Sea Angel: a plated dessert

This was the last dish in my “Namie” pop-up dinner, featuring strawberries and lychees to embrace the summer. I wanted to use both in several different ways, and I also wanted to use pate choux as the base for this dessert, since I just love how choux with craquelin resembles a coral reef. With the components, we have a pate choux with a red craquelin stuffed with lychee mousse and strawberry coulis, strawberry chips, strawberry-lychee sorbet, strawberry snow, and a strawberry-coated lychee bonbon. What I love about this dessert is that it has a good balance between the two fruits, so you don’t feel like one is really overtaking the other. I dubbed it “Sea Angel”, since it just reminds me of how a sea angel has that beautiful red core in the center of it.

For the strawberry chips:
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
a pinch of salt
5 strawberries

Bring water, salt, and sugar to a simmer. Once the sugar is dissolved, take off heat. Slice strawberries on the second thinnest setting on a mandolin. Place into the liquid, off heat, for 10 minutes. Spread the strawberry slices, without the liquid, on a lined sheet tray and bake at 200 degrees F for 2 hours. Store in an airtight container.

Strawberry-lychee sorbet
1/4 cup fresh strawberries
1 cup fresh lychees, peeled and pitted
3/4 cups granulated sugar
a pinch of salt

Puree in a blender until fully smooth. Freeze solid, about 2-4 hours. Puree again, then refreeze for another hour to form your sorbet.

For the lychee puree:
2 cups fresh lychees, shelled and pitted
a pinch of salt

Puree in a blender until completely smooth and liquid.

For the lychee bonbon:
1/4 cup lychee puree
a pinch of salt
1 tablespoon agar agar
1/2 cup Valrhona Strawberry Inspiration

Heat lychee puree with salt and agar until the agar is dissolved. Pour the mixture into sphere molds and freeze solid. Melt Strawberry Inspiration over a double boiler. Coat the frozen lychee jelly balls in the inspiration and dip them into cold water to solidify the exterior. Reserve the remainin Strawberry Inspiration for the snow.

For the lychee mousse:
1/2 cup lychee purée
1/4 cup white chocolate chips
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 tspn gelatin powder
A pinch of salt

Purée everything until fully combined. Pour into a whipped cream canister and charge with 2 CO2 cartridges. Foam and allow that mixture to firm up in the refrigerator, covered, before piping.

For the strawberry puree:
1/4 cup fresh strawberries
Juice from 1 lemon
2 tbsp sugar
A pinch of salt

Purée everything together and cook down until reduced by half. Cool down before using.

For the red craquelin:
1/4 cup flour
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tspn red beet powder

Mix to form a dough. Refrigerate for 10 minutes. Roll out on a floured surface and cut into 8 2-inch disks. Keep cold for now.

For the pate choux:
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 egg
Craquelin dough

Bring water and butter to a simmer. Once the butter is fully melted, mix in the flour and stir into a shiny ball. Cool down the dough ball and mix in the egg to form a batter. Pipe into 8 puffs, keep each about 2 inches apart. Place on each the craquelin dough. Bake at 375 degrees F for 20 minutes, and 350 degrees F for another 15. Cool before using.

For the Strawberry Inspiration snow
Reserved strawberry inspiration
1/3 cup tapioca maltodextrin

Mix to form a powder.

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