Friday, December 21, 2012
Black Cherry Fruit Salad Molecular Gastronomy
The 11pm news was coming on soon and I felt like a little sweet fruity something, to eat. There was some fruit salad on it's last legs in the fridge. I need to hide it in something. Black cherry juice. Can I gel that with xanthan gum? Let's find out!
I measured a cup of cherry juice into a bowl and put a couple of tablespoons of sugar in. Tasted, added a bit more sugar and decided it tasted good. I previously experimented with some milk and found it took 3/4 tsp xanthan gum to gel 1/2 cup milk. So I should need at least 1 1/2 tsp gum for 1 cup cherry juice. Also the milk experiment taught me how much xanthan gum likes to lump up. So I got a 1/2 tsp measuring spoon and held the spoon above the whisk so each stroke knocked the spoon. This worked fairly well and there weren't too many lumps in it. If I used the blender on it I think it would get full of air so I didn't want to risk it.
Xanthan gum makes a consistency like jam instead of like gelatin so I wouldn't expect it to hold a form. It also has the appearance of a slimy goo, not pretty to look at. A teaspoon of pre-gelatinized corn starch imparts the smooth look and mouth feel that xanthan gum lacks. A jelly mold won't hold but parfait works great! I put a layer of tired fruit on the bottom and covered it with black cherry gel. More fruit on top of that and topped off with some fresh whipped cream. To garnish I used the potato peeler to shave some Walmart Waterbridge dark chocolate over top. It is by far the cheapest source of quality chocolate easily available.
When I presented it to Fern he grimaced. He doesn't like whipped cream a whole lot and some sweet goo didn't appeal but he humored me and dug into it. "Oh, there's fruit in it! Mmmmmm. What is that red stuff?"
"Molecular gastronomy. It's black cherry juice, sweetened and gelled with xanthan gum and pre-gelatinized corn starch."
A quizical look, "It's good, I felt like some fruit and that did it."
If Fern likes it, it's good.