makes 50 truffles
Açaí ganache filling:
2 pounds (900 g) white chocolate
14 tablespoons (200 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
zest from 2 lemons
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon (150 g) açai puree
1¼ cups plus 2 teaspoons (300 g) heavy cream
½ teaspoon salt
1. Place chocolate, butter, and zest in a bowl; reserve.
2. Bring puree to a boil in a small saucepan; reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Add cream and salt, and return to a boil. Remove from heat. Pour over chocolate mixture, and let stand 3 minutes. Stir, using a rubber spatula, until ganache is smooth. Place in an airtight container, and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.
1 pound 2 ounces (500 g) bittersweet chocolate, melted and tempered for coating
blanched slivered almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
1. Remove ganache from refrigerator, and scoop into ½-inch balls. Place balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.
2. Spread out toasted almonds on a large baking sheet. Working quickly, dip a ganache ball into the tempered chocolate, then roll in almonds. Place on clean baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Lightly sprinkle truffles with açai powder. Once chocolate has set, store truffles in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
Almond, Pear & Salted Caramel Cupcakes
makes 2½ dozen
Pan-roasted pear filling:
2 lemons, zested and juiced (about ¼ cup juice)
7/8 cup (227 g) granulated sugar
2 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
3 pounds (about 7) Bartlett pears, cored, peeled, and cut into ¼-inch cubes
3 tablespoons Poire Williams
1. Toss pears with zest and half the juice in a bowl; reserve.
2. Bring sugars and remaining half of juice to a boil in a large sauté pan. Cook to a light caramel; stir in cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Cook, stirring, until very fragrant and dark caramel in color. Add fruit and liquor, and cook, stirring occasionally, until fruit is soft but not mushy. If mixture is too watery, strain out the liquid, return it to the pot, andreduce it before adding it back to the fruit. Remove fruit from heat, and cool completely. Place in an airtight container, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for molds
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons (212 g) egg whites
2¼ cups (380 g) granulated sugar
2 cups (180 g) almond flour
1¾ cups plus 1 tablespoon (220 g) all-purpose flour
16 large egg yolks
5 lemons, zested
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon pure almond oil
1 teaspoon salt
1. Heat oven to 350°F with racks in bottom and top third of oven.
2. Butter muffin tins; set aside.
3. Place egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment; whisk until frothy; gradually add 1½ cups (240 g) sugar with motor running; whisk to medium peaks; set aside.
4. Sift flours into a bowl, and set aside.
5. Place egg yolks, remaining ¾ cup (140 g) sugar, zest, vanilla, almond oil, and salt in a clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk until pale and thickened. Remove from mixer. Stir in a third of the meringue to lighten mixer. Fold in remaining meringue. Gradually add flour mixture; folding gently just until incorporated. Mix about ½ cup batter with melted butter in a small bowl to make a paste. Fold paste into the remaining batter.
6. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling about three-fourths full. Bake 4 minutes. Rotate tins top to bottom and back to front, and bake until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean (about 4 minutes more).
Salted caramel buttercream:
1½ cups (360 g) milk
¼ cup (50 g) heavy cream
2 vanilla beans, split and scraped
4 teaspoons salt
4 cups (900 g) packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons (60 g) pure maple syrup
1½ teaspoons baking soda
3 pounds unsalted (86 percent fat) butter, room temperature
16½ cups (2,000 g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
3½ teaspoons (15 g) Trablit Liquid Coffee Extract (optional)
1. Place milk, cream, vanilla, and salt in a large saucepan, and bring to just a boil; remove from heat. Set aside.
2. Meanwhile, bring brown sugar, syrup, and ¼ cup water to a boil in another large saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, until caramel starts to smoke at the edges. Carefully add the milk mixture to stop the caramel from burning, and return to a boil. Cook 45 seconds. Remove from heat. Stir in baking soda. Let stand at room temperature 2 hours.
3. Place butter and confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat until light and fluffy. Add gradually add caramel milk and extract, with motor running, and beat until smooth and homogeneous. Cover with plastic wrap, and reserve in refrigerator until ready to use. Beat just before using in either electric mixer or using a small offset spatula for small batches.
4. To assemble, cut a 1-inch-deep piece from the top of each cupcake (do not discard), using a pairing knife. Fill each hole with 1 to 2 teaspoons of the roasted pear filling, and replace cutout pieces. Place buttercream into piping bag fitted with round tip; pip frosting onto each cupcake.
Proteinized Almond Butter Cookies
makes about 4 dozen
2½ pounds unsalted butter
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
3 cups all-purpose flour
1½ cups almond flour
1½ cups protein powder
2 1/2 tablespoons baking soda
4 cups almond butter
4 cups packed brown sugar
2¾ cups granulated sugar
3 cups slivered almonds, toasted and chopped
1 tablespoon salt
8 large eggs
2½ cups dried cherries
2 cups quick cooking oatmeal
Maldon sea salt
1. Place butter and vanilla in a heavy-bottomed saucepan set over medium heat; cook, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan to remove brown bits, until butter is dark brown and milk solids are just starting to burn. Remove from heat. Let cool completely.
2. Meanwhile, sift flours, protein powder, and baking soda into a bowl; reserve.
3. Place cooled vanilla butter in a food processor or blender; process until vanilla is completely chopped up. Place vanilla butter and almond butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix well; add sugars, almonds, and salt. Beat until combined. With motor running, add eggs in a steady stream, one at a time, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl after each addition. Gradually add flour mixture, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl 3 times. Add cherries and oatmeal, mixing just until evenly dispersed. Place dough on a clean work surface, and pat into 3-by-10-inch logs. Envelop in plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.
4. Heat oven to 350ºF with racks in bottom and top third of oven. Cut each log crosswise into 1/3-inch thick rounds, and place on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle each cookie with Maldon sea salt, and bake until just golden brown, rotating pans top to bottom and back to front halfway through, 12 to 14 minutes total. Remove from oven, and place on wire racks to cool. Cooled cookies may be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
Pichet Ong has been named one of the “Top Ten Pastry Chefs in America” by Pastry Arts & Design, Chocolatier, and . In 2002, Pichet was named “Rising Star Chef” by StarChefs.com and is one of the few pastry chefs to have been featured in the prestigious “The Chef” column of The New York Times. He has also been nominated twice for a James Beard Award in the “Outstanding Pastry Chef” category. Along with all his accolades, Pichet is the author of The Sweet Spot: Asian Inspired Desserts, which he wrote with Genevieve Ko. Formerly the chef/owner of P*ong and Batch bakery, Pichet is currently a consulting chef in several NYC projects, including Spot Dessert Bar and Village Tart. Pichet is known for his deft hand at bringing Asian flavors to classic American desserts.