Archives Under "creative presentation of the week" (RSS)
My skepticism about modernist cuisine, so named after ‘molecular gastronomy‘ fell out of favor; is not a thing I hide. As it is with so many things, the doubts stem from ignorance, intimidation, and unabashed pig-headed stubbornness. When Chef Anthony Cafiero (AKA Tony Two Fingers) approached me about doing a tentop based on modernist techniques, my skepticism faded as I began to understand the kind of dishes he wanted to do. This wouldn’t be a masterbatorial onslaught of foams, gels, and powders; a showcase of chef-jizz that just barley resembled food. No, Tony has a real knack for applying these techniques in a very non-obnoxious way, and his infectious enthusiasm one cannot help being swept up in. And while this dinner did in fact have foams, gels, and powders; they were all used as an interesting twist on something Tony is quite good at, making food taste good. I mean, you’ve eaten at Tabla, right?
I felt those pangs of skepticism return as mid way through the first day of prep, we hadn’t actually cooked anything. We had used the blender about eight times, had done some steeping, so I guess there was some heat applied, but cooking? This wasn’t quite cooking yet. We made a curried carrot foam that would keep it’s shape for days. We made passion fruit pearls (or ‘caviar’) in a way that I would almost call easy. We made a panna cotta that was intended to be served warm. Yeah…warm panna cotta…I was digging this, I was learning things here. We brined some venison loins, and that was the closest to my comfort zone as we were going to get that day.
It wasn’t until the day of service that we started to ‘cook.’ Pork bellies were tanked for a long, slow swim in the circulator. Tombo tuna was butchered. Venison came off the brine and also went into the tank to cook sous vide. As we started to set up the mise en place for service, I started to get a sense of the full scope of what were about to do. We had five one to two bite ‘tastes’ followed by eight courses of modern tapas, 6 savory and two sweet. We had an intermission planned with aroma therapy and cocktails. We had Chris Onstad on hand to document it all in his distinct, eloquent prose. As the guests started to arrive, I knew that this was going to be a once in a lifetime dinner.
Service was a bit of a blur, I can’t lie. Each course came together as planned, but I was shocked as the colors and flavors popped the way they did, it being the middle of winter and all. We rolled through the small bites, we smoked tombo to order, Tony seared sturgeon and I finally felt heat on my arms as the fire burned hot and fast. As we plated the ‘Umami Cereal,’ I had one of those moments where I thought ‘Wow, this is my job,’ and whatever I had done to get there I silently rejoiced in. It’s crazy to watch a dinner go from a page filled with scribbles to such a visceral experience. During our short intermission, we served a cocktail called a ‘neBroni,’ where in we made a simple negroni augmented with root beer liqueur. We sealed it up in a cryovac bag and had Eric squeeze it into the glasses like an udder, pouring it over orange ice cubes. Eat your heart out Morgenthaler. The most memorable plating for me was the one pictured above, a coffee crusted venison loin with a concord grape fluid gel and beluga lentils. The venison was a succulent morsel, and I had a blast with the ‘blood spatter‘ style plating.
A play by play of this dinner would only serve to trivialize it, as it was an experience that cannot be replicated with words or otherwise. Suffice to say Chef Cafiero is cooking WAY over our heads, all the while being one of the most approachable and friendly dudes on the scene. Here’s the full menu from this amazing night. Click here to log into facebook and see the entire set of pictures.
the modernist with Chef Anthony Cafiero
apple & absinthe granita w/ pork powder, sangria sphere with finger lime & shiso, mushroom cream w/truffle pearls, licorice w/eucalyptus & pickled pears, apple cider w/ chorizo gel and crispy crepe
smoked tombo tuna w/lemon gel & passion fruit
sturgeon w/ celery root, red cabbage & curried carrot
warm red kuri squash panna cotta w/ teff & espilette
umami ‘cereal’ w/maitake, wheat berries, jamon broth, millet & brussel sprouts
pork belly, romesco, mushroom ‘air,’ paprika
venison tenderloin, coffee, cocoa, beluga lentils, concord grape
lemon curd, cranberry sheet, 42 second almond cake
ganache, chili, crispy soy, smoked meringue, graham struesel
Chef’s and faithful readers the world over have had a long standing obsession with ramen, and not just the instant ramen that has fed countless generations of college students the world over. This Japanese comfort food calls more and more food lovers into it’s ranks yearly, but relatively few have taken the challenge of trying to make their own. David Chang’s expose on the topic in the first issue of Lucky Peach magazine recently has had many kitchens buzzing, and mine is no exception. I tried making his recipes verbatim soon after reading the magazine, and felt so armed to start fucking around with my own version.
The noodles for this ended up being Chang’s recipe, verbatim. I experimented with making potato noodles using potato flour; didn’t work. The noodles kept expanding then turning to mush when I went to cook them. After I had given up I was told that I should have worked in xanthan as a binder, which one day I may try.
For the broth, we did a traditional corned beef braise; wherein a beef brisket is brined for five days, then braised for four hours in a low oven. We strained off the broth, augmented it with a simple beef stock made from cows’ necks. We steeped in konbu and ground dried shiitake mushrooms, and reduced the broth by one third. The traditional seasoning for ramen broth comes from what’s called tare (tar-ay,) a rich syrupy stuff made from chicken backs, soy, mirin, sake, and bacon. We tweaked this by using hanger steak instead of the chicken backs, and smoked ham hock along with the bacon. The tare is blended into the broth right before it hits the bowl. Again, I adapted all of this from Lucky Peach, so I hope David Chang doesn’t sue me. However, I guess if he was going to, he would have already.
The idea behind this dish was to “fuse” corn beef and cabbage with ramen, and the garnishes reinforced this. We had baby carrots, roasted fingerling potatoes, raw shredded cabbage, pickled mushrooms, and a breaded and fried soft boiled egg. We made a radicchio chip that had the very similar texture and flavor to the traditional nori. The hunk of corned beef was pull apart tender, warmed through in a little bit of the ramen broth.
Overall, I was extremely happy with this dish. As my own toughest critic, I have a few critiques. Firstly, ramen should not be part of a multi-coursed dinner. Ramen IS a multi-coursed dinner. I did not have enough broth in relation to the other ingredients in the bowl because I was worried about over filling people, as is my custom. Ramen should be a huge satisfying meal unto itself, not just a stop on runaway fusion train.
It’s worth mentioning that PDX Eater did a little piece on this dish for their reoccurring Chef in the Kitchen feature. A big and warm thanks to Erin Dejesus for her great article and ongoing interest in KitchenCru, and as many thanks to the talented photographer Dina Avila for her beautiful photos. The article is cool in an of it self and all, all though I was so excited during the shoot I forgot to put the corned beef in it. The real joy of this article however, came the day after; when people started to comment. Check it out, it’s worth a good laugh.
At tentop’s recent Offal Good dinner we served many of Chef Dunleavy’s creations; and one of the stand outs was this little goddammit here. A riff on the classic dish of Algeria; one seen throughout the Maghreb. An age-old sweet and savory combination, Pastilla combines a salty meat filling and a buttery sweet crust. Mark pushed the envelope a bit by replacing the traditional squab with veal sweetbreads, and the addition of a creamy carrot ice cream. The sweetbreads were seasoned with popular Moroccan blend of spices called Ras al Hanout, which kept me thinking of this guy, It all came together nicely with marcona almonds and fresh herbs. My faithful readers should take heart in the story of Chef Dunleavy, a real rags to riches story. Or in his case, a jizz-mopper to Chef story. I salute any who take on this recipe, the pay off is truly worth it.
Veal Sweetbreads Pastilla by Mark Dunleavy
2 lbs sweetbreads
1qt veal stock
1 T ras al hanout
1/8 c parsley, chopped
1/8 c chervil, chopped
1/8 c chives, chopped
salt & pepper
soak sweetbreads in a couple changes of mildly salty water overnight . drain and dry. Remove membrane. Season with ras al hanout and salt. Sear in a rondeau until golden on both sides. Remove. Add veal stock, ras al hanout and saffron. Bring to a simmer. Add sweetbreads cover and place in 350F oven for about 10 minutes, or until cooked with a minimal amount of pink remaining. Cool in braising liquid at room temperature and then press sweetbreads between two sheet pans. Reduce braising liquid by ¾. Clean sweetbreads and portion into popcorn size nuggets. Mix with a ¼ c of reduced braising liquid, 1 T crème fraiche, the chopped herbs and salt, pepper and ras al hanout to taste.
1 package of filo
½ c marcona almonds
1 T sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ c parsley, chopped
½ c melted butter
Prepare four layers of filo with butter and parsley spread between each layer. Crush marcona almonds and toss with sugar, cinnamon and pinch of salt. Portion 1 ½ oz of filling and place on the filo. top with a covering of marcona mixture. Cut a rectangle 2” x 3” around the filling. Roll like a chimichanga, motherfucker.
Carrot I.C. (adapted from someone else’s recipe)
600 ml carrot juice
50 g glucose powder
40 g sugar
10 g glucose syrup
2 g ice cream stabilizer
5 egg yolks
300 ml cream
Reduce 300 ml of the carrot juice to a syrup. Add remaining juice, glucose powder, sugar, glucose syrup, ice cream stabilizer and salt. Scald. Temper into yolks. Cook to custard and strain into cream. Freeze
Bake filo pouches at 350 f until golden. Serve with carrot i.c and nut garnish.
The latest tentop dinner at KitchenCru was a smash, or at the very least; we all got smashed. We opened both evenings with a big bowl of espillette almond caramel corn, and an even bigger bowl of iced down coldies. I mean what better way to kick off a Junk Food dinner than with an ice cold PBR or Ranier?
Pictured above was the first (and my favorite) course of the menu, Nachos. We cut some white corn tortillas into triangles and fried ‘em off, then smeared ‘em with white bean puree. Then they got some cooked chorizo, a big hunk of octopus, manchego cheese and a sunny side quail egg. In my humble assessment, this was one of the most successful food items I have created. And, it breaks the “No Cheese With Seafood” rule quite readily. We served this with a startlingly outstanding Sangria Slushie, cold and refreshing. I had the lovely miss Chen portion this up in front of quests, it’s just so damn COOL to see a whole cooked octopus. Incidentally, cooking octopus is not as nearly as intimidating as I once thought. Simply blanch it real quick in nearly boiling water, then pressure cook it for an hour, and let the steam dissipate naturally. Furthermore, pressure cookers aren’t nearly as terrifying as I expected them to be. Thanks to Tony Two Fingers for walking me through this technique.
The second appetizer course was Wings, a trio of those plump little beauties. And just to be clear, this. If I had my way I would never eat a drumette, only wings. And since I do get my way at tentop, only wings were served. I steamed all the wings after brining them overnight for twelve minutes. Then the wings sat on a rack over night to dry out for ultimate crispiness. When we finally went to fry them they had a full on pellicle going . We had three types, starting with the classic Buffalo. The only way to eat hot wings of this style is with blue cheese dressing, and because we do things a bit over the top here at tentop, we chose Rossini blue cheese for ours. This is hands down the best blue cheese on the planet, and it should be for the price. Shit for the price you should get a free bowl of soup. Second we had an Asian style wing, with a spicy chili crust and a plum dipping sauce. Lastly, my favorite; the Cool Ranch Dorito breaded wing with spicy peanut sauce. I used to put Doritos on my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and that’s where the idea had it’s origins.
These first two courses were a real microcosm of what we do at tentop. We take an idea, and then we push it as far over the top as we can. And that’s not for everybody, and that’s OK. Fuck the haters. We only want ten at a time anyway.
Cool Ranch Breaded Chicken Wings with Spicy Peanut Sauce
3 lbs chicken wings
3/4 cup kosher salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups boiling water from
1 gallon of water
1 tblsp fresh ground black pepper
3 cups flour
1 large bag of Cool Ranch Doritos
1. Measure the gallon of water and remove 2 cups of it, placing it in a pot and bringing it to a boil. When boiling, remove from heat and whisk in the salt, sugar, and black pepper. Stir to dissolve. Add this mixture back into the gallon of water.
2. Add the wings to the brine and cover, refrigerate for 5-6 hrs. Rinse wings well and pat dry. Lightly steam or quickly blanch the wings, about ten minutes in the steamer or 2 minutes in boiling water. Place wings on a rack set over a sheet pan and let dry out, uncovered, over night in the fridge.
3. Next day, pulverize the Cool Ranch Doritos in a food processor and create a work space for the standard breading procedure, with the ground Doritos as the breading. Proceed with breading in the manner described in the linked article.
4. Preheat your deep fryer to 350. Fry the wings until GBD, about 4-5 minutes. Serve with…
Spicy Peanut Sauce
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
1 teaspoon red curry paste
1 shallot, peeled and roughly chopped
1. Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.
Because you know, it’s like you’re dying; turning forty. At least that’s the joke. Anyway, I had fun making this one. I hadn’t made a sheet cake in awhile, maybe not since Didier’s 39th birthday cake a year ago. The cake itself was a lemon sponge, the filling vanilla butt cream and fresh blueberries and raspberries. The coffin is made from the same, minus the berries, and glazed with chocolate and crusted with cocoa nibs. I made the tombstone out of chocolate shortbread.
The cake was well recieved, and the party was well attended; as all the Porteaud parties are. Kara and Didier Porteau are two of the most beloved people I know, an integral part of the family that adopted me at Ten-01. The party included much eating, drinking, and merriment, and I did a good amount of what I like to call “dancing.” Didier was a real sport about the cake, and there was much hugging and high-fiving long before I reached the “I love you man” stage, which was inevitable. When the numerous candles were finally blown out, we lowered the coffin into the grave before eating.
Lemon Sponge Cake
makes 6 1/2 sheet cakes
- 12 eggs
- 5 - 3/4 cups sugar
- 6 tsp vanilla
- 1 jar of mayonnaise
- 12 cups AP flour
- 4 - 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 - 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 - 1/2 cups milk
- 1 - 1/2 cups lemon juice
- zest of 8 lemons
Measure the eggs, sugar, vanilla, mayo, and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer. This probably won’t fit in your standard Kitchen Aid, you may want to halve it. Whip this mixture on medium high until light and fluffy, about 6-8 minutes. It can really just keep whipping. Whip the shit out of it as they say.
While the eggs are having the shit whipped out of them, sift together the AP flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Zest and juice the lemons. Measure the milk.
On low speed, add the wet and dry ingredients in three steps, alternating between the two. Start and end with the dry ingredients. When it’s all in, kick the mixer up to medium to ensure total incorporation.
Line six half sheet pans with parchment. Divide the batter evenly between the pans. I weigh each, 34 ounces is a nice amount for a layer. Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven until GBD, rotating once during baking; about 12 - 18 minutes total.
This was hands down my favorite course at tentop’s Supfast. A play on the old breakfast staple, this was kind of a North African version. I knew from the outset I wanted to do a lamb merguez sausage, because it’s fucking delicious. The biscuits I knew I would make with lard, because I had scored a bunch from Tails & Trotters. We added cornmeal and scallions to make it more savory. The rest of the flavors came into play during discussions with my Sous, Michael. We ended up with a pea and mint salad, bound with yogurt, and a preserved lemon granita. When we were putting this on the plate, I had this moment, this split second where I thought, “Oh, fuck, this is a hot mess; there is way too much shit going on,” but it wasn’t. It was about the most well received dish of the night.
Since this was the entree, I wanted the meat part of it to be more substantial that it would be as just a gravy. To that end I par cooked the sausage in a cryo-vac bag in the combi-oven. I cut out some nice patties and then made the gravy out of all the trim. When the gravy was done I chilled it thoroughly before puree-ing it in one of KitchenCru’s blenders, which I am now convinced have dirtbike engines. Not only did it puree the meaty gravy silky smooth, it heated the cold mass to steaming hot. When we picked up the dish, I browned the patties in a skillet.
4 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, diced
1 pound pork fatback, diced (see note)
3 tablespoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
1 1/2 cups diced roasted red peppers
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano
1/4 cup red wine, chilled
1/4 cup ice water
20 feet natural sheep or hog casings, soaked in water (optional)
1. Combine lamb, fatback, salt, sugar, red pepper flakes, garlic, roasted red peppers, black pepper, paprika and oregano. Toss to distribute seasonings. Cover and refrigerate until ready to grind.
2. Grind the mixture through a small die into a bowl resting in ice.
3. Add wine and water to the meat mixture. Mix with paddle attachment or a sturdy spoon until the mixture develops a uniform, sticky appearance, about 1 minute.
4. Cook a small portion of the sausage in a sauté pan. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
5. Stuff sausage into casings, and twist into 10-inch links. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate or freeze links until ready to cook. Or, cook the sausage in a pan, then make a gravy or pasta sauce,
6. Sauté, roast or grill the sausages until cooked through.
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup corn meal
1/2 bunch scallions sliced
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup lard
2 cups buttermilk
1. Cut fat into dry ingredients, add scallions and toss together.
2. Add buttermilk and mix until just combined. Wrap dough and chill thoroughly. Cut into desired shapes and bake until GBD, about 12 minutes at 375.
freshly squeezed juice of 8 lemons
3 3/4 cups of sugar
3 3/4 cups of water
3 tablespoons of grated lemon peel (zest - just the yellow)
diced preserved lemon to taste
Combine the sugar and water in a bowl and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Stir in lemon juice and zest. Pour into large pans or pyrex dishes and place in the freezer. After 20 minutes, take it out of the freezer and, using a fork, scrape the bottom and stir the ice chips with the liquid. Freeze. Repeat every 20 minutes until there is no liquid left, and use the fork to break it up into small chunks.
This rather innocuous looking dish was a showcase in decadence and a personal milestone for me as a Chef. The first course in tentop’s latest dinner “Supfast,” we this called Duck in a Blanket. We rolled foie gras torchon into a thin pancake and served it with a maple gastrique and crushed hazelnut brittle. This dish marked a milepost for me on a long and winding road: making foie torchon from start to finish without a Chef lording over me. And I must say, faithful readers; when all was said and done: Nailed it. I followed the recipe in The French Laundry cookbook, and I had my lovely and talented girlfriend Ingrid help me with the rolling and poaching, and then the re-rolling and hanging. The next step of the process however, I learned from Chef Eric Suniga during his brief stint as Ten-01 Sous. After the torchon was hung for a few days, I brought it up to room temperature passed it through a tamis, then piped the soft and supple liver into an acetate lined mold. This last step is truly the move in foie gras handling. Firstly, any veins that you missed in the initial cleaning of the lobe is removed, and any oxidation or discoloring from blood is mixed in; you get a nice, rosy pink color. Finally, you can mold it really into any shape, I did a variety of log shapes once I had what I needed for service of the skinnys.
The dish was super successful, we wrapped the frozen little foie sticks into a hot thin pancake; which warmed the fatty liver to a perfect temp for eating in a few seconds. The idea was to dip into the gastrique first, then into the hazelnut brittle, and then into your mouth. A great start to what proved to be an amazing meal. We did a similar menu for a brunch over the weekend, the foie in this case a key component of a dish simply called “pancakes.”
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 cups roasted unsalted hazelnuts, sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Few drops vanilla
Put a large pot or kettle over a medium heat. Add sugar, water, and corn syrup and bring to a boil.
When mixture comes to a boil, add butter.
Cook to 260 degrees F on a candy thermometer without stirring and add the sliced hazelnuts
Bring mixture to 300 degrees F and stir in salt, baking soda and vanilla.
Pour mixture onto a greased baking sheet and spread out and allow to cool.
It’s funny how one idea leads to another and sometimes the most obvious idea is the best one. Looking at my Fat Spouse dessert, it was good; hell it was great even. What it lacked however was a warm element. Something to start melting that malted milk ice cream and pretzel bark. Something rich and fatty. Like pootang…BREAD pootang. All peanut butter chips and compressed devil’s food cake stratifying a rich brioche custard. There’s been some discussion of pootang technique in the kitchen as of late, and one thing again leading to another, I’m now pureeing my base. It creates an even, dense, almost cakey texture. The chunks of devils food are compressed in the vacuum sealer then diced. Finally a good use for that bomber technique. You can get cool potions this way, but a realized dessert was tricky. Now how about that fancy cruise ship garnish? I got the idea from a dish wifey had dining when we dined at Spago Beaver Creek. A simple piped lattice of tempered chocolate onto acetate, scored and bent in a PVC half pipe. The other tile of tempered chocolate underneath the ice cream is a buffer between the cold scream and the warm pootang. Cocoa nibs help it grip. I brought back the dulce dessert Watchmen blood drip plate saucing technique for good measure. This fucker gets oohed and ahhed every time it hits the table. Here’s the recipe for enjoyment of my faithful readers.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Bread Pudding
6 oz butter at room temperature
6 oz sugar
2 oz dark chocolate
4 oz peanut butter
3 cups heavy cream
12 -15 brioche buns
1 bag Reeses peanut butter chips
1. Cream the butter and the sugar with the paddle. While they are achieving light and fluffy in your stand mixer, melt the chocolate and peanut butter over a double boiler.
2. When the sugar and butter are light and fluffy, add the melted chocolate and peanut butter. Mix until well incorporated, scraping the bowl as necessary.
3. Add the eggs one by one, scraping and incorporating.
4. Switch to the whisk and add the heavy cream on low speed. Keep the machine going while you prep the bread.
5. Cut the bread into large chunks. Take the custard off the machine, add the bread and mix thoroughly. You need enough bread to make a messy paste. Too much and your pootang will be dry, to little and it will be a custardy mess. Cover the mix and let it soak over night. This is essential to chingon pootang.
6. Next day pull the base and puree it in the food processor. Transfer to a large bowl and mix in the chunks and chips.
7. Prepare one half sheet tray with sprayed parchment. Pour and spread the base into an even layer. It should ride the rim of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap, then cover with aluminum foil. This will create a nice even top.
8. Bake in a 300 degree convection oven for about 25 minutes, rotating once. It is normal for the pootang to souffle a bit while baking. When it is done it should be dry (baked looking.)
9. Cool completely before slicing to de-molding desired shape. Reheat portions in the microwave for 20 seconds.
Why is this dessert going nowhere? I love this dessert. It’s a tasty refreshing and interesting treat. I love this. I love it almost as much as some other complete flops I’ve created. We all know what a float is; a frothy icy treat, simply ice cream and soda. It’s just got a little twist, a little refreshing surprise. It’s blackberries, and corn. That’s right I said fucking corn. Sweet corn ice cream to be exact, I learned it from a recent mentor. It pairs great with the blackberries, the little corpuscles bursting and adding their juice. Corn and berries, who new? So yeah you plop some of the corn ice cream in a frosty glass, cover it with fresh blackberries and homemade blackberry syrup, cover it with club soda or sprite, and Robert’s your father’s brother. I garnish with caramel corn and white chocolate polenta cookies. A good stir with a long spoon will froth it up and blend the flavors. It’s not rocket scientist, it’s just good. I thing people get turned off by corn in ice cream. People want one flavor: vanilla. I bet if I changed the ice cream to that specky pod I’d have a frenzy on my hands. Maybe next week.
Sweet Corn Ice Cream
in possibly my best effort in plated dessert design to date, I give my faithful readers this fucking thing. Hopefully, the plate exudes a clean elegance, peppered with a touch of how’ did he do that? Well, I’ll tell you. The sponge cake base is a classic Devil’s Food cake recipe that I found in one of my new favorite cookbooks, Dessert Fourplay by Johnny Iuzzini. The recipe calls for mayonnaise, which tickles me, and keeps the cake super-moist. The science of that is kind of obvious: cake batters have eggs and oil, mayo is eggs and oil emulsified. On top of the sponge cake I pipe a chocolate icing that I found the recipe for on the best food site ever, IDEAS IN FOOD. The icing calls for sweetened condensed milk (like the dulche,) and balsamic vinegar to blend with dark chocolate. The sticky icing has a nice subtle acid note, a quiet personality. On top of the icing is a thin piece of tempered chocolate, a nice thin snappy-crunch. I’ve seen garnish this used a lot; especially in Parisian pastry shops. With the help of my ChocoBot, some marble slabs, and some precise cuts, this process proved to be quite easy. Just like Salted Caramel Sauce, easy peasy-smack-a-jeezy. Really, the only semi-difficult element to this dish is the dulce de leche mousse. The recipe it self is no brain-tease; just a spin on a white chocolate mousse. In fact, I was originally going to use caramelized white chocolate, but decided the laborious process wasn’t worth the taste. It tastes like dulce, so why not just use dulce? Making dulce de leche is not hard, just kinda weird. Take a few cans of sweetened condensed milk, place them in a large pot (yes in the can.) Fill the pot with water, be sure to cover the cans by a few inches. Bring the water to a boil, and keep boiling for 3 to 4 hours. Keep a bucket of water nearby to refill the water as it evaporates. After 4 hours, kill the heat and dump out the water. Cover the cans with ice to cool them off. When cooled, open the cans and enjoy the dulceness. I know this sounds strange, but it’s way easier than the traditional method. So here’s the hard part, molding the cylinders. Not really hard I guess, just time consuming. I’ve seen Michael Laiskonis of Le Bernardin make cool cylnders on his blog, and always wanted to try it. After a month of experimenting, I have a process. There’s got to be a better way, but here’s how I do it. Take your cannoli forms and line one side of each mold with tin foil. Stand them upright in a six pan or secured with a rubber band on a sheet tray. Line each mold with acetate, the thin clear plastic stuff. When the mousse is ready, pipe it into the molds. Freeze them shits rock hard, at least 3 hours, better to do it overnight. \Demold the mousse and plate while frozen, and thaw in the fridge on the plates. Serve with desired components. Or wrap them shits.
Dulce De Leche Mousse
4 1/2 sheets of gelatin.
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 lb 5 oz Dulce de Leche
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1. Bloom the gelatin in cold water.
2. Weigh the dulce de leche into a bowl. Bring the first measurement of cream to a boil, and then pour it over the ducle. Drain and add the gelatin. Whisk to combine. Or use an immersion blender.
3. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature. Meanwhile, whip the second measurement of cream to soft peaks.
4. Fold in the cream gently. Pipe into desired molds, or just into a martini glass. Chill until set and enjoy.