Gale Gand is partner and founding executive pastry chef of Tru, the one star Michelin, four-star Mobil, five-diamond AAA, Relais & Chateaux Relais-Gourmand restaurant in Chicago with restaurateur Rich Melman. She was recognized in 2001 as Outstanding Pastry Chef of the Year by The James Beard Foundation and Bon Appetite magazine and in 1994 as one of Food & Wines Top Ten Best New Chefs. Gand has a BFA from RIT and attended culinary school at La Varenne in Paris and is an accomplished cookbook author with seven titles to her credit, including her most recent Gale Gands Brunch, released in 2009 plus she is currently finishing her eighth, Gale Gands Lunch.
Chef Gand was the host of the long running Food Networks Sweet Dreams, the first ever all-dessert show for Food Network, currently airing on The Cooking Channel. She has appeared on Martha Stewart, Oprah, Iron Chef America, The Dr Oz Show, Baking With Julia (Child), Nickelodeon, judged the 2008 season of Bravo's hit series "Top Chef" and Top Chef Just Desserts, Food Network Challenge and Last Cake Standing. She has her own root beer company, Gales Root Beer producing a cinnamon-ginger-vanilla flavored root beer. In the summer of 2008 two of Gands desserts were featured at the USA House at the Beijing Olympics and was chosen by Mayor Daley to create the dessert for the President of Chinas Welcome dinner on his 2011 visit to Chicago.
A supporter of sustainable agriculture, eating locally and the environmental movement, Gand teaches cooking classes for adults and children at Elawa Farm in Lake Forest Il., a 100 year old historic organic farm. She forages annually for local ramps, and mushrooms with her son, Gio, for her restaurants. Gale is involved in many national causes and was a part of first lady, Michelle Obamas Chefs Move To School initiative to help fight childhood obesity. She is also involved in many community causes, including raising funding for her local West Deerfield Township Food Pantry. She frequently leads cooking classes and demonstrations, does public speaking, and she teaches pastry and baking at her daughters middle school and sons high school. Gale is also a long time member of the James Beard Foundation and Les Dames DEscoffier.
Gale is married to an environmentalist, Jimmy Seidita, has a 16 year-old son Gio and 8 year old twins, Ella and Ruby.
Gand is featured on the back of Wholesome! Fair Trade Organic Light Brown Sugar bag. For more information on Gand, visit www.galegand.com and www.trurestaurant.com.
Banana Brulee Spoonfuls
- Preheat the oven to 300°F.
- Heat the cream, half-and-half and vanilla bean in a medium saucepan over medium heat just to a boil. Immediately turn off the heat. Set aside to infuse for 10 minutes.
- Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar in a large bowl just until combined. Whisking constantly, gradually pour in the hot cream mixture. Strain the mixture into the baking pan to smooth it and to remove the vanilla bean.
- Place the pan in the hot-water bath. Bake in the center of the oven until the custard is set but not too firm (it will cook a little more as it cools), 40 to 50 minutes. Remove from the water bath and let cool for 15 minutes.
- Tightly cover the custard with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic does not touch the surface. (The recipe can be made up to this point and kept refrigerated for up to 3 days.)
- Up to 4 hours before serving, fill the spoons with the chilled cooked custard by scooping each spoon into the pan of custard. Round the tops with a small spatula or a butter knife. Keep cold.
- Right before serving, thinly slice the banana (about 1/8-inch thick). Heat a broiler to very hot or fire up your kitchen torch. Top each spoonful of custard with a slice of banana, lightly pressing it onto the custard. Sprinkle the entire surface with a layer of sugar and place each spoon on a baking sheet. Broil or torch the spoons until the sugar is melted and well browned, about 1 minute. Let the spoonfuls cool for 1 minute before serving.
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/3 cup half-and-half
- 1/4 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, or 1/8 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 4 cage-free organic egg yolks
- 1/4 cup Wholesome! Organic Sugar
- 1 Fair Trade banana
- 1/4 cup Billington’s Natural Demerara Sugar or Wholesome! Raw Cane Sugar
- A hot-water bath (see note below)
- Note regarding hot-water bath:
- To make a hot-water bath, or bain-marie, choose a roasting pan at least 2 inches deep and line it with paper towels or newspapers. This is to create a layer of water under the dish as well as around it. Direct contact between the metal roasting pan and the baking dish would create a hot spot where they meet. The paper will keep the dishes from sliding around. Arrange the dish or dishes in the roasting pan, leaving room between them and making sure they are not touching the sides of the pan. Place the pan in a preheated oven the temperature is given in the recipe. Then fill the pan with very hot tap water until it comes halfway up the sides of the dishes