Swablu Hummingbird Sundae

Back in 2002 when I played Pokemon Sapphire, a much younger Fred adored a Pokemon called Swablu. Swablu is a blue bird-like Pokemon with white, cloud-like wings. It is classified as the Cotton Bird Pokemon, and evolves into Altaria, which honestly looks like a bigger blue bird with cloud-wings, but is somehow a Dragon-type Pokemon. There’s definitely an explanation for that, but that’s besides the point of this recipe. Anyone reading this is here to learn how to make an ice cream sundae that looks like a Swablu. For this recipe, I wanted to use bananas and passionfruit simply because Swablu is a Pokémon that originated the Hoenn region, which has a more tropical climate, so that warranted using more tropical fruits. In terms of where to go from there, I had a couple of different inspirations. The first was banana soft serve. This is literally made by blending up frozen bananas, and it becomes creamy and rich, just like ice cream, but it’s all just banana. I had banana soft serve when I was in Hawaii, and it was delicious(and before any diehard Pokemon fans say “you can’t find Swablu or Altaria in Alola”, yes I’m aware, but let me have this one). To play off of Altarian being the Humming Pokemon, I went with hummingbird cake, which is a banana-based cake with pecans, cream cheese, coconut, and usually pineapple, but in this case, I went with passionfruit since I wanted to use a more unique tropical fruit instead! From there, that’s how the sundae really came together!

With the base of the dessert/the body of Swablu, I made that using the banana soft serve. I dyed the ice cream blue using blue spirulina as well, just to better mirror the color of a normal Swablu(you can also use a little turmeric powder instead of spirulina if you want a shiny Swablu, which is yellow!). The usage of blue spirulina is also a fun homage to the tropical nature of Hoenn as well, since spirulina is a kind of seaweed, and you can actually go diving in Hoenn! I also made tempered white chocolate curls, dyed blue with the spirulina, to represent the feather tufts on top of Swablu’s head. The Swablu itself is sitting on pieces of banana milk chiffon cake, that are studded with pecans, as an homage to hummingbird cake, which is usually a denser banana cake with the pecans in it. I went the chiffon route, just to give it a lighter cotton-soft texture, as a reference to Swablu being the Cotton Bird Pokemon. For Swablu’s little wings, we made those with a whipped cream cheese that was covered with coconut flakes to better resemble wings, while also trying in with the flavors that go into a hummingbird cake. In lieu of pineapple, I used passionfruit to add a little texture and acidity, and made a curd with that. Overall, this sundae came together quite nicely. I will admit I let the ice cream sit too long in the freezer after churning it, which is why the color darkened so drastically, but I still found the flavors to be perfect for anyone who is into hummingbird cake or tropical fruit in general!

For the blue banana ice cream:
1 banana
1g blue spirulina powder
1g vanilla extract

Peel and cut your banana into disks. Freeze the banana pieces for 2 hours. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth first, then add in the spirulina and vanilla. Blend until combined. Freeze the banana ice cream in silicone sphere molds(I used the press down sphere mold that is usually used for spherical ice cubes) and freeze for another 2 hours.

For the cream cheese “wings”:
4oz cream cheese
a pinch of salt
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp gelatin powder
3 tbsp water, in three parts
3 tbsp shredded coconut flakes

In a bowl, cream the cream cheese with salt and vanilla until soft. In a pot, mix together the sugar and gelatin with one part of water first. Add the rest of the water to the mixture and bring to a boil. Once the gelatin is dissolved into the liquid, pour the mixture over the cream cheese and whisk until combined. Transfer to a piping bag with a round tip and pipe out the wings onto a nonstick surface. To get the proportions right, I used the ice cream scoop I would scoop the soft serve, plus ring molds that were the same size as that scoop, for reference. Sprinkle coconut flakes on top to finish, before transferring to the freezer to firm up.

For the hummingbird chiffon cake:
1 egg white
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp ripe banana, mashed up
1 tbsp coconut flakes
1 tbsp coarsely chopped pecans
a pinch of salt
3 tbsp all-purpose flour

In a bowl, whip the egg white with sugar to stiff peaks. In another bowl, combine the egg yolk, oil, banana, coconut flakes, pecan, and salt together. Sift the flour into the banana mixture first, then fold into that the whipped egg whites to form your batter. Spread the batter in a lined quarter sheet pan in an even layer and bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes. Allow the cake to fully cool before cutting into cubes to plate with. Store in an airtight container.

For the passionfruit curd:
Juice and seeds from 2 passionfruit
1 tsp cornstarch
a pinch of salt
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tbsp unsalted butter or coconut oil

Mix everything together in a pot, off heat first. Then place the pot on a stove and bring to a simmer over low heat, stirring constantly. Once the mixture begins to turn opaque, take the curd off heat again, and pour into a container. Refrigerate to cool down.

For the chantilly cream:
3 tbsp heavy cream
1 tsp confectioner’s sugar
a pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Whip everything to stiff peaks. Transfer to a piping bag with a small round tip. Keep cold for optimal assembly.

For the blue spirulina chocolate curls:
1/4 tsp blue spirulina powder
1/4 cup white chocolate chips

Heat up the white chocolate with spirulina over a double boiler. Once the white chocolate is half-melted, take off heat and stir until the remainder is melted in. Pour the white chocolate over acetate and spread in a thin layer. Using either a painting comb, or a fork, scrape the chocolate while it is still warm and not set to form thinner ribbons. Curl the acetate and refrigerate until set, about 15 minutes, before breaking into smaller pieces to use.

To garnish:
1g activated charcoal
1g vanilla extract or clear alcohol

Make edible paint using the charcoal and extract/alcohol. Start with cubes of the cake on the bottom, then spoon in the curd. Place down a round ball of the ice cream on top, and quickly garnish with the edible charcoal paint for the eyes, the cream cheese for the wings, the spirulina curls for the cowlicks, and the chantilly for the beaks.

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