Molecular Gastronomy: Mugaritz Candy

This molecular gastronomy recipe is brought to you by molecular gastronomy chef Andoni Aduriz from his restaurant Mugaritz. It is made with their signature Juniper Pineapple flavoring.

The Recipe:

16 g Pineapple-Juniper
600 ml white rum
400 ml water
2.5kg sugar
Corn starch

Vacuum pack the rum and Pineapple-Juniper in a bag. Leave the mixture to macerate at 30ºC for 24 hours. Strain the resulting liquid and set it aside. Combine the sugar and the water and heat it to 117ºC to make a syrup. Turn off the heat and add the rum infusion. Cover the pot to prevent the alcohol from evaporating and leave it to stand for 5 minutes. Cool the mixture by transferring it from one saucepan to another 4 or 5 times. Then leave it to temper. Place corn starch that has been previously dried in a hot cupboard at 50ºC for 24 hours in a container. Make cavities in the starch in which the candies will be shaped. Fill the cavities with the rum syrup. Sift more maize starch over the candies until they are completely covered. Place the container in a dehydrator at 50ºC for 48 hours. Carefully remove the candies and brush off the excess starch.

About Pineapple-Juniper (Mint, Pineapple, Peach, Juniper, Pepper):
Its aromatic and gustatory structure ranges from the fruity aroma of peach and pineapple to the acrid bitterness of juniper. Served cold, it has the aromatic characteristics of a refreshing spiced fruit punch. When hot, it can be drunk on its own or used as the base for a soup. Used dry as a condiment, it can add fragrance to salads, fruit salads, chutneys, soups, glazed fruit, etc.

Molecular gastronomy or molecular cuisine is the science of cooking commonly used to describe a new style of cuisine in which chefs explore new culinary possibilities in the kitchen by embracing sensory and food science, borrowing tools from the science lab and ingredients from the food industry and concocting surprise after surprise for their diners. Formally, the term molecular gastronomy refers to the scientific discipline that studies the physical and chemical processes that occur while cooking. Molecular gastronomy seeks to investigate and explain the chemical reasons behind the transformation of ingredients, as well as the social, artistic and technical components of culinary and gastronomic phenomena in general. The term Molecular Gastronomy was born in 1992 (complete history on this post: Molecular Gastronomy History).

Many modern chefs do not accept the term molecular gastronomy to describe their style of cooking and prefer other terms like “modern cuisine”, “modernist cuisine”, “experimental cuisine” or “avant-garde cuisine”. Heston Blumenthal says molecular gastronomy makes cuisine sound elitist and inaccessible, as though you need a BSc to enjoy it. In the end, molecular gastronomy or molecular cuisine refers to experimental restaurant cooking driven by the desire of modern cooks to explore the world’s wide variety of ingredients, tools and techniques. Molecular gastronomy science research starts in the kitchen and the learnings of how food tastes and behaves enable chefs to cook with it and discover new sensory pleasures with it.

Molecular gastronomy experiments have resulted in new innovative dishes like hot gelatins, airs, faux caviar, spherical ravioli, crab ice cream and olive oil spiral. Ferran Adria from El Bulli restaurant used alginates to create his system of spherification which gelled spheres that literally burst in your mouth. Heston Blumenthal from The Fat Duck restaurant applied the learnings of the ability of fat to hold flavour to create a dish that had three flavours -basil, olive and onion – and each of them was perceived in turn. The potential of molecular gastronomy is enormous. It is revolutionizing traditional cooking and transforming eating into a whole new emotional and sensory experience.

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