Would You Eat A Stone?
Okay, so it's been done before... the rock thing, I mean. I'VE never done it.. until now!! And I'm loving the results! A couple months ago, I was fiddling around with a black sesame mochi ice cream for the dessert menu (another thing I hadn't done before) in the shape of a small rock. It took me and two of my cooks two hours (!!) to individually wrap 'stones' of black sesame ice cream with sheets of black sesame mochi in the walk-in FREEZER. The finished product was truly amazing, with their matte grey skins dusted & mottled with cornstarch. My idea was to serve it with a tahini gel, toasted sesame streusel and poached apricots. Although completely awesome, the practicality of producing these on a larger scale would be too painful, too time-consuming, and really not worth all the effort for just a single component on a dish. So I left it, knowing that one day I would come around again to the same concept, but in a different format.
Round 2: Chocolate. My previous job post afforded me the luxury of a temperature controlled chocolate room. I think I put it to pretty good use (see some of my older blog posts). I don't have that luxury anymore. You can call me spoiled, but I don't feel altogether comfortable working with chocolate in a room that's warmer than 67 degrees. My current kitchen is a bit warmer and I haven't really done much with chocolate outside the simple realm of mendients and a round of peanut butter cups. That said, I do feel it's important in a restaurant of our caliber to showcase chocolate work in some form. So what about a rock petit four?!?
I wanted to keep the black sesame flavor 1) because I love sesame, 2) because I love the natural slate grey hue the black sesame paste creates. The interior is a simple butter & white chocolate ganache, flavored and colored with said paste and a touch of salt. The ganache is then piped into random rock shapes and chilled to harden. Once cold, any sharp edges are dulled by rolling between gloved hands. The interiors are then dipped (by hand, ugh) into tempered 70%, then dropped into a sifted mixture of 10X & black cocoa powder. Once the enrobage hardens, the dust is shaken off to reveal the most precious and delicious stones you will ever put in your mouth! Still a lot of work, but much more practical to produce.. and no risk of frost bite.
A simple presentation of resting the stones on a 'knoll' of pistachio powder and garnishing with a twig and some gai lan flowers keeps it all zen-like, and does not deter the attention away from the star of show.