Finally the time has come for the beloved Top Chef restaurant wars. This is the point in the season where the top 8 chefs form two teams and build a restaurant empire for an evening to impress the judges. Or, in this case, the Top 5 or (arguably) 6 chefs pair up with two chefs that make you wonder why they weren't eliminated weeks ago leaving room for much more talented chefs to create dishes in the kitchen.
Luckily, one of said chefs did prepare the most popular dish of the evening: this pear pithivier. Yes, the controversial, inferiority-complex suffering Robin prepared this fantastical (yes, fantastical) dessert. Now, I don't mean to be mean about Robin. But we all know that Robin doesn't belong there anymore. Robin knows she doesn't belong there which is why I say she suffers from an inferiority complex: because her knowledge of the fact that she shouldn't be there constantly has her being over defensive and snappy. Although I'd snap Michael Voltaggio's finger off if he ever stuck it in my face the way he did hers after she cursed at him. But his arrogance is another story that can be seen in the hilarious montage of an interview where Michael talks about his level-headedness and leadership skills in the kitchen interspersed with clips of Michael being an annoying, obnoxious, cocky pain-in-the-ass. But he is a damn talented annoying, cocky, pain-in-the-ass, and for that, I cannot be mad at him.
I did make the dish that Michael made that won him the challenge - Pressed Chicken with Calamari Noodles - which was amazing and I will post Wednesday, but I have to say, this dish was the star of the dinner.
I had actually made homemade puff pastry for the first time from scratch and have yet to blog about it. I will shortly, but I'll just say that making puff pastry from scratch reminds me why I should never eat puff pastry: because it will turn my body into a butter factory. As in, I'll be a giant stick of Land O'Lakes walking the streets of Manhattan. But this dessert made me forget all of that. A delicious, intensely almond frangiapane is given a little kick by adding crystallized ginger and is layered with thinly sliced, butter- poached pears and enrobed in a light and flaky puff pastry crust. It is served with "intense vanilla ice cream" (I just thought it was funny that Eli described the ice cream as "intense") and a crisp almond brittle. Robin served this dish with an Elderflower syrup, but since I don't have any access to elderflower syrup, I made some homemade caramel and infused it with some rose water. The rich caramel worked perfectly with the light, rose-flavored water and was a perfect finish to the dish.
Maybe Robin does deserve to be there after all.
No. No. I don't think so. But this gives her a gold star in my book.
Click here for the recipe.