Thursday, December 27, 2012

Merci, Pierre Hermé!

Last month, I went to see Pierre Hermé speak at the Harvard School of Design on "The Architecture of Taste." He focused a lot on "flavor themes" and how he takes a theme and translates it into different dessert mediums. For example, ispahan -- a theme of rose, lychee, and raspberry -- looks different in a cake than it does in a macaron, than it does as nougat (see here).

Whenever he mentioned a new theme, I of course thought about what it would look like as an ice cream...wasabi and grapefruit; mascarpone, caramel, and amber; grapefruit, cloves, and nutmeg; peach, rose, and cumin. I want to be in his brain. 

He let me peek in there a little when he talked about how he's constantly being inspired by things he randomly encounters; the combination of grapefruit and cloves came from a perfume he had smelled. And so, since hearing Hermé, despite whether I've been looking for inspiration or not, I've been finding it just about everywhere -- at a candle shop in Union Square's holiday market; in a spice catalog a friend sent me; at farmers markets, restaurants, and even at CVS (St. Ives "Invigorating Apricot Scrub" also has corn and walnut in it). And, of course, the inspiration I found through attending his talk...

Two things that I left the event wanting to try:
- Meringue either mixed in or as a topping to almond ice cream, inspired by his macarons.
- Stroopwafels either as a mix-in or an ice cream sandwich, inspired by a picture of his liege. 

Oh, and I really can't talk about this event without trying to make your mouth water the way mine did when a plate of four desserts were set down in front of me. 

That one in the back left had candied grapefruit hiding in the middle of the cream filling. The soft spongey bottom of the lemon dessert in the back right had some cookie bits that surprised me in the second bite. The chocolate hazelnut was this ridiculously perfect combination of chewy, crispy and creamy. And, why yes, that glass with grapefruit purée does have wasabi marshmallows on top!


  1. Great post, Kase. I love that you're looking for inspiration everywhere - and finding it. xo.

    1. Thanks, Jess. Speaking of inspiration -- you! We should do that honey mascarpone ice cream sandwich collaboration soon!