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 Post subject: Ideas for tarts for a fancy restaurant
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 12:34 pm 
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My husband and I went out to a somewhat fancy Italian restaurant (pretty fancy for this area, anyway) this week to celebrate our anniversary, and when our server told the head chef I was vegan, he created the most amazing dish for me (risotto with tomatoes, mushrooms, brussels sprouts and basil with a giant wedge of roasted kabocha squash - my mouth waters every time I think about it). Then he came out to our table after the meal to see how it was. We got to talking, found out we had a mutual friend, and it came up that I am a vegan baker. He said he's been getting about 5-6 vegan covers a night, and is wanting to add a vegan dessert to the menu, but he's just not a baker. He's interested in an individual tart sort of thing, and said if I come up with 2-3 ideas he'd love to try them. WHAT?!

Okay, so that's where I need some opinions. Here is what I have come up with, but I'd love any input or other ideas:

The Berry Creme Tart from the PPK blog (maaaaaybe with a non-chocolate crust?). I've never made it, so obviously I would have to do a test-run first. My only concern is my local agar supply seems to have dried up, but of course I can always order online.

The Pear Frangipane Tart done in minis from VPITS. I made that one in testing and I think it is amazing.

Something chocolate. Maybe Salted Chocolate Caramel? Chocolate Mousse? Chocolate-Orange Hazelnut?

Halp! I am super nervous and really want to make something great. I'm trying to avoid anything too pricey in ingredients (so maybe no hazelnuts after all), keeping in mind that I have to make my time and money back, and then he has to make a mark-up as well. If you were to buy a dessert after a nice meal, what would you want?

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 Post subject: Re: Ideas for tarts for a fancy restaurant
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 1:01 pm 
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I was going to suggest a chocolate and salted caramel one. I see you've already thought of that, but it's what I'd go for if I was eating out, for sure. You're the baker, but I'd probably do it like a layer of thick salted caramel under a dense chocolate mousse type layer, and then with a few grains of dense sea salt sprinkled on top.

All the other ideas sound great, too. I just gravitate toward chocolate!

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 Post subject: Re: Ideas for tarts for a fancy restaurant
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 1:44 pm 
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You shouldn't be nervous, you should be excited to show off your mad skills! I would totally go for Salted Chocolate Caramel.


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 Post subject: Re: Ideas for tarts for a fancy restaurant
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 2:02 pm 
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If the cost of hazelnuts is prohibitive, perhaps a chocolate-orange tart without? Would almonds be any cheaper - and a workable substitute?

I thought immediately of fruity tarts, but I'm a fruit bat. After a fancy meal the chocolate would probably have a wider appeal? Just as a guess. Chocolate also has the advantage of never going out of season.


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 Post subject: Re: Ideas for tarts for a fancy restaurant
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 2:22 pm 
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I love the thought of both the Pear Frangipane Tart and the Salted Chocolate Caramel one. I know I am outnumbered in this area but I really don't like the fruit and chocolate combo and so often that is the only option available that is vegan. I think it would be awesome to make something that people would be surprised is vegan and hopefully lots of people would order it even if they don't care that it is vegan! Good luck, you have amazing baking skills and every time I look at your porn I drool!


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 Post subject: Re: Ideas for tarts for a fancy restaurant
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 2:46 pm 
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The Pear Frangipane Tart is divine, seems super fancy, and impresses!
A good Italian meal always leaves me wanting chocolate for dessert. I approve of mouse. I think chocolate hazelnut would be the perfect finale to a nice Italian meal. How about a hazelnut tart crust with chocolate mouse filling? Maybe a chocolate hazelnut crust, or maybe chocolate hazelnut mouse filling. I don't know if thats getting to be overkill. Almond would be pretty good if it's cheeper than hazelnut. Or almost any fruit: chocolate goes great with orange, strawberry, raspberry, cherry, banana!

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 Post subject: Re: Ideas for tarts for a fancy restaurant
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 2:47 pm 
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I've had this pinned for ages and it looks amazing, but I've never tried it. Maybe something like this? http://www.willcookforfriends.com/2012/04/vegan-dulce-de-leche-salted-caramel.html

ETA: Whatever you make, you're gonna knock their socks off!

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Last edited by lepelaar on Sun Dec 16, 2012 2:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Ideas for tarts for a fancy restaurant
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 2:49 pm 
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I think a chocolate mousse tart would be great, because if they wanted to vary it by season, they could dress it with raspberries or do an orange one. Did you see that video on how to make chocolate mousse with straight up chocolate and water (or whatever flavoured liquid)? That might be appealing for them cost-wise (less ingredients). Or a lemon mousse! If you can whip up some sort of lemon mousse recipe, it could also have local/in-season berries or coulis as well.

If I were visiting a restaurant I'd be happy to have a rich, decadent option, but definitely make one without chocolate. Not everyone likes/eats chocolate. I made that berry tart. I don't remember what it was about it, but it didn't turn out perfectly for me. You will probably want to do a test run, but it should be a good choice.

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 Post subject: Re: Ideas for tarts for a fancy restaurant
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 2:59 pm 
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frangipane would be great because it could be seasonal, but it uses earth balance, so i dunno if he'd be turned off, especially with the recent fishy tasting EB issues. i wonder if refined coconut oil would work in that? also chocolate tofu mousse (i use the one vctotw). i love the chocolate olive oil crust from vcon so that would be great. also the pastry cream from the vpits that goes in the french strawberry/kiwi tart thing is divine. for some reason i feel like agar is less weird that margarine? i dunno. but you can get a pound of agar online for pretty reasonable prices and that would last forever, making 6 tarts or so a night. i also really love that orange hazelnut one. so good.

ps, you make the most gorgeous stuff! he's going to love anything you make!

.

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 Post subject: Re: Ideas for tarts for a fancy restaurant
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 5:20 pm 
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The pear frangipane sounds delicious and a chocolate option is always a good thing. I'm another one who is not big on fruit and chocolate. a really rich chocolate tart with hazelnut crust sounds delicious. Other ideas that seem to go with Italian would be fruits of the forest - so mixed berries with pastry creams, tiramisu - maybe a ladyfingers crust with tiramisu filling and cocoa on top, or some interpretation of a cannoli with crunchy crust, cannoli filling and candied fruit. Whatever you choose, we will all be looking forward to the beautiful food porn!

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 Post subject: Re: Ideas for tarts for a fancy restaurant
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 5:49 pm 
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The chocolate salty thing sounds good, but i think i would love most of all a plain fruit one (i would not want chocolate with fruit).


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 Post subject: Re: Ideas for tarts for a fancy restaurant
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 6:25 pm 
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Lemon tart is a classic that seems to be served at a lot of Italian restaurants. And anything with a raspberry & hazelnut combo is a winner. I also agree re. the frangipane tart - I've made it with apples & plums & it's always a hit.

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 Post subject: Re: Ideas for tarts for a fancy restaurant
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 6:29 pm 
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Wow, PB that is so exciting!!! I would eat the heck out of any of the things people have suggested.

I also really like those fruit tarts that have a vanilla custard with different fruits (like strawberry, kiwi, blueberries, etc) on top. They're so pretty but the custard is always egg based. :( I think I saw a recipe for that in VPITS? I guess I just like creamy fillings for tarts. Like a pumpkin spice filling with candied pecans on top would be amazers (and seasonal!). I don't know if this is prohibitive cost-wise but I loooove white chocolate mouse with berries on top. So good!

And I saw this peach one recently (I guess you could do pears or apples for winter) and just thought it was put together really prettily cause it looked like a rose :)
http://theglobalgirl.com/raw-vegan-reci ... each-tart/

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 Post subject: Re: Ideas for tarts for a fancy restaurant
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 6:29 pm 
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There is the most amazing chocolate toffee walnut tarte in 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes that I would love to be able to buy in a restaurant. I think it would be fantastic in little tarte pans...I can see it with chocolate drizzle looking all pretty and fancy. Mmmm.

I love the idea of fresh fruit things, too, but the problem is they have such a short life after they're done. But then again, if he's getting that many vegans in a night...it may work. Hell, I go out of my way to go to a teeny restaurant that has good beer and Daiya on a regular basis, just to support the use of vegan cheese (and to be lazy) but if a place had a great vegan dessert, I would live there.


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 Post subject: Re: Ideas for tarts for a fancy restaurant
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 6:45 pm 
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bekki wrote:
I love the idea of fresh fruit things, too, but the problem is they have such a short life after they're done. But then again, if he's getting that many vegans in a night...it may work. Hell, I go out of my way to go to a teeny restaurant that has good beer and Daiya on a regular basis, just to support the use of vegan cheese (and to be lazy) but if a place had a great vegan dessert, I would live there.


That's a good point. But I've seen fresh fruit tarts in the cold cases of nice coffee shops and at whole foods. How do they keep them fresh? Sometimes it looks like the fruit has a glaze on it to keep them from disintegrating into juicy goo. I don't know what it is though.

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 Post subject: Re: Ideas for tarts for a fancy restaurant
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 6:47 pm 
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Jilly wrote:
You shouldn't be nervous, you should be excited to show off your mad skills! I would totally go for Salted Chocolate Caramel.

I will come over with Jilly to eat the Salted Chocolate Caramel. (and congratulations!)

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 Post subject: Re: Ideas for tarts for a fancy restaurant
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 7:51 pm 
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^Seriously.

I always get super annoyed any time the only vegan dessert options are something with fruit, something else with fruit, and something with nuts. So I would *love* to have a fancy Italian meal (or any meal, really) and have that salted caramel thing for dessert.

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 Post subject: Re: Ideas for tarts for a fancy restaurant
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 9:43 pm 
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Salted chocolate caramel is a big thing now and would go over well. I think a tiramisu tart would be good too. And maybe something lighter like a lemon tart.

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 Post subject: Re: Ideas for tarts for a fancy restaurant
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 9:50 pm 
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Thanks so much everyone for the amazing input! I am taking every bit of it into consideration. I think he's trying to fill more than one hole (heh) in his menu, as he doesn't have any sort of individual tart right now, in addition to no vegan desserts. He does however have tiramisu and cannolis, so while those in tart form sound so good to me, they would probably not be what he is looking for. I do quite like the idea of a lemon cream with fruit, but as some have said I'm not sure how well that will keep? I really have no idea how frequently he would want deliveries, but I can't afford to make a few and drive them to his restaurant every day, so it's just something we'll have to figure out.

Whew! I have a lot to think about, thank you again for the help!!

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 Post subject: Re: Ideas for tarts for a fancy restaurant
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 9:56 pm 
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Oh, PB, for some reason I was thinking he wanted you to create a recipe for him. That's why I said that earth balance might be too weird. Makes more sense for you to make deliveries!

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 Post subject: Re: Ideas for tarts for a fancy restaurant
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 10:01 pm 
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Would he possibly have freezer space so you could make them in larger batches, less frequently?

...Not that I actually have any knowledge of whether any of these suggested tarts would survive freezer time.


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 Post subject: Re: Ideas for tarts for a fancy restaurant
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 10:01 pm 
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I love the lemon tart idea too! That sounds refreshing and palate cleansing after eating lots of garlic. Also, when I was suggesting fruit flavors with chocolate, that doesn't have to be fresh fruit. It could be a chocolate mouse made with orange juice, raspberry extract, cherry preserves, banana liqueur, etc. That might keep for a couple days longer than fresh fruit.

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 Post subject: Re: Ideas for tarts for a fancy restaurant
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 8:24 am 
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wow congrats!! that's such an amazing opportunity! :-)

i like the ideas you had. i would suggest one really decadent heavy chocolatey tart like the salted caramel/chocolate you suggested. if i was at a fancy restaurant having a nice meal and i saw that as a vegan option i would totally go for it. i love decadent desserts.

then a fruit one sounds good for people who dont want the super heavy dessert. a berry tart would be good im just wondering how expensive that ends up being to make in the long run. i know you are a lot further south than me but berries up here tend to be expensive except blueberries in like July and August when you can get them from Maine.

a lemon tart sounds delicious. i was thinking also a peach tart? that might be cheaper to make than a berry tart.
or if you wanted to make him three selections you could do a chocolate, a berry, and then another different type of fruit one like the lemon or peach or whatever.

im going to go against the grain and vote against the pear tart. if i saw that on a menu even if it was the only vegan dessert i would probably pass. but i dont like pears so there you go ;-)

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 Post subject: Re: Ideas for tarts for a fancy restaurant
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 10:33 am 
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I'm thinking a cooked fruit tart could hang around for a few days in the restaurant fridge and still be good to serve, but raw fruit, especially berries are so delicate, that would be a lot harder to keep fresh longer than a day. If you wanted to do raw fruit, maybe you could have the restaurant add that? Then they could even customize and vary it. So you could supply them with pastry shells with a vanilla custard filling, or chocolate mouse filling, and then they could top it with fresh berries or sliced peaches, or whatever was in season, or what the customer wanted.

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 Post subject: Re: Ideas for tarts for a fancy restaurant
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 12:17 pm 
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That's why I was thinking the Berry Creme Tart - it's make from frozen berries and they're pureed, so cheaper than fresh and will keep longer. I love fresh berries and other fruits, but they don't have an in-house pastry chef or anything and I'm guessing the less they have to provide/prep for the dessert the better.

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