The Dish: A conversation with Emily Duncan

Emily Duncan is a pastry chef at Tony’s Off Third.

Photo by SHEILA MESULAM

Emily Duncan is a pastry chef at Tony’s Off Third.

Title: Pastry chef, Tony’s Off Third, 1300 Third St. S., Naples, 262-7999

Hometown: LeMars, Iowa

Experience/Education: I went to Marquette University for two years and followed my heart to go to culinary school — Pittsburgh Culinary Arts Institute. I worked for the Breakers in Palm Beach and begged to be in the pastry kitchen.

What is your self-indulgence? I really enjoy cooking at home and like to invite friends over for a nice evening.

What was your favorite childhood food? I always asked for a stuffed pork chop on my birthday. Our neighbor was a butcher, so we always got great meat.

Do you have a favorite cooking tool? It’s between my KitchenAid and a sharp knife.

What ingredient must you have? A nice vanilla bean would help anything.

What is your favorite thing to make? It tends to go in cycles, but wedding cakes and specialty cakes are a favorite.

Where did you have your best dessert? In the Champagne region of France. It was a chocolate dessert.

Who would you like to share a dessert with? Definitely my husband.

What would you order? Profiteroles.

Whose desserts do you admire? Christophe Michalak, he’s the number one pastry chef in the world.

What is the most unusual ingredients you ever used? Curry and cayenne pepper for in chocolate.

What would you pick to eat if you knew it was your last dessert? A cream puff.

What dessert would you make for a diabetic? There are great sugar substitutes. I am experimenting with them and will be offering them in the store very soon.

What is the biggest change in the dessert menu? The small shots will be here for some time. It is nice to have a sweet taste after dinner and they are just right.

What dessert was your biggest success? A 10-tier wedding cake.

Duncan gave us the following recipe:

Lemon Verrine

(A verrine is a confection originally from Paris that layers ingredients in a small glass or bowl.)

Lemon Curd

Ingredients

600 grams eggs (approximately 12 eggs)

220 grams sugar (approximately 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon)

350 grams fresh lemon juice (approximately 1½ cups)

6 lemons zest

45 grams butter (approximately

3 tablespoon plus ½ teaspoon)

Preparation

■ Cook all ingredients except butter over double boiler to 173 degrees

■ Strain through a chinois and cool to room temperature.

■ Add butter, mix and set aside.

Vanilla Raspberry Compote

Ingredients

1 pint fresh raspberries

½ vanilla bean

Sugar to taste

Preparation

■ Combine all ingredients and gently infuse over low heat.

■ Let cool.

Meringue

Ingredients

1 part fresh egg white

2 parts sugar

Preparation

■ Whisk ingredients together over water bath until all sugar is dissolved.

■ Transfer to a mixing bowl fitted with a whisk attachment and whisk until thick.

Assembly of the three parts

■ In the bottom of the bowl or glasses, place desired amount of raspberry mixture.

■ Top with lemon curd.

■ Pipe meringue on top of lemon curd and brown lightly with blow torch or under a broiler.

■ Will keep if refrigerated.

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