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Chocolate, Armagnac, Caramel & Ginger

RIA, Waldorf Astoria Hotel Chicago, Aya Fukai / March 2012

For 20 to 25 servings (requires advance preparation)

Caramel/ginger ice cream:
• 4 cups whole milk
• 4 cups heavy cream
• 1 cup ginger, thinly sliced
• 2 cups granulated sugar
• 32 lg. egg yolks
• 1/4 cup glucose powder
• 1/2 tsp. salt
• 1/2 tsp. iota carrageenan
• 1/3 tsp. guar gum

  1. Bring milk and cream to a boil in a pot; remove from heat; add ginger; let stand 10 minutes; strain through fine chinois into a bowl; discard ginger; reserve cream mixture.

  2. Heat 1 cup sugar in a saucepan, swirling pan occasionally, until amber caramel forms; remove from heat; whisk in cream mixture; bring to a boil, whisking constantly.

  3. Whisk egg yolks, remaining 1 cup sugar, glucose powder, salt, carrageenan, and guar gum in a bowl; gradually add some cream mixture into egg mixture, whisking constantly; whisk tempered egg mixture into hot cream mixture in pot; continue whisking over low heat until thickened; remove from heat; strain through fine chinois into clean bowl set in ice water bath; cool completely.

  4. Place custard in ice cream maker; process according to manufacturer’s directions; place ice cream in airtight container; reserve in freezer.

Armagnac veil:
• 4 1/3 tsps. granulated sugar
• 1/8 tsp. agar-agar
• 5 3/4 Tbsps. Armagnac
• 1/8 tsp. kappa carrageenan

Whisk sugar and agar-agar in a bowl; place 1/3 cup water in a pot set over high heat; whisk in sugar mixture; bring to a boil; cook 2 minutes; add Armagnac; bring to a boil; remove from heat; whisk in carageenan; strain through fine chinois onto half Lexan baking sheet, spreading out evenly; cool until set; reserve.

Mascarpone crumble:
• 1 cup mascarpone
• 4 3/4 tsps. granulated sugar
• 1/3 tsp. salt
• maltodextrin

  1. Heat oven to 350°F.

  2. Spread mascarpone on nonstick baking mat; bake until brown; remove from oven; blot oil from surface with paper towel; place mascarpone in a bowl; stir in sugar and salt; add maltodextrin until mixture is light and fluffy; reserve.

Dark chocolate cremeaux:
• 1 cup whole milk
• 1 cup heavy cream
• 1/3 tsp. iota carrageenan
• .1 g kappa carrageenan
• 1/4 tsp. locust bean gum
• 2 1/2 lg. egg yolks
• 4 Tbsps. granulated sugar
• 5 2/3 oz. 70 percent Guanajia chocolate, melted

  1. Bring milk and cream to a boil; remove from heat; place in blender; with motor running, add carrageenans, gum, egg yolks, and sugar, one at a time; blend on medium speed 2 minutes; increase speed to high; blend 5 minutes, gradually adding chocolate; place in a bowl in ice water bath; cool.

  2. Place in clean blender; blend until smooth; strain through fine chinois into clean bowl; cover with plastic wrap; reserve in refrigerator.

Chocolate/Armagnac cake:
• 3 cups cocoa powder
• 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
• 1 3/4 tsps. baking powder
• 1 3/4 tsps. baking soda
• 1 tsp. salt
• 1 cup buttermilk
• 1 cup Armagnac
• 3 lg. eggs
• 7 Tbsps. grapeseed oil
• 1 tsp. vanilla extract
• nonstick cooking spray

  1. Sift cocoa, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl; reserve.

  2. Whisk buttermilk, Armagnac, eggs, oil, and vanilla in another bowl; gradually whisk into dry ingredients; cover with plastic wrap; reserve overnight.

  3. Heat convection oven to 350°F.

  4. Lightly coat insides of 2" diameter half sphere molds with nonstick cooking spray; place on baking sheets lined with nonstick baking pads; divide batter among molds; bake 15 minutes; remove from oven; cool completely; unmold cakes; reserve.

Whipped caramel:
• 2/3 cup heavy cream
• 3/4 cup granulated sugar
• 2.5 g gelatin, bloomed in cold water

Bring cream to a boil in small saucepan; bring sugar and 1/3 cup water to a boil in another saucepan; cook, swirling pan occasionally, until deep amber; remove from heat; carefully whisk cream into caramel; add gelatin, whisking until dissolved; pour into a bowl set in ice water bath; cool; whisk caramel until firm peaks form; reserve.

Assembly:
• 1 1/2 cups whole milk
• 1/4 cup ginger, thinly sliced
• 1/4 cup granulated sugar
• 1/8 tsp. agar-agar
• 0.3 g lotus bean gum
• 3 lg. egg yolks

  1. Bring milk to a boil in a pot; add ginger; remove from heat; let steep 10 minutes; strain through fine chinois into clean pot; discard ginger; whisk milk until slightly thickened; reserve.

  2. Whisk sugar, agar-agar, and gum in a bowl; whisk into ginger milk; bring to a boil, whisking constantly; cook 2 to 3 minutes; remove from heat; place in a blender; with motor running, gradually add egg yolks; blend until smooth; place in a bowl in ice water bath; cool; place in clean blender; blend until smooth; strain through fine chinois into airtight container; cover; reserve in refrigerator.

  3. To plate, scatter 3 chocolate cakes across each serving plate; sprinkle Armagnac veil over; place some mascarpone crumble to one side; top with quenelle of caramel/ginger ice cream; garnish plate with dots of ginger cream fluid gel, whipped caramel, and dark chocolate cremeaux.

What to drink: Emilio Lustau Palo Cortada Jerez Bodega Capatuz NV
Food Arts Note: Carrageen, gums, and maltodextrin can be found online at www.willpowder.com; glucose powder can be found at www.lepicerie.com.