A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending the kick-off for the Scharffen Berger Elevate a Classic Dessert contest, in which contestants have to take a classic dessert recipe and kick it up a notch to make it even more exciting! At the event there were chocolate-inspired hors d’ouevres (like cocoa dusted lamb kebabs), lots of chocolate, and of course dessert.
Chef Johnny Iuzzini of Top Chef Just Desserts fame (he’s also the pastry chef at Jean George in NY) and Chef Elizabeth Falkner from Orson & Citizen Cake in San Francisco were on hand making their elevated desserts.
After they did a little demo, the guests were divided into two groups, each of which proceeded to make the chef’s desserts in full. I was in Elizabeth’s group making an elevated version of an ice cream sundae. There were multiple components to the Chocolate Gelato Sundae, including the gelato, which Elizabeth had already made using liquid nitrogen (shown above) for quick freezing, chocolate sauce, caketons (cake croutons), and marshmallow cream. It was really fun making fresh marshmallow and then seeing how the whole thing came together.
The Sundae consisted of layers of chocolate sauce, caketons (love that word!), gelato, and marshmallow cream. It was topped with more chocolate sauce, Scharffen Berger Roasted Cacao Nibs (which are amazingly delicious!), and chocolate curls. Chef Johnny’s dessert was an elevated version of chocolate pudding with passion fruit gelée, whipped chocolate créme fraiche, and cacao nibs. The pudding was garnished with passion fruit seeds, fresh and freeze-dried raspberries, and “thin wisps of tempered chocolate.”
What I loved about both of these desserts was that they had different textural elements throughout – the crunchiness of the nibs and the freeze-dried berries, the smoothness of the pudding and gelato. I also like how Johnny uses fresh fruit to add natural sweetness to his desserts.
Thanks to the folks at Scharffen Berger for inviting me to this decadent event!
Do you like chocolate? What are your favorite chocolate desserts?
Disclaimer: I attended this event courtesy of Scharffen Berger and was not compensated for posting about it. Opinions expressed are my own.