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Crafting Cardamom Pudding with Aviary's Kat Whitehead

Welcome back to Chef in the Kitchen, a recurring Eater photo feature where we boldly go where few diners have gone before — into Portland restaurant kitchens — to get a sneak peek of the chef du jour hard at work.

[Avila, 10/31/12]

The savory/pig-eared dishes at NE Alberta's Aviary — which was just crowned WWeek's Restaurant of the Year — garner much of the attention, but pastry chef Kat Whitehead serves some of the city's best meal-enders on her seasonally rotating dessert menu. Eater sat in on the multi-step creation of a new item, a cardamom rice pudding with candied cashews and a saffron gelee.

For the rice pudding, Whitehead boils a cup of basmati rice with milk, sugar, 10 green cardamom pods, three strips of orange and lemon peels, and two cinnamon sticks, until the rice is soft. It's then removed from heat and tempered with a beaten egg, and chilled after adding cream. As the pudding sets, Whitehead works on the other components: the saffron gelee is made by first creating a white-wine-and-saffron hot mixture, to which gelatin is added; cashews are candied by tossing with egg white and powdered sugar; and a cardamom cream is whipped up with heavy cream, sugar, and freshly ground cardamom.

After the pudding sets and gelee chills, Whitehead composes each bowl with a "generous" spoonful of pudding, topping it with cashews, blood orange supremes, pomegranate seeds, mint chiffonade, and cut squares of saffron gelee. A quenelle of cardamom whipped cream completes the dish.
· Aviary [Official site]
· All Previous Aviary Coverage [Eater PDX]
· All Previous Chefs in the Kitchen [Eater PDX]

Aviary

2110 South Lamar Boulevard, , TX 78704 (512) 916-4445 Visit Website