Tale of two princes: a plated concept

This dessert is a literal translation of who I am. It features two princes in the form of desserts, being the Prince of the Sky, and the Prince of the Snow. The Prince of the Sky represents my hometown of Palos Verdes, where wild fennel and peacocks foam; fennel is featured in four applications in the dessert, while the peacock was the visual inspiration for the petit gateau. For the other side, the Prince of the Snow, it took inspiration from my time in Boston, specifically the winters, as well as features coconut and blood orange, two ingredients I would often bake with during my time as a student. in Boston University.

For the Prince of the Sky, I made essentially a mini mirror glaze cake, using butterfly pea tea (one of my favorites), to naturally dye the mirror glaze blue to better represent the colors of a peacock. I used the fennel pollen in the mousse for the cake, an the bulb, thinly sliced, dehydrated, then fried as chips, the stems, sliced thinly as well and confit, and the fronds were kept raw to add freshness. Like a peacock, I am often seen at first as a big indulgent and luxurious, but in reality, I am a very inelegant and overtly energetic personality, much like how a peacock is. See? It all ties together.

For the Prince of the Snow, there is a coconut mousse sphere, using a technique adapted from Janice Wong’s Cassis Plum dessert, stuffed with a coconut-yogurt cream, studded with coconut snow, and garnished with a blood orange veil. There is a blood orange-coconut curd between the two desserts to tie them together. The Prince of the Snow also reflects upon my personality in a work setting; I can come off as very cute, but withdrawn and almost cold-hearted in that I don’t seem to take an active or personal investment in a lot of my coworkers at first. When you get the two desserts together, you can an accurate representation of who I am as a whole. The love between the two princes, it represents my love for myself. So it all ties together in that sense.

For the Prince of the Sky:
For the fennel pollen bavarian cream
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon fennel pollen
1 1/2 teaspoons gelatin powder + 1 tablespoon cold water
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup milk
1/3 cup granulated sugar
a pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Bloom gelatin in water. In a pot, heat the milk. Melt the gelatin into the milk. Whip egg yolks with fennel, salt, and sugar. Temper the yolks, strain, and allow to cool to room temperature. In another bowl, whip egg yolks to stiff peaks. Fold the two together. Pipe into silicone molds and allow them to freeze completely.

For the fennel chips
1 bulb of fennel
1/2 teaspoon oil + more oil to deep dry
a pinch of salt
a pinch of fennel pollen

Cut the fennel bulb into fourths and then remove the stem from each fourth. Using either a knife or mandolin, slice as thinly as possible. Toss in the oil, salt, and fennel. Bake at 200 degrees F for 1 hour. Heat oil up to 350 degrees and flash fry the chips for 30 seconds, or until the fennel turns golden brown. Lay on a paper towel to remove the excess grease.

For the fennel confit
Fennel stems
1/4 cup boiling water
a pinch of salt
2 tablespoons honey

Melt the honey into the boiling water and season with the salt. Slice the fennel stems as thinly as possible lengthwise, and poach the strips in the water until they are translucent, and soft enough to roll up. Line up the strips diagonally and cut them so that they are on a bias.

For the mirror glaze
1 cup white chocolate chips
1/4 cup butterfly pea tea
1 1/2 teaspoons gelatin + 1 1/2 tablespoons water
a pinch of salt

Melt the gelatin into the tea and combine with the chocolate and salt. Blend, strain, and keep lukewarm (you want this to stay a liquid), until it is time to glaze.

For garnish:
Fennel fronds

For assembly:
Pour the mirror glaze onto the frozen bavarians and once the excess glaze is removed, keep on parchment or nonstick surface. Line the confit fennel stems on top of the cakes. Keep cold. Garnish with the chips and fronds when it is time to finally plate the cakes.

For the Prince of the Snow:
For the coconut mousse sphere
3/4 cups white chocolate
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
2 teaspoons gelatin powder + 1 tablespoon coconut milk
1 teaspoon xantham gum
a pinch of salt

Heat up the coconut milk. Bloom gelatin. Pour half of the coconut milk into the gelatin and whip into stiff peaks. Combine white chocolate and xantham gum into the remainder and whip until smooth. Season with salt. Pass the white chocolate-coconut mixture through a strainer and fold into the whipped coconut-gelatin. Pour into silicone half dome molds and refrigerate for 1 hour. After 1 hour, remove as much of the innards of the dome as possible, trying to leave a thin shell behind. Reserve those for the filling. Continue to freeze until the shells are completely solid.

Heat up a pan. Flip upside down so that the heated part of the pan is facing upwards. Take the sphere halves, warm them up on the heated pan, and combine together. Allow them to freeze again. Either dipping into hot water or heating them with a small, low flame, warm up a 1 inch ring mold and press into the tops of the domes. Remove the portion that is being melted off so that you can have a hole to fill the domes with. Reserve those for the filling as well. Keep the domes frozen until it is time to plate.

For the blood orange veil
1 blood orange’s worth of juice
2 tablespoons agar agar
a pinch of salt

Combine ingredients, bring to a simmer, then pour onto a sheet tray. Refrigerate until set. Cut out 3 inch rounds of the veil for plating.

For the coconut cream
The innards and discards from the coconut mousse spheres
1/4 cup coconut milk
a pinch of salt
1/4 cup yogurt

Melt down the innards with the coconut milk and a little more salt. Keep whipping until the mixture is completely liquid. Should it be too thick, meaning that it heavily clings onto the whisk, break the mixture with water, take off heat, and keep whisking. In the end of this first step, you want the mixture to be just slightly thicker than milk, but thinner than cream. Strain and bring down to room temperature. Fold in the yogurt and transfer to a piping bag.

For the coconut snow
1/4 cup coconut oil; melted
1/4 cup tapioca maltodextrin
a pinch of salt

Combine. Add more maltodextrin should the mixture not be coarse and solid enough. Freeze half of the snow and keep the rest in the refrigerator.

For the coconut-blood orange curd
1/2 cup blood orange juice + 2 tablespoons orange zest
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
a pinch of salt

Whisk together over heat until thick. Strain and transfer to a piping bag. Alternatively, strain and keep in a bowl. Refrigerate.

For assembly:
Place some of the frozen snow into the bottom of each dome. Fill the domes up with the yogurt and top with the veils. On a plate, start with piping or swiping the blood orange curd onto them. Plate the Prince of the Sky on one side and the Prince of the Snow on the other. Serve immediately.

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