- La Chef
MY EXPLORATION OF BITTER AND SOUR
I love cooking with rhubarb, the sourness of which offers an almost infinite range of creative possibilities. I wanted a dessert that was both refreshing and delicate, plant-like and floral, crunchy and fluffy, and that made use of both the sour and bitter flavours that I love. But I also wanted a fun dessert, something a bit retro that wasn't just fruit. Was it my recent trip to the States that influenced me? My idea was to combine rhubarb with puffed corn to give it a sweet, roasted, caramelised edge. When you taste it, it kind of feels like a mildly roasted, almost milky, coffee. But this combination was incomplete; it was missing that vital link that would make it interesting. This link turned out to be orange blossom. The flower gives the dish a grassy bitterness that creates a continuum between the tartness of the rhubarb and the sweetness of the popcorn. In addition, it prolongs the rhubarb's floral notes superlatively.
This dessert is built on a superposition of flavours and textures. A very light, thin Japanese biscuit provides the base. This is accompanied by popcorn ice cream topped with rhubarb sorbet and orange blossom cream. Raw rhubarb shavings and rhubarb-flavoured royal icing complete the construction.
The crisp icing, crunchy popcorn, smooth cream, salinity and caramelisation of the puffed corn, tartness of the rhubarb, and grassy bitterness of the orange blossom give something new for your palate to discover with each bite.
This dessert first hits your mouth in an eye-opening sour attack with a refreshing rhubarb salvo, which then subsides and gives way to a salty caramel sweetness. The orange blossom creates a long-lasting floral taste that I find highly addictive. This is a dessert that serves a refreshing and sweet taste of summer!