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Issues with my menu

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I've been working long days and i need to have my creativity replenished and get my brain fired up again. Just throwing these out here because I know you guys like to think about these things as I. It's my first pastry chef job and I'm still getting used to being my own authority and getting things I want. Any insight is appreciated.

Having issues with the torte blette. I really want to make it cool, but all it is is a nicoise swiss chard sweet torte with pine nuts, rum, brown sugar, sultanas, pears or apples, and parmesan cheese. I grimace whenever someone orders it, but it's something I have to make. I put chartreuse in it last time and it made it a little interesting, but I want to serve it with something. I'm having a pastry chef's block over here.

Some changes I'm making tomorrow include putting it in a thicker tart pan so it can have more chard in it and serving it in wedges instead of doing it on a 1/2 sheet pan served in square slices. The crust is good and I like the way it tastes because it is thin and you can really get the tartness of the apples. I've also expirimented with orange/lemon flavor combinations, but nothing really stands out. I suppose it is the chard that needs to stand out? Bleh. I want to get excited about this but it just isn't happening. Anyone ever made this for a high end restaurant before?

Ice cream or creme anglaise won't seem to work with it. It's not that kind of dessert. Maybe it doesn't need anything but powdered sugar or turbinado on the top. I want to embelish it but it's not always necessary.

I'm also having issues with the lemon tart. It's been great in the past and I've heard rave reviews but it has come to my attention that is is "not fantastic" even though the Ex Chef said in the beginning to not change the curd. I'm using Tom Keller's recipe currently except I am nixing the pine nut crust (yech. Hate pine nuts) and using a mac and almond one instead. Tried to use browned butter in it but it took something away. I think maybe I could use half the butter fresh and the other half a browned butter. As a garnish I'm using a lemon verbena mascarpone cream and marnier macerated blueberries. I like that part.

Got the Baba au Rhum down perfectly but I put them to soak on top of a rack on top of the oven during service, but the sugar crystalizes after a couple of hours and have to make a fresh syrup. The result of it getting too hot?

Plum tart with frangipane. Perfect. Served with ginger vanilla creme anglaise. Soon to be ice cream once the machine arrives!

Creme caramel - Perfect. Expiramenting with what to macerate the raspberry garnish in.

Also, I'm trying to make a certain chocolate mousse look like butter on a plate because it is spread on top of pistachio "bread." Looking for silicone molds perhaps in bar form to look like a stick of butter. Also interested in pyramid molds or ramekins with something stamped in the mousse. Served with Orange fleur de sel.

I was also informed that chef does not like any fresh fruit on a cheese plate. I have NO problem with at least one fresh fruit item to match one cheese. I guess it's just too simple. I think it's fine. Gotta please the man, though.

Any insights my fellow pastry chefs?
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Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. - GM
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post #2 of 9
I'd think a tiny bit of nutmeg and a lemony note (juice/zest or one of the lemony herbs) would be good with the blette. Rosemary/fennel work with chard, but I'm not sure with the rest of the cast.

Are your lemons "off"? If the recipe was the same, and your now getting complaints, then I'd be looking at ingredients.

Syrup could be too hot, needs invert, or just getting evaporated while it sits.

I'd just make a mold from cardboard from a produce box and line it with foil and plastic. But I'm cheap, and other molds are expensive. I don't think mousse has the right texture/temp to hold a relief in a decent way.
post #3 of 9
Are you garnishing your torte blette? Since you have apples and pears, what about some apple or pear chips on the top? Pine nut praline tuiles? Parmesan crisps? As for the taste, well a swiss chard tart is what it is. If you don't like it change the look of it at least and make it fun for you.
I make one a while back as a special but sadly it did not sell. Mine was pretty thick in the middle with lots of filling, I thought it tasted pretty good served with some whipped cinnamon creme fraiche.

Your lemon tart... Well it could be the lemons right? just because it is Tom Keller's recipe does not mean that God wrote it or anything, keep that in mind and experiment a bit, perhaps a bit of lemon oil?-yeah I know thats cheating... One thing we do is to peel the lemons with a peeler and crush and rub the peels into the sugar, you would be surprised at the smell and the taste without all the bitterness. Sift out the peels when you are done with a chinoise.
You mentioned Mac nuts are they salted? most are that could throw off the taste a bit.
Again if you are only using the verbena and blueberries it sounds like you are lacking some height in the presentation, could I suggest a lemon garnish? I did last menu long ribbons of lemon peel-again done with a peeler. Blanch them in simple syrup until they are somewhat clear, let them dry a bit and fry them in a low fryer until they just brown. Remove them and blot out all the oil. Once cooled they make a nice translucent garnish.
Just my .02 .

I would think the syrup crystallizing would be a result of evaporation from the top of the oven, maybe spike your syrup with corn syrup, or cover it with a damp towel though that would be messy.

Explain more of the raspberry garnish you need to macerate. I'm not clear about what you want here.

If your chef does not want fresh fruit on the cheese plate he is a tard.
Apples?? Pears?? both classics with cheese. Currently I do dried fruits-apricots, figs, dates, prunes, mixed unsalted nuts, raisins on the vine, fresh grapes and of course apples and pears. That comes with 5 cheeses, right now we have Stinking bishop, Chevre noir, Baily Hazen blue and 3 Sisters Creamery Serena. All that for 15 bucks! HA

Remember it is always not what the Chef wants but what the customer wants to pay for.

Well thats all the insight for now, hope I don't sound like too much of a jerk.
Fluctuat nec mergitur
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Fluctuat nec mergitur
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post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Cool replies!

I played around with the lemon tart after someone (maybe only ONE person) complained about it not being fantastic; I used browned butter, added gelatin, etc. I think I'm just going to go back to the regular recipe because it's what everyone loved. I like the lemon sugar idea. I'll try that tomorrow. As for now, I am garnishing it with a candied lemon peel... it's just the zest no pith and it was blanched and candied. They look cool, but I'll try your fryer idea. Mine are still not as translucent as I would like them to be.

I tried a thicker blette today in a thick ring mold and it was good, and we even made a contest for the servers who sold the most. I dunno, it's just not popular and I wouldn't order it. One of them got sent back. It feels like a waste of my time, but I REALLY like that cinnamon creme fraiche idea. I thought of everything but that! Not ice cream not whipped cream would go good, but that's a fabulous idea. i HEART sweetened creme fraiche.

Now, I'm on the prowl for someone who can make a stamp of our restaurant name so I can put the mousse into a ramekin and stamp it on top. I don't want to use a stencil.

About the raspberries, I think I'm just going to pile a few fresh ones next to the creme caramels. The macerating in grand marnier is a bit too overwhelming. I like to watch them eat my desserts from upstairs and I watch how they eat them. They like the creme angalise on the plum tart; they love the creme caramels, and people dig the lemon tart. I just htink I need to stick to my guns on this one.

I can tell that they like the complimentary french macaroon of the day that goes out with the check!

I like talking about this stuff. Thanks for reading!
Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. - GM
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Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. - GM
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post #5 of 9
torte blette,
how about serving them individual with a sweet herb fritter?

The lemon tart, keep it simple. for the curd all you need is lemon juice, egg + yolk, sugar, butter and a dash of salt. Try a cream cheese crust or a cooked yolk crust.
bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
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bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
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post #6 of 9
Sorry, didn't read responses. Reading your list a few things that came tomind.
Fine Balsamic, plain-reduction-infused.
Limoncino or Lemonchillo-straight, foam, or cream
Chocolate ancho ice cream
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
I think we are 86ing the torte blette. This means I can add another dessert! Woo!

serving the lemon tart with a mascarpone lemon verbena sherbet now. Pretty good. Finally got an ice cream maker!! I've been going crazy with that thing.

Any recipes for a real plummy ice cream? Mine still doesn't taste like plums.

Special tonight is a vanilla creme brulee in a tart shell with burnt candied orange segments.

I like my job.
Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. - GM
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Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. - GM
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post #8 of 9
butter mousse:\

8 oz dark chocolate (54-58%)
6 oz cream boil, add to chocoalte

fold in
6 oz whipped cream

put in a square pan lined with parchement or plastic.

When this sets up its between a mouse and ganach, cuts well, you can cut your butter sticks out of the chilled mousse.
bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
Reply
bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
Reply
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks! :beer:
Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. - GM
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Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. - GM
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