Recipe Details

This dessert recipe takes inspiration from savory baking techniques and flavors to add unexpected flavor through spice and heat. The play of textures, temperatures, and sweet with savory accents makes this dish one of the most sophisticated summer desserts around.

Black Pepper-Strawberry Coca:

  1. Mix water, yeast, flour, salt, and black pepper on speed 4 of a KitchenAid, just until it comes together.
  2. Increase to speed 6 and allow to mix for about 8 min. Dough should clear the sides of the bowl when ready. Dough should have a glossy sheen to show proper gluten development.
  3. Place in lightly oiled square container, with enough room for dough to triple in volume. Wrap the entire container in plastic wrap. Make a small mark on the plastic wrap where the dough sits to make it easier to see when the dough has tripled in volume. Place dough in a warm environment, about 75-80 degrees. Tripling should take about 3 hours.
  4. When dough has tripled, place a baking stone or an inverted sheet tray in a 450 degree oven to heat up. When dough has tripled in volume, dust the edges and top of dough with plenty of flour.
  5. Use a bench scraper to ease the dough away from the sides of the container. Dust table with plenty of flour. Invert the container to remove dough onto the table top.
  6. Using your fingers, gently pull the edges of the dough out to make a rectangle shape about 18"x 24" wide. Dust a sheet tray generously with semolina flour or cornmeal.
  7. Supporting the dough as much as possible with your hands, pick up and transfer the dough onto the semolina-dusted sheet tray.
  8. Reposition the dough with your hands to reshape into a rectangle. Dough should be about .75" thick.
  9. Add strawberries on top in one layer and drizzle generously with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with smoked sea salt.
  10. Pick up the tray and shake gently to make sure that dough will easily move off of tray. If it sticks, lift up dough and add semolina to provide barrier.
  11. When ready, carefully remove baking stone or sheet tray from oven. Place on table and working quickly, slide dough onto hot tray. Put tray in oven and bake for 12 min.
  12. Rotate tray and bake for 10 more minutes, or until golden brown and strawberries are beginning to brown around the edges. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before cutting.

Smoked Chocolate Ice Cream

  1. Melt chocolate over double broiler and cold smoke for 6.5 hours. In the meantime, take a piece of charred wood and steep it in hot milk for 4 hours.
  2. When chocolate is appropriately smoked, remove wood from milk and reheat milk.
  3. Whisk egg yolks, salt, and sugar together. Temper hot milk into egg yolks and sugar. Add melted smoked chocolate and return to heat. Cook to 165 degrees.
  4. Remove from heat and run through chinois. Chill and refer to ice cream machine's instructions on freezing.
  5. If using PacoJet, chill and freeze in PacoJet beaker overnight. Remove from freezer and spin using PacoJet.
  6. Return to freezer for 3 hours or until desired consistency.

Spiced Rhubarb Syrup

  1. Combine all ingredients into a small sauce pot.
  2. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 min.
  3. Take off heat and strain through chinois.
  4. Allow to cool before serving.


  1. Plate coca on slate with quenelle of smoked chocolate ice cream on top and rhubarb syrup drizzled around the plate.
  2. Finish with extra virgin olive oil drizzled on top of ice cream and smoked sea salt.
  3. Garnish with microgreens.


This coca bread recipe can be adapted for use with many spices and toppings which work well in both sweet and savory applications. Leftover rhubarb syrup can be used to flavor drinks and other desserts as well.