OK. Not really. But I did spend an hour with them. And about 50 other people!
That’s right, I pulled myself out of bed the day the Epcot Food and Wine Festival low-cost seminars went on sale and booked this one first! I’m a huge fan of Chef Gerhard’s and couldn’t wait to see what he and wife Chef Lisa Bailey would prepare! I knew they owned and operated d Bar Desserts in Denver, so I was assuming it’d be something delicious and sweet!
Dessert Sandwich Situation
After taking my seat in the seminar I was excited to read that we’d be watching Keegan and Lisa create a “Dessert Sandwich Situation.” What’s that? A combination of brioche, vanilla butter, raspberry compote, chocolate ganache, and almond ice milk. Sounds pretty delicious, right? I couldn’t wait for it to begin.
Before long, Pam Smith began chatting with the winemaker about Red Newt “Circle” Reisling — an added bonus, as I must admit that’s my favorite type of wine (which, apparently from their conversation, makes me a very strange wine-drinker as most discount Reisling as being too stuffy or too sweet…). I’d never tried Red Newt, and the “Circle” Reisling did have a stronger acidic bite to it than most. It complimented the super-sweet dessert really well, actually!
Soon, Pam was introducing Keegan and Lisa, who both came onto the kitchen stage with lots of energy — Keegan immediately opening up a bottle of…possibly Mountain Dew?
Chef Gerhard mentioned that one of his philosophies of dessert creation is “Warm, cool, creamy, crunchy.” These are the four feelings that should be happening in your mouth when you eat dessert! In this particular dessert, the warm is found in the brioche and ganache sandwich, which is pressed in a panini press and heated before serving. The cool and creamy is the found in the almond ice milk and raspberry compote. The crunchy is on top, in the almond garnish.
They immediately set to work on creating the Almond Ice Milk, scalding the milk and sugar and infusing the mixture with toasted almonds.
Once the flavor was infused, Chef Lisa Bailey mixed the drained almonds with powdered sugar. They’re used as a garnish after they’re baked!
Moving on then to the chocolate ganache that would be used as a little zing of chocolate flavor in the dessert sandwich, Keegan and Lisa began melting dark chocolate to mix with whole milk and cream.
Keegan soon added the cornstarch/milk slurry to thicken the ganache and the whisking commenced!
Ganache in process, the Chefs moved on to making vanilla butter and vanilla sugar! Yum! Keegan explained the importance of using high-quality vanilla (including the likely fact that the vanilla beans cost more than the rest of the ingredients combined).
The vanilla beans were scraped, and the seeds added to melted butter (to brush the brioche) and sugar (to use in the raspberry compote).
The raspberries were then prepared very simply by adding them to the vanilla sugar along with a bit of lemon zest.
Finally, the brioche was cut into circles using a handy-dandy wine glass after each piece was brushed with the melted vanilla butter.
From there, the slices were joined with ganache and placed into the panini press.
Once removed, they were topped with raspberry compote, almond ice milk, and a few sugared, baked almonds for garnish.
And here’s the final product!
The event was definitely worth the $10 I paid for it! While I sometimes don’t walk away from these seminars with very much new knowledge or inspiration, this particular event was presented with wit, style, and interesting banter. Chef Gerhard and Chef Bailey clearly know how to present clearly and effortlessly, while maintaining the interest of the audience. Little tidbits of information and takeaways were offered that could actually be applied in cooking and creating back home. I was duly impressed with this particular event, and I really felt that I knew Chef Gerhard and his work a bit better after taking part.
However, I will say that I think knowing a bit about the chef and his/her work before attending an event like this is key. It will allow you to take a more avid interest in what’s being done on the stage as well as have a bit of background on why s/he might have chosen to prepare the particular dish s/he did. I figure, if you’re paying money to see something like this, you might as well get all you can out of it. Do a little bit of research before you go — it will make the experience that much richer.
To see more of our 2010 Epcot Food and Wine Festival coverage, check out our 2010 Epcot Food and Wine Festival page! If you’d like to attend a seminar this year, check out the low-cost seminars and demonstrations page for info on how to book!