Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Recipe -- Hot Mascarpone Ice Cream Affogatos

Ingredients                                                                                                                             
Hot Ice Cream
- 200 g (7.1 oz) mascarpone cheese, softened- 50 g (1.8 oz) unsalted butter, softened
- 100 g (3.5 oz) granulated sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
- 1/2 cup water
- 20 g (0.71 oz) methyl cellulose SGA7C (3.2%)
Assembly
- 2 shots of espresso per. serving, either hot or iced depending on desired effect

Preparation                                                                                                                             
1- Using an immersion blender, mix the mascarpone, butter, sugar and salt until just blended. Do not over-aerate or the mixture with break.
2- Place the vanilla bean seeds and pod and bring to a simmer. Remove the pod once the water begins to simmer.3- Whisk the methyl cellulose into the water until incorporated.
4- Slowly add the methyl cellulose water to the mascarpone mixture and blend until just combined.
5- Refrigerate in a sealed container overnight.
6- Heat a pot with water until it simmers and then turn off the heat.
7- Using a hemispheric ice cream spoon, scoop the ice cream mixture, wipe the edges and bottom of the spoon with a paper towel and place it in the hot water.
8- Wait for about a minute until the outer part of the ice cream scoop is solid. Dislodge it from the scoop.
9- Let the ice cream scoop poaching in the water for another 2 minutes and serve.

Assemble and Serve                                                                                                                 
1- Place two or three small scoops of hot ice cream into a glass
2- Pour hot or iced espresso over top. Note that hot espresso will keep the ice cream set, and the iced espresso will encourage the hot ice cream to melt into the espresso most like a true affogato.


(This recipe is based on a hot ice cream affogato recipe from Linda Nicholson.)

Recipe -- Hot Toddie Ice Cream with Oat Crunch

Ingredients                                                                                                                   
Hot Ice Cream
- 80 g (2.8 oz) cold espresso coffee
- 50 g (1.8 oz) milk
- 70 g (2.5 oz) rum cream liquor
- 10 g (0.35 oz) sugar- 7 g (0.25 oz) methyl cellulose SGA7C (3.2%)
Oat Crunch
- 1 cup old-fashioned oats
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup chilled unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
- mint leaves, to garnish

Preparation                                                                                                                  
Hot Ice Cream
1- Whisk all the ingredients together until methyl cellulose is properly dispersed.
2- Leave mixture in the fridge overnight.
3- Heat a pot with water until it simmers and then turn off the heat.4- Using a hemispheric ice cream spoon, scoop the ice cream mixture, wipe the edges and bottom of the spoon with a paper towel and place it in the hot water.
5- Wait for about a minute until the outer part of the ice cream scoop is solid. Dislodge it from the scoop.
6- Let the ice cream scoop poaching in the water for another 2 minutes and serve.
Oat Crunch
1- Preheat oven to 180 °C (350°F)
2- Combine all ingredients except butter and pecans in a large bowl.
3- Add cold butter and rub in with fingertips until mixture forms moist clumps.
4- Mix in pecans.
5- Sprinkle mixture onto rimmed baking sheet.
6- Bake until golden brown and crisp, occasionally stirring gently and leaving mixture in clumps, about 30 minutes.
7- Cool completely and store in airtight container.

Assemble and Serve                                                                                                       
1- Place a couple of spoons of oat crunch on a plate to form a bed for the hot ice cream.
2- Grate chocolate into dust and place it in the freezer for about an hour.
3- Place a stencil with desired shape on the plate. I just cut a swoosh on a piece of paper and used it as a stencil.
4- Using a sieve, sprinkle frozen chocolate dust on the stencil. Remove the stencil carefully.
5- Place 2 or 3 scoops of hot toddie ice cream on the bed of oat crunch.
6- Garnish with mint leaves.



(Oat crunch recipe is based on a recipe from epicurious.com and hot ice cream recipe is a modified version of a recipe from Rolf Caviezel.)

Hot Ice Cream (Methylcellulose)

Hot ice cream is an interesting way to surprise your guests.  It takes on the magical property of being a solid gel when heated and “melts” when it starts to cool.  This creates the illusion of ice cream melting on the plate while really the opposite temperature change is occurring.  To make the most of the surprise, you should serve it in "scoops" that resemble real ice cream.

For those of you have heard of hot ice cream but have never experienced it, I must warn you in advance that the name can be a bit deceiving.  The consistency and texture is more like a soft custard, rather than having the taste and feel of real ice cream.  The addition of whipped cream or more solidified dairies such as marscapone cheese can help add a more true ice cream texture.

The magic of the consistency comes from using methyl cellulose, which is a hydrocolloid derived from vegetables.  Methyl cellulose has the intriguing property of being a thermo-reversible gelling agent, which is what allows your hot ice cream to liquefy as it returns to room temperature.  Perhaps the most accurate way to think of methyl cellulose is to say that it is the reverse of gelatin, which sets as it cools.  The methyl cellulose has a somewhat similar setting effect that gels as it is heated.

Methyl cellulose comes to you in the form of a white powder that, like cellulose, is odorless, tasteless, and indigestible.  When you find recipes using methyl cellulose it is important to take into account the type and even the brand used, if at all possible, as there are differences in concentration and some of the subtle properties between the ones readily available to amateur chefs. 

In general, when using methyl cellulose, you want to add the powder to the working solution and then cool it down to below 5 degrees Celsius in order to allow the jellification process to start through hydration.  When the solution has reached a temperature below 5 degrees, you heat it up to between 50 and 70 degrees Celsius, at which point it solidifies.

Aside from just serving a surprising hot ice cream on its own, or in the place of traditional ice cream, the unique properties of this process lend itself to creating great ice creams to incorporate into hot toddies and other hot mixed beverages.  It can also create interesting juxtapositions by reversing traditional temperature roles. (For a play on pie a'la mode, instead of hot apple pie with vanilla ice cream I tried a chilled coconut cream pie with a hot lime sorbet).

I Am Neither A Cook Nor A Chemist...

Well, there you have it, my first deceit!  I am neither a chef, nor a chemist, though I like to consider myself a bit of a culinary alchemist.  Science and food go hand-in-hand whether you are cooking classical French cuisine, modernist molecular gastronomy, or anything in between.

The more that you understand what is happening when you are cooking and eating food, the more polished and interesting your food can be.  This blog is really an exploration of basic food science and classical technique, how it works and can be taken to the most it can be, as well as how modern interpretation and methods is effecting the food market and how these techniques can be used at home.

So there you have it -- one part cook, one part chemist; one great experiment in what food can be!