Pastry chef Plinio Sandalio has been called a mad scientist by Gourmet magazine for his forays into so-called molecular gastronomy. All I know is that his pure, unadulterated pleasure in making joyful food results in desserts that will make you laugh out loud. Here are photos of the last dessert tasting I had the pleasure of partaking under his care:
amuse-bouche: french fries and frosty
Plinio says: “why dip a french fry in a frosty? it sounded really absurd until the day I accidentally tried it.” He’s captured the perfect french fry here with his awesome crispy potato cone.
I think everyone is skeptical of this dessert when they hear of it for the first time. Corncake, yellow mustard ice cream and sweet hot dog ketchup? What, not even fancy mustard?
Luckily, pretty much everyone is won over. Hell, I don’t even like mustard and this dessert left me in fits of uncontrollable giggles.
funnel cake, spam ice cream
Plinio’s funnel cake is a delicately layered tangle of funnel fritters, light and airy compared to standard carnival fare. The best part of this dessert was the lovely fresh pineapple and maple syrup compote. I wanted to lick the plate.
chocolate & cherry float
Just like it sounds. Oh, but with pepper on top. This wasn’t savory, exactly, just sort of thrown in before the cheese course.
taleggio pop tarts, apricot jam
The cheese in the center of these pop tarts was wonderfully pungent and melty, and oozed everywhere in a delightful manner when we cut into them. I want this for breakfast.
I requested the tres leches, having heard Plinio was legendary for it, and was not disappointed. Tender, moist cake and dollops of bruleed fluff danced with playful white chocolate balls filled with milk. The milk chocolate balls exploded in your mouth. The mint was a perfect touch, as well.
milk chocolate ball from tres leches
I probably took this photo as a delay tactic, honestly, as I was getting really full by now. But these were freaking awesome.
roasted peaches, buttermilk ice cream
The flavors in this dessert were incredible, alive, fruity, rich, like a bright painting. The peaches were roasted in riesling and the ice cream tasted like straight up butter.
bittersweet chocolate “torchon,” liquid cherries
Can you tell the light is going down a little? This dessert never fails to come at the worst time. It’s one of the biggest, and it comes at the end when you’re almost full. I think it’s a test of stamina to see if you can eat half of it. The torchon is filled with liquid cherry, which spills out when you split it in half. It’s beautiful, delicious… and very rich.
almond cakes, alfajores, shortbread, hazelnut tart
I looked up mignardises and wikipedia says they are bite sized desserts that follow a meal at high end restaurants. Oy I guess at this point I feel that I’ve certainly had a meal. These are absolutely irresistable, though. Plinio makes the most delightful shortbread, and the hazelnut tart is so delicious. And they’re so tiny!