Johns Hopkins Magazine - September 1996 Issue Jennifer Lamb '88
Pastry chef at O'Neals', Manhattan

"I particularly like this banana strudel recipe because it is so sensual to eat," says Jennifer Lamb, pastry chef at O'Neals', a restaurant across from Lincoln Center that's popular with theater-goers.

"The phyllo crust of the strudel is thin and crisp, while the hot bananas inside have a soft, comforting texture," explains Lamb, who trained at the Culinary Institute of America before going on to work as a line cook at the Waldorf-Astoria's fine dining room. It was there she met her future husband, Florimond Smoor, a sous- chef.

Part of what makes the dessert below so pleasurable are its contrasting temperatures, flavors, and textures, Lamb says. "The cold ice cream feels good on the tongue next to the hot pastry, and the blandness of the vanilla actually plays down the sweetness of the bananas," she says. "Once you start eating this dessert, it is difficult to stop. It never cloys on the palate."

Suggested wine: "There are few desserts that really go well with wine, and this one is no exception," says Charles Lawrence (MPH '76), a Baltimore physician and winetasting instructor in the university's Intersession program. One potential pairing would be the Essensia produced by California winemaker Quady. "Essensia is made from the Orange Muscat and has an alcohol level of 15 percent. It is not intensely sweet, and the somewhat orange flavor of this variety of muscat should complement the banana and cinnamon flavors," says Lawrence. What's more, "the ice cream should help to attenuate the alcoholic character of the wine." A second option would be the Moscato d'Asti of Northern Italy, "a lovely sparkling wine with a deliciously fruity aroma and flavor." Lawrence suspects, however, "that the banana and ice cream flavors might overwhelm this light, low alcohol wine."

Crunchy Banana Strudel with Vanilla Ice Cream

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