NE W YORK-BASED A WARD-WINNING JOURNALIS T KAREN WEISBERG HAS COVERED THE ISSUES AND
LUMINARIES OF THE FOOD-AND-BEVERAGE WORLD—BOTH COMMERCIAL AND NONCOMMERCIAL—
FOR MORE THAN 25 YEARS.
in July, has created a dessert version of the classic old fashioned,
riffing on the flavor profile of orange and cherry plus a sugar cube.
She tried to mimic the old fashioned by using a conche—a
surface scraping mixer and agitator that evenly distributes cocoa
butter within chocolate. “We’ll use that chocolate to make a
mousse,” she says. “So it’s like having an old fashioned with a
cherry gelée insert, plus some cherry candy on the plate.”
CHURROS AND CHOCOLATE
Since launching a pastry career in her native Venezuela
almost two decades ago, Ilma Lopez has been testing chocolate
varieties and exploring their varied flavor profiles. Today, Lopez
and her husband Damian Sansonetti are chefs/owners of Piccolo
and Chaval, both in Portland, Maine.
Lopez occasionally caramelizes white chocolate, noting that
the milk solids get nice and toasty, like dolce de leche. She says,
however, that the darker the chocolate, the less milk/cream it
contains, so instead of caramelizing, it burns.
In thinking of chocolaty dough iterations, she conjures up
a chocolate cinnamon roll, a combo of butter, dark chocolate,
sugar and black pepper with a cream cheese frosting topped with
chocolate shavings. She suggests using dutched chocolate for the
Currently, her top-selling dessert is churros—two large
fried-dough custard pastries per portion topped with warm dark
chocolate sauce and a sprinkle of sea salt.
As corporate pastry chef for ICON Hospitality, Galloway,
New Jersey, Karen Dalbora focuses on keeping things simple
and delicious. Her favorite chocolate pastry creation is The
Jubilation Cake, from a recipe passed along by a mentor.
“It’s made with buttermilk and chocolate paste prepared
from dutched cocoa powder and water that we cook down to
almost a pudding consistency,” she says. She chooses cocoa
paste to avoid having to adjust for the fats in the chocolate.
Once the cake is removed from the oven, she immediately
soaks it in homemade rum caramel. “The caramel is hot, the
cake is hot,” Dalbora says. “Just pour the caramel over the cake,
and it soaks into all its pores.”
It’s finished with ganache, plated, and served with an ice-cold glass of milk.