Murata’s Fruit Jelly Dessert

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:

http://books.google.com/books?id=8clwyPUpULQC&lpg=PP1&pg=PA186#v=onepage&q&f=false

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’).

'rainbow' fruit selection for the dessert

clockwise from top left: sugar, pineapple, satsuma tangerines, kiwis, blueberries, strawberries

I’d layer in, blueberries, kiwi, pineapple, satsuma orange segments and then halved strawberries.  Instead of the 1 oz of pearl agar,

fruit layered into plastic lined container; from the bottom - blueberries, kiwi, pineapple, satsuma tangerine segments, halved strawberries

fruit layered into plastic wrap lined container; from the bottom – blueberries, kiwi, pineapple, satsuma tangerine segments, halved strawberries (all together about 1 lb 13 oz of fruit)

I thought I’d go ahead and use the 2 1/4 teaspoons of the agar powder to mix into the water and sugar.

'gelatin' mixture of water, sugar, agar powder

‘gelatin’ mixture of 1 3/4 c water, sugar, agar powder

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

'rainbow' fruit jelly ready to serve!

‘rainbow’ fruit jelly ready to serve!

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.

"terrine-slice" of the Murata-style fruit jelly with lemon sorbet

“terrine-slice” of the Murata-style fruit jelly with lemon sorbet

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.

a vertical look of the rainbow fruit jelly, Murata-style

a vertical look of the rainbow fruit jelly, Murata-style

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.

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