“Beautiful World”: a plated dessert

So I conceptualized this dessert around initially two flavors, being pistachio and olive oil. From there, I sort of expanded it to include rosemary and lemon, since I have fresh rosemary in my backyard, which has been blooming these beautiful flowers, and the lemon adds a nice acidity to counterbalance all of the other ingredients. The idea of this dessert was a clear isomalt dome that will show something underneath it, while there would also be this delicious olive oil gelato(my favorite kind of ice cream), that would be served alongside it. I used the rosemary in the gelato, since olive oil and rosemary just go hand in hand. There needed to be a crunchier texture, so I knew something with the pistachios was needed. Initially, I thought to shortbread, but then I remembered about dacquoise. Dacquoise, for those of you unfamiliar with it, is a French sponge cake that consists of ground nuts and whipped egg whites. I used to make them all the time by accident because my initial attempts at macarons sucked, so while they failed as macarons, they qualified as dacquoise. In this case, I used ground pistachios instead of almonds, and what’s also super cool about this dessert is that all of the green color from the pistachio desserts was 100% the pistachio and no other added ingredients!

Anyways, so for another component in this dessert, I wanted to do a marquise. Marquise(yay more French dessert terms that need defining) is like a dense ganache-like mousse. It is basically the O.G. version of Japanese nama chocolate. In this case, I used the pistachios and olive oil to flavor that. We also have a lemon-rosemary gelee, since I needed something acidic, and lemon pairs well with literally all of the other three ingredients, so it just made sense for that to be the sour component. I also used a little lemon in the isomalt as well, since the citric acid helps the isomalt become more pliable, but also just to add another small note of acidity too, since this dessert would be really rich and decadent otherwise. To finish the dessert, we have nasturtium leaves and rosemary blossoms, just to give more pops of color and for a more natural finish. I named the dessert “Beautiful World”, after the Utada Hikaru song, since I wanted this dessert to be really natural, and for the isomalt sphere to resemble a globe.

For the rosemary and olive oil gelato:
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup milk
3 egg yolks
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2/3 cups granulated sugar
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a pot, heat up the rosemary, cream, and milk for at least 10 minutes on low heat to steep in the rosemary flavor. In a bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients, sans vanilla. Pour half of the rosemary milk into the egg mixture and whisk. Then pour the egg mixture into the pot and whisk for at least 3 minutes on medium heat. Pour into a bowl and allow everything to cool down, with the rosemary pieces in there just so that it can steep further. Strain the mixture to remove any lumps and the rosemary pieces. Add in the vanilla at this point. Place into an ice cream machine and churn to the machine’s instructions. Keep frozen so that the gelato will be easier to quenelle later on.

For the olive oil-pistachio marquise:
1/4 cup ground pistachios
1/4 cup white chocolate chips
3 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Puree all of the ingredients together in a blender until completely smooth. If not using a Vitamix, melt the white chocolate first, either over a double boiler or a microwave. Pour into silicone 1-inch half sphere molds and freeze for at least two hours before attempting to use.

For the pistachio-rosemary dacquoise:
1 egg white
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 cup ground pistachios
a pinch of salt

Whip egg white and sugar to stiff peaks. Fold the other ingredients into the whipped egg whites. Pour into silicone bar molds and bake at 350 degrees F for 22 minutes, rotating the mold halfway through to guarantee even baking and browning. Allow the dacquoise to cool completely before unmolding and cutting into smaller pieces.

For the lemon-rosemary gelee:
Juice and zest from 2 lemons
2 tablespoons water
2 sprigs of rosemary
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
a pinch of salt
1 tablespoon agar agar

Bring ingredients to a simmer. Once the agar is fully dissolved into the liquid, pour through a strainer into a shallot container. Freeze until solidified and cut into smaller cubes.

For the isomalt dome:
1/4 cup isomalt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons water
a pinch of salt

Bring all ingredients to a simmer. Once the isomalt reaches 300 degrees F on a candy thermometer, pour onto a silpat sheet. While wearing two layers of heatproof gloves, allow the isomalt to slightly harden around the edges and then fold those edges into the center, allow the isomalt to gradually curl up into a ball. Place the ball at the end of a sugar pump and carefully pump air into the isomalt until it inflates into a ball that is roughly 5 inches in diameter. If this is your first time doing this, I recommend wearing goggles or glasses, as the isomalt could pop and shatter if too much air is added in at once. Allow the isomalt to harden completely before carefully removing it from the pump. Heat up a 3 1/2-inch metal ring mold and press it into the side of the sphere that the pump was inserted into, allowing the heated metal to melt a large and clean cut hole into the sphere. Keep the isomalt in an airtight container until time to plate.

For the olive oil powder:
3 tablespoons tapioca maltodextrin
a pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Mix together to form a dust or powder.

For garnish:
Rosemary blossoms
Nasturtiums
Crushed pistachios

Start by placing a half sphere of the marquise on the place. Garnish with the olive oil powder, blossoms, and nasturtiums, then cover with the isomalt. On the other side of the place, start with the cubes of gelee and tear the dacqouise into smaller pieces and place those on as well. Dust with the olive oil powder and pistachios, then garnish with the blossoms, a quenelle of the ice cream, and the nasturtiums as well.

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