Thursday, February 26, 2009

Dessert Sushi: A Concept in Process

I have decided to share this work-in-progress with you. Of course, this food has been made and eaten already, but the concept is not finished in my mind.

I've been thinking about the idea of dessert sushi for months, ever since I discovered that I could cut out my marshmallows into shapes and build things with them. Since the marshmallow is so versatile, I thought that I could make dessert sushi in the manner of California rolls, with the marshmallow serving as the "rice" on the outside, and all sorts of nice things to fill it up: ganache, salted caramel, nuts, fruit, coconut - you get the idea. And why not dust the outside with nice things as well to replace the sesame seeds?

So here's how it went this time:

I made the marshmallow in a thin layer and let it sit for a day, having dusted the initially sticky top side with roasted nuts and chocolate shavings. The next day, I cut it into sections that I estimated would roll into the right size, and started laying down the fillings. Pictured above is a layer of ganache on the marshmallow, with dried raspberries (rehydrated a tad) down the middle.

I had been concerned that the individual rolls would not hold together, but the marshmallow amazed me: it not only stretched around the fillings, it also stuck to itself when pinched, as long as the edge did not get moistened by the filling.

Here are the rolls, ready to be cut: pistachio-dusted with white chocolate and diced dried apricots and bing cherries in the middle, walnut-dusted with ganache and crushed coconut cream candies, almond-dusted with caramel and almond slivers, chocolate-shaving-dusted with caramel and ganache, and chocolate-shaving-dusted with ganache and dried raspberries (Not Pictured: the ugliest but perhaps tastiest roll that was the unfortunate guinea pig: pecan-dusted with caramel, ganache, and pecans. I got ambitious and tried to stuff it way too full!).

Here is the messiness that resulted. The rolls being soft and the fillings being of different consistencies, they were difficult to cut evenly. The caramel layer was too thick in most of them, so next time I would make the caramel in a larger pan, or just roll slivers of caramel in the center of some. I would have loved to put toasted shredded coconut in some, but was unable to obtain some prior to making these.

I think it did work to dip the bottom of each cut piece into melted chocolate in order to keep the rolls together, and I am glad that I stuck them in the fridge in order to make them harden quickly and keep the ganache cool. They just had to sit at room temperature a little while before serving so that the caramel could become chewable rather than cooled stiff.

So many things to consider for next time! I definitely plan to scale back the rolls by making the fillings thinner and cutting the pieces smaller (and neater, hopefully). I look forward to serving them on beautiful sushi plates sometime, each roll topped with a fresh raspberry, toasted coconut, or mint leaves, but meanwhile, these tasted good. The scheming will continue until I am satisfied.

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