Something New: a plated dessert

I’ve been meaning to make this dessert for ages. I stumbled upon baobab(an African superfood fruit that tastes like citrus) when I was doing research on natural food colorings, and I was too curious for my own good to not buy a bag of baobab powder from Amazon and try baking it with. I have never even heard of baobab before, but it comes from a curious-looking tree, typically grown in Zimbabwe, Senegal, or Australia actually! A lot of sites that feature baobab in their recipes seem to be more vegan or health blog-types of things, and I felt like baobab deserved better treatment than that. It should be featured in an actual dessert that stands on its own, and highlights the fruit!

For the dessert, we are highlighting the baobab fruit, alongside cardamom and almond. I went with those flavors since I figured that baobab being similar to a citrus would pair well with them. I used Valrhona’s Almond Inspiration chocolate for this dessert, since that guarantees natural almond flavoring in a baobab-almond cremeaux(set custard-like ganache). I also am making cardamom financier(brown butter-almond sponge cakes), just to anchor down the dessert with a body or a focus. With those, we have baobab gelee, baobab dust, cardamom-almond butterscotch, and baobab-cardamom tuiles to round out the dish. For my tuiles, I went with baking molds from Pavoni, specifically their Bonsai shaped molds, but if you do not own or want to buy those, just use a piping bag and parchment or a silpat instead! Or just get creative and make your own tuile shapes! Overall, the dessert has a festive feel to it, but it also embraces flavors and techniques popular in both modern Europe and Africa, which I find to be a fun way to highlight this fruit from Zimbabwe.

For the baobab-almond cremeaux:
1 teaspoon gelatin powder
1 tablespoon cold water
12g baobab powder
125g almond milk
50g Almond Inspiration
20g white chocolate
a pinch of salt

In a bowl, mix together the gelatin with cold water. Place into a pot with the baobab powder, 75g of almond milk, Almond Inspiration, and white chocolate and heat up until everything is melted together. Pour into a bowl, and cool down to room temperature. Whip in the remaining 50g of almond milk, and then pour into silicone 1/2-inch half sphere molds. Freeze for 45 minutes to an hour, or until set firm.

For the cardamom financier:
1 egg white
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup almond flour
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1g cardamom powder
a pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons brown butter, room temperature

Whip the egg white with sugar to stiff peaks. In another bowl, sift the almond flour, all-purpose flour, cardamom, and salt together to remove any lumps. Fold all of your ingredients together to form your batter. Pipe the batter into 1-inch silicone half sphere molds. Bake at 350 degrees F for 12 minutes. Allow the financier to cool down before unmolding.

For the baobab gelee:
15g baobab powder
50g water
a pinch of salt
20g agar agar

Whisk ingredients together in a pot on medium heat until the agar is fully dissolved into the liquid. Pour into a lightly oiled shallow container and refrigerate for 15 to 20 minutes, or until set firm. Cut into 1/4-inch by 1/4-inch by 1/4-inch cubes.

For the baobab-cardamom tuile:
1 egg white
2 tablespoons baobab powder
2 tablespoons brown butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
a pinch of salt
1g cardamom powder

Mix ingredients to form your tuile batter. Spread into baking molds. For mine, I baked them for 9 minutes at 350 degrees F. Allow the tuiles to cool down before unmolding.

For the brown butter-cardamom butterscotch:
2 tablespoons brown butter
1/4 cup dark brown butter
1g cardamom powder
a pinch of salt
1/4 cup almond milk

Combine ingredients and bring to a simmer for about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally until the sugar is dissolved and everything is melted together into one homogenous mixture.

For the baobab dust:
1/4 cup tapioca maltodextrin
1 tablespoon baobab powder
1 tablespoon brown butter
a pinch of salt

Mix together to form a powder.

To plate:
Start first with the financier, then dots of your butterscotch. Garnish the plate with the cremeux, gelee, dust, then tuiles on top to finish.

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