Gage & Tollner has been open since the 1870s.
It’s about 150 years old
and one of the oldest restaurants in Brooklyn.
As executive pastry chef,
I want my desserts to bring in all of that history
but also feel really modern.
We are going to take a long forgotten dessert
that was on the menu like 70 years ago
and breathe some new life into it and recreate it,
make something really special and unique.
[upbeat jazz music]
We have them all chronicled here
from the ’30s all the way through the ’70s.
I like to start back in the ’30s.
On the back,
all popular brands of cigarettes that you could buy here.
Desserts is under pies, pastry and ice cream.
Lemon meringue pie,
something that we still make and love today.
A piece of that was 20 cents.
And there’s something called Fancy Cakes.
I don’t know what that is, but fancy cakes is like,
my entire personality, so there’s something there.
This is from September, 1953.
So catching my eye right away, Nesselrode Pie, 35 cents.
It’s a custard pie.
And traditionally it was done with chestnuts,
candied fruits, meringue, whipped cream, cherries,
and chocolate shavings on top.
Carl Nesselrode was a count and a diplomat to Russia,
and this guy loved to entertain and he loved dessert
and like, really, really opulent spreads.
So there was this whole category of desserts
that became known as Nesselrode desserts.
I really think that this is the perfect dessert
for me to recreate.
We always have a sundae on the menu here
and I see all of these elements transformed
into a really amazing sundae.
[upbeat jazz music]
I am gonna start by sketching out the original pie first.
And this is one of my favorite things to do,
I love this.
Typical all butter crust.
Your custardy layer,
preserved maraschino or Luxardo cherries,
Also, there’s booze in there.
I’m gonna say it’s rum.
That is the Nesselrode Pie circa 1950.
Now I’m gonna look at the pie
and figure out where all of these elements are gonna go
in the sundae.
Two flavors of ice cream in my sundaes because why not?
So three scoops.
Playing off of this custard,
we’re gonna have a rum ice cream.
And the other, with the cherries,
and we’ll add some glace fruits in there.
So now for a saucy element, I wanna take the chestnuts
and create like a cognac chestnut caramel
and then we’ll do some bits of the glaceed fruit
and maybe have it just a little pie crust hat.
I think this is our Nesselrode Sundae!
We have a lot of work to do.
First things first, let’s make the ice cream
since that’s gonna take the longest.
So let’s go downstairs.
I gotta get my shmatta on.
We’re gonna do just like a plain ice cream base.
It’s going to give us like a canvas
for these new flavors that we wanna make.
So I’ve got whole milk,
heavy cream, egg yolks, which I separated already.
The reason why I think this recreation
of the custard pie into a sundae is gonna work
is because ice cream, the way we do it here with eggs,
technically is a custard.
So that transformation is gonna make a lot of sense.
I do the egg yolks and the sugar separately.
If you add the egg yolks right away,
you’re gonna get like a gross scrambled egg situation.
While the milk and the cream mixture
kind of comes up to a simmer,
I’m gonna add the egg yolks to the other half of the sugar.
We get local eggs.
In this economy, we’re getting local eggs.
Wanna whisk this up really, really well.
Start to dissolve some of that sugar.
All right, this has been on for about 20 minutes.
I’m gonna add some vanilla.
I’m gonna add some of the hot liquid
into the yolks and the sugar, whisk it really well,
and then add that back into the pot.
That is going to prevent scrambling.
I can feel the custard getting thick
so I’m gonna quickly strain it.
I’m gonna divvy this up, chill it,
and we’re gonna get to churning.
Okay, let’s go get our cooled ice cream base.
So these have been chilling and now they’re ready to churn.
I’m gonna do the rum ice cream first
and I’m gonna add two ounces of dark rum.
Alcohol doesn’t freeze.
If you add too much,
your ice cream base is just never gonna get there.
But also it prevents ice crystals from forming
in the ice cream so you’re gonna get like a super smooth,
beautiful ice cream.
This machine is gonna churn the ice cream
while it freezes it.
We’re gonna kind of babysit it.
I don’t want it to over churn.
If your ice cream over churns,
it basically starts to turn into butter
and it’s really gross.
Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous.
And into the freezer.
So I’m gonna get this all cleaned out.
Dirty ice cream water.
Okay, we are ready for round two.
This is the plain base
that we’re gonna fold all of our cherries
and glace fruits into.
So in the original dessert,
the cherries and the fruits
would be suspended in the custard.
So I love the idea that like the custard
is in ice cream form now
and then we’re folding in all of those fruits
and the booze.
Ice cream is frozen.
I can tell, this is all frosty.
I’ve got my Luxardo cherries, I have my glace fruits.
So I’m gonna get out like maybe half of this.
Add some of the mix ins, get out the rest of this.
So we’re gonna add a little more of the fruits.
So today I find that you’ll see these
in fruitcake around the holidays.
Our Luxardo cherries.
All right, let’s go in the freezer to set.
I’m gonna grab a few other things we need
to do the R and D upstairs.
Okay, let’s go upstairs.
[upbeat jazzy music]
If you look at the original pie
it had like chestnuts, chestnut puree, booze of all kinds.
So I just wanna sort of replicate that
but then turn it into a sauce for our sundae.
So first thing I wanna do
is scale out what I need for the caramel.
The cream, and I’m gonna add to that butter.
I’m gonna just eyeball that.
I like to heat the dairy a little bit
so that when I add it to the caramelized sugar,
it doesn’t seize up as much.
I’m gonna do the same weight of sugar
that I did for the cream.
I’m gonna add a tiny bit of water to this.
I don’t know, maybe that’s like a third cup
and consistency of wet sand.
That’s what you want.
Oh, the other thing you always wanna add to your caramel
is just a really good pinch of salts
’cause salt makes caramel more delicious.
My cream is hot, I’m just gonna take it off the heat
and I’m gonna get the sugar on and get that going.
So I’m gonna put this on high heat,
let it caramelize and do its thing.
While I’m waiting for it to caramelize,
I’m gonna chop up my chestnuts.
These are imported and they’ve already been prepared
so I don’t have to like roast chestnuts
on an open fire for you, even though that would be lovely.
It’s not that time of year.
So in the original pie there would be like a chestnut puree
kind of swirled through the custard
and also some chestnuts for texture.
So it’s kind of cool to like reimagine this
as like the saucy element of the sundae.
In the original dessert,
there’s alcohol throughout, so rum, cognac, brandy
that kind of thing.
So I also wanna make sure
that that is incorporated throughout our sundae
to kind of pay homage to that
and also because it’s delicious.
I don’t think there’s gonna
be enough alcohol in this to make it anybody tipsy
but I think we’re definitely gonna get the sweetness
and the caramel notes from the alcohol
and some of the fruity, sugary elements.
So I think this is gonna be perfect.
So we’ve got a very light caramel going on,
just a little darker
And here we go.
Ugh, that smells amazing!
That smells boozy and delicious.
I’m gonna add the warm cream and butter.
If you caramelize sugar and don’t add any fat to it,
it’ll be like a hard crack candy caramel.
This is a caramel sauce.
We’re gonna let it thicken a little bit on the heat.
I’m also now gonna add all of our chestnuts.
The caramel as it thickens
is just gonna like coat all of those chestnuts
and they’re gonna be just like suspended
in this gorgeous cognac caramel.
I am going to pour it into this pan.
This’ll just increase the surface area
and it’s gonna cool really fast.
All right, so I’m gonna get this out of the way,
just let it cool.
And then we’re gonna work on our pie crust garnish
that I’ve envisioned as like this little hat
this little like chapeau on the sundae.
[upbeat jazzy music]
It’s Nesselrode Pie.
It’s gotta have a pie crust
and pie crust makes a perfect garnish
because you can like sort of dunk it in the ice cream
and it’s just very cute and it’s textural
and buttery and flaky.
So pie crust, all butter, little bit of bench flour.
We make pie dough here all the time.
After you’ve rolled out your crust originally
and you’ve cut it into a circle
or whatever shape you’re doing,
all of that trim and scrap, you gather it back together.
That’s your re-roll.
And I love the re-roll
because it gets like these super flaky layers.
I like the idea of this being a circle
to mimic the top of a pie.
Doing like two of each size.
I think this is gonna be too small
but I kind of wanna see it anyway.
We’re gonna create like a little vent on top
like if you were using this as a pie top
so that way like the steam has somewhere to escape
and you don’t get like an explosion of pie filling
but like that is gonna look so cute.
These look great.
Pie crust you always wanna bake
when it’s really, really nice and cold
to get those beautiful flaky layers
and you’ll get like a beautiful rise on it.
So I’m gonna put these in the freezer.
Our little pie crusts are chilling.
Let’s make some meringue.
We’re gonna make a French meringue
in the original Nesselrode Pie,
the meringue was whipped and then folded into the custard.
Here I’m kind of reimagining it
as this like fluffy whipped topping
with whipped cream folded through.
We’ll see if that works to kind of like top off our sundae.
Egg whites going in
and we’re just gonna start to whip them.
We’re incorporating a lot of air.
That’s pretty stiff.
Look at that.
So I think we are ready to start adding the sugar.
You wanna add it little by little
because if you add it too quickly,
it’s just gonna deflate the whole thing.
Look how fluffy and like beautiful this is getting.
I’m gonna let this go for like about a minute.
Make sure all of those sugar crystals are dissolved.
All right, look at this.
It looks like me.
It’s my child.
I don’t know if this is gonna work.
I have this big thing of Luxardo cherries
which are delicious.
I’m just gonna try to get out a bunch of the juice.
So the cherries were pretty standard ingredient
in Nesselrode Pie, the original,
kind of studded in the custard throughout.
All right, so let’s see what happens.
I love this!
Oh my god!
This is gorgeous!
Yes, look at this beautiful!
Ah, we love it!
Ballet slipper pink.
It’s so pretty!
I’m gonna let this hang out.
Can always re-whip it a little bit if I need to
but I wanna get the pie crust tops in the oven
since that’s like the last thing that needs to happen
before we can assemble this beauty.
And I like to do egg wash
because it’s gonna make them really shiny and beautiful
but also it’s going to create a surface
for this demerara sugar to stick to.
Pie crests are chilled.
They’re cute, they’re beautiful, they are frozen solid.
And I’m just gonna paint the egg wash on each one
and we’re gonna get these in the oven.
I have the oven at 400 for about 10 minutes.
I want them really, really golden brown.
While those bake, I love this meringue.
I’m just gonna switch this out
and whip some cream unsweetened
because this is super super sugary
and I want a little bit of balance.
Whipped cream is just cream with air in it.
That looks good.
Let’s see what it’s like when the two of these get together.
So I kind of wanna gently fold it in.
I don’t wanna beat the air out of it
I just wanna gently combine it.
Oh my God, it’s like this swirly, cloudy, pale pink.
It’s absolutely stunning.
I wanna go to sleep on it.
It’s a pillow.
I’m gonna keep this cold so it doesn’t fall.
Our pie tops are ready.
Oh my god, they’re so cute!
They puffed up so much, but I kind of love it.
I’m gonna let them cool.
This is because of the re-rolls,
that is this like flaky flakiness.
It’s so beautiful.
We are ready.
This is our initial vision of the Nesselrode Sundae
adapted from the Nesselrode Pie.
First thing we’re gonna do is get a cold frosty cup
a little bit of caramel in the bottom
’cause that way when you go to take a bite and you dip down,
you get caramel on the top and on the bottom.
The chestnuts originally would’ve been
in that custard in the pie.
And this is just reimagined
into the most luxurious caramel sauce ever.
The ice cream that we churned has chilled.
It’s set, the texture looks amazing.
And this is our cherry and glace fruit.
Oh my God, it looks so beautiful!
All those chunks of fruit and cherries
that would’ve been in the custard,
now they’re in our ice cream.
Maybe I’m gonna do two scoops of each.
This is the rum.
Look at that texture.
It is so smooth.
Now we’re gonna do more caramel because more caramel, right?
And look at all like the texture in there.
It’s not just a sauce.
It has like all of these bits of the buttery chestnuts.
We have some more of the glace fruits
and now our whipped topping,
cherry meringue and whipped cream.
I am in love.
Chocolate shavings, little cherry on top.
Pie crust chapeau.
She is done!
This is beautiful, ooey gooey Nesselrode Sundae, baby.
I’m just gonna dig in
and I wanna get a little bit of everything in each bite.
It’s so good.
It’s like super creamy, a little bit boozy.
It’s got a ton of texture,
light, and fluffy on top.
I feel like I have meringue all over my face.
You guys have to dry this!
Okay, so this is the vision.
The glace fruit ice cream
and the meringue topping with the caramel
are my favorite parts. It’s so good.
It’s very sweet, but it should be, you know, it’s dessert.
It tastes a little bit like Fruity Pebbles, maybe.
[Caroline] Mm! Yeah, yeah, yeah!
Fruity Pebbles vibes.
It’s very Gage & Tollner, right?
[Taste Tester] Yes.
[Caroline] I think it really fits little right?
I like the weird little fruit in it.
[Caroline] They’re so good, right?
The Nesselrode Sundae is a success.
I hope our friend Carl Nesselrode is proud
and not turning over in his grave.
What we did today,
like this is the absolute best part of my job
from like doing the research, to doing these crazy sketches,
to playing with all of these ingredients
and finding things and creating something new
is the thing that I love the most about my job.
And maybe you’ll come to Gage & Tollner
and you’ll see this on the menu soon!