Marge and in Charge: a petit gateau

When coming up with this recipe, I had a random epiphany that piping something like a mont blanc could cause it to resemble Marge Simpson’s hair. That and this idea came to me about two weeks prior to Mother’s Day, so I felt like that was a weird coincidence, and that I should just run with it. For this dessert, it just made sense to do blueberry and lemon(blueberry for Marge’s hair, lemon for that stereotypical Simpsons complexion, and because blueberry and lemon is a comforting and fun flavor combination!). I figured with this recipe, it would be tons of fun to do a blueberry gelee core with a lemon mousse, a lemon mirror glaze, and pipe on top of that a whipped blueberry ganache. For the base of the mousse, I did a lemon shortbread, just to tie in with the flavor of the lemon mousse and glaze. I also topped the dessert with some edible pearls, just to make it a little pretty and a little fun.

For the whipped blueberry ganache, I was trying to make it more “blue” through blue spirulina, but I admittedly only got it close-ish to indigo, but that was it. So technically, this dessert is more Patty and Selma and in Charge, but I digress. I also did not think through how morbid the dessert would actually be – you’re technically eating Marge’s head. And while Susur Lee totally made the wqriters for the Simpsons/judges do that in Top Chef Masters Season 2, I was trying to be a little more interpretive and artsy. That is until the blueberry gelee core made it resemble blood oozing out of Marge’s head when I cut into it(yeah, I really did not think that through). Overall, this was a fun dessert to put together, but the unintended shock value is definitely there. This is 100% a dessert that only a mother can love and appreciate – or at least try to.

For the blueberry gelee:
1/4 cup blueberry puree
1 1/2 tsp agar agar
a pinch of salt

Bring everything to a simmer, stirring until the agar is dissolved. Pour into 6 1/2-inch silicone half sphere molds and freeze until solid, about 2 hours. Press the half-spheres together to form full spheres for using.

For the lemon mousse:
Juice and zest of 2 lemons
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp gelatin powder + 1 tbsp cold water
a pinch of salt
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup heavy cream, whipped stiff

In a pot, reduce the lemon juice and zest with sugar, cornstarch, gelatin, and salt, whisking on low heat until they form a mixture that is thick enough to cling to the sides of your whisk. Take the mixture off heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla first, then pass it through a sieve to remove any lumps and the bits of lemon zest. Allow that mixture to cool down to room temperature before folding in the heavy cream. Pour the mixture into 3 3-inch sphere molds, pressing the blueberry gelee into each. Freeze for at least 2 more hours, or overnight, before unmolding.

For the lemon shortbread:
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp unsalted butter
zest from 1 lemon
2 tbsp lemon juice
a pinch of salt

Mix together to form a dough. Refrigerate for at least 5 minutes. Then roll out your dough to 1/8-inch thickness and cut out 3-inch disks. Bake the disks at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes on a lined sheet tray. Allow the shortbread to cool before handling.

For the lemon mirror glaze:
Juice from 2 lemons
Zest from 1 lemon
1 1/2 tsp gelatin powder
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup white chocolate
a pinch of turmeric powder
a pinch of salt

Bring lemon juice, zest, gelatin, and water to a simmer. Take off heat and add in the remaining ingredients. Allow everything to sit together for a minute before stirring to combine. Pass through a sieve to remove any lumps. Heat the mixture to 90 degrees F for assembly.

For the blueberry ganache:
1/4 cup blueberry puree
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup white chocolate chips
a pinch of salt
1/4 cup heavy cream

In a pot, heat up the blueberry puree with butter, white chocolate, and salt. Once combined, pour into a shallow container and allow the mixture to cool down in the freezer for 10 minutes. Transfer the chilled down ganache into a mixing bowl and slowly fold in the heavy cream until just combined. Transfer to a piping bag with a grassy tip.

To garnish:
Ice water
Edible pearl sprinkles

Using a skewer, dip the still-frozen lemon mousse spheres into the 90 degree F glaze. Shake off any excess then drop the spheres into ice water to quick-set the glaze. Transfer the spheres onto the shortbreads. Pipe the ganache on top and finish with edible pearls.

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