Every summer when my children go away to camp, my husband and I change our diet a bit. Rather than eat some kind of grain or pasta at every meal, we live on fruits and vegetables from the local farmer’s market and grill our fish and meats. Your local market can provide not only quality vegetables for meals, but also the main component of light, summer desserts, such as the grilled peaches and strawberry gazpacho below.
Last summer, my month of July was consumed with preparing for and then competing on Food Network’s dessert competition show, Sweet Genius. Although I had no idea what I would need to make on the show, I spent weeks reviewing basic recipes that could be transformed with whatever secret ingredients came my way. call that period of my life, “pastry boot camp”. For the second round of the show, we had to bake something using an ostrich egg (not kosher, so couldn’t taste) and the inspiration we had to use was a unicorn.
As a unicorn reminded me of fantastical children’s storybooks, I decided that my plate would reflect those colorful pages. I baked a plum and berry tart that was very red/purple and made a yellow lemon curd. However, I knew that the plate needed something blue. I found blueberries in the fridge and cooked a crème anglaise, a light custard sauce that is usually vanilla-flavored, and added blueberries to change the color. It turned out a little more light purple than blue, especially sitting under the harsh TV lights, but it contrasted nicely with the other elements on my plate. I served it alongside my horn-shaped tart in a skinny shot glass. The show host, master Israeli pastry chef, Ron Ben Israel, LOVED the taste. He said it was fresh and delicious. Unfortunately, he declared my plate “childish” (unicorn????), and I didn’t proceed to the final round. No worries, I had an amazing experience challenging myself both professionally and personally in entirely new ways and am very proud of my appearance. This summer I am once again living in my kitchen, but this time writing a new dessert cookbook. Let us know here at Kosher Scoop if there are parve dessert recipes you wish you had. Stay cool.