The best ideas coming from nowhere i guess… just like this case.
I promised myself to create a dessert with these amazing fresh local mandarins ive just found in the neighbor’s fruitshop recently… they so nice… ooooh, u can easily feel that someone just picked them a couple of hours ago and it didnt need to travel in a truck for days or weeks….
So as i said, a was pushing myself and my brain cells to invent anything georgeous… ideas coming and going, ingredient, garnish, color etc etc… and i found something i havent tried yet… the smoked panna cotta. The idea sounded so absurd – that i need to try. Not just the imagined flavours – we have seen smoked bacon in a couple of my dessert working (like) really well – but the method of making was a bigger question mark. OMG: a love challenge sooooo much!
Before i start to make my creamy heaven: unfortunately needed to drop my base ingredient – the MANDARIN – because the idea of this smokey business seemed so much more interesting…. sorry, mandarin project postponed for now.
In that day – out of my any plannings – i was finishing to bake a cake, a rich GUINESS TART… when the smoked panna cotta blow up my mind. I imagined even an X-mas tree with mulled cider and shiny paper decorations, present boxes all around the fire place…. hmmmm…. so lets do it!
My intention was to smoke the double cream first what i was planning to use for the panna cotta (my ratio is 2:1 — cream:buttermilk) but i had one tiny problem…..
I feel that i have to mention a couple of words about my “kitchen” in the Pub. Soooo…. its hard to find words but… u can hardly call it as a kitchen. Having no stoves and friers makes the life a bit complicated there. What i have is a really old’s’cool oven (IN THE GARAGE, NOT IN THE KITCHEN!!!), a micro, a weak salamander and a baby-thermomix. So jump back into the story- i do not have smoker, nor stove to use the smoker on it, nor smoking chips to put in it obviously… BUT I REALLY WANNA SMOKE!!! :P
So nothing is impossible: ive turned on my salamander, grabbed a handful of coffee beans from the bar and chuck on a tray under the heat… wait wait wait till its roasted enought and smoke was everywhere (- meanwhile was shouting outside to the costumers that “no panic, everything is under control” :DDD)… when really quickly placed the still smoking beans and the cream in the same container and cover.
Nothing left but wait. U know how it works, just imagine when u leave a half cup of cacao in your fridge and the next day it taste like your canned tuna what u forgot to put in the bin the week before… Any dairy product can be infused so easily – with or without any intensions but i still remember my chorizo flavoured breakfast milk at home… this is happening here as well…. and it was f8ckin’ workin’…
So i dream the smoked panna cotta with the rich Guiness tart however…. missing something else… i would say a caramel sauce – but im not really keen on it… so lets make a …
Caramelized white chocolate sauce!!!! Ive seen this idea in one of my (never been) favourite restaurant, the 64degrees in Brighton which is a reincarnation of our loved Due South from long long time ago… :) its back now!!!
Anyway, so my really good ex-colleague and sweet-master Samuel mentioned about sous-vide white chocolate for 12 hours in 90 degrees – thats how they get their sauce (didnt tell me more secret)… OKI, i have no waterbath, nor sous vide machine, nor sous vide bags or vac pac stuff…. heh… so i went for the rustic way: baking white chocolate in the oven till it gets golden color (dont wait too long – like i did – cause u will ended up with crunchy biscuits :))), after using a bain marie melt together with some double cream and finish with butter and a pinch of salt. Goes thru a fine sieve and season with extras as u wish. My sauce was literally crying for a drop of old malt whisky – who am i to refuse this wish?
ALL TOGETHER… PERFECTION…