The New Bakers Dozen
Table wine and dessert pairing

The The Bakers Dozen: Table wine and dessert pairing
By Mikeh (Mikeh) on Saturday, February 12, 2000 - 12:09 pm: Edit

I need some ideas for desserts to pair with table wines. I'm pretty much at a loss since these wines are all on the dry side -- chardonnay, cabernet, merlot, etc.. no sauternes, muscats, or ports. I'm guessing that I'm going to have to go with a more savory dessert since anything sweet will overpower the wine.

Does anyone have any other guidelines or can you point me to a good reference book?

W. DeBord, what kinds of wines were at the tasting you did a couple of months ago? Did you find any desserts that went really well with dry wines?

By Moumen (Moumen) on Saturday, February 12, 2000 - 03:33 pm: Edit

Big bold cabs go very well with dark chocolate, we make a triple chocolate bread pudding with a venge cab 1996. Rieslings mostly dry Alsacian style ones go very well with cobblers and crisps, try a peach or cherry cobbler with these.Big luscious Zinfandels do very well also with berry desserts. Let me know if you need more info I check in twice daily.
Aloha Moumen

By tj on Saturday, February 12, 2000 - 03:39 pm: Edit

i remember that one of the "thuries" magazins was just about that, pairing wines with desserts and cakes .i`ll try to find it in my library and see what was in it...

By W.DeBord on Saturday, February 12, 2000 - 11:44 pm: Edit

Mikeh I really couldn't find out. It turned out that they invited several companies, they each handled their sampling independant of us. I pretty much went for my usual mix. It's too late now for me to remember what I went with, but I'll post some for you when I get some rest.

By Mikeh (Mikeh) on Wednesday, February 23, 2000 - 02:27 am: Edit

Thanks for your help regarding the pairing. I needed the info to show a basic knowledge of the subject for a competition I was trying to get into. The good news is that I made it in, and now me and fifteen other people are going to be paired up with individual wineries to develop a homemaker-level complexity dessert for one of the winery's table wines. We have to develop an original dessert and prep 350 tasting size portions for the judging day. This is an exciting challenge as I never done such volume before, especially with no kitchen facilities onsite.

By W.DeBord on Wednesday, February 23, 2000 - 07:54 am: Edit

I'm so sorry Mikeh, I forgot this thread until I saw your post this morning. If you still want it I could post the desserts I chose for my wine tasteing.

Congratulations!! What are you going to make?

By Mikeh (Mikeh) on Wednesday, February 23, 2000 - 09:50 am: Edit

Yes, I'd like to see the desserts that you did.

I have no idea what I'm going to make. One of the interesting things about the contest is that each of us gets paired with a distinct winery. Until I visit the winery, I won't know what kind of wine I am working with. I'll be sure to keep you guys posted. The top prize is $1500 + a case of wine, and they have several other prizes with 1/2 cases.

By W.Debord on Thursday, February 24, 2000 - 10:33 pm: Edit

I keep getting kicked off so I'll be breif:
Princess Tart, florentine cookies, white choc. opera cake, apple charlotte, pear pecan napoleons, strawberry chocolate mousse cake, apricot tartlets, chocolate almond torte and flan.

Playing with wine and cheese concept I poured white choc. ganache in 8" ring, let set, then cut rings out to look exactly like swiss cheese. Placed that on top of choc. almond torte and cut into wedges. Then made mice out of bar cookie oval with scoop of mousse on top, coated with ganche and used almonds for ears and drew on other features. I put "cheese" on tall cake platters in center of table and put "mice" playfully around cheese then used mice to garnish other items too.

By Moumen (Moumen) on Saturday, February 26, 2000 - 07:59 pm: Edit

Hi Mikeh
Let me know what winery you get paired with and I might be able to help.I sort of specialize in these things and they happen to be quite fun we you really get into it.Just remenber you are trying to complement the taste in the wine not match it in an overpowering way. Let me know.
Aloha Moumen

By Mikeh (Mikeh) on Sunday, February 27, 2000 - 01:30 am: Edit

Each of the 16 participants is paired with a unique Livermore Valley winery (California) -- the Livermore Valley Wine Association is sponsoring it as part of their annual festival. I've been selected to work with Retzlaff Vineyards. I go to visit the owner and tasting room manager tomorrow to taste the wines. Here is my plan of attack for the contest. I'd love some feedback on it.

Tomorrow I'm going to taste the wines. I requested a blind tasting, since I don't want my preconceived notions to bias my tasting. Then I'm going to discuss the characteristics that I've noted with the winery people. Their input will be invaluable, especially since I'm not very experienced at wine tasting.

I have until April 3rd to develop a recipe and submit it for publication in the program. I'll do research over the next week, brainstorm possible pairings, and bake a bunch of different recipes on the weekend that I think might go well with the wine I've chosen. I could really use the input of the people here on this one.

Finally, I'll take one or two recipes that have the best potential, research the published variations and start to develop my own.

Does this sound like a good strategy?

Cheers, Mike

By Moumen (Moumen) on Sunday, February 27, 2000 - 08:53 pm: Edit

Aloha Mike,
The blind tasting a great idea, you should also see if you can have a session afterward with the winemaker since he will give the most insight on what it is he is trying to make the wines taste like. Trust your instincts, they will never fail you. Also during youe bake offs try to sample some of the wine with your final results as individual creations but also as combinations, You probably already know that bloopers are sometimes our bast creations so why not make wild combos to see what happens. Just remenber the process should be fun, not nervous breakdown material. Another idea would be to gather a few friends and have them taste these things in a blind setting. Good luck, let me know how it goes.
Aloha Moumen

By Mikeh (Mikeh) on Tuesday, March 07, 2000 - 04:47 pm: Edit

Update on the contest:
I'm working on pairing a white wine mousse with a fairly light chardonnay that has only a hint of oak. The mousse ends up doing a great job of pulling the fruity notes from the wine.

I'm looking for comments/advice on two problems.

First, I'm working on a mousse that uses whipped cream for aeration and a mousse that uses Italian meringue. The Italian meringue stands up to the robust flavor of the wine better, but I'm afraid that the cooked sugar may go against me because of the directive to keep the recipes simple. Do you think this is too difficult for a homemaker?

Second, I'm not sure what to pair with the dessert. I'm looking for something for texture and something for color -- of course, they both have to complement the dessert and the wine. I could do a tuille cup or something, but it seems to cliche. Any cool ideas? A caveat is that I have to do a plated presentation and then 350 tasting samples, all without help or onsite kitchen. I could easily pipe the mousse into 2 oz. portion containers, but how would I effectively incorporate any components used for texture or color?

Cheers, Mike

By Ramodeo (Ramodeo) on Tuesday, March 07, 2000 - 05:02 pm: Edit

The sugar syrup/meringue thing might work for the average homemaker if you can use the method from The Cake Bible. Ms. Beranbaum uses corn syrup in place of sugar/water syrup in her Neoclassic Buttercream. To replace a syrup made with 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water, she combines 3/4 cup sugar with 1/2 cup corn syrup and brings it to a boil. She says that when it boils it is at exactly 238 degrees, no need for a candy thermometer. However, this is used in an egg yolk based buttercream, and she uses regular sugar syrup in her meringue buttercreams. I would think that the method would be worth a try for a meringue mousse, don't you?
Good Luck! R.

By MikeH on Wednesday, March 08, 2000 - 01:56 am: Edit

Thanks for the tip. Today, a chef at school suggested that I look up the same recipe and try the technique. I'll let you know how it works out.

Cheers, Mike

By W.DeBord on Wednesday, March 08, 2000 - 08:16 pm: Edit

Mike "I don't know what to pair with the dessert" meaning your wine mousse.

Here are a few ideas that aren't too complicated but taken a bit farther...turning your mousse into a semi friedo (I can't spell) layered with cake, using it in a chiboust over fruit and carmelizing, using it in a frozen souffle, pairing it over a fruit tartlet, layered with a pear mousse in a petite charlotte....

First finish your taste and plated presentation than we can help you simplify how you can make samples for 350.

By Panini (Panini) on Friday, March 10, 2000 - 07:07 pm: Edit

Do your samples have to be a miniature of the plate? Have you made the mousse with the meringue?Is it not sweeter? Will the chardonnay flavor leave the palate before the sweet? I'm very interested to see which way you go to present it.
Have you thought of going away from sweet and maybe earthy, sweet potato basket,bellini shell sp?, cannoli dough,?
babysit the corn syrup and sugar when its comming up, it seems to move faster than the sugar h2o.
Good luck,

By Mikeh (Mikeh) on Monday, March 20, 2000 - 01:08 am: Edit

The corn syrup and water method works great for making meringue, but it's a moot point since I decided to dump the mousse. The mousse tastes fabulous on its own, but it doesn't work at all with the wine. For some reason the mousse made the wine really astringent, almost tannic. Does anyone know why this might have happened? Regardless, I've come up with something new.

I'm doing a cold sabayon with rhubarb and myers lemons. I've got the sabayon adjusted so that it bridges perfectly between the wine and the fruit. I did a taste test today with a couple of pastry chefs at school, and they are in agreement.

Here's a description of the dessert, and now I'm looking for some help on both naming it and the plated presentation. The rhubarb is bias cut and then tossed in sugar. Toss it is sugar and wait until the sugar liquifies. Saute over moderate heat until just a touch of crunch is left. Spritz with the juice from the myers. Arrange on the plate and nap with the sabayon. The sabayon has a touch of whipped cream folded in for stability and it helps pair with the wine.

For my samples I'm going to pipe it into 2 oz. portion cups and decorate with some of the rhubarb. For the plated presentation I need something simple to spruce it up. The keyword here is simple -- the contest organizers have really stressed simplicity for the homemaker.

As always, your comments are appreciated.

Cheers, Mike

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