Video: Pressed organic strawberries & shaved ice coinsFebruary 7th, 2012 | Posted by in Daily life... | Recipes
While Europe breaks all the sub-zero temperature records in history, we’re harvesting organic strawberries on this side of Earth! We’ve just started getting a great and steady supply of homegrown organic strawberries from Zen Farm. Delicious, beautiful and local to the point where I had to create seasonal desserts with it!
Generally speaking, strawberries are in every top hotel today, all year long, and it tends to get boring. And hear me right, it gets boring because the strawberries are most likely flown in from 8000km away and grown in greenhouses where the plants never met actual earth, but are merely bathing in fertilizer-loaded water. All this for the sake of productivity and demand from the market, the market is us, we are responsible. It always gives me shivers when I ask why do we need to have it all the time and the answer is “Because people expect it to be available all the time”.
Anyway, back to the local strawberries. A few days back, I had the luck to sample a beautiful Riesling from Frederic Emil (Trimbach, 2005) and when I took my first bite of the strawberries, they both matched in my mind. While strawberry in wine is excellent, it has been done and redone countless times. Based on one of the recipe from my book Never Skip Dessert, I pressed the fresh strawberries together with the superb Riesling and a really fragrant Madagascan vanilla bean split in half from Alain Abel. The pressing process happens with a vacuum machine and I left the bag in the fridge for a few hours once pressed. The pressure and extraction of air allows the wine to penetrate the fruit and impregnate it fully. Plus, while the texture remains fairly firm, it sorts of reach an al-dente note, without actual cooking. For the dessert, I used the strawberries and some of the deliciously infused wine from the bag.
To add a touch of sweetness, I added black currant marshmallow coins and the floral touch was added with the wild borage flowers, also from Zen organic farm. The borage flowers are very pretty, and they actually taste very good!
It was very nice so far, but I needed an extra je-ne-sais-quoi… An ice cream? No… a granite? mmhhh… why not? But not your standard granite. This is what I did:
- 40 ml Very fine Cognac
- 10 ml White balsamic vinegar
- 200 gm of fresh strawberries in puree
- 100 ml water
- 20 gm sugar
- 2 gm of xanthan gum
- And a generous pinch of coriander powder
- Mix the xanthan powder and the sugar.
- Blend all the other ingredient, and add the mixture of sugar using a hand blender until the xanthan thickens.
- Prepare metal tube of about 3 cm in diameter and seal one end of the tube with plastic film.
- Fill the tube with the thickened puree and freeze it hard.
- Take the frozen puree out of the metal tube. (I used a piece of plastic sheet in the tube for easier handling)
At the time of serving the dessert to your guest, bring out your mandolin or truffle slicer if you have one and shave the thin coins of ice on the dessert. It adds an unexpected spiced hint of freshness to the dessert and is complementing the flavors really well.
PS: You can use that recipe to freeze in a tray and grate it as a granite too.