In light of the holidays, we decided to do an impromptu dessert crawl with the lovely Charlotte Druckman, whose book Skirt Steak is a recent favorite of ours. After much deliberating and painful decision-making, Charlotte managed to choose three of her favorite desserts around the city. We went on a hunt with her to learn the recipe behind each and ended up cooking Olive Oil Coppetta with Otto’s Meredith Kurtzman, Holiday Rice Pudding with Clio Goodman of Puddin’, and Lemon Tart with Michal Shelkowitz at Dovetail.
Though we felt much like winners of the golden ticket – storming Wonka’s chocolate factory and finding out all his secrets, – we’re pretty sure we still can’t execute these desserts like these chefs can. They’re all, no doubt, NYC favorites. Even at times when dessert is replaced with cheese plates, charcuterie boards or that side of truffle fries, these desserts are the ones with the most steadfast devotees. While we at The New Potato occasionally find ourselves choosing savory over sweet, after this crawl that decision has fallen by the wayside. Follow Charlotte on her journey to learn (and devour) New York’s most perfected desserts…
OLIVE OIL COPPETTA
Put lime curd, rosemary pignoli brittle, tangerine sorbet, clementines in orange caramel on top of olive oil gelato in a bowl or Coppa Gelato. Sprinkle of Maldon salt, drizzle of olive oil.
OLIVE OIL ICE GELATO
500 ML MILK
150 GR. SUGAR
5 EGG YOLKS
250 GR. CREME FRAICHE
1 VANILLA BEAN
100 ML EV OLIVE OIL
1 TSP. SALT
Use your favorite, assertive, delicious olive oil for this recipe. I prefer Sicilian olive oils, which have a nice green, grassy flavor…
1. Heat milk, split vanilla bean and creme fraiche with 1/2 of the sugar over medium flame. Bring to a simmer, making sure that sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat.
2. Whisk egg yolks with remaining sugar in a metal bowl. Slowly pour hot mixture into eggs, whisking until foamy. Return to heat and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture coats the spoon. Do not boil.
3. Strain mixture into a metal container and chill in an ice bath, stirring to cool the mixture down quickly. Store in refrigerator for a few hours before whisking in olive oil and freezing the mixture in ice cream machine.
ROSEMARY PIGNOLI BRITTLE:
1 &1/2 TBSP. FRESH ROSEMARY LEAVES
1&1/2 CUPS PIGNOLI NUTS
1&1/3 CUPS SUGAR
1/4 CUP CORN SYRUP
3 TBSP.[1&1/2 OZ.] BUTTER
1/2 CUP WATER
3/8 TSP. BAKING SODA
1 TSP. SALT
3-4 TBSP. COOKING OIL [CANOLA, GRAPESEED]
Working with hot sugar requires good pre-organization, a clean, non-cluttered work space and quick, careful moves in the kitchen. Sugar burns are no fun…
1. Lightly roast pignoli nuts in an oven set to 325 degrees for ten minutes, or on the stovetop in a heavy pan. They should be lightly browned. Set Aside.
2. Brush a large sheet of parchment paper with oil and place on a clean flat work surface. Brush a large offset spatula and a whisk with oil and set aside.
3. Combine water, corn syrup, sugar and butter in a medium sized sauce pan. Cook at medium heat until the mixture turns golden brown. You’ve gotta work fast at this point…Remove the pan from the heat and whisk the baking soda and salt into the pot. Stir in the nuts and rosemary with the offset spatula, coating them thoroughly with the sugar mixture. Spread the brittle onto the parchment and use the cut lemon to smooth it out. [That's the old school/low tech approach] If you have two large sheets of silpat, spread the brittle onto one, top with the other and using a heavy rolling pin, roll the brittle as flat and thin as possible.
4. Allow the brittle to cool. Break or cut into whatever size desired.
2 TSP. ORANGE ZEST
1/2 CUP FRESH SQUEEZED ORANGE JUICE
1 CUP SUGAR
1. Place sugar in a small saucepan, adding just enough water to make the texture of wet sand. Place a small bowl over the pot – this will cause condensation as the sugar boils, which washes down the interior of the pot and prevents the sugar from crystalizing as it cooks. Place over medium heat and cook to mahogany brown. Remove the pan from the stove and carefully whisk in orange juice. Stir in the zest and allow to cool. Strain.
2. Peel clementines. Section them and remove as much white pith as possible. Stir into cooled caramel. These will hold nicely in syrup for a day.
225g yolks – 12 yolks
1 3/4c meyer lemon juice
1 3/4c sugar
1/2c + 2Tbsp water
40g glucose – (can substitute corn syrup) 3Tbsp
2g agar – can be found at specialty asian food markets or online (I recommend modernistpantry.com)
4 sheets silver leaf gelatin
1300g lemon base – roughly equal to amount prepared in recipe
For the lemon curd base: mix eggs, yolks, sugar and lemon juice in a medium-sized bowl set over a water bath. Whisk gently until mixture becomes thick and has a pudding-like consistency. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, stir in butter. Scale out 1300g of the lemon curd and set aside. Keep warm. Meanwhile, mix the water and glucose/corn syrup in a small pot. Place gelatin sheets in ice water to bloom and soften. Mix the sugar and agar together very well and whisk vigorously into water/glucose mixture. Bring mixture to a boil and whisk for 30 seconds. Remove from heat, squeeze excess water out of gelatin and whisk into agar mixture. Whisk this mixture into reserved lemon curd. Spread mixture onto a metal tray. Let set for at least two hours.
3c all purpose flour
1c cold butter, diced
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together flour, sugar, butter and shortening until the butter breaks down to small pea-size pieces. Gradually add cold water, just until dough comes together. Do not overmix. Wrap dough in plastic and chill for at least one hour. Once chilled, roll out dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out rounds using a biscuit cutter. Lay out on a parchment lined baking pan. Chill dough in the refrigerator or freezer until firm, about 15-20 minutes. Bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and slightly puffed.
For basil water:
2 bunches picked basil leaves
1/4c basil water
12g egg white powder – available at specialty baking stores or online
1 egg white
1/2c + 2Tbsp sugar
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the picked basil leaves and boil for 30 seconds. Drain and immediately submerge leaves into an ice bath. Drain basil from the ice water and place in a blender with enough water to cover the leaves. Blend on low, gradually increasing speed and adding water until a smooth, fluid puree is formed. Scale out 60g of the basil water. Add basil water, egg white powder and fresh egg whites into the bowl of a stand mixer. Start whipping on medium speed, gradually adding the sugar until stiff peaks form.
1/4c + 2Tbsp sugar
1/4c cassis puree, strained
3Tbsp lime juice
Mix sugar and agar together and whisk into water. Place in a small pot and bring to a boil, whisking vigorously for 30 seconds. Whisk in reserved cassis puree and lime juice and let cool for 5 minutes. Transfer to a plastic squeeze bottle and stream the liquid slowly and steadily into the cold oil. Strain the oil into another container and rinse the remaining cassis pearls under cold water. Reserve in a small container.
Caramelized white chocolate:
1/2c white chocolate
1/2c heavy cream
Place white chocolate in a shallow baking tray and place in a 250F oven. Stir chocolate every 10 minutes until it starts to caramelize and takes on the color of peanut butter. Let cool and place in a small metal bowl. Heat up heavy cream until it simmers. Pour over the caramelized white chocolate and slowly stir with a spatula until a uniform mixture is obtained. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Using the same biscuit cutter used for the pie dough rounds, cut out rounds from the lemon curd. Place on top of pie dough. Using a piping bag with a round tip, pipe dots of basil meringue on top of the lemon curd. Caramelize the meringue using a creme brulee torch or by flashing under a broiler for 30 seconds. Serve with a spoonful of the cassis pearls and a swipe of the caramelized white chocolate ganache. Garnish with micro basil leaves.
For the Apricot Syrup:
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
12 dried apricots, diced (1/2 cup)
For the Rice:
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons long grain basmati rice
2 cups cold water
1 1/3 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons Apricot Syrup (without solids)
1/4 teaspoon salt
For the Pudding:
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 cinnamon stick
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 egg yolks
Make Apricot Syrup:
Bring the water and the sugar to a boil in a small saucepan.
Remove from heat, add the apricots and transfer to a bowl to cool.
Preheat the oven to 300°F
In a small saucepan, bring the rice and the water to a boil. Immediately remove from heat and rinse right away under cold water. Drain rice in a fine-mesh colander.
Return the rice to the same pot and add the milk, apricot syrup and salt.
Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid. Transfer the pot to the oven and cook until the milk is completely absorbed and the rice tastes overcooked – 35-45 minutes.
Transfer the cooked rice to a shallow dish and chill, covered, in refrigerator for 1 hour.
In a medium saucepan, whisk together the cream, milk, cinnamon and vanilla bean. Heat the mixture gently until hot, 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let steep covered, until milk comes to room temperature, 20 minutes.
Add the sugar, cornstarch and yolks to the saucepan, remove from heat and whisk vigorously until everything is fully and completely incorporated. 2-3 minutes.
Return the saucepan to the stovetop and cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until mixture is thick, 3-5 minutes. (Once you can lift the whisk from the pudding and it leaves an imprint, it’s done.)
Strain the pudding through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, pressing pudding through sieve with a wooden spoon. Remove vanilla bean and discard. Cool at room temperature for 10 minutes. Press a layer of plastic wrap onto the surface of the pudding and chill until completely cold, 60 minutes.
Gently fold together rice, pudding, lime juice, and the reserved apricot solids until incorporated.
*Photos by Danielle Kosann