10 Mar 2017
This is the second and final dessert, the brief moment where it's okay to showcase a few bites of something a little denser and sweeter. I chose a freshly-made matcha (green tea) ice cream, freshly-churned with a luxuriously smooth texture, over a crunchy chocolate cookie crumble and some sweetened Greek yogurt. I didn't really intend for the two desserts to highlight alternative preparations of Greek yogurt (the foam in the preceding granita, and the gel here), but it worked out that way.
This is a recipe originally from Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park in NYC. It's basically a giant cookie broken into crumbles, and is a great crunchy counterpart to the ice cream and yogurt in this dish, or any dessert. It stores well in a dark dry place so you can make this ahead of time and reserve until needed.
Makes 4 cups.
3/4 cups butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
40g Tcho 53% milk chocolate
Matcha is Japanese tea leaves that are ground into a fine powder, and is the traditional center of the Japanese tea ceremony. It also makes a fantastic ice cream. Matcha comes in many (very expensive) grades, ranging from super-premium "ceremonial" grade to the more reasonable "culinary" grade. If you're preparing matcha for drinking, get the best grade you can afford; for ice cream, culinary grade will serve us just fine.
The secret ingredient of this ice cream is locust bean gum, a hydrocolloid that slows and reduces ice crystal formation in frozen products, making the mouthfeel more smooth.
Ice cream base needs to be chilled thoroughly before churning; I made this a day in advance and chilled it overnight.
Makes 4 cups.
15g matcha powder
470g heavy whipping cream
2g locust bean gum (0.3% cream+milk)
This is another Eleven Madison Park recipe. From a technical standpoint it's kind of like a Greek yogurt fluid gel, in that an agar gel is set and blended into the final product for a silky smooth texture. You can make this ahead of time and reserve until needed.
Makes 2 cups.
3.5g agar powder
165g Greek yogurt + extra as needed
The challenge in plating this dish is making a quenelle of the ice cream, the distinctive teardrop shape that is a constant in fine-dining desserts and Instagram food posts everywhere. In theory, it's easy to make - smooth out softened ice cream, press outwards with a warmed spoon and roll back towards you. In practice, I find it insanely difficult to do properly and it's a small miracle I got even somewhat acceptable results for plating this dish. Check out this video for detailed instructions on how to make a quenelle.
The ice cream is topped with a "crystallized mint leaf", yet another trick I saw from Daniel Humm. Mint leaves are microwaved with a tiny bit of oil to dehydrate them, and dusted with sugar. It makes for a cute garnish.
For 4 servings.
Ice cream base, from above
Chocolate cookie crumble, from above
Yogurt gel, from above
Ice cream maker