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The Chef’s Canvas: Cafe L’Avenue, Paris



Photo by Agnes Lopez

Today’s recipe from “The Chef’s Canvas” is a delectable dessert inspired by Cafe L’Avenue, Paris. Created by Sweet Theory Baking Co., this dessert is free of gluten, eggs, dairy, soy, and peanuts. But don’t let that fool you into thinking it is anything short of delicious!

Serves 10 – 12

Macerated Berries

3 cups mixed berries
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
Juice of half a lemon
⅓ cup St. Germaine elderflower liqueur

Gently toss all ingredients in a large bowl. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Tart Shell

2 cups Bob’s Red Mill all-purpose gluten-free flour
½ cup sweet white rice flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
⅓ cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 vanilla bean, halved, seeds scraped
8 tablespoons coconut oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, sift together flours and xanthan gum. In another medium bowl, combine confectioner’s sugar, salt, vanilla bean seeds, and coconut oil. Add the flour mixture to the oil mixture in two batches, until a soft dough forms.

Drop the dough into a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom and carefully press into the pan, trying to keep the dough as thin and evenly distributed as possible, particularly around the scalloped edges. Shave off any excess dough with a knife. Cover the pan and refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes.

Once chilled, prick the shell with a fork all around the bottom and bake for 16 to 20 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool while you prepare the filling.

Espresso Chocolate Filling

2 cans full fat coconut milk
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate
3 tablespoons coconut oil
⅓ cup agave nectar
2 tablespoons espresso
⅛ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon fleur de sel, for garnish

Scrape the thick, white cream layer off the top of the two cans of coconut milk (Do not shake your coconut milk cans!), leaving the liquid behind. Set aside.

In a double boiler, melt the chocolate until completely smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the coconut cream, coconut oil, agave nectar, espresso, and sea salt. Pour into cooled tart shell, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours until completely set. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Lavender Caramel

¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup water
¼ cup agave nectar
1 ½ teaspoons lavender
2 tablespoons soy free Earth Balance butter
½ cup plain coconut creamer
¼ teaspoon sea salt

In a medium saucepan on medium-high heat, combine the sugar, water, and agave nectar. Heat until the sugar dissolves, then increase heat to high to bring the mixture to a boil. Boil until caramel is a medium amber brown color, around 5 to 7 minutes.

Remove from heat and add in lavender, Earth Balance, and coconut creamer, whisking quickly to combine. Allow caramel to sit for 15 minutes, then strain out the lavender buds.

Bourbon Vanilla Bean Coconut Cream

2 cans full fat coconut milk, chilled
⅓ cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1 vanilla bean, halved, seeds scraped

Place cans of coconut milk in the refrigerator 6 hours or overnight to chill. Once cold, scrape off the top, thickened cream, leaving the liquid behind.

In a chilled metal bowl, beat together the coconut cream, sugar, and vanilla bean seeds with a hand mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

To serve:

Remove tart from the refrigerator and garnish with fleur de sel. Carefully portion out and cut the tart, serving it with the macerated berries, bourbon vanilla coconut cream, and lavender caramel.

Richard Emile Miller
American, 1875 – 1943
Café L’Avenue, Paris
c. 1906 – 1910
Oil on canvas
Purchased with funds from the Cummer Council

Richard Emile Miller was one of an American group of expatriate artists who settled in Giverny, France to be close to Claude Monet and a part of the Impressionistic movement. Although it wasn’t popular with Americans initially, Impressionism soon became an accepted artistic style and modern way to represent life. Café L’Avenue, Paris depicts a lively café, and the rich brushstrokes mimic the energy of the painting’s subjects.

“Early 20th-century Paris is easily one of the most intriguing and inspiring periods in history to me. The café scene Miller painted perfectly embodies all the opulence and glamour of pre-war Paris: civility and elegance the overwhelming theme on the inside, while I imagine the streets outside abuzz with a more ‘la boheme’ philosophy, courtesy of the influx of artists residing in Montmartre. The clash of traditional and unorthodox has been prevalent throughout my life, and perfectly embodies what I aimed to achieve in this dish. Miller’s love for Paris is undeniable in this piece. I wanted to mirror that adoration with an indulgent dessert highlighting a few of my favorite French-sourced ingredients, while being mindful of color and composition. The unconventional comes into play in an otherwise traditional-looking tart by way of ingredients. A tart sans butter? I hope the French can forgive me for my radical ways.” – Katie Riehm, owner of Sweet Theory Baking Company, on Cafe L’Avenue, Paris (c. 1906 – 1910)

“The Chef’s Canvas” is a cookbook created to honor the Museum’s permanent collection. The book is a treasure trove of artistic masterpieces, from the Museum’s galleries to kitchens throughout the diverse food scene in Jacksonville. This collaboration is like nothing the Museum has done before, and we look forward to sharing select recipes and the pieces of art that inspired them with you in The Chef’s Canvas Recipe Series.

“The Chef’s Canvas,” a work of art itself, was born of the idea that art fuels inspiration in all aspects of life, including in the kitchen. This unique collaboration allowed Jacksonville’s culinary experts to explore the collection and leave with the inspiration to create delicious, beautiful dishes, desserts, and cocktails. This series aims to give you a taste of Jacksonville’s culture, flavors, and artistry.

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