This is what "playing around in the kitchen" means to me.
Plated desserts are not something I know a lot about, at all. I learned a little bit about them in school, but I work in a patisserie, not a restaurant, so I've had zero real world experience with them. Plating is hard, man! You can see a plate and think, "Oh man, that's so beautiful, that doesn't look too hard to do" but then you try it yourself and it just seems....clunky and awkward. But it's still a lot of fun to come up with ideas, draw them out, and execute them!
Ideally, this dessert would have a crunchy element to it. As it is, the whole thing is composed of soft and smooth textures. I was planning on having a hibiscus croquant made out of isomalt, but I couldn't get my hands on any isomalt! It was a last minute realization so I didn't end up making any crunchy element but now I kind of wish I did. These are the things that keep me up at night, you guys!!! Well, that and the many ideas for desserts that I could make with the Meyer lemons that I finally found yesterday. And the lavender honey that I have in my cupboard.
"So, I found FRESH passion fruits at Superstore the other day!"
"I-I've never seen a real one before and then there they are, in a big ass supermarket here in Canada! You can get fresh passion fruits there! How cool is that?!"
"You've never seen a fresh passion fruit before?"
"Have you ever seen a banana before?"
It was all good-natured ribbing but I was stunned that fresh passion fruits were not that exciting to other people, probably because it was more common to them because they knew where to look or because some of them grew up in tropical places. But to me, this find was still incredible and mind blowing and exciting. No one can dull my sparkle.
Hibiscus tea, also known as Agua de Jamaica, is a super cool drink made from dried hibiscus flowers. It has a tart, cranberry-like flavour with a little hint of floral notes and a deep red-purple colour. I saw them at my favourite little spice shop and bought them before I had any idea what to do with them. Then I found fresh passion fruits and I knew I wanted to try them out together. A little white chocolate and yogurt to balance out all that tartness and you've got a winner.
If the thought of making a plated dessert kind of scares you, you can just make the mousse in a glass and top it with the gelée and the crémeux! Or just the mousse on it's own!
250 g water
4 g dried hibiscus flowers
50 g vanilla sugar
7 g gelatin sheets
Passion Fruit and White Chocolate Mousse
100 g passion fruit purée
80 g glucose
70 g white chocolate, melted
8 g gelatin sheets
400 g heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
Hibiscus Fluid Gel
500 g water
10 g dried hibiscus flowers
10 g agar agar
White Chocolate and Yogurt Cremeux
250 g heavy cream
500 g white chocolate, finely chopped
350 g yogurt
Neutral cold glaze
Passion fruit seeds
Dried Hibiscus flowers
For the hibiscus gelée, boil the water in a saucepan, add the hibiscus flowers, and take off the heat. Place a lid on the pot and let the tea steep for 6 to 7 minutes. Strain the tea and return to the pot and add the vanilla sugar. Heat over low heat to dissolve the sugar and warm the tea. Bloom the gelatin in cold water, then add to the hot tea. Remove from heat and immediately portion into 1 inch diameter demi sphere molds. Freeze until solid, about 2 hours.
For the passion fruit mousse, combine the passion fruit purée and the glucose in a bowl set over a bain-marie and bring it to 40 C. Bloom the gelatin in cold water and add to the purée, stirring until melted. Fold one-third of the cream into the purée, then fold in the remaining two-thirds. Gently fold in the white chocolate.
Fill a 2.75 inch diameter demi sphere mold halfway up with passion fruit mousse. Place the 1 inch diameter demi sphere of hibiscus gelée into the mousse, pressing it gently so the mousse if flush with the bottom (now the top) of the demi sphere. Pipe the remaining passion fruit mousse over. Freeze until set, about 2 hours.
For the hibiscus fluid gel, boil the water in a saucepan, add the hibiscus flowers, and take off the heat. Place a lid on the pot and let the tea steep for 6 to 7 minutes. Strain the tea and return to the pot and add the agar agar. Whisking constantly, bring the mixture to a boil and simmer for 1 minute. Pour into a container and refrigerate until set, 4 hours or preferably overnight. Using an immersion blender or a high powered blender, blend the fluid gel until it is completely smooth. Reserve in the fridge in a piping bag fitted with a small round tip.
For the white chocolate crémeux, bring the heavy cream just to a boil over medium heat, then pour over the white chocolate. Let it sit for a minute, then stir with a rubber spatula to emulsify. Let it cool to room temperature, then fold in the yogurt. Place into a container and refrigerate until set, about 4 hours.
To finish, line a baking sheet with plastic wrap and place a glazing rack on it. Unmold the frozen mousse demi spheres and place on the glazing rack. Spoon over a generous amount of the neutral cold glaze, using a spoon to make sure the glaze does not pool on the top. Tap the glazing rack to get rid of excess glaze.
On the plate, spoon fresh passion fruit seeds onto the plate. Use an offset spatula to remove the demi sphere and place on the plate. Spoon a few passion fruit seeds on top of the demi sphere. Make a quenelle of the white chocolate crémeux and place it on the plate. Pipe the fluid gel onto the plate. Place a dried hibiscus flower on the top of the dome and on the quenelle for contrast.