Here’s a fresh idea for a fancy twist on the traditional Easter feast. This menu I concocted, tried, tested and loved a few days ago using spices I brought back from a trip to Costa Rica and chocolate pasta I found at the Farmer’s Market is all about playing around with flavor profiles. It was a challenge to create sweet things for guests who didn’t necessarily have a sweet tooth, and to be able to blend the flavors from floral to earthy to candy sweet. It was an “April Fools” dinner of sorts, with the promise of a rather sophisticated sugar coma. Have a look:
First Course: Dark Chocolate & Basil Truffles
I adapted this recipe using less cream to make the truffles harder and to hold a shape better. Make sure they are frozen before popping them out of the mold.
Second Course: Algerian Basboussa
Basboussa is essentially a semolina & coconut cake in orange blossom water, with coconut & gold leaves. I blended two recipes – one from youtube.com and the other from yummly.com. Orange flower water is what makes the dish Algerian vs. Egyptian.
Third Course: Chocolate Hazelnut Ravioli with Baharat Crème Anglaise
Fourth Course: Chocolate Fettucini with Dark Chocolate Habanero sauce, Pistachio Dust, & Creme
Beverage: Masala Milk
Soak 2 pinches saffron in lukewarm milk (8 cups). Boil 24 almonds for 15 minutes to blanche. Grind almonds until powdered with a little water. Boil milk, cloves, cardamom & cinnamon then add ground almond. If using pods, strain them out now. Add the soaked saffron milk & simmer for 5 minutes or so. Add sugar and simmer, stirring in to incorporate. Let sit overnight and bring to warm.
Fifth Course: Chocolate-Monogrammed White chocolate, Saffron Risotto
The risotto was adapted from this recipe. For the monogramming, I just printed out letters backwards, placed under parchment paper and piped melted chocolate over the template. Outlining first, then filling in. I did them backwards so that, when reversed, the clean “paper side” would be up and the messy piped side would sink into the risotto.