An artful incorporation of cherry blossom and apple by Patrick Fahy of Chicago, featured in our article "Looking East for Inspiration".
Yield: 30 servings
30 oz/850 g Pink Pearl apple juice
5.3 oz/150 g granulated sugar
0.17 oz/5 g sorbet stabilizer
Bring ¼ of the juice to a boil. Whisk in the dry ingredients, and bring back to a boil. Add the remaining juice, blend, and spin in the ice cream machine.
Cherry Blossom Jam
10 cherry blossoms (Source: www.rareteacellar.com sold as Sakura Kyoto Cherry Blossoms)
14 oz/400 g water
3.5 oz/100 g granualted sugar
0.17 oz/5 g agar agar
1. Simmer the cherry blossoms in the water and sugar for 15 minutes. Strain the mixture, whisk in the agar agar and bring to a boil for 30 seconds.
2. Place mixture in cooler until firm.
3. Once firm, place in blender, and blend until mixture has a smooth shiny look and is slightly warm. Store in an airtight container and keep in cooler.
2.2 lb/1 kg granulated sugar
10 cherry blossoms
14 oz/400 g cold water
7 oz/200 g glucose
0.14 oz/4 g cream of tartar
1. Bring sugar, cherry blossoms, and cold water to a boil under low heat. (Make sure all sugar crystals dissolve.) Once a boil is reached, add the glucose and cream of tartar, previously dissolved in a small amount of water before adding. Raise heat to high, and cook the mixture to 162º C. Take pot off heat, and set on granite or marble surface for 15 seconds.
2. Pour sugar mixture onto clean Silpat placed onto a cool granite or marble surface. While cooling, slowly move the exterior towards the interior. Once the mixture is pliable, watch patiently until sugar has cooled enough to rest in one spot without flattening to a pancake.
Once cool enough to keep its shape, knead sugar by folding it in half. Repeat this step 20 times or until a shiny exterior is exposed. Place sugar under a 250-Watt heat lamp. Using a hand pump with a copper tip, attach a piece of sugar the size of a quarter to the tip. (If having trouble adhering, heat top of the copper tip with a torch). Pump a very small amount of air into the sugar to assure it is sealed. Stretch out the tip of the sugar and cup the very tip, exposing a dime’s size area of sugar. Grip the tip firmly and pump 1 or 2 pumps of air so a sphere is formed.
Immediately place the sugar sphere in front of a cooling fan, and in one motion, squeeze the hand gripping the tip, while simultaneously pushing down on the top of the sphere with the index finger. This will give the sphere a slight oval shape with an indention on the top creating the shape of a small apple. Gently snap the thin neck below the apple, and place the completed apple on a safe spot on the table.
3. Heat the tip of a cannoli or other tube (measuring about the size of a dime) until very hot. Then carefully touch the bottom of the apple to create a perfect circular hole in it.
Set on Silpat on table.
4. For the “stem” of the apple, use the same recipe for the sugar above this time with no cherry blossoms, instead using black food coloring, or squid ink. With the black sugar, there is no need to knead air into it, for you want it to be black. Gently pull a small strand to resemble a stem. Torch the tip to adhere the stem to the top of the apple.
5. For a curl, make a recipe for the sugar above and then knead it until it is shiny. Pull a thin strand, and while it is still soft, wrap it around a 3” to 4” diameter tube to create a curl. (See photo).
Place a dollop of sauce on the plate. Spread it out with the back of a spoon. Fill a pastry piping bag with the sorbet, and fill the sugar apple full. Place on the plate, garnish with fresh cherry blossoms, and serve immediately.
Taking Asian flavors in a different direction, here’s a dessert that features the fruit, not the blossoms, of the very American variety of cherries called Bing.