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Technique: Grilled Milk Mousse
Pastry Chef Jordan Kahn
April 15, 2010
Most pastry chefs know better than to throw milk on a hot, wood-burning range. Not Jordan Kahn. With an imagination that threatens to outpace circumstance, Kahn is always looking for ways to harness the physical properties of common ingredients so he can use them in uncommon, even counterintuitive ways. One of his recent innovations is grilled milk mousse, which combines the rich, vanilla sweetness of a milk base with the smoky char of the grill.
Kahn’s milk base starts with powdered nonfat milk, whole milk, and sweetened condensed milk, the latter imparting its characteristic caramely thickness to the mixture. But the star chemical player in the whole operation is Kelcogel F, a low acyl gellan gum that stabilizes the mixture so it can withstand the intense heat of a Jade wood-burning range. Together with sodium citrate, the gellan gum enables milk, a product usually unacquainted with extreme temperatures, to endure some serious heat.
Once the mixture is chilled and set, Kahn cuts it into rectangles and gives it a fiery kiss from the grill. The gelled milk mixture does come away with a bit of tasty char, but the idea isn’t to end up with a handsome crosshatch. Kahn actually blends these charred blocks with heavy cream and aerates the mixture to create the final product, a silky, light “grilled milk mousse” that has just a hint of woodsy smokiness, or as Kahn puts it, “the flavor of a charred crème brulee.”
Step One: With the blender running, combine the Kelcogel F and whole milk to shear and disperse all the particles evenly.
Step Two: Add the milk powder, condensed milk, glucose syrup, and salt, blending well to incorporate.
Step Three: Transfer the mixture to a pot over high heat and bring to a boil or about 210°F, whisking constantly.
Step Four: Add the sodium citrate and whisk to incorporate.
Step Five: Strain mixture into a rectangular pan and refrigerate until it sets into a solidified block.
Step Six: Cut the gelled milk into even rectangles, brush with brown butter, and grill briefly on a hot, wood-fired range, charring each side slightly. Cool.
Step Seven: Blend the grilled milk gel at high speed. Remove the puréed milk gel to a bowl and whisk in heavy cream.
Step Eight: Pour this mixture into a whipper and aerate before transferring the mousse to a pastry bag.
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Grilled Milk Mousse
Pastry Chef Jordan Kahn formerly of XIV by Michael Mina – Los Angeles, CA
Adapted by StarChefs.com
April 15, 2010
500 grams whole milk
7 grams Kelcogel F
100 grams sweetened condensed milk
35 grams nonfat milk powder
25 grams glucose syrup
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon sodium citrate
150 grams heavy cream
In a blender, shear together the whole milk and Kelcogel F. Add the condensed milk, milk powder, glucose syrup, and salt. Transfer this mixture to a saucepot and bring to a boil, whisking constantly over medium-high heat. Once the mixture reaches a boil, whisk in the sodium citrate and remove from the heat.
Pour the hot gel into a plastic container and cool for several hours in the refrigerator until thoroughly chilled and set. Prepare the wood burning grill. Remove the gel from the container and cut into 2 pieces. Brush the pieces of milk gel with brown butter. Grill the milk gel for about 2 minutes per side.
Return the grilled milk gel to the refrigerator until well chilled. Break up the milk gel and put in a blender. Blend on high until the gel becomes smooth and creamy. Transfer the milk gel to a mixing bowl, and whisk in the heavy cream. Strain through a fine-mesh chinois. Pour the gel in a whip cream siphon, filling only half way. Charge with 2 cream cartridges and shake vigorously. Store in an ice bath in the refrigerator.
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