RISING STAR PASTRY
AWARD SPONSORED BY
POSTRIO | San Francisco
Things are just peachy-keen for pastry chef Chris Law. Like so many of Wolfgang Puck’s loyal protégés, this talented woman has found a fulfilling career path and a nurturing, family-like home in his kitchens. Law’s love for baking stems from her childhood. A degree in pastry arts from the Culinary Institute of America in New York further fueled her passion. For Christine, the success of her desserts boils down to fabulous ice cream. Law is something of an ice cream connoisseur, having grown up making homemade peach ice cream using the fruit from her grandfather’s backyard peach tree. Although Law has sampled ice cream from all over the world, she will always have a soft spot for her neighborhood Baskin Robbins. She reminisces on her favorite of the 31 flavors, including Chocolate Malt, Burgundy Cherry and Baseball Nut - creative blends that were ahead of their time.
Pear Babas with St. Andre Cheese Filling
Pastry Chef Christine Law of Postrio – San Francisco, CA
Adapted by StarChefs.com
Yield: 10 Servings
- 1 cup Poire William pear brandy
- 5 cups white cooking wine
- 3 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 1 lemon, halved
- 1 vanilla bean, split
- 1 bay leaf
- 5 cracked black peppercorns
- 2 small cinnamon sticks
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 1 sprig thyme
- 5 large Bosc pears, peeled
- 2 1/8 cups granulated sugar
- 1/8 cup light corn syrup
- ¼ cup water
- 1 1/3 cups pear poaching liquid
- 10 (10-ounce) pre-buttered ramekins
St. Andre Triple Cheese Filling:
- ½ pound St. Andre cheese, rind removed
- 1 egg
- 1 pound, 11 ounces laminated Danish dough
- Egg wash
- Cheese filling
For Poached Pears:
Bring pear brandy, wine, sugar, lemon, and all herbs and spices to a boil in 4-quart saucepot. Add pears and simmer. Cover with cheesecloth to submerge pears and poach until tender. Remove pears from liquid, strain and cool. Return pears to cooled liquid, refrigerate overnight. Remove pears from poaching liquid. Strain and reserve liquid. Halve pears and remove seeds with melon baller. Slice pears into ½-inch thick pieces on the bias. Reserve for assembly and serving.
For Pear Caramel:
In 2-quart saucepot, combine 2 cups sugar, corn syrup and water. Bring to a boil. Bring poaching liquid and remaining sugar to a boil; remove from heat. When caramel becomes amber colored, turn off heat and whisk in poaching liquid mixture. Strain into metal container and ladle into ramekins.
For Cheese Filling:
Soften cheese at room temperature. Place in stand mixer with paddle. Add egg and mix on medium speed until combined.
Take sheet of Danish dough from freezer and cut into 10 (5-inch) squares. Brush squares with egg wash and place a tablespoon of cheese filling in center of squares. Fold up corners to overlap in center of square. Brush egg wash on top and transfer pastry, seam side up, to parchment lined sheet pan. Wrap and freeze solid before proofing and baking.
To Assemble and Serve:
Preheat oven to 325°F. Invert and fan each pear half over bottoms of caramel-lined ramekins. Place frozen cheese-filled Danish dough, seam side up, on top of pears. Proof for 1-1 ½ hours, until dough fills ramekins. Bake in oven until dough is cooked through, about 40 minutes. Invert babas and serve warm.
AB: What are your favorite restaurants for dessert in San Francisco?
CL: Cortez, Frisson, and Farallon.
AB: What trends do you see emerging in the pastry industry right now?
CL: Experimental baking, more scientific. Organic is also a big trend right now.
AB: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
CL: Running my own ice cream business in a retail setting.