A Tasty Modern Aspic Dessert!
Manufactured instant fruit flavored gelatin products have a flavor that is not exactly gourmet. They are appealing to some people and they are nice when feeling ill, but quality oriented chefs and restaurants do not use flavored gelatin products. They make their own gelatin flavors.
There are several kinds of gelatin products. Some gelatins are derived from animals, vegetables or seaweed. Some are powdered and some are sold as solid sheets. Each kind of gelatin has a specialized use, yet each type of gelatin product can be interchangeable.
There are four kinds of gelatin applications that are commonly used by garde manger chefs. Here is a brief description of each application:
• Gelatin - By definition, plain unflavored clear gelatin is the only item that a garde manger chef will call gelatin. Clear unflavored gelatin is most often used to give chilled items a glossy finish. Gelatin coatings are soft enough to be edible. Gelatin is also used as a finishing clear coat when making a decorative Chaud Froid platter, but this style of gelatin application is too firm to be edible.
• Aspic - Any gelatin that is flavored is called an Aspic. Aspic is always made soft enough to be edible. Aspic can be sweet or savory. Sweet fruit flavored Aspic can be served as a salad or dessert. Savory Bouillon or Consommé Aspic is often used to make a chilled gelled salad presentation. Spice flavored Aspic can be shredded and used as a garnish.
• Chaud Froid - Chaud Froid usually refers to inedible decorative gelled applications, especially for decorating platters. A firm gelled béchamel sauce is used as a Chaud Froid base appliqué, then other decorative items or tinted gelatin colors are applied to the white base coat to create a design. The white base coat can also be tinted with food color dyes. Decorative Chaud Froid platter applications are inedible, because the gelatin is as firm as rubber.
• Collée - A white color gelatin that is made with mayonnaise, cream or sour cream is called Collée. Collée most often is used to coat chilled poached seafood or as a semi firm coating for a chilled gelled salad that is shaped with a mold. Collée is soft enough to be edible and the flavor is integral to whatever it coats.
It is difficult to make a clear mango broth with fresh mangoes. Sun dried mango slices will easily produce a clear orange colored broth. Sun dried mango broth also has a concentrated rich mango flavor. Sun dried mango was used to make the aspic in the photos above. Sun Dried Mango Slices can be found in Latin food markets and some grocery stores.
I used petite silicone brioche baking molds to shape the mango aspic for today's recipe photo example. Even though silicone baking molds have a non-stick surface, aspic will cling to the mold. By dipping the molds in hot water, the aspic loosens and easily pops free. If no silicon brioche molds are available, then any kind of petite gelatin mold can be used.
Clear caramel sugar sauces are often used to paint plates. The caramelized sugar needs to be diluted with water or it will harden like candy. Judging the consistency of a caramel garnishing sauce has to be done by eye. The sauce should be like a thick syrup that clings, but does not harden.
Torrontés Wine is a special Argentinian white wine. The white grapes are a cross breed of Argentinian Muscat and an unidentified breed. The Torrontés Grape Varietal is now recognized as being its own unique breed. The acidity level of Torrontés Wine is mellow, so it pairs nicely with fruit. The flavor of Torrontés Wine has complex fruit and nut flavors that are perfect for making a glacé sauce for dessert applications.
This recipe yields 1 1/2 cups.
It is better to have a little extra aspic when making a dessert, than not enough. 1 1/2 cups is more than enough to make 3 petite molded aspics for this dessert recipe.
The simmered reconstituted dried mango fruit is not needed for this recipe. The fruit still has plenty of flavor and it can be added to oatmeal, rice pudding or other recipes.
Step 1: Place 2 cups of water in a sauce pot over low heat.
Add 1 cup of sun dried mango slices.
Add 2 whole dried allspice berries.
Add 1 tablespoon of sugar.
Gently simmer till the sun dried mango reconstitutes and becomes soft. The broth will turn a natural orange color and it will have a rich mango flavor.
Step 2: Remove the mango slices from the broth and save them for another recipe.
Remove the allspice berries and discard them.
Simmer and reduce the mango broth, till a volume of 1 1/2 cups can be measured.
Step 3: Remove the pot from the heat.
Allow the mango flavored liquid to cool to room temperature.
Rain 7 grams of powdered gelatin on the surface of the mango liquid.
Allow the gelatin to bloom.
Step 4: Place the sauce pot over low heat.
Gently heat till the gelatin dissolves into the liquid. (Do not allow the liquid to boil!)
Remove the pot from the heat.
Step 5: Place three petite silicone brioche molds on a small baking pan. (Any small 3 to 3 ounce capacity gelatin molds of your choice can be used.)
Pour the mango aspic into the molds.
Step 6: Refrigerate till the aspic chills and starts to gel.
Drape plastic wrap over the aspic to prevent drying.
Refrigerate the mango aspic for 24 hours.
Caramel Reduction Sauce:
This recipe yields abour 2/3 cup.
Only a few teaspoons is needed to garnish a dessert. Save the extra sauce for other recipes!
Not every brand of sugar caramelizes at the same rate. Over 300ºF, a margin of 10º is a narrow temperature range! A precise caramel temperature can be established if the same brand and type of sugar is used every time.
Step 1: Place 1/2 cup of sugar in a small sauce pot.
Add 1/2 cup of water.
Step 2: Place the pot over medium high heat.
Boil till the water evaporates and the sugar starts to enter the molten candy stage.
*When the sugar reaches the hard crack stage, it will only be a short time before the sugar turns amber, so keep an eye on the sugar!
Cook the molten sugar till it caramelizes to a golden brown amber color. (For amber golden brown caramel, a candy thermometer should read 335ºF to 345ºF.)
Step 3: *Be careful when adding water in this step. A tremendous amount of steam will be generated.
As soon as the sugar is an amber brown color, reduce the temperature to very low heat.
Add 1 cup of water.
Allow the caramel to dissolve in the water.
Step 4: Gently simmer and reduce till the caramel becomes a thick syrup consistency.
Keep the caramel reduction sauce warm on a stove top.
This recipe yields about 1/3 cup.
Only a few teaspoons are needed for a single dessert application. Save any extra sauce for another recipe!
Step 1: Heat a small sauce pot over medium high heat.
Add 1/4 cup of water.
Add 1/4 cup of sugar.
Boil till the water evaporates and the sugar becomes molten, foamy and clear in color.
Step 2: Reduce the temperature to low heat.
Add 3/4 cup of Argentinian Torrontés Wine.
Gently simmer and reduce till the sauce is a thin syrup consistency.
Keep the Torrontés Glacé warm on a stove top.
This recipe yields about 1 cup.
Only a few tablespoons are needed fot garnishing 1 dessert portion. Save and chill any extra whipped cream for other dessert applications.
Fresh whipped cream is best!
Step 1: Place 1/2 cup of chilled cream in a chilled mixing bowl.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar.
Add 3 drops of vanilla extract.
Briskly whisk till stiff peaks appear.
Step 2: Chill the whipped cream to 41ºF.
Step 3: Load the whipped cream into a small star tipped pastry bag.
Chill the whipped cream till it is needed.
Mango Aspic with Caramel and Torrontés Glacé:
This recipe yields 1 dessert portion.
Step 1: Heat a sauté pan over low heat.
Add enough water, so the water is 1/2" deep in the pan.
Warm the water to about 165ºF.
Step 2: Turn off the heat.
Briefly dip the 3 aspic molds in the hot water, to loosen the aspic from the mold.
Invert each aspic mold onto a dessert plate and remove the mold.
Step 3: Chill the plate with the 3 petite mango aspics for about 15 minutes.
Step 4: Place the chilled mango aspic plate on a countertop.
Decoratively paint the plate with the caramel reduction sauce.
Spoon a little bit of the Torrontés glace around each petite mango aspic.
Step 5: Garnish the plate with 5 raspberries.
Sprinkle a little bit of fresh lime zest on the plate.
Step 6: Use the pastry bag to pipe a small portion of whipped cream on each petite mango aspic.
Viola! A fancy modern mango aspic dessert!