I like this idea of taking something so democratic and traditional as Yogurt Parfaits and turning it around to create something a bit more provocative.
When Adria first invented this new process of taking liquids and forming them into self encased bubbles of caviar that held juice inside, I was not only mesmerized but excited…excited to know that this new form of food could be applied in so many different ways. Although he may seem a bit high brow and what some may call “gimmicky” and “pretentious”, I get the sneaking suspicion that he not only wants to influence elite chefs all over the world but the masses of people as well. Unfortunately, none of his methods have been properly democratized because they seem challenging and hard to do. There are also a good number of tools that need to be purchased to achieve the desired effect. These tools are available on the internet and I can easily direct you to the sources. The process of this “spherification” may look complicated but once you understand the overall concept it is not difficult at all. I wonder why more of these practices aren’t being done at home, as it takes just as much effort to boil pasta and coat it in sauce.
I thought of several different flavors for this new parfait;
- Pomegranate Parfait
- Sweet tomato and Basil Parfait
- Carrot and Apple parfait
- Pina colada parfait
- Key lime parfait
- Blueberry + Hypnotic (alcohol) parfait
These are some major ingredients you’ll need; Sodium Alginate and Calcium Chloride.
Sodium Alginate is what turns the liquid into a slightly more gel like texture.
I customized my Granola for this yogurt Parfait according to the flavors. Here I used Rice Crispies morsels for its lighter texture, and rolled oats as well. I wanted to make a super super loose granola..
Major components of granola; a dried fruit component, a nut component, and a chocolate component. Instead of using regular chocolate morsels, I used chocolate coated sunflower seeds.
I love this freeze dried raspberry. It keeps the same form as when its fresh, and its very light and airy as opposed to normal dried fruits which can be very chewy and sticky.
This mixture is for the pina colada Parfait, with almonds, banana chips, coconut flakes, vanilla powder, chocolate coated sunflower seeds and Roll oats + Crispies combo.
A selection of yogurts, the key lime flavor is for the Key Lime Pie yogurt Parfait…Of course you can use whatever selection you prefer.
Granola mixtures for the different flavors…For the green one (key lime parfait) I used to dried kiwi bits and cashews along with crushed Graham cracker bits to add some more “pie-ish” flavor..
Raspberry and Macadamia combo for the pomegranate Parfait.
The last but most important component…The juices that will eventually be turned into Caviar Pearls that burst with gellified liquid when bitten into….
From left to right; Pomegranate juice, Sweetened Tomato juice, Carrot+Apple Juice, Pineapple juice + Rum (Pina Colada parfait), Kiwi Juice for key lime parfait, and Hypnotic for the Blueberry parfait…You can see the juices are directly related to the 6 original flavors..
The juices now end up in the syringes..They have been chemically altered with Sodium Alginates in order to achieve the right texture. The syringes here are not pictured for styling or decorative purposes, it needs to be used to make the caviar into balls as it drips out from the syringe. When it drops out, it falls into the Calcium Chloride bath which hardens the outer layer of the drop as it drips. This process is called “spherification” and has been done for a while now. Here is the best video demonstration I’ve found on the internet with the best recipe. In the beginning, it did not work at all..The liquid would not cooperate once it reached the chloride bath but I tried a different method where I placed the alginate powder into the juice and then boiled it…This worked. I also let it rest for 1 hour before using it because of all the bubbles you create when you mix the powder into the liquid. Figuring out how to make it work after failing so much was hard but once I figured out the right consistency of the juice it was incredibly easy. I can only imagine what it is like to try and invent this process.
I set up the Calcium Chloride bath and then decided to get a picture beneath the water and syringe so I had to place the tripod with the camera facing upward. It was hard to get it to focus clearly because I did not have proper control over the camera but it was a good learning experience.
It should turn into self encased pearls of juice when done properly….
Another droplet shot from under…
After taking the pearls out and draining them in clean water, you sift them out and this is what it should look like..You know its right if it
bursts with liquid when you poke it with a knife.
If it doesn’t burst with liquid then what you have is a caviar ball of hard jelly…which is okay but not the proper taste…If its too hard you’ve left it in the calcium bath too long.
The hypnotic caviar…
If the syringe is taking too long, you can also use a Caviar box dispenser to produce more pearls per second.
The juices are now made into caviar balls.
To serve and assemble; Your granola, caviar, and desired yogurt flavor. This one is the blueberry and hypnotic combo. The granola has nuts, dried blueberries and blue chocolate covered sunflower seeds…
From left to right, blueberry + hypnotic, key lime, pina colada, carrot + apple, sweet tomato with basil, and pomegranate.
My favorite parfait, Sweet tomato and basil..You can see the yogurt is flavored with Basil bits with the Sweet tomato caviar sitting above it.
I can’t quite describe how this tasted, but it was my favorite post I’ve done so far. It tasted really amazing and I realized that Ferran Adria is not some geeky food scientist but a person who really cares about taste. Instead of raw fruit, it was refreshing to taste these caviar bubbles when mixed into the yogurt…Upon first chew it immediately turned into juice. A lot of snazzy looking food may look “beautiful” but sometimes the taste does not live up to its look..This had both. I often like to think of clothing the same way. A garment can look beautiful on the rack, but the challenge is the ability to design something with an incredible fit that not only makes the woman feel beautiful but empowered and confident (something that Elbaz does incredibly well). I often find beautiful clothing to lack the latter component, much like a CDG garment that usually has an ill-fitted feeling on the body.
Another way to serve this dish…
You can serve the pearls alone as a cocktail, or inside a liquid cocktail…You can turn a 5 dollar candle holder (that I bought from Crate and Barrel) into a million dollar cocktail by doing it this way;
Surround the middle portion of the candle holder with crushed ice and mint leaves…
I used a korean Pomegranate wine for this cocktail..Of course you can use whatever you like…