We are not Paris, but Boston’s pastry scene is magnifique and has been developing at a the speed that spun sugar sets over the last few years. I got a taste of some of what the area’s best pastry chefs have to offer at the 4th Annual Sugar Rush. Sugar Rush was started by pastry chef and instructor Jaime Davis Schick, of Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island and newly opened Rail Stop at Boston Landing as a way for pastry chefs to step out from behind their marble slabs and get to know one another a little better. For the people of Boston, it was a chance to taste the pastries from chefs all over the city while raising money for Bakes for Breast Cancer. I was invited to see what the rush was all about. If you feel inspired to get involved and bake something, October is just a few weeks away and Bakes for Breast Cancer is encouraging every office in the country to hold an Office Bake Sale for Bakes for Breast Cancer during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
This year’s Sugar Rush was held at Rail Stop at Boston Landing, a great space for the event with access to the cocktail skills of Rail Stop’s bar manager Eli Shapiro for pairings. As someone who loves a good cocktail, but is not a dessert lover, I wasn’t sure what a 5 course dessert “dinner” would be like. This is where the talent of the chefs really shines. No one dessert was overly sweet and overwhelming. They were all balanced both in terms of physics (these are edible sculptures as well) and in terms of the palate. Take a peek at what was on the menu.
Shaun Velez over at Deuxave is my favourite pastry chef in town at the moment. We have the same love for certain seasonal flavours and nothing too sweet and everything he makes is stunning.
For Sugar Rush, Chef Velez made a watermelon herbed vacherin with lemongrass (a favourite of mine) poached blueberries, candied watermelon and meringue. It was a spin on the French 75 – Flower Power 75 with Bombay Dry Gin, St Germaine and sparkling white wine.
Stacy Mirabello, from Johnson & Wales University was inspired by Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s cucumber coconut soup that she had once. Mirabello took that refreshing coconut and cucumber flavour and turned it into a dessert, which was a coconut mousse with a cucumber mint sorbet and crispy quinoa. The mousse was so smooth and clean it was almost like a panna cotta and the contrasting crunch of the crispy sweet quinoa was pretty fabulous. It was paired with a Pimped Out Pimm’s Cup: Pimm’s No.1 , Cucumber and Mint.
Boston Pastry chefs are quiet geniuses working deep in the coolest part of local restaurant kitchens sculpting, measuring and manipulating sugar, chocolate, fruit, and such into flavourful sculpted masterpieces. The desserts were anything but ordinary but also didn’t taste like a science project. That takes major skill.
Now you think we might be going a bit more simple and classic with a caramel macaron, but you’d be wrong. Katie Hamilburg of 80 Thoreau made a fun plate that danced on the dish and on your palate. Chef Hamilburg made salted caramel macarons with a
passion fruit sorbet, almond, plums and Laphroaig whisky. It was paired with a deep and mellow play on a Negroni; the Figroni, which is a Barrel Aged Negroni, House Made Fig Cordial, Citrus.
This dessert know how to boogie. Don’t let this crystal clear pure little gelée fool you though because it can party with the hardiest of Negronis. It is a little cube of smokiness and the perfect contrast to this salted caramel macaron by @katiehamilburg of @80thoreau for #SugarRush2017 @bakes4bc #hosted
Last, but with plenty of room for dessert (aka course 5) from Craig Williams, Williams Family Baking Co was tasty little chocolate thing that I demolished. It was a fabulous raspberry whoopie pie with real raspberry taste and plenty of it. It was served with the most amazing raspberry meringue, mocha sauce and chocolate crumble. Putting things over the top was the cocktail pairing: Espresso Yo Self, which was made with Luxardo Espresso, Meletii Cioccooto, Irish Cream.