Cooking with Cherry Blossoms: A Recipe from Saul Restaurant

Cherry Blossom Dessert Saul Restaurant

It’s one thing to whip up dishes with artichokes, asparagus or ramps — if you managed to roll out of bed early enough in order to snag some at the greenmarket, that is. But if you really want to prove your mettle with exceedingly seasonal ingredients, you’ll take a stab at this glorious cherry blossom dessert from Saul Restaurant in the Brooklyn Museum, created to celebrate the late April blooming of NYC’s collection of cherry trees. “Pickled cherry blossoms are popular in Japan, and when you pour hot water over them, they’re known as Sakurayu; a cherry blossom tea,” says pastry chef, Johana Langi. “Adding the tea to this dessert contributes an  interesting sour and salty dimension, one that really holds up to the chocolate and lavender. And the hazelnuts bind everything together.”

Chocolate, Lavender, and Cherry Blossoms

Courtesy of Pastry Chef Johana Langi

Mise en place: chocolate sauce, chocolate ganache, pickled cherry blossoms, caramelized cocoa nib, hazelnut cake, caramelized hazelnuts, chocolate chiboust, lavender ice cream

Chocolate Sauce

  • 1/2 cup Valrhona 61% chocolate
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Bring the heavy cream to a boil. Pour over chocolate and let it sit for one minute. Whisk to emulsify.

Hazelnut Cake

  • 1 2/3 cup hazelnut flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3ea. eggs
  • 3ea. egg yolks
  • 2ea. whites
  • 1 2/3 tablespoons sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • zest of one lemon

Mix the hazelnut flour, cornstarch, salt, and lemon zest together. Whisk the dark brown sugar, eggs, and yolks until fluffy. Make a meringue with the whites and sugar. Fold in the whites with the eggs. Fold in dries. Stream in butter. Try not to overmix. Bake at 300F for 20-25 minutes.

Chocolate Chiboust

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 5ea. yolks
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 3/4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 1/4 cup valrhona 70% chocolate
  • 3ea. gelatin sheets, silver strength

Heat milk, and whisk in yolks, sugar and cornstarch. Continue whisking. Let it boil for one minute and remove from heat. Add in chocolate and bloomed gelatin. Let it cool, and cover with plastic wrap. Make sure the plastic wrap is touching the surface, so it doesn’t develop a film.

  • 1 1/3 tablespoon inverted sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 8ea. egg whites

Whip whites in a mixer. Bring the sugar, invertedsugar, and water to 121C. Pour into egg whites. Continue whipping on high until the bowl is warm. Fold this meringue into the chocolate cream mixture. Pipe into molds and freeze. When ready to serve, unmold and torch the exterior, to give it a toasted marshmallow effect.

Lavender Ice Cream

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/8 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons dried lavender
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2ea. yolks
  • 2 teaspoons glucose powder
  • 2 teaspoons glucose syrup
  • pinch of salt
  • 1ea. vanilla bean

Boil the milk and cream, and add the lavender. Cover and let it infuse. Strain and add the sugars and yolk. Whisk and bring up to 85C. Add vanilla bean, blend and strain.


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