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.
Brittle-Topped Vanilla Butterscotch Pudding Parfaits
- Combine the milk, cream, and vanilla bean in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Immediately turn off the heat and set the mixture aside for 10 minutes to infuse. Remove the vanilla bean. Pour half of the mixture into another saucepan and set aside for the vanilla pudding.
- Make the butterscotch pudding: In a medium, heavy skillet melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar, raise the heat to medium-high and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly, to caramelize the mixture. (You’ll smell a characteristic nutty caramel scent when the butter browns, signaling that the mixture is ready.)
Whisking constantly, slowly add the butter-brown sugar mixture to one pan of hot milk-cream mixture. If the butterscotch isn’t smooth, blend it for 20 seconds with a hand blender or pour it through a fine sieve.
- Put one of the egg yolks in a medium bowl. Whisk in about 1/2 cup of the butterscotch mixture. Whisk in 2 tablespoons of the cornstarch and 1/8 teaspoon of the salt until dissolved. Whisk the cornstarch mixture back into the butterscotch saucepan.
- Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture is thickened and just boiling. When the whisk leaves trail marks on the bottom of the pot and a few large bubbles boil up to the top, the pudding is sufficiently thickened. Let it cool slightly and transfer it to a pastry bag or thick, resealable plastic bag.
- Make the vanilla pudding: Whisk the granulated sugar into the remaining egg yolk in a medium bowl. Then add 1/2 cup of the reserved vanilla-hot milk mixture and whisk well. Add the remaining 2 tbsp of cornstarch and the remaining 1/8 tsp of salt and mix, then add the rest of the vanilla-hot milk mixture.
- Return the mixture to a saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until it is thickened and just boiling. When the whisk leaves trail marks on the bottom of the pot and a few large bubbles boil up to the top, the pudding is sufficiently thickened. Let it cool slightly and transfer it to a pastry bag or thick, resealable plastic bag. If using plastic bags, snip one corner off of each one. Pipe striped layers of the puddings into the serving cups and chill, covered, for at least 2 hours or overnight. Serve the parfaits chilled, with chopped brittle on top. Makes 10 to 15.
Cinnamon Peanut Brittle:
- Combine ½ cup water with the organic sugar, cream of tartar, and organic light corn syrup in a medium-size heavy saucepan fitted with the candy thermometer. Bring to a boil over medium heat. After it boils, stir occasionally. Boil the mixture until it reaches 340°F. The color should be a deep, golden brown. Remove from the heat and, quickly, stir in the cinnamon with a wooden spoon. Stir in the butter until it is melted, then the peanuts and baking soda.
- Pour the mixture onto the oiled pan and spread it out a bit with the back of a wooden spoon, to about ¼-inch thickness (it may not fill the whole pan). Let the brittle harden, uncovered, in a cool place, 30 to 45 minutes. Using your hands, and wearing cotton or plastic gloves if desired to keep off any fingerprints, break the brittle into pieces. Store in an airtight container.
Gale Gand’s Just a Bite by Chef Gale Gand
Gale Gand’s Just a Bite by Chef Gale Gand
- 2 1/4 cups organic whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter cup plus 2 tbsp (packed) Wholesome! Organic Dark Brown Sugar
- 2 cage-free organic egg yolks
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 6 tbsp Wholesome! Organic Cane Sugar
- 1/3 cup chopped Cinnamon Peanut Brittle (recipe follows)
- Cinnamon Peanut Brittle Ingredients:
- 2 cups Wholesome! Organic Cane Sugar
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar
- 1 cup Wholesome! Organic Light Corn Syrup
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp unsalted butter
- 2 cups roasted salted peanuts
- 1 tsp baking soda