Freedom: a plated dessert

As with a lot of desserts I make, I named this particular one after a Miyu Irino song of the same name. It was this dynamic and fun song that emphasized standing up for what you believe in, and being free from the doubts in your mind. I also love that you cannot spell the word freedom without ‘o me Fred’, which is a very primitive but effective way of introducing myself. For the actual dessert, I wanted to focus on three flavors that contrast each other, to represent the feel of the song. So I went with black tea, yuzu, and mint. Sort of like an Arnold Palmer meets Philz Coffee’s mint mojito. For the actual components, we have a yuzu and mint namelaka mousse, using Valrhona’s yuzu inspiration chocolate, white chocolate and mint “snow”, a yuzu Palmer gelee disk center, yuzu curd, milk tea, and tempered yuzu inspiration feathers.

For the yuzu palmer disk:
1oz black tea leaves
2oz yuzu juice
2 teaspoons agar agar
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 tablespoons water
a pinch of salt

Bring all ingredients to a simmer, then allow the liquid to cool down slightly. Pour through a sieve onto a lightly oiled shallow surface and refrigerate until set. Cut out into 1 1/2-inch disks. Keep these relatively frozen for easier assembly.

For the yuzu-mint namelaka:
1 teaspoon gelatin powder
1 tablespoon yuzu juice
1/4 cup soy milk
1 teaspoon cornstarch
a pinch of salt
4oz yuzu inspiration
2oz white chocolate
2 drops spearmint essential oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup heavy cream

Mix gelatin and yuzu juice together first. In a pot, whisk the soy milk with cornstarch first to remove any lumps. Place on low heat then whisk in the gelatin and salt. Take off heat and whisk in the other ingredients, returning the pot to low heat as necessary to guarantee even melting and incorporation of the chocolate and butter. Allow the mixture to cool down to room temperature, then whip with a paddle attachment until nearly doubled in volume. Pipe the mixture into silicone petit gateau molds, pressing in the frozen yuzu palmer disks as well. Freeze for at least three hours before attempting to unmold.

For the yuzu curd:
3oz yuzu juice
a pinch of salt
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

In a pot, heat up the yuzu juice with salt on low heat. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolk with cornstarch and sugar. Temper the two mixtures together, then whisk on medium-low heat for 1 minute. Take off heat and whisk in the butter. Then pass through a sieve and transfer into a piping bag.

For the milk tea:
1oz black tea leaves
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon milk powder
a pinch of salt
2 tablespoons white chocolate

Heat up the black tea leaves and the water. Once it comes to a simmer, turn off the heat and whisk in the other ingredients. Allow the tea leaves to steep in the liquid for at least 2 hours before straining them out, pressing to release as much flavor as possible. Keep the milk tea at a colder temperature for plating and pouring.

For the mint snow:
2 tablespoons white chocolate
1 drop spearmint essential oil
a pinch of salt
1/3 cup tapioca maltodextrin

Melt the white chocolate with the essential oil and salt. Mix into the melted chocolate the maltodextrin to form your snow. Store in an airtight until it is time to plate up.

For the yuzu inspiration feathers:
4oz yuzu inspiration
1/4 teaspoon finely grated cacao butter
a pinch of salt

Heat the yuzu inspiration over a double boiler. Once the chocolate is half-melted, take off heat and stir until everything is melted completely. Then stir in the salt and cacao butter. Continue to stir until combined and the mixture registers 87 degrees F on a thermometer. Using an offset spatula, press the melted chocolate against acetate. Then curl up the acetate and allow it to set in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes before attempting to use.

To plate:
Start first with the set petit gateaux/namelaka. Then garnish with pipings of the curd, the snow, and then the feather. Pour the milk tea tableside to finish.

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