Sakura Saku: Sakura-Almond Sponge, Mascarpone Cream, Sake Jelly, Beet Sponge, Cherry Ice Cream, Popped Sakura Blossoms, and Sakura Chip
For the Cherry Confit:
In a small pot, combine all ingredients. Cook over low heat until cherries are tender and juices thicken. Cool quickly, cover, and refrigerate.
For the Cherry Confit Ice Cream:
In a medium pot, combine milk and cream and heat over a medium flame; stir constantly. When mixture reaches 35°C, whisk in non-fat dry milk and dextrose powder. At 45°C, whisk in sugar and stabilizer. At 85°C, strain mixture through chinois and chill in refrigerator overnight. Process base in ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions. Fold in 250 grams cherry confit, cover, freeze. Set aside remaining confit for plating.
For the Sakura Leaf Chips:
In a medium pot, combine water and sugar and bring to a hard boil. Remove from heat and chill in refrigerator. Place sakura leaves in syrup and soak overnight. Drain leaves and reserve syrup. In a dehydrator, dry leaves until brittle.
For the Sakura Syrup:
In a small pot, combine water and zest. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, and strain through chinois. Chill syrup. Stir 300 grams reserved syrup from sakura chips into chilled sakura syrup. Cover and reserve.
For the Almond Sponge:
Heat oven to 350°F. In a mixer fitted with a paddle, combine almond flour, powdered sugar, and eggs and mix until smooth. Slowly add almond oil and cake flour and mix until combined. Remove bowl from mixer and reserve. Attach separate bowl and whisk to mixer. Add egg whites and sugar and whip to stiff peaks. Fold meringue into almond mixture. Line a half sheet tray with parchment paper. Spread batter evenly in tray and bake 7 to 9 minutes, until golden brown. Soak with Sakura Syrup.
For the Mascarpone Cream:
In a mixer fitted with a whisk, begin whipping egg yolks. In a small pot, combine glucose, sugar, and water and cook to 117°C. Stream hot syrup into yolks while whipping on high speed. In a small pan over low heat, melt gelatin. In a separate bowl, fold gelatin into mascarpone. Fold egg mixture into mascarpone mixture, followed by whipped cream. Spread mixture evenly on top of cooled almond sponge and cut into 2x5-inch portions.
For the Beet Micro Sponge:
In a food processor combine eggs, yolks, sugar, salt, cake flour, and beet juice and process until smooth. Strain batter through a chinois, transfer to siphon, and charge twice. Shake vigorously before dispensing foam into paper cups. Microwave on high for 40 seconds. Let cool completely before unmolding.
For the Sake Jelly;
In a small pot, heat 50 grams sake with gelatin until gelatin melts and combines with sake. In a small bowl, mix sake mixture with remaining sake, pass through a chinois, and chill in refrigerator until set.
For the Popped Dehydrated Sakura Flowers:
Soak salted sakura flowers in water about 30 minutes to remove some of the salt. Drain and blot flowers on paper towel to remove excess water. Microwave flowers on high for 10 to 20 seconds, until the flowers begin popping. Transfer to dehydrator and dry until crisp. Store in airtight container.
To Assemble and Serve:
Arrange Almond Sponge with Mascarpone Cream on center of plate. Spread Cherry Confit around Sponge and scatter a few Popped Dehydrated Sakura Flowers. Arrange pieces of Beet Micro Sponge and Sake Jelly on top of cake followed by a quenelle of Cherry Confit Ice Cream. Garnish with a Sakura Leaf Chip.