Lavender: Not Just Your Grandmother’s Bath Soap

Yes.  There is something innately soapy about lavender.  Even it’s Latin word origins come from the root, “to wash.”  But give me some chocolate and a bit of that blossom and we’ve got dessert.   The complex woody-floral flavors go together with sweets like Mario on Princess Toadstool.

I got on my lavender kick because of the book Wild Sweets, by Dominique and Cindy Duby.  Another result of this book is that I’m suddenly head over heals with plated desserts (That’s kitchen speak for desserts that come on plates…. Brilliant, I know.  In other words, they are desserts you might get at a restaurant, rather than in a bakery, handed across a counter).   The book combines contemporary plating designs with traditional baking techniques and sets my senses and salivary glands into overload.  Recipes like “Chocolate chestnut cream with anise fritters and ice-wine gelée,” or “White chocolate mousse, cherry biscuit and lemon confit,” are just samples of the mind-blowing deliciousness that spawn from this manual of wholesome, yet fashionable pleasures.

My discovery of Wild Sweets and newfound love of plated desserts has come in perfect conjunction with the current class at school, called “Restaurant Production Desserts.”  The class has given me the opportunity to experiment with ideas from this book and make them my own.  Our latest project was to create a dessert using apricots and I was pleased to discover a that the book contained a recipe for “Chocolate lavender cream, almond meringue and a chocolate apricot emulsion.”

My lovely team-member and I transformed the recipe into a small tasting plate with three, individual components.  We fabricated small chocolate cups filled with lavender, amaretto poached apricot, apricot ice-cream and the almond meringues with lavender cream, apricot cream, sprinkled with fresh lavender and just a little bit of dust…caramel dust.   Overall, we were quite pleased with our apricot inspired, lavender loaded creation.  Lavender has officially moved from popuri to the palate.

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