David GuasIn September 2007, Pastry Chef David Guas exchanges his longtime corporate role for an entrepreneurial path that includes private consultation, boutique catering, cookbook authoring, and, eventually, his own retail bakery. Damgoodsweet Consulting Group, LLC, the irreverent name he has given his company, is the perfect description for all of his work. In the beginning, however, odds were against the native New Orleanian having a culinary career at all. His family expected him to become a doctor. It was clear to this young man, however, that becoming a chef was his calling and the only path he could ever consider. Fortunately for Guas, his family background actually helped him chase his dream, all the way to the nation’s capital where, for nearly ten years he was the Executive Pastry Chef of Acadiana, Ceiba, DC Coast, and TenPenh restaurants. In the Guas family, all gatherings and entertainment centered around food. From a very early age, during visits from his Cuban relatives, the curious boy seemed always to be playing indoors and not outside with the other kids. In this family, it was not always the women taking charge in the kitchen. Guas’ first mentor, his grandfather, inspired and taught him that being in the kitchen did not make him any less of a man. “Abuelo” (grandfather) opened Guas’ eyes to appreciate the cuisine of his Cuban heritage. “When Abuelo was visiting, my lunch changed drastically and my classmates knew from a single whiff of my lunch bag who had packed it that day.” Guas has fond memories of the pressed Cuban sandwiches with extra pickles and mustard. Whenever Abuelo visited, he prepared a new Cuban dish for his family to taste. “If only I had written down the recipes, I would have my first cookbook already,” Guas laments. There was, in fact, a strong feminine influence as well, right in his own backyard, in the form of his grandmother from Amite, Louisiana. “Granny” could often be found in the kitchen “burning” flour and butter in an iron skillet and promising that it was “goin’ to be good eatin’.” She taught Guas to appreciate the fruits of Louisiana’s soil, cooking with seasonal blackberries, strawberries, and even wild berries from the back woods. “It was so much fun picking berries or visiting nearby fruit and vegetable stands with my cousins first thing in the morning,” remembers Guas. Unlike most native Louisianians, who used large amounts of sugar and butter in everything they cooked, Guas’ Granny stewed and puréed the fruits naturally, often blending them with savory herbs to flavor poultry and meats. Sunday morning breakfast was a ritualistic gathering, with buckwheat or cornbread pancakes and puréed fig preserves or fruit syrup, all natural and no sugar added. (But don’t think for a minute that Guas didn’t sneak any of the butter tucked away in the fridge, which was, after all, an acceptable sneak with Granny – because she had made it!) Unwittingly, the young Guas was learning techniques he would eventually incorporate into his future desserts. The base provided by Guas’ family was strong. Add to that a natural talent and a passion for updating timeless desserts, and you have a recipe for success. Guas doesn’t boast a formal culinary degree, but a few specialized cooking classes at a small culinary school in New Orleans taught him the basic, classical preparations, as well as certain cutting-edge techniques he needed to secure a job in a high-profile kitchen. As an associate pastry chef at the Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans with Executive Chef Jeff Tunks at the helm, Guas churned out thousands of desserts per week to the delight of locals and national critics alike. Tunks took notice of this talented young assistant and began courting him: Tunks was leaving New Orleans to open his own restaurant in Washington, DC, and he needed a pastry chef. Guas packed up his bags and went off to Washington. DC Coast opened in June 1998 to critical acclaim. TenPenh followed two years later in August 2000, to more of the same, and Guas became Executive Pastry Chef, splitting his time between the two restaurants. In September 2003, he drew deeply from his Cuban heritage to create Latin American- and Caribbean-inspired desserts for Ceiba. And two years after that, in September 2005, with the opening of Acadiana, Guas developed sophisticated interpretations of his hometown dessert favorites from beignets to Bananas Foster. During his years with Passion Food Hospitality, Guas’ desserts were recognized and praised by such publications as Food & Wine, Chocolatier, Santé, Cooking Light, Food Arts, Where Washington, Restaurant Digest, Restaurant Business, National Culinary Review, and Nation’s Restaurant News. In September 2003, Bon Appétit featured Guas as one of eight “Dessert Stars” in the country. In 2004, the fourth year he was nominated, Guas was named Pastry Chef of the Year by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington. He is listed in The International Who’s Who of Chefs, and has appeared regularly on The Today Show, demonstrating his expertise on national television. Of Guas’ sweets, the restaurant critic of The Washington Post writes, “I have yet to find a single dessert I can say no to,” and the critic of Washingtonian magazine states emphatically that Guas’ desserts are “worth saving room for.” Very sweet, indeed.
Hi, I am David Guas with Damgoodsweet Consulting Group in Washington DC area, here to talk to you today, and show you how to make Peanut Butter Crme Brulee. As far as ingredients go, we already have in our pot here, two and three quarters cups of whole milk. It is important to use whole milk in this particular recipe and also two and three quarter cups of heavy cream. What I have done is, added those to the pot along with my granulated sugar, which is three quarters of a cup and a third of a cup of sweet peanut butter. So, just make sure that the milk, the cream, the peanut butter, and the sugar was on the stove, just to have started to simmer on the edges, approximately about two to three minutes until it come up to a slight boil.
As soon as you see the small bubbles forming on the side, go ahead and turn it off and immediately remove it from the stove. In this bowl we have this preserved egg yokes which have been separated. In this case it is 16 egg yokes. What I am going to do is some fancy thing called tampering. What we are doing is -- I am taking the hot mixture and adding it to our egg yokes. I am going to go ahead and secure my bowl with my yokes and my whisk with a towel, preferably a slightly damp towel to secure your bowl. Then with the other hand, I am slowly, what we call tampering, adding the hot mixture while continuing to whisk. You get pretty creative when youre by yourself in the kitchen, as far as how to hold things down, and do things one-handed. Once youve got the yokes nice and hot, its okay to add the remaining mixture at a fairly quick pace, but the initial is the most crucial, see you dont cook your eggs. Once this mixture is completely smooth, you can see there, we are going to go ahead and strain it. Because of the heat in the eggs you dont want any kind of cooked egg product or particles in your base. So, thats why we use a fine mesh strainer in this case. Now youve already preset your oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit and here we have our shallow base our shallow ramekin, which is designed for crme brulees. In this case we are going to immediately you dont have to chill this mixture, although you can now if you were making this base a day before, youd want to go ahead and chill this in ice, immediately to bring down the temperature and then go ahead and put in and store in your refrigerator. This base will last up to four days in your refrigerator and you can pour it out occasionally and bake throughout those four days, but in this case we are going to go right into the ramekin with this hot liquid. So, after we poured our hot base into a ramekin; in any ramekin as long as it is shallow and porcelain and an ovenproof dish, is fine. This is just a traditional crme brulee dish which is available at most stores. Once weve done that, we are going go ahead and put in the oven at 200 degrees Fahrenheit. At that point it takes about 50 for it to set.
Once we remove it from that oven, we are going to refrigerate it up to six hours or overnight. Crme brulee is best burned if its settled overnight in the refrigerator. So, at this point we are going to go ahead and transfer it over to the oven and set our timer for about 50 minutes to check it. What we are looking for is, as far as its setting, its just a slight jiggle in the center, maybe about the size of a dime. Once that is archived, we remove it from the oven and like I said refrigerate it for up to six hours or overnight before we serve it.