Oct 18, 2019 Last Updated 6:31 AM, Nov 9, 2017

Material Handling: Summer Sweets 16

In this issue, Julie and Jimmy MacMillan explore things that enhance our food: salt, smoke, vinegar, oils, spirits and unique ingredients.


As we approach summer and another season of Material Handling, we want to approach the things that enhance our food: salt, smoke, vinegar, oils, spirits and unique ingredients. To get the ball rolling, we offer two desserts to enhance dessert menus for the warmer months.

Among our most frequently used salts are Himalayan pink salt, grey salt from Normandy, kai black and red alae salt from Hawaii. We wanted to use these impressive Himalayan salt plates provided by Koerner & Company (https://www.koerner-co.com) for something sweet, rather than savory.

We wanted a summer pineapple dish that was cooling, but had a flame underneath the salt plate to create some drama at the table. From this idea we created the Grey Earl Tea Cake: a small bar of Earl Grey tea cake topped with pineapple cream accompanied by vanilla pineapple brunoise, ruby grapefruit segments, pineapple sauce and a gelato made of young spruce tips.

Tonka beans from South America have seen a steady rise in worldwide usage over the years, but still remain somewhat difficult to source since they are banned in the United States. Similar in taste to a vanilla bean, these beans are actually seeds that carry a distinct fruit and spice profile. It is worth the effort to hunt them down.

Our Strawberry Crème Brûlée with Tonka Bean with Lychee Sorbet plays off this complexity that is exquisite with red fruits. Strawberries are pureed and included in the custard base along with grated tonka bean.

Separately, thick cut strawberries are macerated with a small amount of sugar syrup and vanilla bean. Lychee sorbet provides its own floral note and fresh grated tonka bean delivers its intoxicating aroma as the dessert finds its way through the dining room and in front of the diner.

Sometimes it’s a singular idea created by an amazing ingredient like Himalayan pink salt or the tonka bean that imbues a restaurant dessert with a viewpoint. Join us in future months as we get creative with our food materials and the techniques used to deliver their best flavors to our diners.

Jimmy MacMillan's Earl Grey Cake. Photo by Julie MacMillan. Click image above or link below for recipe.
Jimmy MacMillan's Strawberry Crème Brûlée. Photo by Julie MacMillan. Click image above or link below for recipe.


Find 'Material Handling: Summer Sweets 16' recipes in the DessertProfessional.com Recipe section or click the links below.


Jimmy & Julie MacMillan of JMPurePastry
Jimmy & Julie MacMillan of JMPurePastry. Photo by Anthony Tahlier.

Any trends or inspirations you’d like to see in the Material Handling spotlight? Email Jimmy and Julie at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

JMPurePastry is a Chicago-based pastry solutions group specializing in high quality, well designed products for the restaurant, baking and hospitality industry. The duo is also responsible for the multiple Emmy® Award-winning Chicago Restaurant Pastry Competition video series. For more information, visit: www.JMPurePastry.com.

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