John likes to experiment, and I like to be corny. So, for our first “finer dining” experience, John knew what he wanted to do for dessert and it involved ravioli-like items. Naturally, I wanted to make ravioli for dinner, too. Since this is finer dining, I planned to make the pasta, and I did. I used the recipe that came with our machine, as I have used it before and never been disappointed. I halved the recipe, though. Are you ready for the recipe? It’s really complicated:
1 cup of flour
Make a well in the flour
Beat the egg in the middle of the well until a ball begins to form
Knead until the texture is consistent, adding water if the dough is too dry
Follow pasta machine’s directions
For the filling, I just mixed ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese.
I also made a short rib ragout. That was even easier (for a vegetarian option, just omit the meat):
Brown 1 – 1 1/2 lbs meat (can be any sort of meat, ground or cubed)
Saute 1-2 onions in oil until translucent
Add onions and meat to a slow cooker, top with 2 large cans of crushed tomatoes
Add a whole clove of garlic, a bay leaf, salt, pepper and sugar to taste
Cook on low 8-10 hours
Add a dash of red pepper flakes, and your favorite sauce seasoning
And now for dessert. John made flourless chocolate, a cocoa nib tuile, and banana-passionfruit ravioli via a process called reverse spherification. He’ll post the recipe for it soon, as I barely have an idea how he did it. What I can tell you is what they are like. Think of a rich sauce with banana and passionfruit, perfectly balanced. Then, take away the runny nature of the sauce; see the photos below for a better idea. The crisp bitterness of the tuile with the rich creaminess of cake and bright citrus sauce.
I (John) recently had the privilege of spending the day in the kitchen at Le Bernardin in NYC. Working with pastry chef Michael Laiskonis and his staff was an eye opening experience. The desserts were fantastic, and I was able to sample just about every one!
The following recipe was one bestowed upon me by Chef Michael.
At the restaurant, it was the pear dessert that inspired me to do this.
All of you adventurous cooks out there who want to take a crack at this, here it is!
Procedure for Reverse Spherification
Passion Banana Base:
- Banana puree 100 g
- Passion puree 100 g
- Simple syrup 50 g
- Calcium lactate 5 g
- Xanthan gum 1/2 tsp
Blend together with an immersion blender for about 2 minutes.
Using a piping bag, pipe into small portion silicone molds, and freeze.
(I used Wilton ‘Brownie Bites’ silicone molds. They are about the only thing close I could find.)
Procedure for Setting Bath:
- Water 1000 g
- Sodium alginate 5 g
- Sodium citrate 2 g
Combine all ingredients and shear with immersion blender for about 2 minutes. Reserve cold overnight.
Before making the ravioli:
Pull sodium alginate bath and let come to room temp.
Remove frozen fruit puree ‘bites’ from silicone mold.
Using a slotted spoon, drop bites into alginate bath.
Let set 2 minutes.
Pull from bath with slotted spoon into cold water to stop the process.
Reserve finished ravioli in cold water or simple syrup until ready to use.