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Death by Chocolate: Examining the Top Chef Just Desserts 

Photo Credit: Bravo

Now that I have my notes, I thought it might be fun to take a more in-depth look at what the cheftestants presented as their luxurious chocolate desserts for this week’s elimination challenge.

Morgan: Chocolate Fried Pie w/Milk Chocolate Bourbon Flan

Just what is flan? It’s similar to a quiche or a custard tart that is often described as an open-topped pie. I don’t like pie and I don’t like Morgan so don’t think I would have liked his dessert.

Heather C: Bittersweet chocolate torte with a mini whoopee pie

How is a torte different from a tart? And what’s a whoopee pie? I turn to epicurious for answers. A torte is a little or no-flour cake made with ground nuts or bread crumbs. A tart is a shallow pastry crust will no top and filling.

Wikipedia tells us a whoopee pie is a cookie cake with frosting filling. The cake is usually chocolate but sometimes pumpkin. Jacques tells the other judges he’s never had a whoopee pie. Neither have I.

Just where did the brownie come from? The Nibble tells us the brownie was birthed right here in the US. It’s more cookie bar than cake.

So what’s the deal with fondant? Wikipedia tells us it’s a combo of sugar and water usually used as a filling or coating for cakes.

It didn’t look like much to me but the judges call it complex with a lot of texture.

What does can tea add to your dessert? Sally Bernstein tells us tea can add a subtle flavor to baked goods. The secret is to concentrate it. The judges loves the teardrop shape  but even Tania admitted the consistently of the mousse was way off. Johnny wasn’t impressed.

Danielle: Chocolate Tart with Hazelnut brittle & banana

The judges think you have to work to get the right bite. The components aren’t exciting separately. Together it’s pretty interesting.

Seth: Madras Curry & Chocolate Palette with Raspberry Gelee

What is a gelee? Merriam-Webster defines it as a cosmetic gel. I like to think of it as a jelly since that’s a bit more appealing, at least to me.

Why is there custard in my ice cream? The Wright Recipes tells us of a French technique that uses a custard as an ice cream base. I’m not convince I’d try it and the judges find fault with it.

Tim: Chocolate Cake with Ganache & White Chocolate Cream

Ganache is so much fun to say and it’s simply another word (a French word that literally means jowl) for an icing or filling made from chocolate and cream. The judges think the cake is dense but the flavor is good.

According to CDKitchen nougatine is candy made of caramel syrup and nuts. I could get on board with that. The judges say it screams chocolate. I can’t remember if they looked pleased or not when they made that comment.

Erika: Chocolate Banana Caramel Crunch Bar 

I like chocolate, banana, caramel, and crunch. Sounds like a winner to me. Some people might think you can only bake banana bread using bananas but Ezinearticles tells us just how versatile they really are.

The judges think the crunch delivers a pow.

Gail asks to see Seth, Heather H. and Zac.

Zac’s dessert:

Johnny: Well conceived and thought out.

Dannielle: A party in her mouth

Jacques: Don’t blow on the desserts.

Heather’s dessert:

Johnny: Loved the aesthetic. Well-balanced.

Jacques: Crunch was a good surprise.

Seth’s dessert:

Dannielle: Curry for dessert worked.

Heather H. takes the first elimination challenge win. As you already know, Tania is sent packing.

This year’s winner will receive a feature in Food & Wine, a showcase at the annual Pebble Beach Food & Wine festival, a Buick regal, and 100K from Godiva.

Some lines I enjoyed:

“Being a pastry chef is not all fondant and frosting.”

“Pastry is a science. You can’t just wing it.”

“Making dessert is like giving birth to a baby.”

Yigit: Flourless Chocolate Genoise with Custardless Ice Cream

What is brittle? It’s exactly what it sounds like. Flat brittle candy, broken into pieces embedded with nuts or legumes.

Tania: Flourless Chocolate Torte with Earl Grey & White Chocolate Mousse

Zac: Chocolate Fondant “Brownie Sundae”

If the word mousse is in it, I’ll put it in my mouth. The judges called this dish more elegant and were impressed that Heather thought about plating.

Heather H.: Dark chocolate mousse torte with chocolate grand marnier sauce

An ancho chile is a dried poblano. It’s used to bring some heat.

The judges think the brownie is very moist and rich but not decadent enough. I’m not a fan of brownies but the ginger and cinnamon would have gotten me to at least take a nibble.

Eric: Spiced brownie with ancho chile, ginger & cinnamon

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