Tag Archives: salt in desserts

Okay, Fine, I’ll Say It Again: Put Some Salt in That Dessert

13 Mar
The scene of the crime.

The scene of the crime

Dinner at Bonefish Grill was quite successful last evening.  The Beloved bowed to my strange, non-seafoody ways and let me order the southwest chicken egg roll things for an appetizer.  I know that most restaurants serve a version of these things, but I just love them.  And what’s not to love?  Fried dough + chicken + beans + peppers = yum.

The Beloved then got Down to Business with some rare tuna with mango salsa (to which I said, “Shouldn’t that be roast duck?”  That Geico commercial was my favorite ever).  I had their new sirloin with some crazy-good, cheesy, panko topped au gratin potatoes.  (The sirloin was cooked to a perfect medium rare, but it bled out on the plate when I cut into it because they hadn’t let it rest long enough).  I did manage to eat some green leafies, in the form of a Caesar salad.  I know it’s not the healthiest salad in the world, but it was quite good.  I need to get them to NOT use parmesan from a green can, though.  I think that, for ten bucks they could probably get away with 3-4 nice shavings of real parm on their salad, but what do I know?

So, we drank wine and laughed and talked and ate and ate.  It was lovely.  And then Brooke, our delightful server, appeared across the room with a Thing with a Candle stuck in it.  She was behind The Beloved, and I told him what was coming.  He was braced for some hand-clapping obnoxiousness, but Brooke just set down what turned out to be a creme brule and said that because it was his birthday, he gets a complementary brule.  And they didn’t even check hisID; they just believed me when I said I was taking him out for his birthday! I’m just saying that the Unscrupulous among us might make off with a free dessert at Bonefish.

Friends, I try and keep my penchant for salt under wraps.  I really do.  As hard as it might be for some of you to believe, sometimes I come off as a bit of a nut job extolling people to put salt in their desserts.  And, it was The Beloved’s birthday, so I really just should have left it alone.  But I could not.  I took one bite of this thing and was Very Sad.  The texture was perfect.  The caramelized sugar offered a satisfying crack! when I plunged my spoon through it.  The custard was nice and cool on the bottom and still a bit warm on top from the torching.  In short, it was just about perfect.  And then I put it in my face, and the whole thing just fell flat.  Even The Beloved was all, “Where the hell is the salt?”

We also ordered some big flourless chocolate brownie, raspberry sauce, macadamia nut kind of thing, and the hapless dude who brought it to us had to hear my harangue about the salt.  I told him more or less what I just told you guys–that it was perfect, and perfectly flat.  I told him that I knew it was probably a corporate recipe but that someone should just “accidentally” throw some salt into the mix.  He said that I was right!  That he had tasted it and thought it was boring and agreed that salt would make sense since it “wakes up the palate!”  Go, Chad (or whatever your name was).

So then, Brooke came back, and I just couldn’t leave well enough alone.  I launched into the whole salt thing with her.  I even shamelessly played the Pastry Chef Card, so she would know that I kind of know what I’m talking about.  I found out that Frank makes the creme brule, and I told her to tell old Frank to add just a little bit of salt at a time to the mix until it was perfect.  And, you know what, I think she might tell old Frank that, and I think old Frank will give it a whirl.  And I bet that, if you go to the Bonefish Grill on Weston Parkway in North Cary and order the creme brule, it will be some of the best you’ve ever had.  As long as Frank doesn’t let me down.  As a matter of fact, if you do go there and order the creme brule and it’s all flat and dumb, ask to speak to Frank and see what he has to say for himself.

Oh, about the brownie–it needed some salt, too, but it was still pretty good, mostly because the macs were salted.  The raspberry sauce needed either salt, lemon juice or both.  The other saltiest thing on the plate was the ice cream, and that’s saying something.

When I was all sick-but-at-the-beach-anyway a couple of weeks ago, my friend ordered a piece of German Chocolate Cake.  Flat, flat, flat.  She sprinkled salt on it, and it was all of a sudden Way Better.  So, of course I told the server to tell someone in the kitchen that the cake needed salt.  She was like, “Salt?!  Really?  I would never have thought of that!”  Sometimes, I just despair.  Alas, will my work ever be done?  Please help me spread the word, people.

And, if you’re not putting salt in your desserts–fruity, vanilla-y, chocolate-y, cake-y or otherwise–please just add some already.  I need some tea.

For the Love of Mike, Put Some Salt in That Stuff!

18 Nov
Don't Be Afraid of Salt

Don't Be Afraid of Salt

I am on a crusade.  A salt crusade.  Salt has been so maligned that some people are not using it at all.  And those that do add a meager grain or two to a pot of stew wouldn’t dream of adding any to their favorite dessert recipe.  I would very much like to change all of that.  Salt is an absolutely vital ingredient in the pastry kitchen.  In the professional kitchen, we put salt in everything.  I don’t mean we measured a 1/2 teaspoon to everything.  Rather, we added a bit and tasted, then added a bit more and tasted, adding just enough salt to each dish–or each component of a dish–to bring out the depth and complexity of the food to best effect.

I implore you, please read my treatise on the importance of salt.  Comment there, or here, about your thoughts on using salt in desserts.

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