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    behind the counter of LA’s hottest pastry shop, you will find the youthful face of chef Ivan Marquez. He doesn’t look a day over twenty five – and yet has a resume that knocked us off our foodie feet! He got his start at Spago, and has since worked at the renowned French Laundry and Bouchon, picking up invaluable trade secrets. Wanting to get back to his Los Angeles roots and tempted by the prospect of running a kitchen of his own, Ivan most recently took his honed skills as a pastry chef to the Farmer’s Market shop Short Cake.

    As a seasoned chef, Ivan knows exactly what we want to taste. From the perfectly balanced (yet beyond rich) chocolate torte, to the masterfully constructed, flawless croissant, each bite unfolds slowly, revealing the time-honored traditions of French pastry. No one knows how to use butter and sugar quite like Ivan, so when we were given the opportunity to indulge in his masterpieces, we were so game. If you’re LA-based, take a trip over to Short Cake, located inside the Original Farmers Market, to taste them for yourself – and no matter where you live, follow Ivan’s lead and try your hand with this Miso Plum Tart recipe ASAP. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of time for juice cleansing later.

    The Chalkboard Mag: You’ve baked in the famed kitchens of French Laundry, Bouchon, Spago – with a resume like that it seems impossible that your under 30 years old! Tell us, how did you get your start?

    Ivan Marquez: When I was a senior in high school I attended a C-CAP culinary competition where I met Sherry Yard. We connected and she decided to take me under her wing to develop and learn professionally at Spago. This essentially launched my career as a baker and pastry chef. I worked at Spago for a year and a half and then moved to Yountville to join the Bouchon Bakery team as a Boulanger. From there I’ve worked at Providence, Gordon Ramsay at The London, Bouchon Beverly Hills, and then The French Laundry.

    TCM: You have mastered so many pastries from fig tarts to savory croissants, but what is your favorite pastry to make and why?  

    IM: My favorite pastry to make is just a plain croissant. I love the whole process from start to finish, especially the laminating. It’s very therapeutic and keeps me focused on the task at hand. You have to be extremely meticulous with the temperature of your butter because croissant dough isn’t forgiving. I love seeing the layering of the butter and the dough, it’s so labor intensive but the end result is always so rewarding.

    TCM: What is the craziest dessert you’ve ever made?

    IM: I made this pre-dessert once at Bouchon in Beverly Hills. It was a take on a pad Thai. It was made with water noodles, toasted peanuts, cilantro purée, lime juice, salt, coconut sorbet on top of the noodles with a lime “air,” micro-cilantro, and peanut putter powder around the dish. It tasted just like pad Thai, but a sweeter version.

    TCM: The most popular?

    IM: The most popular would have to be The Eclair or Salt and Pepper Ganache Tart. Short Cake’s eclair is pate a choux filled with vanilla pastry cream, and Valrhona chocolate glaze and powder. I think people are surprised by this because of the savory elements. People love salted caramel and expect that paired with dark chocolate, but this is really surprising to people and they like it.

    TCM: What is it about making pastries that keeps you inspired to keep creating and baking?

    IM: I would say it’s the challenge. I love the challenge. You constantly have to work with the changing of the seasons and what’s available that’s fresh and seasonal. I like to do things that push the envelope. I always want to exceed and make things better and inspire the people around me.

    TCM: You’ve been fortunate enough to work in the kitchens of the most renowned restaurants in the world, what was the most impressive thing you saw executed there?

    IM: I’ve taken away so much from every place I’ve worked. The most impressive thing to me at The French Laundry was the farm across the street; I’ve never seen anything like it. At Spago, Sherry’s drive inspired me daily. At Providence, Adrian opened my eyes to a new way of cooking. Carl at Gordon Ramsay at The London pushed me everyday to create something new and urged me to think out of the box. Bouchon taught me about standards, precision and excelling as a chef.

    TCM: Tell us an ingredient you’ve never worked with, but want to try this year…

    IM: I would love to work with offal and make patés. I would love to incorporate this at Short Cake somehow, possibly chicken liver served with house made jams, etc. I don’t’ have a lot of experience with offal but I’d love to try it.

    TCM: If you were to let us in on one secret of pastry making, what would it be?

    IM: You have to always stay youthful. A little craziness will actually keep you sane in this industry. I like to have the mentality of a kid, constantly be asking ‘why,’ and focusing on learning. I never want to think I know everything. Also, no sleep and coffee helps.

    Short Cake’s Miso Frangipane Plum Tart
    Measurements in grams: use a kitchen scale like a pro baker!


    For the pate sucree:
    810g butter
    337g powder sugar (sifted)
    2 vanilla bean pods, scraped
    zest of 1 orange and lemon
    270g eggs (room temp)
    1350g all purpose flour

    For the almond cream:
    1000g butter
    1000g sugar
    1000g eggs (room temp)
    1000g almond meal

    For the pastry cream:
    2000g milk
    250g sugar
    4 vanilla bean pods scraped
    200g cornstarch
    250g sugar
    480g yolks
    200g soft butter

    For the miso frangipane:
    50g miso
    250g pastry cream
    250g almond cream


    For the pate sucree:

    Cream the butter with the powder sugar, vanilla beans, lemon and orange zest. Add the eggs 2 at a time, scraping the bowl in between addition.

    Add the flour and pulse the mixer until the flour is incorporated but not over mixed. Portion the dough to 600g packets. Chill over night. Temper the dough to room temp then roll between 2 pieces of parchment, chill and line the tart shell. Par bake the shell.

    For the almond cream:

    Cream butter and sugar. Add the eggs 2 at a time, scraping the bowl in between addition. Add the almond cream until incorporated.

    For the pastry cream:

    Bring the milk, sugar and vanilla beans to a scald.Whisk the cornstarch, sugar and yolks together. Temper the milk into the yolk mixture and pour back into the pot. Cook over a medium heat  while continuously whisking.

    Cook the base until it thickens and reaches a pudding consistency. Transfer the base to a mixing bowl and whisk until slightly cool. Add the butter and continue to whisk until completely cooled.

    For the miso frangipane:

    Mix all the ingredients together. Pour into the par baked shell. Shingle thinly sliced plums on top, sprinkled a light layer of granulated sugar and baked at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

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