Cherish Finden reveals the secrets of her a-maize-ing dessert
Cherish Finden, one of the grandes dames of the British pastry, is the creative spirit behind everything sweet at the legendary Langham hotel which is also known as the birth place of the British tea tradition. Last year she went to the Cacao Barry’s OR noir lab in Paris in order to create a special Or Noir chocolate for the Langham. The wonderful dessert she presented at the Cacao Collective event at the Langham was made using the Or Noir chocolate created by Cherish.
Cherish, how did it all begin? What was the inspiration behind your lovely dessert?
I always ask myself how to create a dessert that everyone will appreciate? What is the best combination of textures and flavours? How can I incorporate different components with a blend of innovation, excitement and novelty factor, but fundamentally something that tastes great?
The lollipops offered at the event were made using the main element of the “a-maize-ing“ dessert - popcorn macaron. It’s all a play of words: maize (corn) and amazing. The question mark shape in the composition of the original "a-maize-ing" dessert hopes to inspire a thought process in the diner to wonder what is it and why is it shaped that way.
Popcorn macarons, an element of the a-maize-ing dessert, were at the even offered in a form of lovely lollipops
Your dessert is really amazing. Can you tell us a bit more about the flavours, textures and forms?
At Cacao Barry Or Noir lab in Paris I have specially created ‘Langham N°150’, The Langham Chocolate. It is a bespoke chocolate that is sensational to eat and hopes to put a smile on your face. The sweetness of the milk combined with the high intense notes of the cocoa provide a long lasting flavour. It has a hint of honey caramel accompanied by a fruity acidity and finishes with a bitter note.
The dessert consists of popcorn meringue with salted caramel, sous-vide gala apple and sticky sponge. I balanced the sweetness of the meringue with the saltiness of the caramel ganache (made with the Langham Chocolate) and with the crunchy toffee popcorn to give another dimension and added the tangy sous-vide apple to cleanse the palette. All together is finished with a light and fresh apple foam.
My aim was very simple and yet very important: to create an unforgettable dining experience that leaves you wanting more.
And how did you feel about the Cacao Collective event?
I really enjoyed it. It was very professional and very efficiently organized.
Thank you, Cherish, for your collaboration. It is always a great pleasure for us witnessing and enjoying your lovely creations.
Pictured below is the a-maize-ing dessert in its original form