Storms and bad weather: a plated dessert

When I was conceptualizing this dessert, I wanted to come up with something with a lot of visual contrast and tropical flavors. So I went with passionfruit, and since the inside of a passionfruit is yellow and black, I wanted to focus on those two colors. I knew I wanted to make the dessert inspired by storm clouds, so that’s where the idea to do puffed rice noodles, also called vermicelli, came from, since that would visually resemble stormy clouds. For the actual focus of the dessert, I went with a petit gateau of a passionfruit namelaka, using the passionfruit inspiration chocolate from Valrhona, and making a liquid center to act as the surprise for when you cut into it.

For the passionfruit center:
2 passionfruit
a pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Scoop out the pulp from the passionfruit, with the seeds, and heat that in a pot with the other ingredients, while stirring, until reduced by half. Pour into 8 1/2-inch silicone sphere molds and freeze until solid. Reserve and refrigerate the rest for garnishing the bottom of your plate with.

For the passionfruit namelaka:
1/4 cup passionfruit juice, in two parts
2 tablespoons cornstarch
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon gelatin powder
1/4 cup white chocolate
1/4 cup passionfruit inspiration chocolate
1/3 cup heavy cream

In a bowl, mix together your gelatin with half of the passionfruit juice. Then in another bowl, mix the cornstarch with the rest of the juice. Combine the two mixtures in a pot and bring to a simmer on low heat while whisking. Once the mixture begins to heat up, mix in your chocolate to that mixture until combined, then pour into a heatproof bowl. Whip the mixture until it reaches room temperature, then pour in your heavy cream. Whip until combined, being careful not to over whip it or else it will separate. Pour into silicone 3-inch half dome molds, filling 4 up all the way, and refrigerate for an hour. Scoop out 1/2 inch holes out of the four half domes., and place in two half domes, pressed together into one full sphere, into two of the holes. Freeze for another hour. Remove the unfilled half spheres and press the flat side against a heated metal surface for 5 seconds. Quickly seal your spheres together, pressing the flat sides together and sealing the seams. Freeze for another hour before glazing.

For the glaze:
1/2 cup passionfruit juice
2 packets gelatin powder
1/2 cup heavy cream
a pinch of salt
1/2 cup white chocolate
1/2 cup passionfruit inspiration chocolate
1/4 teaspoon activated charcoal powder

Mix your passionfruit juice with the gelatin in a bowl. Place into a pot with the heavy cream and salt and bring up to a low simmer. Pour in your chocolates and stir until combined, off heat. Pour through a strainer. Take 3 tablespoons of the glaze and mix with the charcoal powder. Keep both glazes at 90 degrees F. Poke a skewer through your frozen spheres and either pour the yellow glaze over the sphere, or dip the sphere into the glaze. Using a pastry brush, flick the black glaze onto the glazed spheres and allow them to set before removing them from the skewer and plating.

For the puffed rice noodles:
Canola oil

Heat up canola oil to 300 degrees F. Throw your rice noodles in and allow them to puff up, quadrupling in size and turning pale white in color. Drain on a paper towel and season with salt. Keep in an airtight container until it is time to garnish.

To garnish:
Candela flowers

Start with some of your passionfruit reduction mixture first, then garnish with your sphere, some of the vermicelli and the petals to finish.

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