Sweet Potato, Whisky, Brown Sugar, Cinnamon Fragrance
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Sweet Potato, Whisky, Brown Sugar, Cinnamon Fragrance
Chef Grant Achatz of Alinea – Chicago, IL
Adapted by StarChefs.com
June 2009
Yield: 8 Servings


Cinnamon Skewers:
3 pounds Ceylon cinnamon sticks

Dry Tempura Base:
600 grams unbleached all-purpose flour
70 grams baking powder
90 grams cornstarch

Sweet Potato Gel:
1000 grams sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into slices ½” wide
1 liter heavy cream
15 grams kosher salt
20 gelatin sheets

Whisky Gel:
1200 grams Jack Daniels
11 grams gellan JJ

Brown Sugar Candy:
1 kilograms water
100 grams granulated sugar
30 grams yellow pectin
15 grams citric acid
100 grams Trimoline
100 grams glucose
1 kilogram light brown sugar

To Assemble and Serve:
90 grams dry tempura base
50 grams very cold sparkling water, preferably Gerolsteiner
1 square sweet potato gel
1 square whisky gel
1 square brown sugar candy
500 grams unbleached-all purpose flour
1L canola oil
50 grams kosher salt
50 grams brown sugar


For the Cinnamon Skewers:
Using the tip of a paring knife, pierce the sticks in several places along the center line lengthwise, and gently break sticks in half. To facilitate skewering, pare down the last two inches of the narrow end of each skewer.

For the Tempura Base:
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and cornstarch. Transfer mixture to plastic zipper bags and seal. Store in a cool, dry place.

For the Sweet Potato Gel:
Cover a 8-inch by 12-inch tray with plastic wrap. Submerge gelatin sheets in cold water for 5 minutes, or until pliable. Gather gelatin and squeeze out excess water. Reserve gelatin. Bring sweet potatoes, salt, and cream to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Simmer for 30 minutes on low heat. Remove pan from heat and strain the mixture through a chinois, reserving cream. In a blender, purée potatoes and 300 milliliters of cream until completely smooth. While mixture is hot, whisk in gelatin. Strain mixture through chinois onto prepared tray and refrigerate until firm. Turn tray out onto a cutting board and remove plastic. Cut gel into ¾-inch squares.

For the Whisky Gel:
Pour whisky into a medium saucepan. Using an immersion blender, add gellan JJ and blend until incorporated. Bring mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat. Remove saucepan from heat, pour liquid into a 12-inch by 12-inch tray and cool to room temperature. Cut gel into ¾-inch squares.

For the Brown Sugar Candy:
Lightly coat a 12-inch by 12-inch tray with non-stick cooking spray. Pour water into a large saucepan. Using an immersion blender, add pectin until fully incorporated, then add granulated sugar and citric acid. Bring mixture to boil over high heat. When mixture boils, blend in Trimoline, glucose, and brown sugar. Heat mixture to 110°C. Remove mixture from heat and pour onto prepared tray. Cool to room temperature, about 2 hours. Once candy is firm, spray a French knife with non-stick cooking spray and cut into ¾-inch squares. Cover squares with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.

To Assemble and Serve:
In a medium bowl, fold the sparkling water gently into the tempura base with a fork. Heat oil to 190°C in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Line a 12-inch by 12-inch tray with a double layer of paper towels. Gently thread a square of sweet potato gel onto the pared-down end of a cinnamon skewer. Follow with a square of whisky gel and, finally, a square of brown sugar candy. Dredge the squares in flour and tap skewer to remove excess. Dip skewer into tempura batter so that batter just covers squares. Holding the opposite end of the skewer, immediately plunge the battered squares into hot oil to cover. When the batter is lightly browned, remove skewer from oil and drain on paper towel-lined tray. Season with brown sugar-salt mixture and serve immediately.