Almost two weeks ago, Tor and I were invited by Chef Chris Ford to come behind the scenes at the pastry kitchen of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. A lot of you tuned in to our Instagram Live of the BTS pastry class, where Chef Ford showed you all how to make their popular spring dessert – the pink lemonade macaron tart.
For those who don’t know, I attended the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City a few years ago, so anything have to do with food (preferably sweets) gets my tail wagging right away! I really feel at home in the kitchen, and that’s exactly how I felt when walking into Chef Ford’s domain beneath the hustle and bustle of the Beverly Wilshire. Chef Ford was kind enough to give me a tour of their pastry kitchen, showing me different pantries, showing some pastry chefs hard at work, and ending with our spot for the day in their VIP chocolate room.
Chef Ford then proceeded to show me how he makes one of his most popular spring desserts at the moment – the pink lemonade macaron tart. No dessert done by Chef Ford is ever just a few ingredients. Even the simplest dessert will have more flavors than you think it does, and that’s why it tastes so delectable. He could have stopped at pink lemonade macaron and people would still go nuts for it, but he turned it into a tart and thus it is a bonus sensation. After watching Chef Ford put his masterpiece dessert together, he then turned the task to me. It involved half-dipping a pink lemonade macaron into a pink colored mix of chocolate, which then hardened on top. After putting a pink lemon curd in the center of the bottom macaron, I then dolloped some yuzu mousse around it (four total) before inserting some poached mandarins in between each little dollop. Next, I squeezed some fresh chantilly cream out of a pastry bag around the edge of the top macaron before putting it all together. I decorated the top of the tart with an “A” – for “Alyssa” and “The A List” of course!
Tor’s mouth was drooling the entire time. Since I cannot have macarons (they’re made with almond paste and I am highly allergic to nuts), Tor tasted it for me and he was in heaven. Luckily, this same recipe can be done with shortbread (one of my favorite cookies), so I will have to try this recipe at home with shortbread! I did get to enjoy some of the filling, which tasted like a burst of spring in my mouth.
I did get to enjoy some of my own heaven, however, when Chef Ford presented to me another one of his most popular desserts – his banana rum tart. Normally I am NOT a big banana fan with desserts, but I think Chef Ford converted me. Inside this DELICIOUS tart was a rum caramel on the bottom followed by fresh banana, salted caramel ganache, rum-banana, yellow white chocolate, white chocolate cremeux and crunchy dark chocolate pearl inside a vanilla tart.
You can try these incredible tarts yourself if you head over to The BLVD at the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills. Hurry though, because just like their flowers with Square Root, everything gets changed out seasonally!
Thanks to Chef Chris Ford for this incredible experience. Be sure to follow him on Instagram at @butterloveandhardwork.
Photos by Torrance Coombs.