By Ryan Butler
In the realm of professional kitchens, the unwritten rule is never to cook food that is out of season in your region. This is especially important in the dessert world where fruit is often the centerpiece of a dish and the year round availability of green house produce, imports from around the world, and chemically-enhanced fruit can be very enticing. But in reality, using a strawberry in January that was trucked in from Mexico and treated with who knows what to keep it crimson red, is not only just plain wrong, but unnecessary.
Avoiding what’s wrong and cooking seasonally requires creativity. In the summer, when local fruits are abundant, that creativity is channeled into considering new and interesting ways of presenting the fruits with minimal manipulation to showcase their natural flavors and textures. In the winter (particularly in the northeast) when product is scarce, thereby making options limited, tasty and beautiful desserts are still achievable. Winter is a great time to reach for those exotic, tropical fruits which, for the most part, have no seasonality up here as they are always shipped in. This time of year we look at ways to work with the imported produce and employ a multitude of spices. It’s an opportunity to offer diners the experience of tangy palate-popping passion fruit, the versatile pineapple, and the beloved coconut.
Passion fruit is one of those flavors that you either love or hate. Mixing it with bitter chocolate tames the sour notes and works especially well in a creamy ganache. Wintery spices such as cinnamon and clove give the sensation of studded orange peel as in spiced passion fruit custard.
Pineapple is the workhorse of the tropical fruits and is great caramelized, roasted, or Continue Reading…