With soft as the theme for the week I just had to put in a custard. This was inspired by my meal at Ristorante Cracco earlier in the year. Carlo Cracco uses sea urchins (ricci di mare) in many of his dishes, including this beef kidneys with sea urchin roe.
He also made a creamed risotto with sea urchins and coffee in the Thermomix in Heston Blumenthal's episode on risotto.
The chapter "Harbour Picnic" in Stephanie Alexander's "A Shared Table" contains a recipe for a sea urchin custard. You can find a snippet with Janni Kyritsis and Stephanie talking about sea urchins and the sea urchin custard here at ABC downloads.
Many people will be put off by the appearance of the sea urchin and fortunately you can now buy them already cleaned. There are Australian and imported roe for sale from good fishmongers. They have a very delicate flavour and despite their appearance are easy to clean and obtain the roe.
I know this is not going to be a big hit, but we loved it and MrsT was very sceptical when she saw me preparing the dish. However, once she had tried it she was hooked on the flavour and texture.
Sea urchin custards in the Thermomix Varoma
4 large sea urchins
2 Tbsp chervil leaves
1 golden shallot
600 ml cream
2 egg yolks
Salt and pepper
6 greased small ceramic dishes
Cut open the sea urchins, pointy nosed pliers inserted into the mouth and then opened is the easiest way. Reserve the orange tongues of roe (there should be 5 per urchin). Place on paper towel and cover with plastic wrap.
Place the shallot into the TM bowl and mince for 10 seconds on speed 5. Add the chervil, 14 of the sea urchin roe and the cream and cook for 10 minutes at 80°C on speed 1. Leave in TM bowl for 1 hour to infuse.
After 1 hour blend for 30 seconds on speed 10. Add the eggs and egg yolks and blend for 20 seconds on speed 6. Add salt and pepper to taste and pass the mixture through a muslin cloth (note that I was too lazy to do this and so there are specks on the custards :) ).
Pour the mixture into the ceramic dishes and arrange in the Varoma tray and dish. Put 700g water into the TM bowl, position the lid and Varoma and cook for 20 minutes at Varoma temperature on speed 1.
Leave the custards to settle for 5 minutes before garnishing with two sea urchin tongues per bowl.