BOP Extra: Pastry Chef Tracy Dempsey Creates a One-of-a-Kind Treat for "Wonderland"

Categories: Chow Bella

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There's no arguing that Tracy Dempsey has the tastiest submission to the "Phoenix as Wonderland: Art from New Times' Best of Phoenix 2009" exhibit.

The pastry chef alchemist formerly of Cowboy Ciao, Kazimierz World Wine Bar, and Digestif whipped up a dessert that looks more like a high-end architecture project than a plate of food.

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Tracy Dempsey's crazy good dish.

About the visually-striking concoction, Dempsey says, "I created a composed dessert consisting of a date financier-style cake layered with shoyu caramel chocolate ganache paired with a trio of ice creams (shoyu caramel, peanut butter, banana-bourbon), finished with a flaming egg cup shooter of bourbon, and nestled in a toasted mound of marshmallow cream."

Oh. My. Goodness.

Here's the recipe:

The cake:
1# 2ounces unsalted butter, browned and cooled
2 cups almond flour
4 cups powdered sugar
1¼ cups flour
2 cups egg whites
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¼ cup bourbon
2 cups Medjool dates, pitted and coarsely chopped

1.    Preheat oven to 350°F.
2.    Prepare a half sheet pan by lightly oiling it and lining the bottom with parchment paper. Set aside.
3.    Cook the butter in a medium sauce pan over medium high heat until it just turns brown and becomes fragrant. It should smell nutty. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
4.    In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the almond flour, sugar and flour with the egg whites, vanilla and bourbon. Add the browned butter, stirring to combine. Use a spatula to fold in the dates.
5.    Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake until golden. Allow cake to cool for about 10 minutes before turning it out onto a cooling rack. Cool completely before finishing. This may be prepared up to 2 days in advance, wrapped and refrigerated until ready to use.
6.    To finish, cut the sheet of cake in half crosswise. Spread the top of one layer with some of the caramel chocolate ganache. Top with the other layer of cake. Refrigerate cake for at least 1 hour. Cut cake into about 2"x4" rectangles.

The shoyu caramel chocolate ganache:
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
4 ounces milk chocolate
½ cup sugar
¼ cup water
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 cup heavy cream
1½ tablespoons soy sauce

1.    Place chocolates in medium bowl. Set aside.
2.    Combine the sugar, water and corn syrup in heavy medium saucepan and cook over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat and boil without stirring until syrup is deep amber color and swirling pan so caramel will color evenly, about 10 minutes. Remove pan from the heat and slowly add the cream and soy sauce, stirring gently until smooth. If the mixture is lumpy, return to the heat and cook over low heat until lumps are dissolved.
3.    Pour this hot shoyu caramel over the chocolates in the bowl and let sit for about 1 minute. Use a spatula to slowly stir mixture; avoid stirring too fast as this adds too much air to the ganache and forms bubbles. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted.
4.    Allow the temperature to drop to 70°F. When it is 70°F or less, it will be ready to transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip for piping. Store unused ganache in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

The shoyu caramel ice cream: Makes about 1 quart of ice cream
1 cup sugar
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2½ cups heavy cream
1¼ cups whole milk
12 egg yolks

1.    Place ½ cup of the sugar and water in a saucepan and cook to a dark amber. Carefully add the soy sauce and ½ cup of the cream.
2.    In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, cook the remaining 2 cups cream, milk and ½ cup sugar. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Add the yolks and cook to nappé. Stir in the caramel.
3.    Strain the mixture into a clean bowl. Cool on an ice bath. Chill overnight before spinning in an ice cream maker.

The peanut butter ice cream: Makes about 1 quart
3 cups heavy cream
1 cups whole milk
1 1/3 cup sugar
¼ cup creamy peanut butter
12 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1.    In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, bring the cream, milk and sugar to a simmer. Add the peanut butter, stirring to dissolve. Add the yolks and cook to nappé. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
2.    Strain the mixture into a clean bowl. Cool on an ice bath. Chill overnight before spinning in an ice cream maker.

The banana-bourbon ice cream:
3 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
¼ cup good quality bourbon
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 cup banana purée (about 3)
12 egg yolks

1.    In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, bring the cream, milk, bourbon and sugar to a simmer. Add the banana purée, stirring to dissolve. Add the yolks and cook to nappé. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
2.    Strain the mixture into a clean bowl. Cool on an ice bath. Chill overnight before spinning in an ice cream maker.

Home-made Marshmallow cream:
3 egg whites
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
1½ cups granulated sugar
½ cup water
1 cup corn syrup
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Powdered sugar for dusting

1.    Sift powdered sugar over a parchment-lined sheet pan. Set aside.
2.    In the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs whites with the cream of tartar until foamy. Gradually add ½ cup sugar and whip until stiff peaks form.
3.    Combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt and ½ cup water in saucepan. Place over low heat and stir until sugar dissolves. Clip on candy thermometer, raise heat to high. Cook without stirring until it reaches 244°F. Immediately remove from the heat.
4.    With mixer on low speed, slowly and carefully pour syrup into the egg whites. Increase speed to high; beat until mixture is very thick and white and has almost tripled in volume.
5.    Use a spoon to create mounds of the marshmallow mixture on the prepared pan. Dust mounds with confectioners' sugar. You may also wish to use a pastry bag to pipe marshmallows. Purchased Marshmallow fluff may be subsituteed.

Shoyu caramel sauce:
½ cup sugar
Juice of ½ lemon
¼ cup water
¼ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon soy sauce

1.    Cook sugar, lemon juice and water to deep amber. Add cream and soy sauce off heat. Cool at room tempeature. Transfer to squeeze bottle. Leave at room temperature if using shortly; otherwise, store long-term in the refrigerator.

Bourbon Shooter:
4 medium eggs, tops removed, contents emptied, and insides thoroughly washed and dried (substitute a shot glass, if desired)
4 ounces bourbon
Utility lighter or matches

To serve, drizzle some shoyu caramel sauce on 4 dessert plates. Place a piece of the cake off center of plate but on sauce so it won't slide. Place a quenelle of each ice cream on top of the cake. Place a mound of the marshmallow cream to the right of the cake and toast it with a kitchen torch. Place a shooter of bourbon in the center of each marshmallow mound. For a dramatic presentation, light bourbon shooters at the table (warn your guests, first!); otherwise, serve as is. To get the full effect,  taste a little of everything together.

"Phoenix as Wonderland: Art from New Times' Best of Phoenix 2009" opens with a free First Friday reception on Friday, October 2, at [merz]project, 1437 North First Street. For more information, call 602-229-8478 or write to steve.jansen@newtimes.com.



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