Posted by: michellelowrey | August 24, 2009

Eat Dessert First

After all these years of being in a cooking club, actually coming up with an interesting theme can be a challenge. This is a group that has been around the block, so you really do need to think outside the box, and come up with something that is new and unique. Way back last January, it was my turn to host cooking club, and I had been wanting to do an entire cooking club event on desserts for a long time, and when I read about Johnny Iuzzini’s book that was coming out in a few months, I knew exactly what my theme was going to be. I took the plunge, pre-ordered his book, and waited two months for it to arrive. When it finally came, I was like a kid at Christmas! I was so excited to try his recipes.

Just who the heck am I talking about?? Well, to back up a little bit, I had had the pleasure of eating at the restaurant Jean-Georges in New York City the year prior, and had the most amazing dessert from the head pastry chef, Johnny Iuzzini. Right then and there, I knew at some point I wanted to recreate his recipes for when it was my turn to host cooking club. The dessert that inspired me was a Chocolate Soup with Devon cream. The “soup” was the most ethereal broth of chocolate I’d ever tasted. It wasn’t overly sweet, and you could actually taste the cocoa bean in a way that I’d never experienced before. The devon cream that was pillowed over the top was heavenly. I just loved how complex it tasted, but it also had a playful, whimsical flair to it that made it fun to eat. Johnny Iuzzini is the head pastry chef at Jean-Georges, and he is such an amazing talent. I knew it might be hard for us to pull off desserts this intricate for cooking club, but once again this group of amazing women, met and rose to the challenge. I mean, was there ever really a question??

Johnny Iuzzini’s new dessert cookbook is called: Dessert Fourplay- Sweet quartets from a Four-Star Pastry Chef, and the entire book, consists of intricate and beautiful desserts that are meant to be served as part of a dessert tasting. Each of the four desserts for each pairing, builds upon the next in their levels of complexity. The recipes are each made to be served as he recommends, as a tasting quartet, or you can make each dessert in a larger form, to be an individual dessert. The book is full of lush photographs, and really explicit directions on how to recreate each masterpiece.

For my cooking club event, we started with a simple dinner of an amazing portobello mushroom appetizer, then had a simple braised chicken, with homemade bread and a salad, and built up to the star of the evening…..the 4 desserts! I really didn’t want to do anything but dessert for the entire night, and stay true to my “eat dessert first” motto, but I figured there might be mutiny amongst my cooking club, hence the chicken, bread and salad. These desserts were so lovely though, I don’t think I would have had anything to worry about if I HAD just done desserts!

The dessert menu consisted of:

Chocolate Soup with Devon Foam……of course we had to eat that right?

Jean-Georges warm Chocoalte Cake with vanilla bean ice cream and chocolate crumble

Malted Chocolate rice pudding with a crispy rice cracker

Milk chocolate Mousse with flambeed bananas and a hazelnut caramel sauce

Another sweet cooking club was in the books, and a good time was had by all. Do I need to remind any of you to eat dessert first? No? I didn’t think so…..

Chocolate soup with Devon Cream with Johhny Iuzzini's book in the background

Chocolate soup with Devon Cream with Johhny Iuzzini's book in the background

Jean-Georges Warm Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and Chocolate Crumble

Jean-Georges Warm Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and Chocolate Crumble

Malted Chocolate Rice Pudding with Crispy Rice Cracker

Malted Chocolate Rice Pudding with Crispy Rice Cracker

Milk Chocolate Mousse with Flambeed Bananas and a Hazelnut Caramel Sauce

Milk Chocolate Mousse with Flambeed Bananas and a Hazelnut Caramel Sauce

Carolyn Soriano lighting the Bananas

Carolyn Soriano lighting the Bananas

Carolyn and Maria having fun as usual in the kitchen

Carolyn and Maria having fun as usual in the kitchen

Cindy and Maria with their "sugar highs" in full swing

Cindy and Maria with their "sugar highs" in full swing

Lisa Frazzetta and Bonnie Bussard posing for the camera

Lisa Frazzetta and Bonnie Bussard posing for the camera

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Responses

  1. Hey I was there that night…

  2. …..And you made the evening that much more special for me. Did I tell you how happy I am to have you as an official member?? I did? Well, I’m telling you again!!


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