Monday, December 06, 2010

A trip to DessertTruck Works

Chocolate bread pudding with bacon custard sauce

I could taste the imprint of bacon in the custard sauce that had been poured over the chocolate bread pudding. I liked the savory touch in something that was so sweet. I had never tried the famous chocolate bread pudding of DessertTruck Works that was declared the winner on Throwdown with Bobby Flay in 2009.

I went along with The FCI's Dessert Club to DessertTruck Works to try their sweet treats on Friday, December 3rd. In 2007, FCI alum Jerome Chang and Chris Chen, a Columbia Business School MBA graduate, created DessertTruck with the goal of bringing gourmet desserts to the public in a mobile kitchen. This year, Chang opened the pastry shop/cafe at 6 Clinton Street. Besides bread pudding, the menu offers molten chocolate cake, doughnut holes, Pavlova, honey-rosemary ice cream, macaroons, as well as other delectables.

Jerome Chang, owner of DessertTruck Works
Chang is a proponent of fine dining in casual fare.

As far as the idea behind a food truck selling sophisticated desserts, Chang said, "We thought it was something in the zeitgeist. We thought 10 other people want to do this, but we wanted to be first."

"It's a democratization of food," he said.

What is Chang's advice for culinary students?

"Attitude. Keep your mouth shut. Always ask why, why, why. Ask yourself why so you can put your personality on a plate."

At the tasting, we enjoyed doughnut holes, slow-baked apples, and butternut squash ice cream.

Brioche donut holes
warm brioche doughnut holes alternately filled with vanilla cream and nutella

Butternut squash crepe

Butternut Squash crepe
butternut squash crêpe with butternut squash ice cream and roasted pumpkin seeds

Warm slow baked apples
slow-baked apple with puff pastry, cranberries, whipped cream, and vanilla ice cream

Tasting macarons

Pavlova with quince sorbet, candied grapefruit, pomegranate seeds, and whipped crème fraîche

For more photos, click here.

One of my favorites was the honey-rosemary ice cream. Chang had infused the rosemary into the ice cream base. The final product left a faint impression of the herb in your mouth. Chang said it was simple to make, but it's all about the execution.

He looked at us and emphasized, "Execution, guys. It's always the execution."

Dessert Truck Works

Jenny Lee-Adrian is a student in the Classic Culinary Arts program at The French Culinary Institute. She has a food blog called Hummingbird Appetite.

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