Yuzu Gelatin (aka Yuzu no Neri)

Previously, on tastingmenu.wordpress.com –

* https://tastingmenu.wordpress.com/2012/04/24/iron-chef-chens-almond-pudding-vegan-version/
* https://tastingmenu.wordpress.com/2012/03/29/yuzu-soup-dessert-from-nobu-now/

While my wife and I were visiting my parents, I contemplated how I would approach Murata-san’s Fruit Jelly dessert (Kaiseki: The Exquisite Cuisine Of Kyoto’s Kikunoi Restaurant, p.186). After having done Iron Chef Chen’s almond pudding/tofu, I thought I’d try a dessert from Hiroko Shimbo’s The Japanese Kitchen. The book has a dessert kabosu no neri (p. 481) where she mentions “add the kabosu or yuzu juice to the agar agar mixture”.  So I thought I’d do the yuzu version. However, the recipe specifies 1/2 cup of sugar which seemed to me uncomfortably sweet (recall the yuzu soup recipe that I attempted a while back).

The recipe from Shimbo’s book calls for:

1/3 oz of ito kanten (agar strings), soaked overnight
2 cups boiling water (over medium heat)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup kabosu juice, preferably, or yuzu juice
9 small mint leaves (for garnish/portion)
3 cups of raspberries

After contemplating the recipe from the book and reflecting on my experiences with Nobu’s yuzu soup and Iron Chef Chen’s almond tofu I chose to attempt to make the yuzu gelatin with the following specifications:

2 1/4 teaspoons powdered agar agar
2 cups boiling water
5 Tablespoons + 3/4 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup (4 oz) yuzu juice (the Nobu yuzu soup called for 6 3/4 oz)

I first combined the sugar and yuzu juice and the added in the boiling water to dissolve the sugar and to blend it in with the yuzu juice.  At that point, I added the agar agar powder a bit a time to dissolve it into the mixture. As in the book, I cooked it a bit more over medium heat for about 3 more minutes and then set it aside to cool for about 5 minutes. Once it was cooled to room temperature, I moved it to the

yuzu (agar) gelatin ready for the refridgerator

yuzu (agar) gelatin ready for the refridgerator

refridgerator to set. I served the dessert with a slices of fresh satsuma oranges and sliced grapes.

fruit base before adding in the 'pearls' of yuzu gelatin

fruit base before adding in the ‘pearls’ of yuzu gelatin

If I had to do this dish again, I think I adjust the amount of juice to 3 1/2 oz rather than the 4 as

Yuzu gelatin with fresh satsuma orange and sliced grapes

Yuzu gelatin with fresh satsuma orange and sliced grapes

specified in the book.  After tasting the dessert, I’m glad I lowered the amount of sugar – it clearly would have made the dessert uncomfortably sweet.  After having made this, I’m pretty confident I can do a vegan fruit gelatin dessert to finish a meal and to provide a treat to friends of mine who are vegetarians/vegans.  In Nobu Now (pgs 222-225), there’s a dessert dish for mango and tofu puddings and cherry jello.  I can  see the possibilities of making a mango/soy milk, cherry agar variants of those desserts (the jury’s still out on how I can do a vegan variant of Nobu’s tofu puddings since it makes use of whipped and sour creams).

Making the yuzu no neri was a very tasty exercise.

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