Eye Candy: Bluegrass State Dessert

strawberry, Kentucky brie, and black walnut cobbler with blackberry–buttermilk ice cream and bourbon-smoked sea salt

For a preview of our partnership with the World Equestrian Games, JBF rounded up a group of Kentucky chefs for an evening of sophisticated, traditional Southern fare. The team served this strawberry, Kentucky brie, and black walnut cobbler with blackberry–buttermilk ice cream and bourbon-smoked sea salt for dessert. See more photos of the dinner here.

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Tastebud: Panna Cotta

panna cotta
Hailing from the Northern Italian regions of Val d’Aosta and Piedmont, classic panna cotta is a combination of sugar and cream or milk (or both!). True to its name (which is Italian for “cooked cream”), the dessert is made by heating the ivory base, adding gelatin (we prefer sheets over powder for the satiny texture they produce), pouring the mixture into round containers to set, and releasing the jelled result. Panna cotta pulls off a miraculous texture that’s both effortlessly light and mouth-caressingly rich.

In Gastronomy of Italy, Anna del Conte writes that while the dessert is occasionally flavored with peach eau-de-vie or paired with fresh fruit, the traditional, unadulterated version prevails throughout the boot. But Beard House chefs have broken the panna cotta mold: Dean James Max

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Recipe: Chamomile Panna Cotta

chamomile panna cotta This innocent dessert from Tiffany MacIsaac (who oversees sweets at Washington D.C.'s Birch & Barley) was one of our favorite bites at last year's Chefs & Champagne. The panna cotta is inflused with the stems and daisy-like blooms of chamomile, which has recently started showing up in bunches at farmers' markets. MacIsaac's souped-up version (pictured above) enlisted pecan granola, apricot foam, and blueberry compote—a tasty lesson in textural contrast. But the creamy and floral foundation is wonderful alone, and adds a romantic touch to an unfussy summer meal.

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Eye Candy: Doughnuts

Diners were served an unexpected treat at JBF Award winner Marcus Samuelsson's Beard House dinner last month: a surprise platter of housemade glazed doughnuts, sprinkled with powdered sugar. Click here to see more photos of Marcus Samuelsson and his team.

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Eye Candy: Seasonally Sweet

Philadelphia chef Terence Feury, who has garnered raves at Fork, served this rhubarb tart topped with almond crumble and strawberry swirl gelato at his Beard House dinner last month. See more photos of his menu here.

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Eye Candy: Mango and Pineapple Carpaccio

Pastry chef James DiStefano, who fashions balanced and stylish desserts at New York's Rouge Tomate, prepared this striking dish at a Beard House dinner earlier this month. It featured mango and pineapple carpaccio with matching sorbets, coconut tapioca, macadamia cake, and coffee molasses. Click here to see more photos from Rouge Tomate's event.

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Eye Candy: Coffee as Dessert

David Katz, chef and owner of the popular Mémé Restaurant in Philadelphia, treated Beard House diners to his beautifully crafted New American cuisine last week. We loved his playful, multitextured dessert: coffee gelée with almond cream, chocolate puffed rice, and orange powder. See more photos of his marvelous menu here.

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Eye Candy: Vermicelli Panna Cotta

panna cotta For his dessert course, Kuldeep Singh of Origin India Restaurant served this vermicelli panna, topped with a layer of alphonso mango jelly. Click here to see more photos from his modern Indian Beard House dinner.

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Eye Candy: Ovaltine Kulfi

Ovaltine kulfi Pastry prodigy Pichet Ong served three desserts at our Valentine's Day dinner. One of them was this malted kulfi, which was topped with caramel popcorn, spiced chocolate sauce, and muckwa confetti. (Kulfi is India's answer to ice cream; muckwa is candied fennel seed.) See more photos of the seductive dinner here. (Photo by Bobbi Lin)

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Eye Candy: Cooking for Haiti

pavlova Eric Hara of the Oak Room served this lemon pavlova, lemon sorbet, and rose water syrup dessert at last week's Beard House benefit for Haiti. The dinner raised over $4,000 for the International Rescue Committee and its support of the country's earthquake victims. See more photos from the evening here. (Photo by Bobbi Lin)

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