Carrot and Orange Lolly
Specialty Equipment: juicer, fine digital scale
Specialty Ingredients: gellan F, spray-dried carrot powder, maltodextrin DE19, glucose
Dish as in The Fat Duck:
Life as a slave to this book has been very annoying the last week. The day I made the Roast Scallop dish I also made most of the Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh recipe and was well chuffed I had most of it out of the way. Problems entered the stage with the sea urchins and white soy sauce. I got promised the little buggers three times at my fishmonger, but still have not laid my eyes on them. With the other components deteriorating in my fridge I chucked everything in the freezer, so I hope all the stuff makes it out ok. Anyway, waiting for the sea urchins I made the carrot lollies, because they can be made without much planning. Complaining is over (well, I want to save some for the write-up of the Frankincense dish).
The lollies. The lollies consist of a dried carrot fluid gel and orange powder. What is interesting is the process behind the orange powder. I figured I had to zest an orange, boil it a couple of times in fresh water and put them in the oven or dehydrator. Well, I was wrong. Here is how orange powder Fat Duck style goes: prick an orange all over with a needle, boil it in a mixture of water, sugar and glucose for 2½ hours, freeze the entire orange, finely grate the zest and dry it in an 60˚C oven for 2 hours.
How do you come up with this method? Maybe it’s common practice in restaurants to obtain orange powder, but I got the feeling every, and I mean every, component in the book has started with a blank page. So a technique is never used without questioning its characteristics and asking if it is the best way to go. There were already hints scattered in other recipes, but with the orange powder I really felt the work that goes into the recipes. It is insane.
Below the steps for the carrot fluid gel. I didn’t use spray-dried carrot powder in the fluid gel, because I could only find it in 500g packages at MSK Food Ingredients and it is not used again in the book. To juice the carrots I chopped them up and pushed the liquid out in a hair net. I had two new items when making the fluid gel: a digital scale and maltodextrin. The scale from Salter works with 0,1g intervals, which is, for some recipes, not accurate enough. Concerning the maltodextrin, it was real simple. I was all out of the sample I got from Brenntag (CP Kelco). I read online that drugstores sell maltodextrin as Fantomalt, but I don’t know the ‘DE level’. In this recipe it worked fine.
Print paper substituted for plastic tuile templates.
The carrot tuiles have to be baked in the oven for 10 minutes, then connected to lolly sticks and baked for a further hour. In the photo the tuiles are not yet finished with an offset spatula.
The lollies were very tasty, but didn’t have the excitement as other dishes. The carrot fluid gel on its own however is absolutely awesome. In the intro Heston mentions the fluid gel and writes how he used to serve it along lamb shank for lunch menus. With traditional purees you loose the fresh taste of the product, but with a fluid gel you can capture the freshness, while making a smooth puree. He’s not lying. The fluid gel punches you over the head with an incredible pungent carrot flavor.
Sometimes I make a lobster dish from The French Laundry Cookbook and this fluid gel would work really well in it. The disadvantage is that you have to like raw carrots. It’s far removed from the flavor of a cooked carrot, so it may bring back memories from raw pieces of carrots in school lunch boxes. If you ever come across this fluid gel I hope they are pleasant memories.