Dessert, the grand finale of the Chef’s Table at Mohonk Mountain House is truly spectacular and at some point in your life, you deserve it.
After polishing off ten amazing savory courses, including a cheese course with “carbonated” grapes—yup, they distract you by making a preview dessert–little ice cream magic with homemade mini ice cream cones and liquid nitrogen, which essentially turns anything creamy into ice cream in a flash.
While you’re enjoying the cones, two giant strips of matting cover the table. The head pastry chef, Audrey Billups starts the dessert by coming along with a glass full of chocolate sauce which she artistically blobs and smears the length of the surface
Behind her, another chef with a vial of mango puree, dashing and dribbling alongside the chocolate.
They repeat this, building the dessert by adding crème frâiche, pistachio cream, bits of frozen raspberries, and squares of Amaretto jelly.
Over that are dustings of brown butter crumbs, oatmeal crumble, cocoa, the thinnest sheets of blueberry, and and and…
When it’s decided that the table is properly decorated (or more likely they’ve run out of space), meringues, gilded and filled with white chocolate and strawberries are placed in front of each diner.
That’s followed by a small hockey puck of dark chocolate cake and just when you think they’ve run out of stuff — a blob of frozen chocolate mousse is plopped down and smashed, sending the shards through all the different flavors.
The idea of this dessert extravaganza is to do exactly what your mother told you never to do—play with your food!
Smear the chocolate cake through the mango and chocolate purees and hope to pick up a bit of frozen raspberry on the journey.
Try sticking the meringue with some of the blueberry paper and hmm, maybe the crème frâiche.
Or, what turned out to be my favorite, the brown butter crumbs on almost anything, but especially the frozen chocolate mousse fragments and the chocolate sauce.
There’s no one, even in my group of chefs, who isn’t smiling.
And, even after the ten or so previous courses, there’s no one who didn’t clean their place.
Okay, so we do still listen to our mothers.