(This article appeared in the Spring 2020 issue of Pastry Arts Magazine)
When English peas start appearing on menus, it’s a sign that spring is almost here! While spring fruit is not always abundant in New England, I decided it was a great opportunity to showcase peas. Peas are slightly sweet and starchy, which lend themselves beautifully to creating a smooth and creamy ice cream. Paired with tres leches cake, sweet strawberries and bright notes of lemon, this strawberries and cream inspired dish is approachable, yet intriguing.
Yield: 12 servings
Buttermilk Soaking Mix
- 198 g sweetened condensed milk
- 284 g evaporated milk
- 200 g buttermilk
- Mix all ingredients together until combined. Reserve for soaking cake.
Tres Leches Cake
- 3 large eggs
- 156 g granulated sugar
- ½ vanilla bean
- 156 g cake flour
- 5 g baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 51 g whole milk
- Lightly spray twelve 2” square molds and cover bottoms with foil; set aside.
- Place eggs, sugar and vanilla in mixer fitted with whip attachment and whip until light, fluffy and doubled in volume.
- Sift dry ingredients together and gently fold into the egg mixture, followed by milk.
- Dispense batter into molds, filling them halfway.
- Bake at 350°F (177˚C) for 15-18 minutes, until golden brown.
- Once cool, trim and soak in buttermilk soaking mix.
Lemon Tarragon Curd
- ½ bunch fresh tarragon
- 100 g lemon juice
- 100 g granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 3 large egg yolks
- 20 g unsalted butter
- Blanch tarragon. Remove all large stems and wring dry between paper towels.
- Place lemon juice, sugar, eggs and yolks in a bowl and heat over a double boiler, whisking occasionally until thickened and mixture reaches 175°F (79˚C). Remove from heat and whisk in the butter.
- Strain through a chinois and chill over an ice bath.
- Place chilled curd and blanched tarragon in a high powered blender and puree. Restrain and reserve cold.
- ½ vanilla bean
- 76 g granulated sugar
- 114 g all-purpose flour
- 2 g salt
- 60 g unsalted butter, melted
- Scrape pulp from vanilla pod. Combine all dry ingredients and vanilla bean pulp in a bowl. Slowly add the melted butter and mix by hand until all ingredients are evenly incorporated. Sprinkle on sheet pan and bake at 325°F (163˚F) for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until light golden brown.
- 90 g strawberry puree
- 19 g simple syrup
- 10 g lemon juice
- 1 g salt
- 1 g Versawhip
- 0.15 g xanthan gum
- Mix strawberry puree with simple syrup, lemon juice and salt and adjust flavor as needed.
- Place seasoned strawberry puree in the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment.
Sprinkle Versawhip and xanthan gum over the puree. Whip on high to full volume (about tripled in size and pale in color). Place in a piping bag and reserve for plating.
Sweet Pea Ice Cream
- 518 g whole milk
- 165 g heavy cream
- 200 g frozen peas
- 120 g granulated sugar
- 50 g glucose powder
- 50 g milk powder
- 4 g ice cream stabilizer
- Finely grated zest of 1 small lemon
- 6g salt
- Place milk, cream and peas in small pot and bring to a simmer.
- Meanwhile, place dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. Once the milk simmers, remove from heat and place mixture in a blender and puree at high speed until smooth. Return puree to the pot and add dry ingredients, lemon zest and salt and bring back to a simmer. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Strain and cool over ice.
- Process in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions.
- 2 gelatin sheets
- 25 g granulated sugar
- 175 g water
- 7 g fresh tarragon
- 1 g salt
- Prepare 6” x 6” lid by lightly dampening with water and line with plastic wrap; set aside.
- Bloom gelatin in cold water.
- Place sugar, water and tarragon in a pot and bring to a simmer. Let infuse for 3 minutes off heat. 4. Add bloomed gelatin and salt. Strain and pour into prepared mold. Refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight, until set.
- When ready to use, cut into cubes with a paring knife. If gelée sticks to the knife, dip the knife into cold water before cutting.
- 70 g granulated sugar
- 150 g water
- ½ vanilla bean, split
- 12 fresh strawberries
- Heat sugar, water and vanilla bean until sugar is dissolved. Let cool completely.
- Thinly slice strawberries in rounds, and place in a container with the syrup. Let macerate together for 4 hours.
- Fresh strawberries, for garnish
- Fresh pea tendrils, for garnish
- Pipe the lemon curd in a swirling fashion down the left side of the plate. Place one soaked cake on the lemon curd, slightly above center, at a 45° angle.
- Arrange fresh strawberries on the plate in multiple piles, followed by macerated strawberries, allowing fruit to fall naturally.
- Nestle small cubes of the gelée in with the strawberries and along the line of sauce. Finish with a few piles of the vanilla crumble, including a small spoonful where the ice cream will rest.
- Scoop or quenelle the ice cream and place in desired location. Garnish with piped dots of the Strawberry Foam as well as fresh pea tendrils.
Photo credit: Lauren Haas