December 27, Day 4 of NYE Prep

After a few days off in good old Sandusky with the fam and a harrowing 5 hour drive home through a blizzard, I’m ready to get back into action!  I woke up bright and early and headed off to my one of my favorite shopping grounds; Jungle Jims.  Jungle Jims is where I go for all my international ingredients (like the Mushroom Ketchup for the Mushroom Parfait) and hard to find produce in the winter months (edible flowers).  Findlay Market is my other favorite and is where I do all my meat and seafood shopping, but we’ll be doing that later in the week.

Today’s schedule focuses on several components of my dessert (Apple Chips, Apple Sorbet, Truffles, and Caramels) and also gives my juicer good workout.

Final Schedule

The sweet base syrup is the starting point of the apple sorbet I’m making.  I’m going to make a double batch because I know I’ll want to make this sorbet again soon and it should freeze ok given it’s the base of an ice cream.  While that’s cooling I begin the apple chips.  These take quite a long time to make, but most of it is unaccompanied time.  They are going to be in  pot with some sugar water for a good 2 hours leaving me free to do other things.

In Sugar Water for 2 Hours on Very Low Heat
In Sugar Water for 2 Hours on Very Low Heat

Now it’s on to the apple sorbet.  Once the sweet base syrup is cool all you really need is the apple juice.  Using granny smith apples with the peel on gives the otherwise clearish juice some color.  Juicing a couple spinach leaves will pump up that green without leaving any detectable flavor.  A couple pinches of citric acid keeps the juice from oxidizing and turning that yucky brown color.  An ice cream maker brings it all together and it’s in the freezer until dessert time.

Apple Sorbet

The onion sugar for the Parmesan Crème Brûlée is next on my list.  You’ll recall I never attempted this in the prep week so I’m hoping it turns out.  Juicing an onion proves to be a rather smelly task and my juicer now is permeated with the smell.  Hopefully a little vinegar will do the trick.  The onion juice is used to flavor sugar which is then boiled till it becomes candy like, hardened then ground to a fine powder.  So far it looks good.  Hard to taste on it’s own since all you get is onion.  Let’s hope it works as the topping for our brûlée.

Onion Sugar

I talked a lot about how to handle the bone marrow in my first post so I won’t dwell much here.  I’m trying to get enough for six individual pieces (for the lobster dish) and 55g for the bone marrow sauce.  I’ll soak them all for a few days changing the water every 6 -8 hours.

By now the apple chips are done so I’m moving them to an oven at 200°F for a 2 hour drying out period.

Next come the little desserts I’ll be hiding in the crackers; rosemary and bay leaf truffles and salted caramels.  Both of these are pretty straightforward recipes.  The cream for the truffles is infused with rosemary and bay leaf for 30 minutes then strained.

Cream Infusion

While the truffles are setting I made a chocolate crunchy topping to roll them in.  This is a neat trick in that you actually ‘shock’ the sugar into crystallizing.  Normally we don’t want this when making candy because it leaves crunchy bits inside.  But here when the temperature of the sugar syrup reaches the right temperature (275°F) you throw some chopped dark chocolate into it and stir and immediately chocolate crystals are formed and are perfect for coating truffles.

Truffle Coating

The caramels are also a rather traditional recipe with a touch of salt added for contrast.  I’ll leave these whole in the refrigerator until closer to New Year’s Eve.  What is going to make them special is the edible cellophane wrapper they’ll come in.  The recipe sounds deceptively easy (and so it turns out to be).  It just requires an inordinate number of petrie dishes on witch to set the wrappers.  They need 24 hours to set so we’ll check back on them tomorrow.

Salted Caramels

And now it’s time to take the apple chips out of the oven and let them harden for a couple hours.  Then into an airtight container and into the fridge they go.

Day 3 was a very successful day.  Let’s hope the remaining are as good.

Schedule 5

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