Folks, we have a resident cyber pastry-guru in our midst. H.C. guessed correctly again. This week's Name That Pastry Chef is Jashmine Corpuz of Drago Centro. Not to worry, you all get the grand prize - Corpuz's amaretti cookie recipe.
"I've always been passionate about pastry... when I was a kid I got a hold of a Wilton cake decorating kit and just ran away with it," says Corpuz.
That's a bit of an understatement. The 24-year-old Walnut native has already worked her way through the chocolate couverture at Patina, Craft and Bastide (she met Drago Centro's chef Ian Gresik while at Patina). "Oh my god working at Bastide was so stressful with all the crazy stuff. It is such a relief to be [at Drago] where I can do the rustic simplicity that comes naturally to me."
"The biggest challenge here is trying to be authentic Italian, but not boring," says Corpuz. "I was totally against doing tiramisu when I started, but now I do a classic tiramisu for two, only with milk chocolate with hazelnut and cocoa nibs."
Her favorite desserts are those she dreams up from scratch, including the walnut crostata with marsala sauce, Parmesan gelato and a Parmesan tuile that she recently unveiled for the fall menu. "I really like to play with savory," she says of the cheese components. There's also a dessert pasta in the works. "Definitely not the chocolate ones you usually see. I'm thinking a cavatelli cooked to order with rosemary caramel sauce, sautéed apples and a spice ice cream -- so it sort of tastes like Christmas -- all tossed together and finish with candied pine nuts. But I'm still figuring it out."
While Corpuz conjures up her next dessert, we'll be baking her amaretti cookies to tide us over.
Jashmine Corpuz's Amaretti Cookies
Note: To make almond flour, grind sliced almonds in a blender until powdery. The teaspoon of flour isn't a typo. Corpuz says it helps bring out the almond flavor without resorting to very pricey bitter almond extract (or as Corpuz once laboriously tried, extracting the bitter almond flavor from the pits of fresh apricots). "Now I know why... it's super expensive."
9 ounces almond flour
1 teaspoon flour
¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
4 egg whites
2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
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2 teaspoons almond extract
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Sift together the flour and powdered sugar together. Stir in the almond flour.
2. Beat the egg whites with the sugar until medium peaks form. Fold in in the flour mixture. Stir in the almond extract.
3. With a pastry bag fitted with a round piping tip, pipe the cookies in a 1-inch round onto a baking sheet, leaving 2-inches between cookies. Bake for about 8 minutes.