Waking up from the dream: a plated dessert

Now I am a really big fan of the music group, harmonicblend. Their music tends to be on the fantastical side of things, and it really helps inspire me to do all sorts of desserts that I would otherwise not even think about making. Waking up from the dream is a reference to the ending song haromincblend wrote for a indie horror game called “Dreaming Mary”. I will not be discussing the exact details of the game here, but I will say that I took quite a bit of inspiration from both the game as well as the concept of waking up when I was thinking of this dessert. I will say that in the game, flower petals were a recurring motif, so I went ahead and included that in this dessert in the form of the flower spheres, which are gelee balls with the petals encapsulated in them. With the concept of waking up, I feel as if the dream slowly dissipates, so foam made perfect sense as well. I decided to use the egg white and gelatin-set foam, because it is lower tech and you could technically even make it with a whisk if you wanted to.

For the base of the dessert, I went ahead and went with malvapoedding and panna cotta as a play on bread and milk, two things often associated with breakfast. Malvapoedding is an African cake that is soaked in a custard or a syrup. I really like the spongy texture and it is typically made with apricot preserves, but I made mine with the peach puree that I used as a base for my foam to better tie in the flavor. When you slice into it, it really resembles slices of bread, so I knew that it would be a nice nod to toast. But I wanted there to be a savory driven element too, something complex and not sickly sweet, so I figured a burnt honey and peach puree would add that “harsh reality” aspect to the dessert. It would be the contrast that keeps you from just drifting off, so to speak. The usage of earl gray tea is because the lavender and bergamot notes pair so beautifully with peach and honey that it just made sense to use it. Well, that and the flavor is nostalgic, almost like Fruit Loops cereal, which would therefore play off of the milk components in this dish really nicely as well.

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Burnt honey and peach puree
4 peaches
1/4 cup honey
a pinch of salt
3 tablespoons brown butter
earl gray tea as needed

Peel and dice up the peaches. Toss with the honey and salt and allow to macerate for 5 minutes. Heat up a pan with brown butter and then sear the peaches and honey with that until the mixture caramelizes, then gets almost to the color of dark chocolate. Puree then strain, thinning out with earl gray tea as needed.

Earl gray-honey panna cotta
3/4 cups heavy cream
2 teabags of earl gray tea
1/4 cup honey
3/4 teaspoons gelatin powder + 1 tablespoon milk
a pinch of salt

Steep heavy cream and honey with the tea for at least 5 minutes. Strain, then melt in your gelatin, and season with salt. Transfer to small bowls or molds, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Earl gray-edible flower spheres
1 cup earl gray tea
a pinch of salt
1 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons agar agar
a pinch of salt
edible flowers

Combine all ingredients but the flowers and bring to a simmer. Cool down to room temperature and then pour into your silicone half dome mini spheres. Place either individual edible flowers or flower petals inside of each half-sphere and set for at least 15 minutes in the freezer.

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup earl grey tea
1/3 cup honey
1 1/2 tablespoons brown butter
1/4 cup peach puree
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
1 egg

Combine ingredients together. Pour into small loaf tins and bake at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes. Soak in the soaking liquid to finish. Slice when it comes time to plate.

Soaking liquid:
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup earl gray tea
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup heavy cream
a pinch of salt

Temper cream and tea with the honey, salt, and egg. Whisk on medium-high heat until the mixture thickens slightly, then strain.

Earl gray-peach foam
1 egg white
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 cup peach puree
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon gelatin + 1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup earl gray tea
1 tablespoon pitaya powder*

Combine honey, peach puree, milk, tea, pitaya, and gelatin together. Bring to a simmer then pass through a strainer. Insert an immersion blender and starting blending, and then add in your egg white while the mixture is still warm to pasteurize it. Continue blending until frothy and bubbly. Alternatively, use a whisk. Use immediately.

To plate:
Start with pieces of the coulis, then your malvapoedding. Then add on your spheres, and from there, top with your foam to finish.

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