Sunday, May 30, 2010

Miso-Shiso


This chocolate has a lot going for it, including the fortunate coincidence that its ingredients rhyme and look good together, but most importantly, taste very good. Miso (I used red, not white, hence the red shell) and sweet, I have recently discovered, are very good friends. Miso gives a hint of salt, but not only that, it gives a caramel-maillard-Guinnessy, umami taste that I can only describe as wonderful and complex without being overwhelming. The shiso acts as mint, adding freshness and rounding out the other flavors of the confection with its coolness. I made a shiso jelly for this, similar in the way in which one would make a mint jelly.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Chocolate Confections


I have been thinking a lot about chocolates lately. It is mostly because that is what I was asked to talk about at TED (www.tedxcambridge.com/blog/how-do-you-eat/ ). But what really got me going was a box of chocolates we (my sous, Bryan Graham, and myself) made last spring (09) in honor of Ferran Adria's visit. I wanted to find a way to honor him through a box of chocolates. And as weird as that sounds, what came from it was pretty fantastic. I basically showed me a different way to look at chocolates. Meaning, they don't always have to be filled with ganache, caramel, marzipan, fondant, pate de fruit, etc. There are so many possibilities that is slightly overwhelming. Based on some of his dishes from when he took over the restaurant (el bulli... just in case you didn't know) in 1987, I took one dish that I though was representative of that year, but whose flavors could be translated into a chocolate. There were twenty pieces in total which were developed (up until 2007). And this is part of what I talked about: flavor combinations that seem unusual but are very good together. I will be posting more about these chocolates in the future. But here is one: litchi jelly and orange.


Friday, May 14, 2010

Doughnuts




Making a great doughnut is just as important to me as it is to make a great choux pastry. A light as air brioche doughnut is one of the best things there is.

I used to submerge my doughnuts completely when I fried them, but this would take away one of the visual quality aspects that I have seen, which is the white ring around the middle section. That is a sign of a well made, well proofed and well fried doughnut.




It should also not be greasy. Doughnuts become greasy when they are fried in oil that is too cold or are not proofed properly (usually when they are overproofed); they tend to suck the oil right in. When the oil is at the correct temperature (350 F for large doughnuts / 365 F for smaller ones) it seems to seal the outside crust and the heat just expands the dough through steam, creating a fried doughnut that is light as air.