When Pastry Chef Laura Herman set out to create a new dessert, she knew she wanted to give members at Shoreacres (Lake Bluff, Ill.) a beautiful and refreshing gluten-free offer inspired by the warmer weather.
The result was a tropical mousse with flavors of passion fruit, pineapple and a coconut rice pudding. Herman tells Club + Resort Chef all about the new recipe—and the support she received from fellow Shoreacres staff.
Club + Resort Chef (C+RC): What was the inspiration behind this dish?
Laura Herman (LH): Coming out of a Chicago winter, I was hoping to look forward to summer with these flavors. Also, being a gluten-free pastry chef, I always want to provide a composed plated dessert on our dessert menu that is gluten-free.
C+RC: How would you describe the flavors?
LH: This is such a nice, light dessert that has pops of flavors with the passion fruit and then the pineapple. Adding a surprise texture to the dish is where the rice pudding came into play. It is overall a refreshing dish for the members to finish their meal with.
C+RC: Why is this is an important or successful dish?
LH: I believe this dish is both. This dessert is a smart way to handle low volume that we currently experience in the spring at the club. I am able to freeze the mousse and prep the remaining components fresh and as needed. This helps with low waste and it is an easy plate up for PM staff, which is in important factor of managing the pastry department. This dish is successful because it provides a nice-looking dessert for our members while providing a cost-effective dessert for the club.
C+RC: What about this dish makes you most proud?
LH: I am incredibly supported at work from the Executive Chef, cooks, management, front-of-house staff and my lovely pastry assistant. So when I was working on this dish, I remember a point when I took a step back from the table, and half of the cooks were next to me with ideas, feedback and, of course, spoons so they could try it. When it all came together, I was happy to have what I imagined in my head come through on the plate. More importantly, I was proud of the dish because they were proud of it along with me.
C+RC: Do you think other pastry chefs will be inspired by the dish?
LH: I would like to think we are all always open to inspiration. That’s what makes platforms like Club + Resort Chef so valuable. We are unable to go dine at any club, so being able to share here opens the doors to see inside fellow clubs’ kitchens.
Click here for the recipe.