Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Non-spherical spherification (encapsulation)

So what do you call the process of spherification when the shape is not spherical? I came across a not so good recipe for spherifying frozen raspberry puree. I thought it was spherifying... I mean, the result was a sphere surrounded by a thin gel.

I know the answer by the way. It is encapsulation. This method I had found consists of dipping a frozen raspberry coulis demi-sphere in a non-specified vegetable gel. The recipe was unclear to say the least. But I understood the principle. You can take a liquid base, freeze it into any shape, then dip it into a gel that will set on the surface of the frozen base as soon as they both come in contact with each other. But isn't that more or less was spherification is? One component reacts to another, forming a gel. So is spherification really just another term for encapsulation?

Regardless, this method is very exciting because you can encapsulate any liquid (virtually) that you can freeze into many shapes (such a the rectangle I chose) inside a gel. The gel I used is carrageenan, which is flavorless and the better cousin of agar that tends to taste like alkalized chum.

Inside the gel is a sweet black sesame liquid. Once you cut through the surface the black liquid flows out. I think it opens many possibilities for the use of liquids on a plate.


  1. Hi,

    I would like to ask how is the shape being maintained?

    I tried the method and the food froze according to the shape I made, but after encapsulating the food, it turned back into a spherical shape as the frozen food melted.

  2. Well the trick is the carrageenan. Once you dip the frozen liuqid in the carrageenan, the outmost layer will be coated in the set carrageenan.
    Try this recipe:
    1250 g water
    300 g sugar
    50 g carrageenan
    combine all and bring to a boil. Dip the frozen component into the gel when it is between 60 and 65 celsius. Hope this helps.

  3. Thanks a lot for your help!

    I shall go and try it out immediately.

  4. What type of carrageenan do you use (I read that there are 3 different types) and WHERE do you buy it??