Beet Parfait ~ Chocolate Brittle Gel ~ Beet-Raspberry Fluid Gel

Adapted by StarChefs.com
Dessert Fourplay: Sweet Quartets from a Four-Star Pastry Chef, May 2010
Yield: Serves 14 to 15
Beets and raspberries complement each other perfectly, covering sweet and acidic, earthy and bright flavors. The chocolate in this dessert is the secondary flavor, reinforcing the earthiness of the beets and bringing two additional textures to the plate.

INGREDIENTS:

Beet Parfait
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (150 grams) heavy cream
1/3 cup (80 grams) beet juice
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons (35 grams) sugar
3 large egg yolks
½ vanilla bean, split and scraped
½ teaspoon powdered gelatin (or 2.25 grams sheet gelatin)
Chocolate Brittle Gel
¼ cup (50 grams) sugar
¼ teaspoon (1 grams) agar
1 cup plus 2 teaspoons (250 grams) milk
2 ounces (57 grams) bittersweet chocolate (preferably Valrhona Manjari 64% cacao), chopped
Beet-Raspberry Fluid Gel
12 ounces (340 grams) fresh raspberries
½ cup (125 grams) beet juice
2⁄3 teaspoons (2.5 grams) agar
Streusel
1 ½ cups plus 2 tablespoons (200 grams) all-purpose flour
¼ cup (25 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Valrhona)
1 teaspoon (2 grams) ground cloves
2 ½ teaspoons (5 grams) freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon (2 grams) coarse salt
8 tablespoons (115 grams) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon (115 grams) sugar
Beet Juice
2 large beets
To Assemble and Serve
cacao nibs
Micro beet greens (optional)
yogurt powder (optional; see Note)
beet powder (optional)

METHOD:

Note: Yogurt powder and beet powder are available from Terra Spice Company.

For the Beet Parfait:
Line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment and set the 1 1⁄2-inch square molds on it. Freeze while you make the parfait. Put the 2 tablespoons heavy cream in a small bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over the surface. Combine the beet juice, sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla seeds and pod in a heatproof bowl set over simmering water. Cook, whisking pretty constantly, until the mixture reaches 175ºF. Microwave the gelatin for 30 seconds or heat gently in a saucepan until melted. Strain the beet juice mixture into the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk. Add the gelatin and beat at medium-high speed until the sides of the bowl are cool. In a separate bowl, beat the ½ cup heavy cream to medium peaks. Fold the cream into the beet mixture. Fill a pastry bag with the parfait and pipe into the molds. Even off the tops. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze overnight.

For the Chocolate Brittle Gel:
Run a 9 x 12-inch rimmed baking sheet under cold water and shake off the excess. Line the damp pan neatly with plastic wrap. Whisk the sugar and agar together in a small saucepan. Whisk in the milk. Stirring constantly, bring the milk to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, still stirring. Stir in the chocolate and emulsify with an immersion blender, keeping the blender under the surface so you avoid making bubbles. Pour into the baking sheet and refrigerate until set, about 2 hours.

For the Beet-Raspberry Fluid Gel:
Puree the raspberries in a food processor. Strain and measure out ½ cup (125 grams).
Put the puree, beet juice, and agar in a saucepan and mix with an immersion blender. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Pour into a baking dish and refrigerate until set. Scrape the gel into a blender and blend on high until perfectly smooth and fluid. Store in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve or for up to 3 days.

For the Streusel:
Heat the oven to 375ºF or 350ºF on convection. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment and set fourteen to fifteen 1 1⁄2-inch square molds on it. Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, cloves, pepper, and salt together in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle. Add the butter and sugar and mix on medium speed until crumbly. Divide the streusel among the molds and press down so the streusel will hold a shape. Bake until crisp, about 6 minutes. Remove from the oven and unmold the streusel. Let cool.

For the Beet Juice:
Trim, peel, and chop the beets. Put through a juicer. Reserve the beet juice for the parfait and the beet-raspberry fluid gel.

To Assemble and Serve:
Use a spatula to smear some of the beet-raspberry fluid gel onto dessert plates. Set a streusel on each plate, on the gel. Unmold a parfait, pushing it out, and set it on top of the streusel. Cover the top of the parfait with cacao nibs. Cut the chocolate gel into 1⁄2 x 2-inch strips. Set one beside each parfait. Garnish with a few greens, the yogurt powder, and beet powder if you want.

MAKE IT SIMPLER
You could replace the chocolate brittle gel with chocolate ice cream. Scoop it, roll in Chocolate Crumble or chocolate cookie crumbs, and refreeze. That way, you’re bringing another layer of crunch to the plate. For larger portions, you could use a 3 1⁄4-inch tart ring and for tasting portions you could use 2-inch ring molds in place of the 1 1/2-inch square molds I use.