Sheena Gayle, Gleaner Writer
Western Bureau:Seducing the taste buds with delectable pastry is an art that pastry chef Cleon Whyte has mastered over the years, and his latest effort to ring in the festive season is no different.
Whyte has been whipping up sweet treats professionally for the past 11 years, but his passion for pastry began at the age of 13.
"I think my love for pastry actually grew out of watching my aunt bake every Sunday. I used to be in the kitchen with her baking all the time," recalled Sandals Royal Caribbean's pastry chef.
"Dessert should never be boring, and that's why I like to experiment with the rich flavours of fruits, vegetables and spices and incorporate them into my desserts. There must be that element of surprise," he noted with a smile.
While attending high school, his desire to improve his skills led him to an apprentice pastry chef position at a hotel on the north coast. Ever since, he has left a sweet trail encompassing top resort brands, including Beaches Sandy Bay and now Sandals Royal Caribbean.
Whyte's famous opera cake is something that has been receiving a lot of compliments, he says. This, as the cake's distinct chocolate and coffee layers are textured to perfection and melt in the mouth, especially when paired with his passion fruit crème brulée.
"I'm a big fan of chocolate and custards," Whyte confessed, noting, "but my favourite ingredient is the vanilla bean, because you get a very strong vanilla flavour from the bean, so I use the vanilla bean in a lot of my desserts."
Another one of Whyte's showstoppers is his futuristic twist on the sweet potato pudding. Here, he marries carrots, sweet potatoes and a touch of rum with a coating of toasted almond slices, topped with soursop ginger cream to create that 'wow' effect.
As the festive season approaches, he shares one of his signature desserts that is sure to create a delicious fête in the mouth.
Carrot Potato Pudding
1/4 cup carrot
6 tsp sweet potato
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup milk
In a large bowl, wash and peel carrots and sweet potatoes, then grater carrots and potatoes. Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix egg and vanilla and then pour into carrot and potato mixture. Slowly add dry ingredients until completely combined. Pour into baking pan and bake at 250F for 35 mins.
Soursop Ginger Cream
1/2 cup soursop
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp Appleton rum
Wash and peel soursop and ginger, blend together soursop and ginger, and pour into a medium pot and add sugar and rum, then put to boil on low flame.
When finished, remove from flame and put to cool. Whip heavy cream until fluffy and fold into soursop mixture, then put to chill in the freezer.
Sweet treats for the season