Tuesday, June 30, 2009

"Pop Tart"


This is inspired by the idea behind the way a pop tart is assembled. I know it is not a novel idea (after all, they do make a truffle pop tart at TFL, which they call a "Friand", but it is informally called a pop tart... legal reasons I would assume, but same principle). Two pieces of dough around a smooth or creamy filling. Almost like a ravioli in a sense.
For the dough in this case it had to be flexible. We made something similar to a very loose streusel, which is flour with sugar, some fat (a combination of oil and butter) and a pinch of salt. Baked to cook the flour off, and then once the mixture was cooled off, it was mixed with melted butter until if formed a cohesive mass. This was then rolled out by hand to .2 inches thick, refrigerated, and once solidified, the discs of dough were cut out.
The filling is a pureed mudslide cookie. A mudslide cookie is a chocolate cookie with chocolate chunks. Extremely rich, but pureed with water it mellowed out to the consistency of a very smooth ganache. I poured this into a dome shaped fleximold, filled 1/3 of the way, then froze it. Once frozen I assembled the tarts. To make the top disc of dough dome I just applied heat from a blow drier once Ihad placed it over the cookie puree dome, and it blanketed it easily. I froze the assembled tarts, then I cut them out again with a slightly smaller fluted ring cutter to get a clean look. Froze them again and then sprayed them with red cocoa butter.

The cherry was a very nice touch. In order to keep the stem on, I made hole at the bottom of the cherry, then extracted the pit with a pair of tweezers. The cherry was then dipped in house-made fondant (melted to 160 degrees Fahrenheit), left to dry, then placed on top of the tart. I like how the fondant puddled around the base, giving it an almost cartoon-like look, but clean at the same time.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Packaging


Sometimes things work out without much effort. And by sometimes I mean rarely. I was wondering how to package the liquid truffles from this posting: http://www.thequenelle.com/2009/06/liquid-truffles.html ; it is aways a challenge to find the right packaging for a specific item, where it won't be too big or too small. It has to be just right, where the product is snug but with a little bit of wiggle room. In this case, I started to fill the box and I had originally wanted the truffles to fit in flat layers of four pieces, stacked on top of each other to fit a total of twelve truffles. It wasn't working as I wanted, but as I stacked the truffles I noticed that they looked like they were climbing on top of each other, and the resulting pattern was beyond what I had hoped for. I could not have intentionally planned this outcome.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A momet of zen

video

I have a new toy I received for father's day from my wife and my daughter, and I plan to start using it here... plenty. I think it is appropriate for some situations, such as with my posting on Blink (http://www.thequenelle.com/2009/06/blink.html) where I could only explain verbally what was going on in the dessert. Here I can actually show it. Now, the hand's a little shaky, but I am getting a tripod soon. It will also be great for demos on how to make certain things.

I hope the phat beats you hear in the background are not too much for you to handle. It's better than kitchen noise, plus it goes with the pulsating, seizure inducing led light.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Tonic


Sometimes... in fact seldom, do I surprise myself. I say that because I rarely feel 100% satisfied with a product. I think it can always be better or that it is just average or that it can be tweaked and tuned more. But with this dessert, which I call the "tonic" (I generally don't like naming desserts because it always assumes that people will know what the hell you are talking about... descriptions are good), because it reminds me of a gin an tonic, I am very happy. It is so hard rock. It came from another idea that I had to make luminous desserts by adding quinine to them (quinine, the base ingredient for tonic water, seems to be in shortage and is hard to come by), but all I could get was tonic water. If you place them under a black light they become luminous. There is a perfect scientific explanation to it, but I have no idea or time to find out what it is... it just is. Well, it seemed hokey and to pull it off I would have had to ask my customers to take the dessert home, wait till nightfall or go into a dark closet, turn on the little black light flashlights I found for cheap, and eat their fluorescent dessert in the semi-dark. No way. I had to put a bomb on that. But the idea of gin and tonic was appealing, if only for the challenge of making it into a palatable dessert. You can't just make gin jell-o shots and call it good. Gin is one of these liquors that I have had very bad experiences with many years ago; for some it is tequila, for me it is gin, which I used to drink in Martinis (I long ago switched to vodka Martinis, which aren't true Martinis, but I really don't care... they are good). I cannot drink it or even smell it without feeling ill. But the flavors that make gin up are fascinating, especially the juniper berry.
The components to this dessert are as follows:
.Panna cotta (base, made of cream infused with toasted juniper berries, Mexican cinnamon, star anise, orange and lemon zest and licorice powder)

.Tapioca: cooked in tonic water and sweetened. Lightly dyed blue. Because it reminds me of the bottle of Bombay Sapphire Gin (the brand I used to drink). I used some blue food coloring, so what?

.Lime zest, dehydrated. Where I am from, gin and tonics are garnished with a lime wedge. Not sure about here.

The flavor was not stomach churning as I had originally thought; in fact it was one of the best desserts I think I have made, modesty aside. And the Altoids-like tin is pretty great... not the first to use a tin (Ferran Adria served his orignial spherified apple in a caviar-like tin), but a rather nice one it is. The stickers with the 3-d sea urchin give it a very graphic element which I think makes it beautiful. It makes me want to buy it and own it, and then eat it and keep the tin as a reminder of my having eaten it and its ethereal awesomeness, once harnessed, now gone.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Chocolate showpiece intervention part 2


In my quest to end all things superfluous in the chocolate showpiece arena, I came up with another proposal in simplicity. This is a 12 inch sphere of solid dark chocolate, with a lip carved out of one side, sitting on a chocolate pedestal. The sphere was then sprayed with a light gray velvet spray, and then I scratched through the surface with a clay modeling tool to expose the chocolate under it.

Once I was finished with the piece, which I liked, by the way, I though about its purpose. What is the purpose of any chocolate showpiece? It is so ephemeral, since it won't last forever, and you really can't eat it. Technically you can, but it would take a mighty jaw to take a chunk off of that. So it occurred to me, that part of the beauty of the showpiece is that it is ephemeral and temporary.

But this also means that it is a huge waste of time and money, at least in my shop. Can you break the piece down and melt it to re-use? You could, but by this point it has been exposed for a while, and with much debris in the air falling on it, it wouldn't be 100% sanitary. So, what purpose did it serve again?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Properly filled mochi


After my first posting on mochi (http://www.thequenelle.com/2009/05/mucho-mochi.html), I thought I was complicating things more than they had to. I was basically assembling the mochi as if it were a ravioli (one sheet of dough on the bottom, a scoop of filling, then a sheet of dough on top, then punch the shapes out). The answer to resolve all of this fuss, was to simply look at manufactured mochi. It is basically a round piece of dough, about .5" thick, that is force filled like a jelly doughnut. So that is what I did for these pieces. Two different mochi types were made. The lighter mochi is plain mochi dough (for those who do not know what mochi is, it is a Japanese product made out of glutinous rice dough (no gluten... just glutinous as in consistency), fully cooked, pleasantly chewy, typically filled with red bean paste... not my favorite filling), filled with a house made Hudson Valley strawberry jam, mixed with a vanilla mascarpone. The darker mochi is the original idea of one of my sous (Bryan) who thought of using another liquid instead of water to make the dough. In this case he used coffee, and then filled the dough discs with dulce de leche.

I find mochi to be terribly addictive. Chewy, sweet, small bites that just never seem to be enough.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Your bread and butter


Revisiting bread service in restaurants, I was thinking about how else you could do more than just the bread or the butter. A whole new area of opportunity if there ever was one, since many restaurants do not make their own bread (and that's OK), it is sometimes a hassle for the chef's to deal with. But what if you could make it so special that it could almost be a course of its own? (see my original posting on bread service in restaurants here: http://www.thequenelle.com/2009/05/re-thinking-bread-service-in.html).

The idea was to combine bread and butter in one. To do this, the obvious would be to spread butter on bread, but how could you fuse both? Brioche is one example, especially the recipe we use that contains 50% of the total weight of the dough in butter. But that is just and enriched dough, it is not bread-and-butter per se... it is bread-with-butter.

The resulting product of this idea, was to toast some milk solids with butter on a stove top to create a massive amount of toasted milk solids that would have the flavor of brown butter. The toasted milk solids are loose. To bind them, I blended them with water, which resulted in a very flavorful brown butter spread that was perfectly emulsified. From here, I needed to add the bread component, for which I toasted a loaf of our Francese bread (similar to ciabatta, but better, more flavorful and complex), and added it to the blender with the butter spread and pureed it until I obtained a homogeneous mass. Then I spread the, um, spread, very thin over a sheet of acetate and put it in the dehydrator overnight. The result was almost like a cracker: crisp butter and bread all in one.
Now, if I had a freeze drier, which I don't but God do I want one, I would freeze dry the butter, pulverize it, and make bread with it, and there it is, plain and simple. But since I don't have $100k to blow right now it will just have to wait.

One of the ideas that was thrown around was, can you spread bread on butter? We have yet to come up with a result that is good to eat, but we're working on it.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A glass of cake and a slice of milk




I've been on a jag to see how much I can get away with pureeing baked sponge cakes. In this case, I used a dense flourless chocolate cake, and pureed it with a small amount of water until it was of a liquid consistency. That was the glass of cake part. The slice of milk, is a genoise that uses milk powder as one of its main ingredients. Once it is cooked (in a microwave, not baked in an oven) it has the flavor of the lactose in the milk powder. Cake and milk, just doing a little role-playing.
I think I got one more cake puree dessert left in me and then I will be done.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wrapping candy bars



Since we don't have any machine to automate the wrapping process, we have to do it all by hand. This results in a beautifully packaged candy bar, but... they take so long to wrap and are therefore a huge labor expense.

Thinking of ways to still make them look good and not compromise the look to save a few dollars, we came up with a simple idea: just cryovack them and place the label on the back of the package. This sped up the process tremendously and I think they look very clean, plus you can actually see what is inside. Also, the plastic doesn't scuff the chocolate as candy foil does. Half of the work is getting the right temper to not only give the chocolate the snap, but also the shine.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Liquid truffles



These truffles were inspired by the banana bread batter spheres from the Banana Peanut Krunch dessert (http://www.thequenelle.com/2009/06/breakfast-for-dessert.html). Basically, you take a baked sponge cake and puree it with a liquid until it becomes as fluid as a batter... more or less like the consistency of creme anglaise.
I used three different spongecakes: for the green truffles I used flourless chocolate cake, for the red I used red velvet cake and for the purple I used vanilla chiffon. I blended the cakes with water and some corn syrup (for sweetness and viscosity). I used water instead of a dairy product such as milk or heavy cream so they would be somewhat shelf stable (about 5 to 7 days). There is no recipe really, it is just adjusting the textures as you see fit. The liquid cakes were then poured into truffle shells, frozen, coated in chocolate and then tossed in dehydrated
cake crumbs... very colorful cake crumbs. The cake crumbs, which I had never thought of using as a truffle coating, gave the truffles a really great crunchy texture. You do have to eat the truffle in one bite though, otherwise you will have a mess on your hands. I don't know of anyone who eats a truffle in two bites though. Someone with a tiny mouth or pursed lips I suppose.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Using lime to strengthen fruit


Lime, the mineral, not the fruit, is often used in Mexican cooking. Specifically, what is done is the lime powder is combined with cold water (about 1 Tbsp to 2 qt water) and then a particular fruit is submerged in this solution; how long depends on the fruit and how firm you want it... the longer it is in the solution the tougher it will become. Traditionally it is used for papaya, but I wanted to try and see if it worked with other fruit, so I chose apricots.

I chose apricots because whenever you cook them they tend to turn to mush and completely fall apart, and while they may taste good, the texture is that of a fruit puree. I pitted these Blenheim apricots. They were way under ripe (stone fruit is not easily procured in NY) so they were easy to quarter and then I removed their pits. I put them in the lime solution for about 2 hours, strained them, rinsed them and then cooked them in a regular simple syrup, just under a boil.

As you can see from the picture, they held their shape very well and are almost translucent, their water content having been almost completely replaced by sugar, which will also mean that it will preserve the fruit for a long period of time.

Also, and this is very important, the flavor was that of a very ripe apricot, without the usual mealiness that comes with it.

I also tried papaya, but I left it too long in the lime solution (24 hours) and it was as firm as a baseball glove. Not very appetizing.

Grapes worked well too, but they had to be peeled one by one, and frankly, who has the time for that?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Chocolate Showpiece Manifesto


I have never made a chocolate showpiece in the traditional sense. For me, I place them in the same category as sugar showpieces: tacky. What with all the flowers, sea creatures, unicorns, dragons and damsels in distress... not thanks, I'll pass.

While I can certainly appreciate the craft (because it is a craft, not an art, lets not kid ourselves) that goes into making them, I have never seen the point of it but a means of the maker to show off his or her skills. Seldom do I think these pieces are useful, let alone tasteful. I am not an arbiter of taste or a taste-maker by any means, but I can't help but think of the waste of time and chocolate (or sugar) that surrounds these pieces. What are they for? Who really needs a showpiece for anything?



I was recently at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and there was an exhibit on contemporary Japanese ceramics. I had first seen these types of ceramic pieces at the Japan Society in New York City a few years ago, and was dumbfounded by how beautiful they were. But it wasn't until I saw them again in Boston that I thought about how they could be translated into chocolate work. The artists who have inspired me the most are the late Isamu Noguchi (there is an Isamu Noguchi museum in Queens), Kohyama Yasuhisa an Yagi Akira (I highly recommend the book "Contemporary Clay - Japanese Ceramics for the New Century; MFA publications. Find it on Amazon.com).

So what is the chocolate showpiece manifesto? It is just what I think should be the guiding principle to making them. And if anyone cares, this is what I believe it should be:


Simple.


Simple can be beautiful. It doesn't need to have bells and whistles to make it better. The bells and whistles are what kill it. More is just more.



This is a solid block of chocolate 10 inches long x 8 inches deep. Carved with clay tools with the help of a warming blow dryer, and then polished by hand to smooth it out. The organic shape came from a large chunk of bubble chocolate, broken in half to give it an organic shape and texture.
One of my future projects is an edible sugar showpiece.



Thursday, June 11, 2009

A beautiful baguette



There are, in my opinion, four doughs that a baker must master in order to consider him-her self a proper craftsman (or crafts person?): Sourdough, brioche, baguette and lamination. When you know how to do those well, then you can do anything you want.
This particular baguette is made with a levain (a sour pre-ferment that utilizes only wild yeast) and the dough itself does have a small percentage of commercial yeast.
Today our bread team did an extraordinary job with their product, especially with the baguette. This is a little larger than traditional baguettes, weighing in at 450 g (typically they weight 320 to 370 g). The scores are good and the crust has a very nice browning, very particular of levain baguettes. The levain is what also makes this a special baguette, since baguette usually utilizes the much more convenient poolish as a pre-ferment, which is not going to provide as good of a crust or crumb as the natural levain does.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Black olive paper


You can practically make a "paper" out of any food that has a pulp-like consistency when pureed. The obvious initial choice for me was to use fruit. And we made mango, guava and papaya papers. The guava yielded the best results, being the most brittle of all. The others were more pliable.It has to do with the sugar content of the fruit. The guava had the least amount of sugar.

I have posted about this method before (seen originally in "Ideas in Food"); it is a mixture of a puree (fruit, vegetable) with methocel A7C (1% of the total weight of the puree). In this case I blanched olives to reduce the briny taste, then I pureed it with the A7C, spread it thin over an acetate sheet and dehydrated it. I didn't bother cutting a perfect shape, choosing instead to leave it as organic as possible.

This has a very different olive taste. It almost tastes like an olive right off the tree. Well, the brine has been mostly cooked away, of course, but it was a very pleasant flavor and a very different texture. It has no sugar so it was not flexible or pliable as some of the fruit papers can be. It was incredibly delicate, almost vanishing into the mouth, leaving an unmistakable taste behind. I added a strand of saffron (which you can see in the photo); its taste was subtle and rounded out the olive well.

As far as what this can be used for... we tried it as a "skin" to wrap a dough to emulate an olive fougasse, but it didn't work so well, being hard to handle it was quite a task to even move it from the acetate. I could enjoy it on its own, or as a garnish to something very sweet, like a caramel or white chocolate.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Pi anyone?


Admittedly very tongue in cheek. This is another flexible silicone ice-tray mold that I re-purposed for molded chocolate use. The shell is plain white chocolate (dyed green), but for the body, we took apple peel, tossed it in cinnamon and sugar (the flavors of apple pie... get it? Good.), dehydrated it, pulverized it and mixed it into tempered chocolate, then filled in the mold.

I couldn't resist.

Monday, June 8, 2009

New blog

After you take a moment to read tonight's posting just below this one, please take a second moment to visit my new(ish) blog:
http://www.beingfergushenderson.blogspot.com/
Caveat: there is zero pastry and baking involved; pure salty stuff.

Blink


This is a new dessert which came out today. It is a combination of lemongrass panna cotta, red velvet cake crumbs, black sesame micro-genoise (the genoise that Albert Adria makes with a whipper and cooks in a microwave... amazing; 45 seconds to cook a genoise!), ginger infused white moss (this is a Chinese mushroom known as "Snow fungus" that is sold dehydrated; it looks like a white coral. It has no taste or smell, but it has the ability to absorb the flavor of whatever liquid you use to re-hydrate it. In this case we infused a syrup with fresh ginger and then added the mushroom. It has a particular chewy-crunchy consistency that I like), basil seeds (hydrated; they form a gelatinous membrane around the seed... it kind of looks like fish eggs, but they add texture and flavor to the dessert) and a sphere of pureed guava.
These, however, are not the elements I am most excited about. If you look at the picture above, there is a blue luminous object. That is a small square blinking blue led light that is carefully placed behind the black sesame genoise. It is almost like a strobe calling attention to the dessert. The light lasts about a week, blinking continuously before it goes out. And they are cheap (about $1).
The components of this dessert together reminded a few people of Fruit Loops.
I'm OK with that.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Camembert and truffles


This is a Camembert from Old Chatham Sheepherding Company in, well, Old Chatham, New York. It is one of the creamiest Camemberts I have ever tasted, surrounded by a soft white rind. I am very greatful to have such a great cheese-maker so close to home, and with such high quality products.

Not being one to leave good enough alone, I decided to add truffles to it, and the best way to do so was to approach it as a layered cake. The cheese itself is a square about 3 inches long and 1 inch deep. I cut it into three even layers horizontally. I also took black truffles and pureed them with salt and a little butter to bind them and form a paste. I then piped the truffle paste on top of one of the layers, stacked it, then piped more on the second layer and then placed the third and final layer of cheese on top. This was then wrapped tight to compress it and refrigerated for about an hour in order to firm it up and cut it cleanly. If it were soft it would be a mess to cut cleanly.

Out of one cheese I was able to obtain about five orders (each about 1/2 inch thick; the rind on either width side had to be removed, otherwise I could have gotten 6 orders). The cheese is then left to temper. Here it is served with baby red beets, simply roasted with olive oil and salt, and a few basil micro greens. Add the bread from yesterday's posting (beet bread) and it's golden.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Beet bread


In another test to substitute the water component of bread dough with another liquid, we tested out this method with red beet juice and yellow beet juice. You can see in the picture that there were two separate doughs, each one surrounding the other.

The part that surprised me the most was not just that it looks like an interesting piece of bread, but that the flavor of the beet was very intense in it.

The crumb is not very open, perhaps because there is a lot of sugar in beets and sugar acts as a gluten tenderizer, which makes for a weaker dough. This crumb was also a bit wetter than our regular breads, which I think also has to do with the effect that that the beet juice had on the dough. It may not have been absorbed all the way by the flour, since it was not like water, it contains some other minerals and particles that prevent 100% absorption.

I can picture this bread goes well with goat cheese and some good olive oil. Plain and simple.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Resolving limitations


When I think about how limited a refrigerated display case can be, no matter how beautiful or high-tech it is, there are certain things that you cannot do (see post from Sunday May 31, http://www.thequenelle.com/2009/05/too-much-work.html ) the same way as with restaurant plated desserts, with a la minute components that are crisp, crunchy or otherwise susceptible to the harsh environment of a refrigerated case surrounded by moisture. So, sitting down to cry and lament this undeniable fact may be tempting but useless in the end. One item that until recently I thought was off limits was sauce, since any sauce after being exposed to the air, and especially cold, circulating air, tends to dry and form an off-putting skin on its surface, and eventually completely dry out into a crusty mess. The only way to stop that from happening is to enclose it... trap it, if you will. And laboratory pipettes are perfect for that. All you have to do is squeeze it on top of the dessert and eat it. No crusty sauce here. Besides I think they look great.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Breakfast for dessert


I can eat cereal at any time. I have no time constraints about it. Which is why I thought that cereal can be made into a dessert. I am not talking about just adding sugar or eating Lucky Charms, I mean, using dessert components to make a cereal/dessert.
We have a recipe for oatmeal streusel which is one of the best things I have eaten. It is crisp, sweet and oaty. It is mostly used to garnish Danish and other baked goods, but I had always thought that is would make the best cereal. Perhaps not the most healthy cereal, but the best tasting yes.

The components are:
.Liquid Banana Bread truffles. This is a baked banana bread that has been pureed with some heavy cream and corn syrup, basically turning it back into a liquid batter. We pour this liquid into a silicone sphere mold, freeze it, pop it out, coat it in chocolate and then feuilletine (crisp, thin wafers). Then the liquid batter melts inside the sphere, but it won't be going anywhere soon since it is trapped in a chocolate prison.
.Peanut Butter powder. Just peanut butter with powdered sugar, mixed until it is of a dry-solid consistency, then passed through a drum sieve or tamis.
.Oatmeal streusel clusters
.Chocolate milk, on the side. This was a challenge, because what really makes good chocolate milk if not the amount and quality of chocolate? How much do you add without turning it into a viscous aberration. We did quite a few different tests, and the one we finally picked was originally a simple chocolate sauce made with chocolate (obviously), sugar and heavy cream, and then we just added milk until it felt right.


What works well here is that if you take a spoonful with all of the components, you can feel the banana sphere pop in your mouth and all of the banana flavor just surrounds all of the other flavors, but none of them overwhelms the other. Plus it's fun to have cereal for dessert.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Blast from the past...


This is Obelix, from Asterix et Obelix, a French comic book that I used to read as a kid (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asterix). Alain Levy, an instructor at the CIA as well as a good friend of mine, was looking to unload a few molds from his past days as a chocolatier. At first I told him I wasn't interested, but then he told me what he had, and this was one of the molds. I had to have it! He was kind enough to give it to me as a gift. It is about 10 inches tall x 6 inches wide. Now, there is no special technique here, there is nothing new that is going to change the way we think about pastry. This is simply a chocolate figurine that I really liked.
I have to say that, even though not a single person in my shop knew who he was, it seemed to cheer people up. How could you possibly be in a bad mood with a guy like Obelix around?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Caramelized white chocolate mousse


I used caramelized white chocolate to make this mousse. I also added toffee pieces for texture, by folding them into the mousse. The dessert is served with a small envelope filled with mini pieces of toast made from plain white sandwich bread, (made from scratch obviously... no one makes bread that small, at least not commercially) and a pinch of black Hawaiian sea salt.
The mousse is so smooth, it would loose its shape had I not coated it with a white chocolate spray. The spray serves as a sort of shell that keeps the mousse in shape. The mousse is sprayed when it is frozen and once it thaws the spray will still be firm. The mousse is also sprayed with a light mist of cocoa butter mixed with a small amount of vegetable ash, the kind used for making certain types of goat cheese.
The whole flavor profile of this dessert is the Maillard reaction of different ingredients, in this case, the caramelized white chocolate, the toffee and the toast. The salt just helps things along. So how do you eat it? You spoon some of the mousse onto the toast and sprinkle some salt on top of it. Then you eat it. There is a total of five pieces of toast, just enough for the entire mousse.

The toast holds surprisingly well in refrigeration, up to 10 hours, still crisp.

Monday, June 1, 2009

More "fragrant" cheese


This cheese is an Epoisses, the real deal for "aggressively scented" cheese. The essence of the barn and the cow is to be found here. It has a soft rind and soft interior, which is typically spooned onto bread. I like the rind too, but some people prefer not to eat it. Typically you would make an incision on the top of the cheese through the rind with a spoon, and scoop the creamy center out.
What I did for this cheese was take all of the soft filling out, and smoothed it out with a rubber spatula in a bowl. Once it was soft enough, I put it in a piping bag and sandwiched it between two squares of guava paper, which is a sweet-tart fruit that goes well with most cheese.

For the guava paper I "borrowed" a recipe from Ideas in Food (http://ideasinfood.typepad.com/ideas_in_food/recipes/) in which they make a sauerkraut paper with Methyl cellulose (Methocel A7C). Basically it is the fresh fruit pureed with the methyl cellulose (1% of the total weight of the fruit puree), spread thin over a sheet of acetate and then dehydrated at 65 degrees Celsius for a few hours.

The flavor contrasts go well together, but what I liked the most was the thin glass-like texture of the guava paper in contrast with the smooth creamy cheese.