January is here, and while that means bitter cold and short days—and for many of you Dry January, Whole Thirty, or various other cleanses—that also means new desserts from Miriam, West Main’s pastry chef. This January West Main has four gorgeous things to help restore some joy to your life in this dark month.
Heading off our menu, of course, is Mom’s Chocolate-Meringue Tart, a gourmet take on Chef Greg Spaulding’s grandmother’s classic Appalachian dessert. Following that we have a new Cake from Miriam, a honey & orange layer cake. Four fluffy, beautiful layers of cake are stacked so high we have to serve each slice on its side to keep it from toppling over. The bright and lightly sweet cake is separated with layers of chocolate and healthy amounts of mascarpone buttercream, and the whole thing is served with milk crumbs and chocolate ganache.
Along with the Cake, we are delighted to serve a bowl of decadence inspired by a classic dessert from North Spain: Leche Frita. The star of this dish is a small pile of fried cream, to put it simply. Sweetened milk is simmered on the stove with flour and egg yolk to make a thick curd that is sliced, fried, and coated in sugar. While this may sound curious to some of you, the result will banish any doubts you may have: a sweet, creamy, lightly crispy dessert of obscene decadence in both texture and flavor. These little miracles are served with cinnamon-banana ice cream, chocolate ganache, milk crumbs, and bruléed banana slices. As a composition, this has to be one of my favorites for as long as we can remember—granted, I have a goldfish’s memory for sweets: every new one is my favorite.
To close out our menu is a dessert people were pleasantly surprised by last month, with some updates. This ice cream trio features three ice creams, each a combination of flavors that, alone, could be a whole dish: brown butter-sage-pumpkin ice cream, with chocolate crumbs and fried sage; cinnamon-banana ice cream with chocolate ganache and bruléed banana; and ice cream made from the iconic Appalachian pawpaw, with tuile cookie and milk crumbs.
These desserts are here for a month, and while that seems like a long time now, like all things in the new year it will not last long. So grab your friend and get down here so you can fight over who gets what bites of dessert.