Tree to Table: Ashley's pastry chef plays with Rainier cherries | Rock Candy

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Tree to Table: Ashley's pastry chef plays with Rainier cherries

Posted By on Thu, Jul 7, 2011 at 3:07 PM

PHENOMENAL:  Chef Tandra Watkins cherry inspired dessert
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  • PHENOMENAL: Chef Tandra Watkins' cherry inspired dessert
That amazing construction is a Pistachio Crème Brulee with Rainier Cherries and Pistachio Shortbread Cookies. Mouth watering? It should be.

It’s pastry chef Tandra Watkins' creation to celebrate the Tree to Table event going on nationwide with different chefs for Monday’s celebration of National Rainier Cherry Day. Ashley’s is representing Arkansas in the event.

It’s not the only thing that will be on the menu come Monday. Executive Chef Lee Richardson is planning a savory dish with the cherries. And who knows what else is about to be dreamed up.

Want this? It’ll be on the menu for lunch Monday at Ashley’s. Worth it on its own. That’s right, I was privileged to receive a special tasting. The notes this crème brulee hit were astounding. I like cherries. I like pistachio. I usually don’t care for flavored crème brulees (though I adore “plain” ones) but this was just perfect. A delicious pistachio custard is only enhanced by the slightly tart, almost nutty-sweet cherries, and the caramelized sugar crust just caps everything off grandly. The cookies… well, I could eat those cookies every day. My my.

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