Monday, January 18, 2010

CSA week five - Frozen black sapote caramel mousse

I adapted this recipe from a fig recipe here. It uses a technique I've been curious about for a while. There are a fair number of churnless ice cream recipes out there that fold the flavorings into to whipped cream and then freeze. Obviously the results can't be too close to real ice cream or nobody would have ever used hand churns and the electric ice cream churn would never have been invented. But maybe it's different but just as good? Probably not, but worth a try to find out.

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water, divided
3 egg yolks
1 cup fresh black sapote pulp, whisked smooth
1 Tablespoon almond butter
2 dashes cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, divided
1 1/4 cups heavy cream

0. Separate three eggs. Save the whites for angel food cake. Put the yolks into a large bowl. Chill your mixer's bowl and whisk attachment.

1. Mix the black sapote pulp, almond butter, cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of the vanilla.

2. Heat the sugar and 1/4 cup of water in a small heavy saucier or a medium-sized heavy saucepan. Turn heat to medium. Stir continuously until the sugar dissolves, wiping down the sides of the pan if sugar starts crystalizing, stir frequently until the syrup comes to a boil then stop stirring. Cook, keeping a close eye on the color and thickness of the syrup, until a golden brown caramel forms at around 340 degrees.

At least, that's if you're going to parallel the original recipe. My stove conked out when my syrup was at just 250 degrees. That's thread stage, just barely beyond simple syrup. I use a sugar with a little molasses left in which compensates a little, and I am pretty happy with the results, but I think it would be even better with a proper caramel.

3. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks. Three yolks is too little for a beater to get a good grip on so you'll probably have to do it by hand like I did. You're aiming for ribbon stage where the yolks have thickened to the point where you can drizzle a line on top from your whisk and it'll stay visible for a few seconds. Hard to do by hand, but at least get to the point where the egg yolks lighten to a sunny yellow color.

4. When the caramel is ready carefully add the other 1/4 cup water. Use a spatter guard or at least some oven mitts. Stir to incorporate and to cool the caramel enough to stop it cooking. Pour the caramel into the egg yolks by drizzling it down the side of the bowl while whisking. When it's all incorporated, whisk in the sapote mixture.

5. Whip the cream with your chilled bowl and whisk until well into the soft peak stage but before it starts firming up. Add the rest of the vanilla early on in the whisking and maybe a little powdered sugar. I started this while the caramel was cooking, but you can stop after step four and keep the sapote-caramel mixture in the refrigerator until you're ready to continue.

Hold back a half cup of whipped cream and fold the sapote-caramel mixture into the rest. Freeze the mouse overnight and serve topped with a dollop of the reserved whipped cream and the sauce I'm about to describe. I knew I wasn't going to serve the mouse right away so I just spread the reserved whipped cream on top and froze it too. That was a mistake; the extra texture and temperature of unfrozen whipped cream would have been nice.

Black sapote almond sauce

The original recipe called for making another caramel and then adding figs to it. With my stove not working, that wasn't an option. Here's what I came up with while waiting for the electrician to show up.

pulp from 1 small black sapote
1 1/2 Tablespoon almond butter
1 Tablespoon cream
2 Tablespoons agave nectar
2 dashes allspice

1. Add agave (or honey or simple syrup) in stages, mixing well and tasting until you get to the level of sweetness you'd like.

2. Heat in the microwave for a minute before serving.

You'll want to let the mousse sit out a little while to soften. With my extra-cold freezer, ten minutes did the trick, but I still carved out a chunk rather than scoop a serving.

The mousse's flavor is distinct but not intense, as much cream as sapote. The almond butter and cinnamon rounding them out and downplaying the sapote's fruitiness. The half cup of sugar isn't a lot so the mousse isn't overwhelmingly sweet. The texture is light, fluffy even, but slightly crisp even after out of the freezer for a while. The result is pleasant, but understated.

The sauce, in contrast, is boldly flavored. The agave emphasizes the sapote's fruitiness despite the larger percentage of almond butter.

The pairing works really well. The different sweeteners and spices bring out different aspects of the sapote and the contrast in flavors and textures makes for some interest too. This isn't a knockout like the sapote toffee cake, but nobody's going to complain about it.

That said, they'll wonder why you didn't make ice cream instead. The texture of frozen mousse is like cheap ice cream that's been half-defrosted and refrozen. I think I liked it better before I froze it. No reason you couldn't serve it that way either, really.

1 comment:

Caroline said...

I've been eating my black sapote unadulterated, but I may have to give this a go when my current supply ripens. Yum.