- 1 telegraph cucumber, halved widthways and thinly sliced into ribbons
- 1 nashi
- 1 tbsp flower petals, such as nasturtium, borage and garlic flowers
- 1½ tsp liquid glucose
- 1½ gold-strength gelatine leaves
- ¼ tsp musk flavouring (see note)
- 1 small drop red food colouring
- 150 gm pure icing sugar, sieved
- 3-4 ripe beurre Bosc pears, quartered
- ¼ tsp agar-agar (see note)
- ¼ tsp lemon juice
- 30 gm maltodextrin (see note) (¼ cup)
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1For musk sticks, combine glucose, gelatine and 25ml water in a saucepan over low heat, stirring with a whisk to dissolve (2 minutes). Stir in musk and colouring to combine, then whisk in icing sugar, transfer to a piping bag fitted with a 4-5mm nozzle, pipe into 10cm lengths onto a tray lined with baking paper and set aside to dry (overnight). Cut one musk stick into 5mm pieces and reserve remaining sticks for another use. Musk sticks will keep for 1 month in an airtight container.
- 2For pear gel, juice pears in a juicer then strain through a fine sieve into a small saucepan, bring to the boil over high heat, simmer to remove impurities (2-3 minutes), skim to produce a semi-clear liquid (discard solids), then transfer 125ml to a clean saucepan (reserve remainder). Whisk in agar-agar and set aside to absorb (8-10 minutes), then simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly, until very slightly thickened (3 minutes). Set aside to cool, then refrigerate until set (8-10 minutes). Pulse in a small food processor with lemon juice and 2 tsp reserved pear juice until smooth, then transfer to a small squeeze bottle and set aside.
- 3For olive oil powder, pulse maltodextrin and olive oil in a small food processor to combine, season lightly to taste with sea salt and set aside.
- 4Pipe dots of pear gel onto serving plates, top with cucumber ribbons. Thinly slice nashi on a mandolin, cut into 4cm-diameter discs with a cutter, arrange on top, scatter with olive oil powder and musk, drizzle with a little extra pear juice, scatter over petals and serve.
Musk flavouring is available from Iced Affair and other cake decorating suppliers. Agar-agar is a setting agent derived from seaweed and is available from health-food shops. Maltodextrin is available from body building suppliers and Simon Johnson.
This recipe is from the April 2011 issue of
Drink Suggestion: Minerally white wine from a cool climate such as northern Italy, northern Burgundy or north-eastern Spain Drink suggestion by Elizabeth Fairweather