Top: Vanilla macaroons are offered by
Sweet Sally’s bakeshop. Bottom: Timothy
Dvorak and his staff at Rush University
Medical Center serve a selection of light
pastries for spring, including this puff
pastry shell filled with minted spring fruits.
flourless chocolate cake with mole. We
cut it into dices, toasted it and used that
to top the mousse, then added a skewer
of chocolate. Powdered chili plus sugar
was used to rim the glass, both for a pop
of flavor and a bit of color.
but make it upscale and organic,” he
says. He suggests clafoutis to fill the bill.
“It’s like pudding without bread. Sauté
the fruit a bit, add custard and brown
sugar. It soufflés up a bit in the oven,
then collapses. Serve with artisan ice
cream and a bit of crème fraîche.”
“With these smaller desserts, for $2 or
$2.50, guests can still be satisfied, and
they’re willing to spend that money. Perhaps
they’ll buy a tray for the whole table.”
I make from scratch. I spread with
a spatula, then let it cool,” she says.
“Next, I melt (and temper) bittersweet
chocolate in a double boiler, ladle that on
top of the caramel and spread it with a
spatula. I top the chocolate with toasted
almonds, cool it in the refrigerator, then
beak it up into pieces by hand before
packing it in 6 oz. white bakery boxes or
10 oz. gift tins.”
BIG APPLE CRACKLE
When the Wall Street bubble burst, Sally
Saltzbart Minier exchanged her position in
commercial banking for ownership of Sweet
Sally’s bakeshop. The business, based in a
commercial kitchen in Hawthorne, N.J., fills
online wholesale orders.
Macaroons—the purely coconut variety—
are available year-round. Because they’re
made without flour, they’re a fit for gluten-free pastry menus, Minier points out. For
Passover, she adds an untraditional twist,
her signature Kahlua Macaroon.
He notes that in Europe, clafoutis are
often prepared with pastry dough lining
the bottom of the mold or tin, and par-baked before adding the fruit and custard.
Aiming to keep dessert sales up
by keeping individual portion costs
affordable, Mangalore points to the
continuing popularity of serving a tray of
individual shot glasses filled with a variety
of confections, including, for example,
layers of mousse, a bit of strudel, crème
quenelle and chocolate ganache to top it
off. In Europe, there’s been a great trend
in creating these “verrines,” he says.
With Minier’s expertise in baking up
traditional Jewish recipes, learned as a child
on New York’s Lower East Side, springtime
is her shining season. “The Jewish holidays
are big for me. Purim starts at sundown
March 19 this year, and we’ll have a nice
selection of traditional hamantaschen filled
with raspberry, apricot or nutella.”
Lemon or currant scones will be available
throughout the Easter season, but a
scone sampler package is now under
development. “It will be ready in time to
honor William’s and Kate’s springtime
wedding,” Minier says, referring to the
nuptials of Britain’s Prince William and
Kate Middleton, April 29.
Then comes Passover, April 19-25, which,
because unleavened flour is required, is a
challenge for any baker. Minier meets that
challenge with Big Apple Crackle, which
incorporates commercially prepared
matzo in the recipe.
New York-based award-winning journalist
Karen Weisberg has covered the
issues and luminaries of the food-and-beverage world—both commercial and
noncommercial—for more than 25 years.
“Last year, here in Chicago, I did a Verrine
of Chocolate Mousse with Toasted
Flourless Spiced Chocolate Cake for
the World of Chocolate benefit. We used
chocolate mousse on the bottom, plus
“I lay out the matzo, sprinkle with kosher
salt, then ladle on buttery caramel