We recently asked Laura Pyles, pastry chef at Revel in Seattle, to share her favorite desserts in the city. But as she was recently crowned The People's Best New Pastry Chef for the West Region by Food & Wine magazine, we'd be remiss to overlook her own creations.
Revel's dessert menu changes monthly, and as the city survived its usual April showers, it makes sense that May's theme is Flowers. The new menu includes Chocolate Malt Cake with blackberries and orange blossom crème anglaise, as well as Rose Panna Cotta with pistachio macaron and pink peppercorn honey. But thinking strawberries and cream for spring, I choose the Jasmine Buttermilk Tart with Strawberries and Chantilly ($7).
To start, Pyles puts dried jasmine and sugar in a Vitamix to make a jasmine-infused powdered sugar. This sugar goes on diced fresh strawberries, adding a floral sweetness to each bite of fruit. Strawberries also play a role in the Chantilly, as a puréed portion gets whipped with cream and powdered sugar to create a subtle pink color.
The star of the show, though, is the tart itself. The jasmine-sugar mixture is in the crust, giving it a seductive sweetness, while the buttermilk makes the filling terrifically soft and honey-like. The filling almost melts on the tongue, and Pyles likens the texture to ricotta. Enjoying all the components together, this dessert surpasses most strawberry shortcakes for me; the tart's richness is more decadent and more delightful.
About the author: Jay Friedman is a Seattle-based freelance food writer who happens to travel extensively as a sex educator. An avid fan of noodles (some call him "The Mein Man"), he sees sensuality in all foods, and blogs about it at his Gastrolust website. You can follow him on Twitter @jayfriedman.