Read Modernist Cooking Made Easy Online

Authors: Jason Logsdon

Tags: #Cooking, #Methods, #Gourmet

Modernist Cooking Made Easy (10 page)

BOOK: Modernist Cooking Made Easy
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Whipped cream is very easy to make with a whipping siphon. For this recipe I added some key lime juice to help bring some acidity and brightness to the resulting whipped cream. You could also add other flavors such as triple sec or amaretto, strawberry syrup, vanilla extract, mint extract, or anything else you would like to flavor the cream with.

Tools Needed

Whipping Siphon


Note: All measurements are for a 1 pint whipping siphon, scale them up or down depending on the size of siphon you have.

1 pint heavy cream or whipping cream (2 cups)

2 tablespoons powdered / confectioners sugar

2-3 tablespoons fresh key lime juice

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Pour the mixture into the whipping siphon and seal. Charge with a N
O cartridge.

The whipped cream is now ready to serve but you can refrigerate the whipped cream siphon at this point until you are ready to use it.

To serve, shake the siphon several times. Turn the siphon upside down and dispense directly onto the dish.




Versawhip and xanthan gum combine to make light foams that are a great way to add texture to dishes. It’s a great topping for desserts and ice creams or can even be eaten as an amuse bouche between dishes.

You can also create stiffer foams by whipping it until firm peaks form, instead of the soft peaks.

Tools Needed

Versawhip 600

Xanthan gum

Standing or immersion blender

Standing mixer with whisk attachment

A scale with small gram measurements


300 grams mango juice

3.75 grams Versawhip 600, 1.25%

0.45 grams xanthan gum, 0.15%

Blend the juice, Versawhip, and xanthan gum to combine well.

Pour the juice mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk until soft peaks form, 3 to 10 minutes.

The foam is then ready to be used. It can also be stored in the refrigerator for several days and re-whipped as needed.




A great way to make meringues is to use flavored teas. Stash makes a good peach-ginger tea that we use in this recipe to flavor the meringues.

When using teas I will typically use one and a half to two times as much tea as usual. This helps to up the flavor to counteract the dilution due to all the added air during the whipping process.

You can use these meringues as components on dessert plates or even as a side garnish for more savory foods. They are also great just eaten as snacks.

In this recipe I give instructions for dehydrating the foam but you can also serve it fresh if you prefer.

Tools Needed

Methocel F50

Xanthan gum

Standing blender

Standing mixer with whisk attachment

Dehydrator or oven

Pastry bag or ziploc bag

A scale with small gram measurements


200 grams brewed peach-ginger tea

2 grams Methocel F50, 1.0%

0.3 grams xanthan gum, 0.15%

Place the tea in a standing blender. Turn the blender on to a speed where a vortex forms. Sprinkle the Methocel F50 and xanthan gum into the vortex and continue to blend for 30 to 60 seconds to ensure even dispersion. Place the tea in the refrigerator for several hours to hydrate.

Once fully hydrated, remove the tea from the refrigerator and whip it with the standing mixer with the whisk attachment until peaks form, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Spoon the foam into a pastry bag or a ziploc bag with the corner cut off.

Using a Dehydrator

Line a dehydrator tray with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Pipe small mounds onto the tray. Dehydrate for 3 to 5 hours, until it turns crispy and is fully dehydrated.

Using an Oven

Line a sheet pan or cookie sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Pipe small mounds onto the tray. Set the oven to low, place the meringues into it, and leave the door slightly ajar. Let the meringues dehydrate for 2 to 6 hours, until they turn crispy and are fully dehydrated.





We are constantly adding recipes to our website as we continue to experiment with modernist cooking.
Maybe something there will inspire you.
You can find them at:




Gelling is a wide ranging and very important technique in traditional and modern cooking. It encapsulates everything from the old to the new, from custards to edible gel sheets to spherification. There are many different ingredients that cause gelling including eggs, starches like flour, and hydrocolloids like agar and xanthan gum.


Gelling is a very interesting process. There are a few different ways gelling happens but most of them result in some kind of solid structure that traps liquid in it. The structure is often made of proteins and gives form and body to the gel.

To achieve this structure we have to add gelling agents to the liquid we want to gel. There are many traditional gelling ingredients most cooks are familiar with. Gelatin is often used in desserts as well as naturally providing body in stocks. Cooked eggs become gels. Even the proteins in flour form a network for doughs.

Now, there are a variety of new gelling agents, many of which are called hydrocolloids, that give us a lot more control over the types of gels we create.


One of the biggest hurdles I had when learning about modernist cooking was understand the vocabulary for the different properties of gels. Many of the properties can be expressed by a spectrum so I’ve tried to explain them that way.

Different ingredients, and different concentrations of ingredients, can move the gel along these spectrums. For instance, agar gels are brittle and iota carrageenan forms elastic gels. But if you combine agar with locust bean gum the gel begins to become more elastic.

Brittle vs Elastic

All gels fall somewhere on the brittle vs elastic spectrum. On the brittle side, gels easily fall apart with pressure, are grainy, and crumble easily.

Conversely, elastic gels are more flexible, jiggly, and chewy. Gummy bears are a good example of an elastic gel.

Soft vs Firm

All gels also lie somewhere on the soft vs firm spectrum. Soft gels give under pressure and have a much more tender texture. Firm gels resist pressure and hold their shape better.

The softness or firmness of most gels can be controlled by the amount of gelling agent used. Adding a higher percent of a gelling agent results in a firmer gel. Custards and Jell-O are a good example of soft gels and gummy bears are a firm gel.

Sticky vs Clean

The final spectrum that gels are on is sticky vs clean. Sticky gels tend to adhere to surfaces, and your mouth, similar to taffy or carmel. Clean gels do not stick to other substances, similar to Jell-O.


There are many other properties that a gel can have. Depending on how you are planning to use a gel they may or may not be important for any given preparation.

Setting Temperature

The setting temperature of a gel is the temperature below which the gel will form
. For instance, gelatin has to be refrigerated before it sets while agar will set once it drops below 45ºC / 113ºF.

Melting Temperature

The melting temperature of a gel is the temperature above which it will unset and become a liquid again. For example, gelatin tends to melt at a hot picnic while agar can be heated up to 80ºC / 175ºF before it begins to melt.

Not all gels have a melting temperature, such as thermo-irreversible gels, and will never melt.


Syneresis is the leaking out, or weeping, of liquids from a gel. Sometimes this is the desired result such as when using a gel to clarify a liquid. However, most of the time syneresis is unwanted. Different gels have different levels of syneresis and many times you can prevent it by combining one or more ingredients. Locust bean gum is typically good at preventing syneresis with other gelling agents.


The clarity of a gel is simply how clear it is. Gels can range from transparent to opaque. This is affected by the gelling ingredients and also the opacity of the liquid that makes up the gel.

Flavor Release

How well a gel will release the flavors of the liquid it is made of is referred to as its flavor release. Some gelling agents like gelatin have good flavor release while others tend to lock up the flavors more.

Freeze-Thaw Stability

If a gel can be frozen and then thawed without losing its structure it is considered freeze-thaw stable. This is a very important consideration if the gel is a part of foods made to be frozen and thawed.


This is a very interesting property of gels. It basically means that the setting and melting temperatures are not the same. The higher the hysteresis, the larger the distance between the temperatures. For instance, water sets and melts at 0ºC / 32ºF, so if it’s below 0ºC / 32ºF it will freeze, and if it’s above 0ºC / 32ºF then it will melt.

Agar, on the other hand, has a setting temperature around 40ºC / 104ºF and a melting temperature of 85ºC / 185ºF. This means if agar is a solid, then it will remain a solid until heated above 80ºC / 176ºF. Then as it cools, it will remain a liquid until it goes below 40ºC / 104ºF. The result is between 40ºC / 104ºF and 80ºC / 176ºF an agar gel can be either a solid or a liquid.

Particle Suspending

As discussed early, a gel is typically a solid structure that traps liquid. However, this structure can also trap other solid particles in it, suspending them. This is very useful for holding herbs in a vinaigrette or tomato chunks in a puree.

BOOK: Modernist Cooking Made Easy
11.31Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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