"Perhaps the most impressive of all the cookbook blogs are the three devoted to the 2004 edition of Gourmet magazine's "The Gourmet Cookbook" -- all 5¼ pounds and 1,300-odd recipes of it. Befitting this culinary Everest, all three writers are overachievers in their professional lives."

--Lee Gomes, The Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2008
"I should have told you before how much I've been enjoying reading your thoughts. You seem like such a great cook."

--Ruth Reichl, Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet Magazine, June 8 2008, comment on "Chocolate Velvet Ice Cream".

Friday, November 2, 2007

Raspberry Jam Tart with Almond Crumble, and Snow Eggs with Pistachio Cream and Chocolate Drizzle

Now what, you may be rightly asking, are "snow eggs"?

Before I came to this job I would have been asking the exact same question. But during my job interview I happened to ask Dr. and Mrs. S. what some of their favorite foods were, and Dr. S. wistfully noted that he loved snow pudding but hadn't had it in years.

Of course I got busy with the research right away.

If anybody ever tells YOU that they love snow pudding, I'll tell you that basically it's lemon Jell-O folded into whipped egg whites, set in a mold. This is later unmolded into a plate of custard--your basic creme anglaise. And yes of course I made it and he loved it and it's been mutual admiration ever since.

So I was not surprised to see that Snow Eggs with Pistachio Cream and Chocolate Drizzle is a sophisticated version of snow pudding. The French have a name for it (oeufs a la niege), the Italians have a name for it (scuimmette)but I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that neither of their versions involve jello.

Anyway, this dessert is fun to make--a real adventure--and pastry chefs take note! All of these components can be produced separately during the day to be assembled by your wildly competent non-English speaking guest-working dessert station person during the dinner service.

What was new for me about this dish was poaching the meringue "eggs" in sweet milk. Wow, they were so cute! And they puffed up, bumping against each other in the pan. The custard is a gorgeous green thanks to the ground pistachios, and the chocolate makes for dramatic visual contrast.

Here's what it looks like. This photo is from Epicurious but mine looked exactly the same:

Oh, and it tasted fabulous. J. remarked that it was surprisingly filling for something that has such a light mouth-feel. (don't forget that J. is also a chef and that's one of the reasons I made this dish--fun stuff to talk about!)


I wish I could be as wildly enthusiastic about the Raspberry Jam Tart with Almond Crumble.

Pretty, isn't it? But essentially what you've got is a big sugar cookie with a thin layer of jam. OK, if you like that sort of thing, but I found it to be cloyingly sweet. The Gourmet Cookbook notes that it's a fun recipe to make with kids, and I suspect that they're the only ones who will go for this whole-heartedly--well maybe also the demographic that goes in for sugary cocktails. If you want my opinion don't waste your time.

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