Waiting for the rain: a plated concept

The inspiration for this dessert came from Maaya Sakamoto’s song, “Waiting for the Rain”. It was a song I first listened to my senior year when I was going through some serious shit. Maybe not the best thing to listen to, because it was a beautiful, but sad song. The lyrics really stood out to me, mostly about how you’re trying to hang in there and endure the elements, allowing your drive and passion to fuel your will to live. On a more ratchet note, the song sounds like it’s supposed to be from a nature documentary in Antarctica, so I imagine walruses dying and manatees doing mating dances and weird shit like that. What? I’m a very imaginative motherfucker, okay? I tried to make a very literal interpretation of the lyrics, mostly because my interpretation of the song would probably result in a dessert that either looks like a manatee’s naughty bits or a dead walrus carcass recreated on the plate with god knows what.

For the dessert, assuming you haven’t stopped reading this article yet, is a coconut mousse stuffed with a lime-butterfly pea center, a butterfly pea mirror glaze, butterfly tea-opal basil chiffon cake, fried opal basil, and opal basil syrup (not plated). I wanted to use the lime and tea together, since it turns pink naturally due to the acidity, to represent the crimson ruby-flame-passion thing that Maaya mentions in her song. To be quite frankly honestly, she’s singing it in perfect English when it comes to her accent, but the lyrics themselves are very grammatically incorrect to the point where I have to wing it with my interpretation with the lyrics even more so than I already had to with my damn interpretation of the song. I made the dessert naturally blue with a leaf and water motif to represent the rain that she is waiting for. For whatever reason that she’s waiting. I don’t know, maybe she’s secreting a dying plant or was living in California during 2014. I can’t judge her. Well I can, but without the full story, I’d be no better than the assholes who put me through said serious shit my senior year. Yes. Shade has been thrown.

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For the lime center:
Juice and zest from 3 limes
1/2 teaspoon butterfly pea powder
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
a pinch of salt

Reduce ingredients together then pass through a strainer. Pour into silicone 1 inch half dome molds and freeze the mixture solid.

For the coconut mousse:
8 oz coconut milk
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 packet gelatin powder + 3 tablespoons cold water
8 oz heavy cream; whipped stiff

Bloom gelatin in water. Whisk cornstarch into coconut milk with xanthan gum and salt. Bring to a simmer then add in the gelatin. Whisk over medium high heat until the gelatin is fully melted into the mixture. Pour through a strainer and allow to cool down to room temperature. Fold in vanilla extract and then the heavy cream. Pour into 3 inch silicone half dome molds. Then press in the frozen lime centers. Use an offset spatula to remove the excess mousse. Freeze solid.

Once frozen solid, heat up a pan or pot on the stove. Once warm, use the flat surface to melt down the flat sides of the half domes. Press together and smooth over the seams to create perfect spheres. Keep in the freezer until it is time to assemble.

For the mirror glaze:
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1 teaspoon butterfly pea powder
1/3 cup coconut milk
2 packets gelatin powder + 1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon salt

Melt bloomed gelatin into the coconut milk and then simmer with the tea and salt. Pour over the white chocolate chips stir slowly to prevent air bubbles from forming. Pour through a strainer to remove lumps. Bring up to 90 degrees F when you are planning to use it to glaze the spheres with.

For the cake:
2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons butterfly tea powder
4 egg whites
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Whip egg whites with 1/3 cup of the 1/2 cup sugar and baking powder. Whip yolks with the oil and remaining sugar. Sift together the flour and tea powder. Fold everything together and pour onto a lined sheet tray. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes. Cool in the open, turned off oven for 5 minutes before removing to prevent collapsing. Once completely cooled down, slice into 1/2 inch cubes.

For the basil syrup:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
a pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon agar agar
1 teaspoon lime juice
1/2 cup opal basil leaves

Blanch basil leaves for 1 minute then shock in cold water. Bring other ingredients to a simmer. Once sugar is fully dissolved, cool the syrup down to room temperature. Puree in the basil then strain out the solids.

For the fried basil:
Opal basil leaves
Canola oil

Pat basil leaves dry. Bring canola oil up to 275 degrees F. Flash fry the basil leaves for 3-5 seconds, depending on the size of the leaves. Place on a paper towel to drain off any residual oil.

For assembly:
Glaze the spheres, either on a wire rack of stabbing them with skewers and dipping them into the glaze. On a plate, make a ring out of the cake cubes and drizzle on a small bit of the syrup so that the cake is moist. Place on the mousse sphere and then garnish with the leaves. On the side, when it is time to serve, garnish with the simple syrup and some smaller fried leaves.



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