Happy new year!
When I’d gotten Yoshihiro Murata’s Kikunoi: The Exquisite Cuisine Of Kyoto’s Kikunoi Restaurant, I think the first recipe I wanted to try from the book was Murata-san’s Fruit Jelly. It just seemed to be such a festive holiday dessert.
Murata’s Fruit Jelly can be found online at:
Note: http://global.rakuten.com/en/store/shopdeco/item/802292/ describes a japanese pearl agar product (called for in Murata-san’s recipe) that contains carageenan (which I believe is iota carageenan as described at: http://modernpastry.blogspot.com/2010/07/hydrocolloids-iota-carrageenan.html)
Since I couldn’t get my hands on osmanthus liquor; I thought I’d go ahead and modify the dish a little. I thought I’d make up for for the lack of the osmanthus liquor by a doing a rainbow layer of fruit (think ‘terrine’).
I’d layer in, blueberries, kiwi, pineapple, satsuma orange segments and then halved strawberries. Instead of the 1 oz of pearl agar,
I thought I’d go ahead and use the 2 1/4 teaspoons of the agar powder to mix into the water and sugar.
As before, once the agar was dissolved into the sugar/water base, I cooked the mixture three more minutes on medium heat and let it cool enough so that I could touch it. The mixture was poured over the layered fruit and the whole thing was sent to the refridgerator to set. While Murata-san pairs his fruit jelly with a yogurt-based kumquat sorbet, I thought I’d be a bit more prosaic and pair my version with a scoop of lemon sorbet instead.
When I served my version of the fruit jelly, I began by placing a large ceramic plate over the fruit jelly container and turned the whole thing over. I was right about putting in the plastic wrap when I was layering
in the fruit – the whole entire item slid easily out onto the serving ‘tray’. I started cutting terrine-like slices and attempted to move the slices onto individual serving plates. Murata-san comments that he, “add(s) only a touch of gelatin so as to barely harden it” (p. 159). Indeed, I believe I accomplished that with the agar since the larger fruit pieces tended to break away.
In order to keep the terrine slice form, I think I will dice the larger fruit into smaller pieces in the future so that slices would hold its form better.
After trying the dessert, I took notice of a few things. The 6 tablespoons of sugar was ‘just right’ in the ‘gelatin’ mixture – it was just sweet enough but was not overpowering in the overall result – I could still taste each of the different fruit that I layered into the dessert. The next time I do this dessert, I think I’d add a bit more water – it seemed to me that I didn’t have enough ‘gelatin’ to cover the strawberry layer of the dessert. Lastly, I need to dice the satsuma tangerine, pineapples, kiwis and strawberry a bit more. When I cut into the dessert to begin serving, the larger pieces of fruit caused the ‘gelatin’ around the fruit to break and resulted in the ‘terrine’ slices losing their shape.