Beet Parfait ~ Chocolate Brittle Gel ~ Beet-Raspberry Fluid Gel
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.
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.
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.
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.
Trim, peel, and chop the beets. Put through a juicer. Reserve the beet juice for the parfait and the beet-raspberry fluid gel.
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.
Yogurt powder and beet powder are available from Terra Spice Company.
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.