Page 56 - Pastry & Baking Magazine

Sweet Spectrum
Pastry & Baking North America
Publisher’s Note:
A certified master baker
and successful entrepreneur, Chef Alain Dubernard
has worked in Mexico City, Paris, and London. He
holds diplomas from the Instituto Tecnológico y
de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM)
and Escuela Panamericana de Hoteleria (Hotel
Management School) in Mexico City. He is also
a 2007 inductee in the Académie Culinaire de
France and a member of the Société Culinaire
Philanthropique. In his current role at CIA, he
supports and participates in the development of
the baking and pastry curriculum and intellectual
property, delivers and ensures quality classroom
instruction, and manages the day-to-day
administration and operations of the CIA Bakery
Café, the retail baking and pastry concept at the
CIA San Antonio.To learn more about the world’s
premier culinary college, visit
When I accepted the position of The Culinary Institute of America’s
department chair for baking and pastry arts at its San Antonio campus and
moved to Texas, I was excited to see that many of the Latin ingredients
that I grew up with – like mamey, prickly pear, ataulfo mango, and cajeta –
were widely available. I was so amazed to find that nispero (loquat) trees
actually grow all over the streets of the city.
One of the fruits I love, and one that brings me back to my Mexican
roots is the fabulous xoconostle (from the Nahuatl word “N chtli”) or,
in English, sour prickly pear. This fruit is originally from the semi-desert
zones of Mexico in the states of Hidalgo, Querétaro, Guanajuato, San Luis
Potosí, Zacatecas, and Coahuila. Fortunately, we can also find them in the
south of Texas.They belong to the cactaceae family, a cousin of the prickly
pear.The leaves of this cactus are also edible and are known as nopales.
The following recipe is one of the signature desserts offered at the
CIA San Antonio’s newly opened restaurant, NAO.The natural acidity of
xoconostle pairs with the subtle aromas of moscato and strawberry.The
final addition of Crème Fraîche Ice Cream balances all the flavors to make
a succulent dessert.
Paring knife
quart saucepan
Half-sphere molds
Slotted spoon
Stand mixer
Rubber spatula
Pound cake pan
Convection oven
Pastry brush
Wire rack
Ice bath
Fine-mesh strainer
En Almibar
Sour Prickly Pears in Syrup)
By Alain Dubernard
Photography by Nicola Shayer
Poached Xoconostles with Strawberry Spheres,
Moscato Reduction and Crème Fraîche Ice Cream
Poached Xoconostles
liter water
grams sugar
Mexican cinnamon
Mexican vanilla
Juice of 2 limes
Peel and cut in half the xoconostles.
Remove the seed with a spoon.
Cut the xoconostles in half again.
Boil the water and sugar.
Add the xoconostles, cinnamon, and vanilla, and boil for
minutes or until tender.
Add the lime juice, boil, and remove the foam.
Cool and reserve.