Ian's Challenge - June's Dessert

I wanted June’s challenge dessert to rouse the essence of the Flatbrook; sultry, verdant, arboreal, raw, and surprising.

What came to mind were ingredients used in rustic stews and braised meats. Ingredients with earthy flavors, such as mushrooms, berries, robust wine, and aromatic herbs which help tame and balance the flavors of wild game.

I also wanted to develop those flavors in the dish that would be reminiscent of the area itself; raw, wild, grassy, mossy, woodsy, fresh and bold. The rationalization of these elements led to the following.

A major component of the dish would be a chocolate ganache infused with the essence of mushroom. I steeped some dried Shiitake mushrooms in the cream before adding it to the chocolate recipe. This introduced the woody flavor to the dish. It mellowed out the 54% chocolate I used in the recipe. It was subtle yet effective.

Green tea came to mind for the grassy notes. I decided on a Lemon Green Tea Mascarpone Mousse. The mousse was flavored with a touch of maple syrup to offset the bitterness of the tea and sharpness of the cheese. I felt that the addition of the lemon would brighten the flavor and integrate well with the raspberry and mushroom flavors, tying them together. The mascarpone was introduced as an organic creamy texture and to contribute to the natural, earthy taste profile I intended the dish to recount.

Raspberry coulis would add color and brighten the flavors. In addition, it compliments the chocolate and lemon flavors of the dessert.

For the garnish I toasted slivered almonds. This was to add a bit of crunch to the dessert. The fresh Lemon-Thyme flowers added another flavor component and helped align the dessert with current presentation standards.

The almond Linzer cookies were an afterthought. Yet it became the perfect vehicle to place the elements of the dish on and experiencing them together in one bite.

There is no better inspiration to draw from than nature. We should do everything we can to care, respect, and conserve it. I hope you agree!

Now go out and explore the Roy Wildlife Management Area in Sussex County, New Jersey. It’s a beautiful place to go out and enjoy.

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