Behind the scenes with NOLA chef and rose water profiteroles

19 Oct

On my recent trip to lands far-away, culinary inspiration hit me hard. I love trying new foods, flavors and combinations. But I must admit that after two years of living in Buenos Aires, even a medialuna filled with dulce de leche was seeming exciting to me. But after travelling around the US for three weeks, seeing the variety and endless possibilities of tastes and textures, I knew I had to step out of my fruit pie comfort zone and do something different.

This must-needed change came in the form of a bottle of rose-water extract and a request from NOLA chef for profiteroles to serve as a dessert at her weekly Mexican pop-up night at Tout le monde café.

NOLA chef Mexican

I had never played with rose water before, mostly because I have traumatic childhood memories of a strongly-perfumed rose soap, but I won’t bore you with that story. Rose water is strong and must be used sparingly. A little goes a long way. It’s got an amazingly fresh and floral (duh) flavor that complements perfectly fresh fruit. I chose to go with strawberries since they are in season right now.

There’s a few ways you could infuse this dessert with the rose water…you could mix it directly in with the strawberries, but I wanted to complement the strawberries, not muddle the flavor. So, I added a few drops to my whipped cream. Rose water also goes amazing with dairy, so this was the perfect highlight to the light, fluffy cream. I think the addition of some cardamom seeds would have really taken this dessert to this next level, but I had left them at home, so I’ll have to try next time!Rose Water Profiteroles

These rose water profiteroles with strawberries were the perfect finish to Liza’s spicy mexican food, which is seriously the best Mexican in Buenos Aires. It’s not only the food that’s great, but the vibe a Tout le monde on Thursday is a mixture extranjeros and locals, munching tacos, bobbing heads to the punk/hip hop/jazz that Liza herself regulates from the kitchen, between tossing meat into a blazing pan with one hand and directing the kitchen like an orchestra master with a pair of kitchen tongs in the other hand.

NOLA chef

It’s always a nerve-wracking experience being in someone else’s kitchen. Different rules, different utensiles, different speeds. One slip-up and you could have the chef threatening to kill you, trust me – I worked as a waitress and was threatened many times in the heat of a dinner rush. But Liza kept her calm, still smiling as she showed me the proper way to chop cilantro. By the end of the night, I was putting together taco orders like a pro.

Guac NOLA chef

From both a client’s and a backstage helper’s point of view, I can say with all confidence that Tout le monde is the place to be on Thursday night!

Come around every Thursday, as Liza changes up the menu with a different weekly dish and dessert.

Rose water whipped cream

whipped cream always has a ratio of 100% heavy cream to 30% sugar, so adjust this recipe to your needs!

200 gr. heavy cream

60 gr. sugar

few drops of rose water, start with a bit and taste it as you add more

Beat ingredients until soft peaks form, use immediately.

Strawberries for profiteroles

1/2 kilo of strawberries, hulled and chopped in small pieces

4-5 tablespoons of sugar, depending on how sweet your strawberries already are

big squeeze of lemon

Mix all ingredients and let sit for at least 30 minutes.

Pâte à choux

1/2 cup (65 grams) flour

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) (57 grams) butter

1/2 cup (120 ml) water

2 eggs 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C).

Mix flour, sugar and salt in seperate bowl.

Boil water and butter. When water is boiling, remove from heat and throw the flour mixture in all at once.

Return to heat and stir continously until a ball forms and the dough starts to dry out a bit and leaves a skin on the bottom of the pan.

Transfer to another bowl and let rest until lukewarm, or you could beat the dough a bit to release the steam.

Mix up your eggs and little by little add the egg mixture to the dough. You may not need to use all of the eggs. The way you can tell your mixture is ready is by pinching a small piece of the dough between your thumb and forefinger and then pulling your fingers apart, if the dough snaps, it needs more egg, if it forms a long string without snapping too soon, it’s ready!

Pipe or spoon onto a baking sheet.

Depending on size, let bake until they are puffed up, then turn down the heat to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and let bake until golden brown.

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