Finding flavors alive in the dead of winter is not the same as the flourishing spring, but we can still get that feeling of excitement and jubilee in this frozen wonderland.
For this dish I focus on the flavor of the amazing Maillard reaction, or more widely know as toasted. The Maillard reaction is similar to caramelization , but the flavor is not as strong. This is the magic spot that occurs before caramel, it is a browning process when the sugar reacts with amino acids, around 300 degrees Fahrenheit. It is what happens when you put bread in the toaster, it is what happens when you start to smell the cookies baking in the oven. The Maillard is amazing, and I love it. That is why I chose to focus on this beautiful reaction for Valentine’s day brunch: I did it for love. I did it because Milliard represents that toasty warm feeling of butterflies in your stomach, stars in your eyes, a smirk on your lips, a giggle under your breath. The feelings of love, the feeling a coziness, the feeling of comfort, content, and closeness.
I want to represent various flavors of the browning process, to create a subtle yet complex taste. There is caramelized white chocolate ganache – toasty, sweet, creamy, and downright heavenly, brown butter milk solids- nutty, rich, and aromatic, oatmeal streusel- for texture and to add comfort, a touch of cinnamon for warmth, and finally a coffee cake sweetened with unrefined sugar- to add depth, to add a unique sweetness, to add character. This is topped with a light sherry vinegar and unrefined sugar glaze, to add pop to the sugar, to give definition to the toasty and sweet flavor profiles.
The taste of love, the feeling of comfort, the joy of winter.