celery are cousins, and I like to connect
related things,” she says. “This dessert
includes rhubarb consommé and rhubarb
marmalade, plus sabayon of celery juice,
celery leaf and Hendrick’s gin for its fresh
herbal flavor. We fold in crème fraîche prior
to freezing the custard.
“Imagine an almond bisquit—a
traditional sponge cake, but one that’s
heavier, without as many whites as
yolks—that’s the base, with celery leaf
parfait on top,” Murray explains. Then
there’s the frozen sabayon, topped with
Sally Minier crafts this Big Apple Crackle from matzo, kosher salt, caramel, bittersweet
chocolate and toasted almonds.
“I pipe mascarpone mousse along the
sides, with crisp meringue cookies
placed between the piping so it all
looks white around the outside. You
have to cut into the whole dessert to
get the contrast in texture,” she says.
“This vacherin dessert in a bowl should
have the consommé added around it
tableside rather than in the kitchen—
because it’s theater.”
of the salad. The plate is finished with
a small quenelle of strawberry or kaffir
lime sorbet on top of the cheesecake,
plus a sprinkling of brachetto granite
over the carpaccio.” Murray prepares her
granite from Brachetto d’Acqui, a deep-
magenta-hued sparkling dessert wine.
Rhubarb Tart—think pizza-size for this
version—is a quintessential springtime
pastry. To prepare, Pierce cuts rhubarb
into 3x½-inch batons, then tosses them in
organic sugar—one with a bit of molasses
in it, from Wholesome Sweeteners, Sugar
Land, Texas. “You don’t want to use the
leaves—they’re poisonous—and we cut
off the ends of the stalks since they’re
not pretty,” Pierce says. “We make a glaze
from the ends—just cook them down with
a bit of boiling water and sugar, then strain.
We’ll dot that on the tart to provide a bit of
Black Pepper Cheesecake, another of
Murray’s signature creations, she deems
her “celebratory salute to the opening of
the season.” It features strawberries with
a light cheesecake with chopped—not
ground—black pepper folded in.
BLOSSOMS AND FRUIT
Even where many curbside trees are
purely ornamental and bear no fruit, their
blossoms still herald spring’s arrival.
Stacie Pierce, pastry co-chef at Chez
Panisse, Berkeley, Calif., is quick to
gather the bounty. She is a proponent
of incorporating floral aspects into her
To prepare, Murray slices strawberries
thinly, then pounds them between plastic
to make a “carpaccio” to cover the plate.
“We place a strawberry salad in the
center of the plate and place a pistachio
sablé and cheesecake cylinder on top
“We’ll do a warm buckwheat crêpe
with different butters or ice cream.
Plum blossom ice cream—produced by
steeping the blossoms in the ice cream—
is an interesting flavor,” Pierce notes.
“Along with the warm crêpe and toasted
almonds, it’s a simple but interesting
dessert. It tastes like spring.”
After rolling out galette dough to fit a
parchment-lined pizza tray, she adds the
fruit, crimps around the edges, and bakes
on the floor of a 400°F oven. “From this
10-inch tart, we’ll cut nine or 10 slices to
plate with housemade vanilla, strawberry
or candied-tangerine ice cream.”
Later in the season, when cherries abound,
Pierce menus clafouti, a traditional
country-French dessert. “We’ll sauté