Those of you familiar with the Home Brew Sundae know we don’t shy from booze in our desserts at Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink and are always looking for reasons to celebrate creativity in the kitchen. Tomorrow we have a little fun with Tequila in our caramel sauce for Cinco de Mayo courtesy of Amy Kalinowski. You may remember this sweet face peeking out from behind the pastry window. Amy is back in the house and taking on the role of pastry chef now overseeing desserts at Michael’s flagship restaurant. Amy brings almost 10 years of culinary experience to her new post, including three of them spent in the Miami pastry department under the tutelage of the legendary Hedy Goldsmith.
“We are incredibly excited to have Amy back,” says Michael. “She lights up the kitchen with her smile and brings her infectious enthusiasm, passion and creativity to our pastry program. I know she will shine in this lead role!”
Amy holds a degree from Johnson & Wales University in South Florida. After a few years working at various restaurants as a night plater and cake decorator, Amy found herself at Michael’s Genuine in 2008, where she honed her technical and practical skills as Pastry Assistant. During this formative time at the restaurant, she found herself working with Hedy to develop the Sweets section for Schwartz’s iconic Brunch service introduced in 2009. Putting out countless, weekly-changing plates during those marathon Sunday shifts on the pastry line stretched her stamina and creativity as she began developing recipes of her own.
“I am looking forward to this next chapter in my career with The Genuine Hospitality Group,” Amy reflects. “Seeing the delight on our guests faces after enjoying our creations is a treat in itself.”
For Cinco de Mayo, Amy wanted to use traditional Mexican ingredients in an unusual way, as is her style. Behold… Amy’s Cinco de Sundae with housemade coconut ice cream, tequila caramel, grilled pineapple, and toasted coconut and macadamia nuts. She starts with a whole skinned pineapple on the grill, which just gets a sheen of vegetable oil to help deliver juicy grill marks. She carefully handles the fruit with a kitchen towel, as pineapple’s high water content means it holds heat! You want that char on all sides, and Amy insists grilling intact makes for a better final product. Once done, she cuts the pineapple into discs, then into quarters. In the restaurant, Amy grates real coconuts and spreads the macadamia nuts in one layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet, toasting them at 300° for about 10 minutes. To assemble the sundae, Amy starts with a deep chilled bowl and layers the ice cream on the bottom, followed by a generous drizzle of tequila caramel and topped with a sprinkle of as many macadamia nuts, coconut and pieces of pineapple you desire.
Since most of us don’t have restaurant grade ice cream machines at home, choose your favorite brand of coconut and make the toppings — they’re what make this dessert distinctly May 5 and unmistakably Amy’s! Feliz Cinco de Mayo!
Tequila Caramel Sauce
Makes 2 1/2 cups
1 cup sugar
¾ cup cream
3 tablespoons tequila
¼ cup butter
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon lime juice
Place a sauce pot with ¼ cup of water on the stove, add the sugar and cook over high heat. Do not move the pot until you see the sugar turn a caramel color, then begin to stir the mixture until it becomes a light amber color. When the mixture reaches light amber, turn off the heat and very carefully and slowly whisk in the cream. Once the cream is incorporated, add the tequila, butter, salt and lime juice. Allow to cool to just above room temperature. The caramel sauce will hold up to one month in the refrigerator in a sealed, airtight container.