Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Dessert: Pliable Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache with Lemon Curd Gelato, Salted Marzipan Crumble

For dessert, I made a pliable bittersweet chocolate ganache with lemon curd gelato rounds and salted marzipan crumble for contrast and a pistachio macaron for color.

I used Bryan Voltaggio's recipe for the pliable ganache, pioneered by Alex Stupak from Alinea, from Bryan's dessert course in Season 3's Finale of Top Chef. The necessary ingredients were purchased from The Modernist Pantry, and they were pleasantly reasonably priced.

The dessert turned out quite well. Desserts have always been my forte, guess I need to work harder on the other parts.

Pliable Chocolate Ganache

- 375g 60-70% bittersweet chocolate
- 300g cream
- 100g sorbitol
- 3g agar agar (can buy in Chinese grocery store)
- 2g salt
- 50g glucose

- 1 gelatin sheet (I used silver strength)
- ~ 1 cup cold water

I'm not a sophisticated chef, this was my first time using gelatin sheets! I usually stick to cheaper Knox powdered gelatin! David Lebovitz has a great link on how to use sheet gelatin.

  1. Measure out quantities of all items.
  2. Finely cut chocolate into shavings or purchase in pre-cut form.
  3. Combine cream, sorbitol, agar, salt, and glucose and bring to a boil.
  4. Remove from heat.
  5. In the meantime, bloom the gelatin in water. Don't overbloom, about 5 minutes should do it. Remove when gelatin is softened (if it's falling apart in your hands, you probably left it in the water too long).
  6. Add gelatin to cream mixture until dissolved.
  7. Strain.
  8. Add strained liquid to chocolate shavings, mix until ganache is well formed.
  9. Pour into a pan whose bottom is lined with parchment paper (this will give your pliable ganache smooth bottoms).
  10. Refrigerate until solid, at least a day.
  11. Cut into desired shapes.
Marzipan Crumble

- Coarsely grated marzipan
- Almond meal
- Butter
- Salt

  1. Combine together grated marzipan, almond meal, butter.
  2. Bake in oven ~ 350 degrees for a few minutes.
  3. Salt the crumble.
Lemon curd gelato
- Lemon curd made the day before
- Half & half

  1. Mix the two together.
  2. Add to gelato machine.
  3. Scoop out rounds.


- Make macarons using your favorite recipe

Gumby would be proud!

Main: White wine poached Chilean Sea Bass in corn broth

I admit I over-poached the fish as my attention was distracted by other duties in the kitchen!

White wine poached Chilean Sea Bass

- White wine
- Chicken stock

  1. Bring solution to a simmer.
  2. Add in fish (apportion beforehand).
  3. Poach 6-8 minutes.
  4. Set aside.

Corn broth

- 3-4 ears fresh yellow corn
- Leeks
- Garlic
- 1/2 lime
- Half & half
- salt/pepper

  1. Microwave corn the day before.
  2. Cut corn kernels off the cob, but reserve some kernels for whole presentation by the fish.
  3. Sautee together leeks, garlic.
  4. Add corn kernels, cook a few minutes.
  5. Add half & half, bring to a simmer.
  6. Remove from heat.
  7. Blend.
  8. Strain liquid, discard solids.
  9. Season with salt/pepper, add juice of ~ half a lime.


  1. Using reserved kernels, roast in oven until slightly charred.
  2. Cook sweet peas.
  3. Sautee shittake mushrooms.

Assemble the elements!

Hmm, I wish I wiped off the left side of the bowl.

Appetizer: Summer Beet Salad with Green Curry Yogurt

The golden beets in the salad were delicious!

Summer Beet Salad

- Red beets
- Golden beets
- Feta cheese
- Baby arugula
- Beet powder
- Green curry paste
- Greek yogurt

  1. Wash red and golden beets well.
  2. Lightly brush with olive oil then wrap in aluminum foil.
  3. Bake at 375 degrees F for 1-2 hours, or until soft when poked with a knife.
  4. Remove from foil, peel skin. Slice.

Beet Powder

You can either purchase pre-made beet powder or use this recipe, which involves a lot of microwave time. I used a different recipe, but can't find the link.

Green Curry Paste

Mix together green curry paste, greek yogurt together to taste. Season as necessary.

Assemble the salad!

Another view. I was experimenting with different sized plates

Amuse bouche: Yellowfin Poke with Sesame Oil Powder

I like to cook at least one gourmet dinner a year in order to improve my techniques and flavor profiles. This year I tried to incorporate more "molecular gastronomy" techniques in the form of food powders and pliable chocolate ganache. I also wanted to showcase some colorful vegetables for this summer-themed dinner.

First up, an amuse bouche comprising Yellowfin Poke with Sesame Oil Powder.

Sesame Oil powder is easier to make than it sounds. I didn't have any tapioca maltodextrin on hand, so I substituted tapioca starch instead and it worked fine.

Sesame Oil Powder

- Sesame oil
- Tapioca starch

I basically added sesame oil to tapioca starch in a small food processor until it achieved the desired consistency and fragrance.

Yellowfin Poke

- Fresh sashimi grade yellowfin tuna
- Green ends of green onions
- 1 x small red onion
- ginger
- sesame oil
- soy sauce
- salt/pepper

  1. Finely dice the green onions, red onion, ginger.
  2. Finely cube the yellowfin tuna.
  3. Mix ingredients together to taste.
Serve sesame oil powder with the tuna poke.