Monday, January 21, 2008

Creative juices

Aloha! Our trip to the Big Island of Hawaii was a short but enjoyable escape from slushy Vancouver. With such diverse geology and biology in one BIG island, there was so much to explore. Highlights included the windy lava fields of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, snorkelling in crystalline Kealakekua Bay, and stargazing at over 13,000 feet elevation on Mauna Kea. While in Hilo, we also visited the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Factory to purchase the requisite teal blue tins for friends and family. Meanwhile, I may have overdosed on pineapple juice during my stay but I needed all the Vitamin C available to me to nurse my cold.

With so much pineapple and macadamia nut surrounding me, I could not refrain from dreaming up dessert ideas with these two ingredients in mind. I had bought a pound of ground toasted unsalted macadamia nut which could be used in a million different ways but I decided to make macadamia nut financiers to be served with a roasted pineapple and mint salsa.

Next, I made macadamia nut roca which was crumbled to support a scoop of caramelized banana and Malibu rum ice cream. So good, I must admit. Finally, presented in a glass, my version of a "Shirley Temple" gelée (orange-pineapple juice with grenadine) contrasted with a creamy coconut milk pannacotta. To anyone out there who is biochemically inclined, fresh pineapple juice actually does not set with gelatin because of bromelain, a protease found in pineapples. Heating the juice first solves this enzymatic dilemma.

This impromptu plated dessert exercise also gave me an opportunity to pull out my souvenir glass from Pierre Hermé which previously contained his Sensation Satine. It seemed appropriate since this dessert was the finale to a Parisian themed night which I shared with a good friend (okay, more like Ratatouille the movie themed night). Whatever the excuse, it was a pleasure to get my creative juices flowing once again.


Anonymous said...

Heh, I didn't know that fresh pineapple juice does not set with gelatin, thanks for the tip! Desserts look amazing too.

Charmaine said...

Yes Fionna! And papaya and kiwifruit also have proteases that prevent it from setting with gelatin! I'm glad I taught you something finally after all that you've taught me!