recipe totally weirded out my Dad.

First of all, his brow furrowed at the thought of blending together "soggy bread" with water, fruits and vegetables.

Second of all, he detests nuts and told me he was totally not interested in a soup with ground almonds.

I totally changed his mind.

This soup is an interesting combination of green grapes, almonds and cucumbers with fresh tarragon that was featured in the August issue of 360 West, but also features the addition of lemon butter-poached granny smith apples that pay homage to early autumn produce.

White Gazpacho with Lemon-Butter Apples

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 ½ cups white bread, cubed

½ cup blanched and slivered almonds

1 cup granny smith apple, diced

1 t lemon zest

3 Tablespoons unsalted butter

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

½ c water

2 garlic cloves

3 cups green seedless grapes, washed

1 English cucumber, peeled and diced

1 teaspoon lime zest

Juice of one lime

1 teaspoon fresh tarragon, chopped

¾ teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat cream in a small saucepan until just simmering then pour over bread cubes to soak. Let cool.

Melt butter. Add apples and lemon zest. Sauté for 10 minutes over medium heat until tender. Let cool.

Arrange almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast at 400 degrees approximately 5 minutes until golden brown. Let cool.

In a blender, combine cream and soaked bread mixture, almonds, water, garlic and olive oil and blend until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and puree until smooth.

Cover and refrigerate until completely chilled. Serve soup chilled and ladled in small shooter cups or glasses with sliced grape rounds, fresh tarragon, toasted almonds and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

The next course was my play on corn cakes dressed with the addition of sweet bell peppers, end-of-summer squash, salty crumbled pancetta and a fragrant marjoram aioli.

The batter of these cakes can get a bit thick but do not despair-- a shot of buttermilk will do the trick if needed. Flip these savory cakes just like pancakes then top (or smother) with the marjoram aioli and deliciously-crisp pancetta.

Sweet Pepper, Corn & Squash Cakes
with Pancetta & a Marjoram Aioli

yields approximately 25 2-inch cakes

4 slices pancetta (approximately ¼ pound)

1 T extra virgin olive oil, plus additional for sautéing vegetables

1.5 cups fresh corn kernels

1 cup zucchini, diced small

1 cup red bell peppers, diced small

1 Tablespoon scallion, sliced thin

1 cup cornmeal

½ cup AP flour

1 teaspoon salt

¾ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoons sugar

1 egg

1 cup buttermilk

Unsalted butter, to cook cakes

In a sauté pan over medium heat, render pancetta with olive oil until crispy on all sides, approximately 15 minutes. Drain on paper towel. Chop and set aside.

In the same pan, sauté corn, zucchini, bell peppers and scallions, for approximately 10 minutes, adding additional olive oil if needed. Let cool completely.

In a small bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, salt, baking soda and sugar. In a large bowl, combine sautéed vegetables, egg and buttermilk. Stir in dry ingredients to wet mixture until just combined.

Heat a griddle over medium-high heat. Melt butter then add scoops of cake batter. Cook on two minutes per side, until golden and cooked through. Keep warm while making other corn cakes. Serve hot corn cakes with marjoram aioli and crispy pancetta


1 Tablespoon fresh marjoram, minced

½ cup mayonnaise

Juice of ½ lemon

Fresh-cracked black pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients. Serve a dollop atop corn cakes.

Finally, dessert time.

Growing up in downtown Austin, we always visited a tiny bakery on Burnet Road called Upper Crust Bakery.

My go-to after school snack was always a small carton o' milk and their to-die-for bran muffins.

When my mom and I were tempted for a sweet confection, we split one of their incredible eclairs.

I love the first bite of an eclair.

...buttery & flaky pate a choux dough...

...oozing (not-too-sweet) pastry cream...

...the crunch of it's chocolate shell...


I wanted to create that perfect bite of an eclair in an individual parfait perfect for parties.

For the pate a choux dough, I substituted store-bought puff pastry cut into circles for ease.

For pastry cream, I made a classic pastry cream with vanilla bean paste.

For that signature chocolate crunch, I used chocolate two-ways: espresso ganache & semisweet chocolate chunks.

Top parfaits with toasted hazelnuts for a nutty crunch.

Mini Chocolate Eclair Parfaits with Toasted Hazelnuts

Pastry cream:

yields 1 cup

1 ¼ cups whole milk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3 egg yolks

¼ cup sugar

2 Tablespoons AP flour

2 Tablespoons cornstarch

Whisk together sugar and egg yolks. Add flour and cornstarch and whisk together to form a paste. Set aside. Meanwhile, simmer milk and vanilla until simmering. Add ¼ of paste mixture into hot milk mixture, whisking quickly to temper. Add remaining paste mixture to tempered milk mixture and whisk constantly, over medium heat until thickened and flour and cornstarch have cooked out, approximately 3-5 minutes. Transfer pastry cream to a bowl over an ice bath to cool down. Cover pastry cream with plastic wrap directly over custard so a skin will not form—cool completely.

Espresso ganache:

½ cup heavy cream

½ teaspoon instant espresso coffee

½ cup bittersweet chocolate chips

Bring heavy cream and espresso powder to a simmer over medium high, whisking together to combine. Pour atop chocolate chips in a bowl and stir until combined and glossy. Set aside and let cool.

Remaining components:

1 sheet puff pastry, cut into 1-inch circles

Semisweet chocolate chunks and toasted hazelnuts, to garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place puff pastry circles on a greased baking sheet and bake until puffed and golden brown, approximately 10 minutes. Let cool.

To assemble parfaits, assemble mini parfait glasses or cups on a serving tray. Layer espresso ganache with pastry rounds, pastry cream and semisweet chocolate chunks. Repeat to reach the tops of cups. Garnish with a pastry round, chocolate chunks, toasted hazelnuts and a drizzle of espresso ganache.

The class was a delight to teach! Make sure to check out my upcoming Market Street Cooking Classes in November and December:

Unconventional Side Dishes:

Thursday, November 10

Stray away from the Thanksgiving norm with unique, yet simple, side dishes from Chef Callie Salls of Linguine and Dirty Martinis.

Adorn your holiday table with: Savory Bleu Cheese Cheesecake with a Black Pepper Fig Compote; Roasted Apple & Onion Soup with Toasted Pecans & Sage Oil; Cranberry Relish with Grapefruit Rind, Pomegranate & Mint; Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Rutabaga with Bacon & Hazelnut Brown Butter.

Homemade for the Holidays:

Thursday, December 8th

Treat your friends, families and neighbors to made-from-scratch confections ready in a snap and perfect for holiday gifts!

Guests will learn how to prepare, package and label edible goodies to-go: Spiced Blueberry Jam with Star Anise; Lemon Lime Curd; Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies; Pecorino & Black Pepper Cheese Straws; Dark Chocolate Truffles with Fleur de Sel.


Weekend Cowgirl said...

Your chocolate eclairs look really delicious!! I LOVE eclairs!!

Callie Salls said...

Thanks Bunny-- one of my favorites too :)