Saturday, October 13, 2012

Demo by Yigit Pura

Scharffen Berger is currently running a contest, dubbed the Chocolate Adventure Contest.  The contest is simple: create your best sandwich cookie, using Scharfen Berger chocolate, and at least one of the twelve "adventure ingredients", and submit the recipe.  A panel of celebrity judges will pick a winner.

To kick off the contest, they had several local celebrity pastry chefs create and demonstrate their own entries for the contest.  Attendance was limited, RSVP required, and you could only pick one.  So many great sounding desserts, how to pick?  In the end, I choose the demo by Yigit Pura.  Yigit just opened his own p√Ętisserie inside of Macy's a few weeks ago, and I of course attended the opening.  I wasn't impressed by the macarons I tried at that event, but he did win Top Chef: Just Desserts, and I've heard so many people saying great things about other things they've tried from his shop, that I decided to give him another try.

I'm so glad I did!  Not only was this perhaps the tastiest dessert I've ever had at a demo, it was by far the most amusing.  It made me want to go watch Top Chef: Just Desserts to see if he was as much fun on that show as he was in person.  He told many jokes throughout the presentation, which were clearly prepared, but didn't seem scripted.  This guy could very easily have his own TV show if he wanted.  He was enthusiastic, energetic, engaging, entertaining ... the list just goes on and on.  I think he charmed every member of the audience, young or old, male or female.  Such a personality!

But back to the demo.  He used several different types of Scharffen Berger chocolate in his recipe, and for the "adventure ingredients" he picked cocoa nibs and chili pepper.  He created a three layer masterpiece, dubbed "Chloe's Pasilla Spiced Cookie Sandwiches".  See below for my full review of the cookies.  They were incredible.  So incredible, that one women two seats down from me had a strange look on her face after eating hers.  When he asked, "What, were you not impressed?" she blurted out in response: "No ... I think I just had an orgasm!"  Oh my.
Action shot of Yigit giving me seconds.  Photo from http://amyactually.blogspot.com.
In recovering from that unexpected response, he checked in on everyone else to make sure we had all received one.  Myself, and the women next to me, jokingly shook our heads and said "no".  I thought it was clear we were joking, as we were in the very front, and had been served first, along with orgasm-lady.  Being a fine gentleman, he rushed over, grabbed the tray of remaining ones, and came down into the audience to deliver us more.  I felt bad and quickly corrected and said we'd already gotten one, but he just laughed and gave us the tray.  The Macy's folks quickly put a stop to this as they couldn't actually give a second one to everyone.  Oh well, we sure lucked out.  Another blogger was in the row behind me, and got a great action shot of this.  You can see me eagerly going for seconds!

Now, I must get back to the p√Ętisserie to try out more of his treats.  He is clearly a talented guy!

Chloe’s Pasilla Spiced Cookie Sandwiches: Pasilla chili-infused Scharffen Berger chocolate ganache, cacao nib mudslides, chocolate shortbreads.
The cookie sandwiches were made up of 3 components.  The bottom was the cocoa nib mudslide.  The filling was the ganache.  And they were topped with chocolate shortbreads.

Every single layer of these was amazing and would have been delightful on their own.  And assembled into the sandwich?  Too many tasty things in one bite!

First, let's start with the mudslides.  When I originally read the description, I thought we were getting served a little alcoholic beverage with our cookies.  Nope!  The mudslides were the base layer, basically, an incredibly fudgey, almost gooey, brownie-like cookie.  They were my favorite component.  Inside the cookie was dried tart cherries, which went really well with the chocolate, which both flavored the cookie, and appeared as extra chunks.  Cherries and chocolate are such a good pairing, and the use of tart cherries rather than sweet ones just elevated the flavors that much more, as it balanced out the flavors, rather than just adding sweetness.  They were then rolled in the nibs, giving a delightful crunch.  These things were amazing.  I could have eaten an entire tray of them.

Inside was the ganache.  He described the process like making a custard, or really intense chocolate pudding.  In fact, he passed around a container of just the ganache for us to enjoy by the spoonful.  I can't imagine eating an entire bowl full of it on its own (duh, it would need some whipped cream!), but it was really smooth, really chocolately, and had a nice kick from the pasilla chilis.

And then on top, was a tiny little chocolate shortbread.  They were buttery and everything a shortbread should be.

The whole thing was dusted with powdered sugar.

These were really, really good.  Chocolate was clearly the theme, as every component was just screaming CHOCOLATE!  DARK CHOCOLATE!  NOMS!
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