Monday, January 14, 2008

Foie Gras Bonbon

In July 2007 while vacationing in Shanghai I vent to the restaurant Jade on 36 at the Shangri-La Hotel. At the 36th floor of the Shangri-La hotel to be precise. This is where I had a rather magnificent foie gras dish that I wrote about here.

The foie gras bonbon is my attempt at making this dish. I should say the culmination of my attempts at making this dish as there where a number of very unsuccessful tries before I settled on a method that was satisfactory. The qualification “satisfactory” is important as I never managed to get the dish exactly like what I had in Shanghai.

The basic principle here is sweet, salty and tart in three layers. This is not dissimilar from the classic French Chocolate cake Opera and the name at Jade at 36 was: Passion-Choco Foie Gras Opera. The cake is a layered cake with dark chocolate (tart), chocolate ganace (sweet), coffee foam (tart) and almond pastry in quantities that form an extraordinary coming together of taste.

To achieve this with foie gras Jade has added passion fruit jam and cocoa powder. They somehow managed to make a square cake out of the foie gras. This cake rested on a layer of passion fruit gel and was topped with a thin layer of cocoa powder. This has caused me no end of trouble as foie gras is not exactly the most malleable of ingredients to handle. The taste is quite flexible and goes with many things but the material itself is not.

After multiple times of failing to reproduce either a satisfactory passion fruit gel or a to sculpt the foie gras I settled on the following: a shot glass filled with a bottom layer of berry jam, a tablespoon’s worth of foie gras all topped with 85% dark chocolate. This is not as good as what I remember from Jade but very good nonetheless.

To make the jam:

  1. 200 grams mixed blue and blackberries;
  2. 125 grams sugar;
  3. 100 ml good quality quite strong green tea;
  4. 1 leaf gelatine.

Heat berries and sugar together in a solid pot when the berries have completely fallen apart add the tea. Boil off all of the liquid (when the starts look thick is when the jam is ready. Pour through a sieve, let cool until you can add the gelatine and pour into the shot glasses. You need about 5 ml in the bottom of the shot glass. Leave in the fridge until the jam has set about two hours.

To get the foie gras into the shot glasses cut out round sections with an apple corer and put on top of the jam. Obviously, this assumes that you like me have shot glasses of a diameter that is similar to that of an apple corer. If not find some other method of cutting cylindrical sections of foie gras with a wider diameter.

Melt the 85% chocolate pour on top of the foie gras and serve.

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