What is in this article?:
- New York pastry chef crafts contemporary chocolate desserts
- Chocolate and other trends
Paprocki brings a contemporary touch to the desserts at the longtime New York restaurant.
Ron Paprocki, executive pastry chef at Gotham Bar and Grill.
Chocolate and other trends
What ingredient do you most like working with right now?
Right now I’m on a big chocolate kick. I’m doing a lot more with chocolate than I’ve ever done in the history of me being a pastry. A little more than half of the desserts we do here right now have some sort of chocolate element on them.
Which ones stand out to you?
There is one dessert that I just put on. I didn’t really have a nice name to call it, so on the menu I Just called it The Chocolate Dessert. It is more of a landscape-esque plating style and I didn’t want to overwhelm the guest with some ornate description. I wanted to be as basic as possible so that there is some excitement when it is delivered to the table.
I use a dark chocolate cremeux and it is accompanied with some black cocoa sable dough. On the menu I call it black cocoa cookies. I basically make a sable cookie dough, but instead of using the regular cocoa powder I use a black cocoa powder. I chunk up the dough on a sheet pan with parchment paper and then bake it off. When it comes out it looks like coal, almost like lava rocks. When you first see it, it looks like someone burnt something. It is really neat. It is basically the same cocoa powder that they use in Oreo cookies. So same flavor as an Oreo cookie, but definitely a different look.
Is that a permanent menu item?
Yes, I just added that to the menu about two weeks ago and it is actually a part of the three-course tasting menu. It’s really neat and tastes really good. The initial reaction from guests is very exciting.
What are some of the trends you are noticing happening right now with desserts?
It seems that we’re using a lot more egg whites in things. We’re using egg whites and egg white powders to make mousses now instead of whipped cream.
Is that strictly for health reasons?
I think that is a side reason, perhaps, but it really makes a much softer texture. It keeps it not so hard. It is definitely a looser mousse when you use a meringue as opposed to whipped cream. Another thing I’m seeing is using dried meringues in desserts. Taking a basic two-to-one sugar-to–egg-white mixture and then adding stuff like black cocoa powder. Also using soft marshmallows and then introducing flavor and color with things like freeze-dried strawberries or blueberries. I see a lot more meringue-based dessert components coming out this year.
Do you have anything special planned for Valentine’s Day?
To be honest, I haven’t finalized that menu, but it will certainly be within the realm of a chocolate-based dessert, and then inflict that with some acidity, probably passion fruit.
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