Ingredients do not recognize national boundaries -Iron Chef Michiba
Fusion requires a strong culinary foundation, taking into account local products and showing restraint in applying twists, otherwise confusion results (paraphrase) -Iron Chef Morimoto, Boston University cooking demo/lecture, 10 Oct 2007
In continuing my explorations in cooking, I was thinking about how to turn some fresh cherries into a dessert. I had some leftover commercial graham cracker tart crusts and started thinking cherry pie. Now I started thinking about making cherry pie filling. But how to make a cherry pie filling that I could call my own? After browsing about the web, I noticed most versions used lemon juice, sugar, and cornstarch.
Now I started thinking about applying two twists – first, replacing the sugar with the monkfruit sweetener being used at the Matsuhisa/Nobu restaurants and second, replacing the lemon juice with yuzu juice. After looking back to my cooking notes going back to Feb 2007, I realized I needed to use a little restraint on the substitution of yuzu in place of lemon. So I settled on the following microbatch recipe:
- 1/2 lb pitted cherries (this would require between 22-28 cherries)
- 1 T + 1t water
- 1/2 t + 1/4 t + 1/8 t yuzu juice
- 2 t cornstarch ( + 2t water in a slurry) (this would turn out to be 1 T starch + 3 T water)
- 1 T + 2 t +1/4 t + 1/16 t sugar/monkfruit sweetener
So it would appear that I would have to cook down the cherries, water, yuzu juice and sugar over medium heat for about 10-15m to
render some cherry juice and to dissolve the sweetener. Once the mixture was cooked to where the cherries were cooked and
softened, I’d make a slurry of the cornstarch, take the sauce pan off the heat add the slurry in and let the whole thing thicken. At that
point, I could take it off the stove, let it cool a bit to set and then fill the tart shells.
As it would turn out, I would need an additional
3 tablespoons of water to get the texuture/consistency.
Once I got it off the heat to cool to room temperature, I moved the pie filling to a glass container to store before dinner.
At the end of dinner, I pulled out the leftover graham cracker crusts and the pie filling and scooped about 3 – 4 tablespoons into the
graham cracker tart crusts. Taking a taste of the dessert, both my wife and I agreed that it was nicely sweet. However, if I were to make the filling again, I think I would pull back on the sweetener by half if the cherries were sweet enough. I’d imagine I’d use the full amount if the cherries were in the tart/sour category.
I’m actually pretty glad I tried this exploration since I imagine I could use the same strategy to ease the preparation of a blueberry tart.
Other possible application of this recipe would be to fill wonton/gyoza wrappers, fry them until crisp golden brown and then dust them with confectioner’s sugar. Garnishing that dessert might be with a scoop of either vanilla or ginger ice cream. One other possibility would to take this ‘pie filling’, freeze them into spheres for use as a core of a ‘jelly’ sata-andagi…… wow.