There are desserts and then there are culinary confections that engage all five senses – sight, touch, smell, taste and sound. Allow me to share one of those desserts with you today. The artful presentation is a feast for the eyes. The combined textures of soft cream and crunchy biscotti will touch and stimulate your lips. Blended aromas of coffee, chocolate and anise will delightfully tickle your nose. With ingredients of chocolate, Sambuca Sabayon cream, caramel-anise, almond biscotti and a shot of expresso I think we can all agree that taste is supremely engaged. But sound? Well, the sound of your contented sighs should be sufficient to cover that sense!
The heavenly dessert I’m referring to is the creation of Sirio Ristorante Pastry Chef, Monica Ng. Chef Ng has a colorful background, shaped by many cultures. Though born in China, she moved to South America at the age of three, which is where she spent the majority of her childhood. New York has since been her home for 18 years now and it is the place she feels most comfortable. And it is in New York at Sirio Ristorante where Monica has created this delightfully refreshing dessert to sweeten your remaining summer days.
The Affogato, has a frozen chocolate soufflé at its base with Sambuca Sabayon cream surrounding it, plus a caramel-anise croquant tube and almond biscotti. A piping hot shot of expresso is poured table side using the tube as a vehicle to guide the coffee to the bottom of the glass. When the hot liquid meets the sabayon cream it releases the aroma of coffee, chocolate and anise and kicks off that sensory journey I just described.
Although it isn’t chocolate, Chef Ng’s other summer dessert creation, the Panna Cotta alla Chamomile, is also a sensory feast. The dish is the perfect combination of fresh summer flavors. With chamomile infused panna cotta with nectarine compote, nectarine foam, vanilla crunch and Moscato wine jelly, it is herbal, light, creamy and fruity all at the same time.
Professional competition is a significant part of Chef Ng’s life. She competed in the Paris Gourmet US Pastry Competition several times and was also part of the Food Network’s series Sugar Dome. I would say with these heavenly confections, she is a winner.
Sirio Ristorante New York at the Pierre, A Taj Hotel is located at 795 Fifth Avenue at 61st Street, New York, NY 10065. www.siriony.com