A few weeks ago, Daniel and I had the opportunity to try a dessert at Uchiko that hadn’t yet made it onto the menu: a white chocolate sphere enclosing a coconut mousse and raspberry center, surrounded by Thai chili foam and lime sorbet. From the very first bite, it was heaven, each flavor carefully balanced by every other element on the plate. It’s desserts like these that make me realize there are so many exquisite pastry chefs who are doing things I couldn’t possibly imagine. Yogurt spheres? Check. Tobacco cream? Check.
And then a second thought comes to mind: for all your molecular gastronomy this and sous vide that, sometimes, I just want a really great chocolate cupcake. Some desserts will never have the haute cuisine chops of an opera cake or a mille feuille—but goodness, if they taste as decadent and comforting and sinful as a chocolate cupcake, who cares?
In lieu of icing, I used ganache (1 pound chocolate to 1 cup of heavy cream), which—though well-intentioned—was more trouble than it was worth, because ganache, of course, hardens significantly when refrigerated. Next time, I’ll try whipping ganache before frosting. Nevertheless, I remain a staunch ganache loyalist, preferring it to buttercream or Swiss meringue—it’s richer but not quite so saccharine. The chopped pistachios, of course, add a bit of crunch and lovely pop of color!