Thursday, September 16, 2010

Cooking Class with Janice Wong 2am : dessertbar

Tonight was a great class at Savour School with Janice Wong from 2am : dessertbar in Singapore.

I am not much of a dessert fan, but this was really an interesting exercise. There were many fascinating techniques and ingredients used to effortlessly prepare a couple of exciting desserts.

Although I was excited about the dessert dinner next week, it is even more appealing now.

The first dessert had chilli chocolate coral impregnated with truffle balls filled with peanut butter sauce.

It is a most enjoyable combination of textures and flavours with the heat of the chilli giving warmth without overdoing it and the softer aerated texture of the coral being punctuated by the crunchy truffles with their soft gooey sauce centre. The chocolate brick is served on some chocolate soil and matched with fresh honeycomb and more of the peanut sauce and some dill, for colour and flavour. The dill, though only small really marries well with the chilli chocolate.

The second dessert has more components and more techniques to stimulate the mind as well as the palate. Firstly, a basil and white chocolate ganache prepared sous vide by being cooked at 60⁰C. Phillipa Sibley infused white chocolate with rose geranium at a Masterclass at Lake House on Sunday by infusing the cream. This method using sous vide certainly enabled the basil flavour to penetrate the final product. It was a surprisingly agreeable combination.

The next component was described as a passionfruit blanket, but it was more of a gossamer sheet using pectin powder and spreading the mixture very thinly on a silpat mat before dehydrating the sheet. The fruit leather was to be draped over the basil chocolate ganache.

Passionfruit fluff was prepared from passionfruit puree, egg white powder and gelatine and involved leaving the mixture to stand for 6 hours to develop its flavour before whipping for about 30 or 40 minutes. This meringue was then spread on silpat mats and dehydrated overnight to produce a result similar to the meringue that Andrew McConnell had in his dessert from Sunday’s Lake House class. Sorry Andrew, but this was better.

To accompany the basil chocolate ganache and crispy fluff Janice made a yuzu fruit pate.

The final component was a coconut sherbert which involved making a marshmallow with sugar, glucose and invert sugar, before mixing with coconut puree and pacotizing. The resulting sherbert was so intense in flavour with wonderful mouth-feel and reminded me of a Brent Savage coconut foam on steroids.
Janice was very ably assisted by her fellow chef Derrick and is sure to win many fans during her classes and dinners at Savour School over the next week.

For those needing egg white powder for the passionfruit fluff, it can be obtained from Melbourne Food Ingredient Depot as seen in the Raymond Capaldi range. Janice said that she had her first and possibly most memorable introduction to molecular gastronomy while working at Fenix with Raymond