Simplicity is the probably the most valuable lesson I have learned in my years studying pastry. Foams, gels, liquid nitrogen ice creams are fun, technically challenging and a wonderful way to impart texture and flavor to a dessert. But without having to apply all that molecular stuff into desserts, all you are left with are ingredients.
Keeping the integrity of ingredients and making the flavors naturally stand out or making it taste like a better version of itself has always been the underlying philosophy of pastry for me. Death defying, architectural desserts half-swinging off the plate was never my thing. Cages of sugar wrapped around a ball of sweetened chemicals never caught my attention as something I wanted to eat…photograph, maybe, but never eat.
Cut to: The other night when T and I were craving something sweet. I took out a bar of Valhrona (my preferred brand of chocolate) 41% Jivara Lactee. The flavor of this chocolate is already spectacular; very milky, silky and lively to the senses. The temperature of my apartment was a little warm which gave the chocolate, lower in cacao some smoothness. I cut a few pieces, scattered some roasted, salted peanuts on the board and sprinkled some flaked sea salt on top. No fancy cooking techniques, no processing, just chocolate, peanuts and salt eaten off a cutting board and my sweet tooth was satisfied.
I would proudly serve this to anyone. Whether they paid for it or just came to my home because it was just so delicious and didn’t leave me overly full of sugar. The way sushi can be just raw fish and rice wrapped in seaweed, dessert can be a simple presentation of ingredients that just taste good together as a chocolate peanut picnic.