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Pistachio Pavlova

Happy 4th of July everyone!

My best friend Kristy just got engaged! We started the week off admiring her beautiful tanzanite ring. Photos just do not do it justice. It was gorgeous. We celebrated summer with cocktails and dinner (We gorged on tacos and pavlova, perfect). I surprised my ladies with a throwback picture of 10 years ago, we were embarrassed and amazed to look at our young faces.

Coconut Mojito

Coconut Mojito

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young’uns

My sexy ladies

My sexy ladies.

I also started my running routine again! I didn’t realize my ‘ol running shoes wore off and was sporting a huge gaping hole. I bought a new pair & I am so so in love with it. I’ve been obsessing with coral lately and I found these amazing purple/coral running shoes….. in love. As I was getting out of the house, I found a surprise in the mail, my long awaited cookbooks have arrived!

 

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Arzak, Ducasse, Bras

 

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Sounds sexy yeah?

Let me share with you, a technique I love. I love simple ingredients that become an entirely different component due to  simple technical manipulation; sugar turned into caramel, butter or cream turned into brown butter, and coconut fat turned to latik. It is a nutty, creamy, crunchy, caramelized component made from coconut cream.

This component is usually added to various Filipino desserts (normally rice cakes).

The process is simple,

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You place your coconut cream in a heavy-bottom pot on medium high heat.

When the mixture starts to boil, turn the heat down to low, and scrape continuously.

At this point, when the mixture starts to boil,  all the water is starting to evaporate. Turn it down to low heat, and scrape continuously.

When all the water has evaporated, the coconut fat and the coconut solids will start to separate. Continue to scrape.

When all the water has evaporated, the coconut fat and the coconut solids will start to separate. Continue to scrape.

The coconut fat will start to fry the coconut milk solids. It is important to continually scrape the bottom of the pan to achieve an even color.

The coconut fat will start to fry the coconut milk solids. It is important to continually scrape the bottom of the pan to achieve an even color.

Strain the coconut solids. The coconut oil that remains, have this nice toasty aroma, color and flavor you won't be able to find in a store-bought coconut oil due to the caramelization. You can save this for other delicious projects.

Strain the coconut solids. The coconut oil that remains, have this nice toasty aroma, color and flavor you won’t be able to find in a store-bought coconut oil due to the caramelization. You can save this for other delicious projects.

It is the same technique as you would when making brown butter. I wonder what other ingredients out there has the same chemical components of butter and coconut cream where I can use this technique.

PS. your house will smell of coconut amazingness.

 

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Quick late night post! I had the idea and just rolled with it.

Matcha Walnuts

Matcha Walnuts

I initially tried this idea with almonds and it was delicious, it pairs great with dark chocolate. The only difference is, I drageed the almonds, whereas, I used maple syrup to coat the walnuts. I made two versions with white chocolate and dark chocolate. I thought the matcha flavor would come through more with the white chocolate, but surprisingly enough, the matcha paired better with the dark chocolate. The bitter tones from the dark chocolate matched perfectly with the matcha powder and enhanced it’s flavor.

I wanted to try the technique with walnuts to pair with plum and chocolate. (I went on a food trip with my food bud Kristy and found Plum Wine from our local Korean market & I want to test it out.)

Walnuts are brittle and break easily and I was worried it will be led with nut crumbs if I agitated the mixture too much to achieve a dragee. I tried it with maple syrup since it doesn’t take much agitation to coat. Plus, it adds a depth of caramelized flavor.

Full dish will be posted soon.

However, I love the matcha with the drageed almonds, more than with the walnuts (I will post a separate post), it was crunchier, balanced of sweet and bitter tones, perfection with a smooth dark chocolate tart.

Love T.

MATCHA WALNUTS

112 gr. walnuts
130 gr. maple syrup (grade B)
1 gr. salt

15 gr. 65% chocolate

1 gr. milk powder
16 gr. matcha powder
10 gr. powdered sugar
salt

Lightly toast walnuts. Put the maple syrup in a pot on medium heat, once it boils, add the salt and walnuts and stir continuously. Place on a silpat once the maple syrup reduces. Let cool.

With a coffee grinder, pulverize matcha, powdered sugar, milk powder and salt.

Melt the chocolate and lightly cover the nuts.

When the chocolate starts to dry, coat with the matcha powder mixture.

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First day at the Chocolate Room

First day at the chocolate room

 

 

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Port Poached Pears, Poach Pear Sorbet, Walnut Steusel, Ricotta Cream, Orange Infused Walnut Oil, Poached Pear Sorbet, Fried Walnuts

Port Poached Pears, Walnut Streusel, Ricotta Cream, Orange Infused Walnut Oil, Poached Pear Sorbet, Fried Walnuts

Happy Winter Everyone!

It’s the month to be merry with drunken cakes and fruits! I will post up the recipes soon. I have an idea notebook I take with me everywhere, where I write all my ideas, other ideas that branch from those ideas, thought processes, recipe testings, recipe failures, possible dishes and chicken scratches. I try to gather the final components and rewrite it to a master notebook, where it’s legible and understandable, devoid of multiple arrows, double underlines and encircling :) .. Then I will post the final recipes unto the blog.

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There’s something about handwritten recipes and notebooks I love, especially with smidgens of chocolate and absorbed coffee spills, It brings you back to that moment somehow. I love looking through other people’s recipe notes, especially if they own a moleskine. (I have a moleskine obsession). You can tell at which point of my career I was highly caffeinated and lacked of sleep. That certain moleskine was doused in espresso as I was trying to reach for my third cup whilst preparing for service.

Food Notes

So until then, I will leave you with this and will come back to update with recipes :)

Love T.

UPDATE 3/30/2014

Walnut Streusel

53 gr. walnut flour
30 gr. coconut sugar
20 gr. milk powder
1 gr. sea salt
18 gr. walnut oil

Toss, bake at 350F for 8 minutes.

Poached Pears

430 gr. port
1 gr. cardamom
1 gr. cinnamon
1 gr. clove
1 gr. anise seed
87 gr. sugar
pears, balled (cook scraps along with balled pears and set aside for Poached Pear Sorbet)

Poach for 30-35 minutes or until fork tender.

Infused Walnut Oil

56 gr. roasted walnut oil
5 gr. orange zest

Heat oil to 300F, (be aware of the oil’s temperature, unrefined walnut oil’s smoke point is 160C). Take away from the heat once 300F is reached and add zested orange.

Port Reduction

232 gr. poaching liquid

Strain, reduce, cook to 235F or until thick and syrupy.

Ricotta Cream

200 gr. ricota impastata
50 gr. powdered sugar
1/2 vanilla bean

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I wanted to play around with dehydrating agar, and see what happens. I initially wanted to try persimmon, but I bought 3 lbs worth of pear cactus, for $0.49. I ended up with a really nice sheer tuile. The agar gave it a glittery effect.

Pear Cactus Sheer Tuile
78 gr pear cactus juice
42 gr agave
.5 gr agar
10 gr sugar
1/2 vanilla bean

Juice pear cactus, skim off foam and strain.

Cook agave and vanilla bean to hard crack. Pour in pear cactus juice. Blend in agar and sugar mixture. Cool to 150 F, spread thinly unto silpat. Dehydrate for 3 hours.

 

The tuile is maleable upon removal from the oven, which is awesome because its easily shaped. I hope I could have retained some color from the pear cactus, I want to figure it out. I might use glucose instead of agave (I figured agave might work well with pear cactus), but the persimmon might work well since it already has that color tone.

Will update on changes :)

 

Love T.

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Pumpkin Pie, Halva Cream, Pumpkin Wafer

Pumpkin Pie, Halva Cream, Pumpkin Wafer

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

My last blog post, I mentioned how amazing pumpkin was with sesame halva, and I was inspired to create  this year’s Thanksgiving Pie with this flavor combination in mind. And yes, it’s an excuse to eat pumpkin pie a week earlier than Thanksgiving. Booyah (who says that word anymore? I’m still living in 2003).

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie

I made the pumpkin filling differently. I warmed cream with my spices and poured it over Dulcey* chocolate. I then whisked in egg yolks and pumpkin puree. There is no sugar in the filling, the sweetness from the Dulcey* chocolate was enough. The pumpkin filling, together with the Halva Cream, is just the perfect amount of sweetness. The pie is less dense than your traditional pumpkin pie, yet creamy, the consistency was almost mousse-like.

Halva

Sesame Halva

Pumpkin Filling

245 gr cream
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. allspice
208 gr. Dulcey* chocolate
52 gr egg yolks
428 gr. pumpkin puree
salt

Blind bake pie shell: Preheat oven to 350 F. Cover pie shell with parchment and fill with pie weights. Blind bake for 10 minutes. Remove the weights and continue to bake for 5-7 minutes or until the shell looks matte, (no moisture/oil). Remove form the oven

Warm cream, vanilla bean, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Pour over Dulcey* chocolate and whisk. Whisk in egg yolks and pumpkin puree. Pour over par-baked tart shell. Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes or until the filling is set. Cool.

Halva Cream

54 gr. halva
254 gr. cream
100 gr. powdered sugar

Whip halva and small amount of cream with a whisk until dissolved. Add the rest of the cream and powdered sugar

Pumpkin Wafer

28 gr. cream
10 gr. milk powder
17 gr. white chocolate
54 gr. pumpkin puree

In a pot, warm cream and milk powder and pour over white chocolate. Stir until white chocolate is melted and whisk in pumpkin puree. On a silpat sheet, spread the batter thinly and bake at 180F until the tuile is crisp, 25-35 minutes. Garnish pie with pumpkin wafer when ready to serve.

*Valrhona Dulcey

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I really wanted to make a beer/pretzel/mustard dish in honor of Oktoberfest (My favorite holiday), Now it’s just silly posting this mid-November ; ). I wanted to incorporate mustard into the dish but as the weeks went by, my thought process started changing. I nixed the mustard idea and went ahead with a much fall-ish dish, but I do have special plans for my friend, the mustard seed. Stay tuned for the next post.

I wanted to make Whipped Pumpkin in the dish. I have to say, the pumpkin and halva worked so well together; it quickly became a favorite. (I may make halva cream for my Thanksgiving pumpkin pie this year.)

I was curious to create a Porter Ganache. The ganache was delicious. I poured 100 gr of the ganache over bowls. I left it in the fridge overnight. The ganache created a top layer “ganache skin”, and as you break into it, an intense porter chocolate sauce oozed out. It added a nice surprise to the dish.

Porter Ganache

Porter Ganache

I coated pretzels with coconut sugar cooked to 120*c. I tossed in the pretzels and agitated the mixture until webs formed and cooled. It was amazing. Just by itself, was a greats snack. I’ve munched on these as I was creating the rest of my mise en place. It also produce a lovely amber color,  it did not have a hard exterior. The coconut sugar created a “dragee” type of mouthfeel so it was easy to eat.

Before & After

Before & After

I chopped it up, tossed in some crumbled halva and drizzled some dark chocolate over, to create my praline.

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Pretzel Halva Praline

132 gr. coconut sugar
30 gr water
1/2 vanilla bean, split
1 gr. allspice

88 gr crumbled sesame halva
56 gr. 65% chocolate

Cook coconut sugar and water, vanilla bean and allspice to 120* C. toss in the pretzel and mix until webs of sugar form in the sides of the pot. pour unto a silpat and cool.. Roughly chop and add halva. Finally drizzle in the chocolate.

Whipped Pumpkin

229 gr heavy cream
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
133 gr white chocolate
1 gelatine sheet
432 gr pumpkin puree

Gently heat cream, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Take off the heat and whisk in white chocolate until melted. Add bloomed gelatin sheet. Whisk in pumpkin puree last. Cool over an ice bath and leave in the cooler overnight. With a whisk attachment, whip pumpkin mixture until light and airy and doubled in volume.

Porter Ganache/Sauce

126 gr Porter
150 gr. 40% milk chocolate

Gently heat the porter. Take off the heat and whisk in the milk chocolate. Pour unto bowls and leave in the cooler overnight for the ganache to form a skin.

Orange Caramel

176 gr sugar
88 gr fresh orange juice
1 orange, zested

Make a caramel with the sugar. Take off the heat and carefully pour in the orange juice and zest. Cook until syrup forms.

Porter Cream

160 gr cream
32 gr brown sugar
83 gr Porter

Whip all ingredients in mixer until medium peak.

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Porter + Pumpkin + Pretzel + Caramel

I’m trying to be really good about updating my blog by posting every week. I’m currently working on this dish and it will be posted very soon! Stay tuned..

I also updated The Chocolate Cake Shot post. I realized I forgot to include the Hazel-Lemon crumb recipe. I also forgot to mention to freeze the bavaroise domes/spheres for easy unmolding, otherwise, it’s just one big, giant mousse-y mess. It tempers quickly and should be kept refrigerated after unmolding.

Sidenote: Spellcheck tells me unmolding isn’t a word??? Weird. But you understand right?

un-molding? (Ohh okay. It should be hyphenated).

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There were no chocolates harmed in the making of this project.

Whiskey, Frangelico, Lemon

Whiskey + Frangelico + Lemon

My 22nd birthday was spent on a roadtrip to Palm Springs, with every intention to forget the weekend. Palm Springs introduced me to the “Chocolate Cake Shot”. Despite the moderate-to-heavy consumption of jägerbombs and cocktails, I remembered the chocolate cake shot so clearly.

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I miss you, Palm Springs

What is a chocolate cake shot? It’s an illusion cocktail made without chocolate, but making you think you’re tasting chocolate cake. Most recipes I found use equal parts Vanilla Vodka, Frangelico and a Sugar Dipped Lemon. My bartender who made my very first Chocolate Cake Shot used Crown Royal Whisky* instead of vanilla vodka so I will go with this.

*that’s how they spell whiskey in Canada. The more you know.

A year ago, my fellow Mezze alumn Bui and I decided to grab our well-deserved drinks after a busy dinner service. I introduced him to the chocolate cake shot and had a conversation about whether the illusion would work if the components were food. So now, a year later, I decided to take on the task. I asked for his opinion on the subject and had a lengthy discussion/collaboration.

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Initially, I wanted the whiskey and Frangelico to be a component that is a quick mouthfeel, so either a mousse or a cream. I thought that using a lighter component will accentuate the alcohol more, as oppose to a making a cookie or cake which will saturate and cook off the alcohol. I started with a whiskey mousse, which is bavaroise base and a Frangelico cream. I thought about a crunchy lemon brioche to imitate the lemon and the crunch from the sugar. But I wasn’t so happy with the textures. They were pudding-ish and soft. I told Bui my concern and suggested:

“You should make the texture like chocolate cake.” Genius. I honestly wish I thought of this.

So what’s in a chocolate cake?

  1. Cake
  2. Frosting/Mousse
  3. sometimes, Crumbs/Sprinkles
  4. and when you’re feeling special, Whip Cream (I’m really just trying to make this list longer)

I had already made the Whiskey Mousse which is bavaroise base, and it was delicious, so I decided to keep it as the “frosting/mousse” component. I piped the mousse in domes and put them together to create a sphere. Now I just need the cake and some kind of texture. I went back and forth with a lemon cake, or a Frangelico cake (but was afraid the alcohol would be saturated), a lemon crisp or a lemon tuile or a Frangelico tuile.

Crown Royal Whisky Bavaroise Sphere

Crown Royal Whisky Bavaroise Sphere

I tried to create a Frangelico sugar tuile, however, I was afraid the alcohol will cook off and I will only be left with a plain sugar tuile sans Frangelico. I tested, and I was correct. So, moving on to the lemon tuile. I contemplated whether I should use citric acid along with the sugar, but decided to used lemon juice and isomalt instead. Isomalt, Bui’s suggestion, is less sweeter than sugar, and pushed more of the tart lemon flavor as oppose to just eating plain sugar candy.

Bui sent me a recipe of a whiskey cake to consider for either a whiskey cake or a Frangelico cake. I looked over the recipe, and only 16% of the mass was whiskey, and 30% of fat used was couverture chocolate. I didn’t want to use chocolate in the dish, because the beauty of The Chocolate Cake Shot was it’s lack of chocolate. Then came the curiosity and inner dialogues. Conversation with myself:

What solid fat can I substitute the couverture chocolate with that can flavor this cake? Hazelnut oil.
But Hazelnut oil is a liquid.
So, how do you solidify hazelnut oil?

First of all, I need a

  1. Chem Lab
  2. hydrogen gas at 140*F
  3. and a nickel catalyst

Anyone would like to sponsor me? So, we’ll get back to solidifying hazelnut oil when I have proper equipment.

Frangelico soaked Financier

Frangelico soaked Financier

Now, getting back on topic: I was inspired by Gulab Jamun, a syrup soaked Indian dessert and figured this could solve the saturation problem of the Frangelico cake, by soaking it in syrup. I made a biscuits à la cuillère for the cake component and used hazelnut flour to emphasize the frangelico. I soaked the biscuit in Frangelico Syrup but the texture sucked. So I decided to make a Hazelnut Financier instead, which had brown butter and hazelnut flour. (I toasted the hazelnut flour to deepen it’s flavor). I decided to microwave the cake, to achieve that heightened sponge look. I don’t own an iSi canister so, I had to improvise. I soaked the cake, and ohmygahd, it was delicious.

I crisped the leftover hazelnut biscuit instead, added lemon dust and it became the Hazel-Lemon Crumb, which added more texture to the dish.

So, the big question, did it taste like chocolate cake? YES. I was surprised myself, but big freaking YES!

 

Whisky* Mousse Sphere

180 gr. cream
20 gr. Crown Royal Whisky*
10 gr. powdered sugar

10 gr gelatin sheet
160 gr. whisky*
44 gr. cream
110 gr. granulated sugar
56 gr. yolks
30 gr. granulated sugar

Whip cream, whisky and powdered sugar to soft peaks. set aside.

Bloom gelatin. Whisk together whisky*, cream and 110 gr. of granulated sugar. Place on a baine-marie. In a separate bowl, whisk yolks and 30 gr. of granulated sugar. Temper yolks and cook mixture to 82*C. Whisk in bloomed gelatin and cool over an ice bath. Bamix mixture until smooth and fold in whip cream. Pipe mousse unto dome/sphere molds. Freeze for about 6-8 hours. Un-mold, and refrigerate.

Frangelico Syrup

1 vanilla bean, split
107 gr. Frangelico
80 gr granulated sugar

Boil all ingredients and cool.

Hazelnut Financier

67 gr. brown butter
51 gr. hazelnut flour (toasted)
34 gr. AP flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
50 gr. sugar
75 gr. egg whites

Make brown butter and cool. Whisk toasted hazelnut flour, AP flour, baking powder and sugar. add to brown butter slowly. whisk in egg whites last. place in a cup and microwave on high for 50 seconds. Unmold and cool. Soak cake in Frangelico Syrup.

Candied Lemon Zest

2 Lemons, zest, cut in strips
100 gr granulated sugar
100 gr water

Tart Lemon Tuile

57 gr. isomalt
61 gr lemon juice

Hazel-Lemon Crumb

76 gr whites
102 gr powdered sugar
54 gr yolks
54 gr hazelnut flour (toasted)
40 gr AP flour

Lemon Powder:

8 gr dehydrated lemon zest
2 gr citric acid

Ground lemon zest and citric acid to a fine powder in a coffee grinder.

Whip whites and powdered sugar to stiff peaks. Fold in yolks, fold in sifted hazelnut flour and AP flour. Spread on a parchment lined baking sheet. bake at 350 deg for 7-10 minutes. Lower the temperature of the oven to 300 deg. Crumble the biscuit and let dry in oven, for an additional 3-5 minutes. The biscuit shouldn’t have too much color. Keep an eye out, the biscuit can easily burn. (The biscuit will be soft while still in the oven. Test the crispness by taking out a small piece and letting it cool). Toss in lemon powder.