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

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 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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