RISING STAR PASTRY
AWARD SPONSORED BY
HOTCHOCOLATE | Chicago
Mindy Segal combines her innate instinct for flavor combinations
with her commitment to seasonal, local and sustainable products.
The result is desserts that are truly American. Each creation is
rooted in nostalgia, but with contemporary twist. A graduate of
Kendall College, School of Culinary Arts, Segal landed the pastry
assistant post at Ambria working under Chef Judy Contino,
whom Segal credits as her biggest influence. She refined her craft
in the kitchens of Spago, Gordon and Charlie Trotter’s,
before eventually helping Chef Michael Kornick launch his River
North eatery, mk the restaurant. At mk, Segal developed
a loyal following for her desserts like One Banana Two Banana and
Cake-n-Shake, while earning numerous accolades from local and national
media. Chef Segal’s solo venture, HOTCHOCOLATE, offers
a savory and sweet menu that is a marriage of clever and classic.
Hook's Blue Cheese Cheesecake with Port
Wine Poached Pears, Port Caramel and Candied Walnuts
Chef Mindy Segal of HOTCHOCOLATE – Chicago, IL
Adapted by StarChefs.com
Yield: 6-8 Servings
- 1 pound cream cheese, room temperature
- 10 ounces Hook’s blue cheese, room temperature
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- Pinch of kosher salt
- Pinch of freshly cracked pepper
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 2 Tablespoons honey (clover or orange)
- 1 bottle port wine
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 sprig rosemary
- Rind of 1 orange
- 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
- 6 ripe, medium-sized pears (bartlet, forelle, or comice)
Port Wine Caramel:
- 2 cups granulated sugar, separated
- 3 ½ ounces corn syrup
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup pear poaching liquid
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of cracked pepper
- 1Tablespoon egg whites
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 1 cup walnuts
Preheat oven to 250°F. In an electric stand mixer cream the
cream cheese until smooth. Add the blue cheese and continue to cream.
Add eggs one at a time. Scrape down sides of the bowl. Add salt,
pepper, sour cream and honey. Combine completely.
Spray an 8-inch spring form pan with vegetable spray. Line the
bottom of the pan with parchment paper and spray again. Pour cheesecake
batter into the pan and bake until set, about 20 minutes.
For Poached Pears:
In a heavy-duty sauce pot, combine all ingredients except for pears
and bring to a boil. Taste and adjust flavor. Reduce by a quarter.
Meanwhile, peel skin off pears and add skin to poaching liquid.
Cut pears in half and core out pits. (The best way to do this is
with a Parisian scoop.) Strain poaching liquid and add pears. Bring
to a simmer and poach until pears are tender. Place pears and liquid
in a non-clear container. Cover with plastic and let sit overnight
at room temperature. Reserve 1 cup poaching liquid for port wine
For Port Wine Caramel:
In a heavy-duty sauce pot cook 1 cup sugar with corn syrup until
dark amber. In another pot heat cream and poaching liquid just until
it boils; keep warm. When the sugar is amber, add the remaining
sugar, ¼-cup at a time. Mix well after each addition. Add
cream mixture slowly, and let reduce after each addition. Season
with salt and pepper.
For Sugared Walnuts:
Mix egg whites together with sugar and salt. Coat walnuts with the
mixture and bake at 350° F until golden brown.
Cut cheesecake into 6-8 slices. Serve each slice with poached pear,
port wine caramel and candied walnuts.