Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Recipe: Rootbeer Float...My Way

This dessert was literally years in the making.

I began playing with this concept in later 2006. My original thought was a hot or warm rootbeer dessert, but at that time I didn't have the skills, techniques or tools. But I do now...

My original desire to make a from scratch rootbeer remained throughout the project. Here is the base recipe I used (you can get almost all of this from your local herb shop):

1 oz Sassafras root
.5 oz Dandelion root
1 oz Wintergreen
.5 oz Hops
1 oz Juniper berries

16 oz Sugar
8 oz Brown sugar
4 oz Palm sugar
4 oz Honey

2 gallons, water

Rinse sassafras and dandelion in cold water. Crush juniper berries and add along with hops and wintergreen. Boil water and pour half over the herbs. Simmer for a half hour.

Strain to get out everything you can. [I had to use sassafras powder since root is not easily accessible due to FDA warnings, so the powder is hard to get out. I tried paper coffee filters, gold tone filters, chinois and ultimately did a gelatin filtration. You may not need to be as picky as I was.] Add the sweeteners and the rest of the water. Let stand until just warm. Strain again.

Now that you've got this thick syrup that is intensely rootbeer-ish. You can use this for all sorts of things (which I'll be doing this weekend). Most importantly, take the opportunity to mix some into a glass of club soda and enjoy a fresh herbal soda.

But, let's get back to the dessert!

First I used my smallest half sphere silicone mold and made a simple geleè. I believe I did 1 sheet of gelatin to 1 C. Slovakian sour cherry syrup - just warm the syrup and add the softened gelatin. If you only have powdered gelatin, I believe the conversion is 1 t. I let this set up and threw it in the freezer for a futile freezing session (too high in sugar to actually freeze).

Next I made an intense vanilla bavaroise for my "ice cream."

150 g Milk
30 g Sugar
2 Egg yolks
1 T. Vanilla paste (or seeds from 2 beans)
5 Sheets gelatin (or 5 t. if my conversion is correct)
200 g Whipped cream

Bring milk just to a boil. In separate bowl, combine yolks, sugar and vanilla. Add a half cup of the hot milk whisking to temper the mixture. Pour mixture back into remaining hot milk and continue whisking. Whisk/stir until the mixture coats the back of the spoon. Remove from heat and add the softened gelatin. Let cool and fold in the whipped cream. Continue cooling until it starts to get thick enough to support weight. Pour into the next smallest half sphere silicone mold and fill almost to the top. Press the geleè into the center of the bavaroise. Freeze. The bavaroise will freeze but the geleè still won't.

Finally the rootbeer cremeux.

30 g Rootbeer syrup
180 g Heavy cream
3 Egg yolks
1 Sheet gelatin

Heat heavy cream until hot. Add syrup and combine. In separate bowl, whisk yolks. Pour a bit of the hot cream into the yolks and whisk, returning yolk mixture to remaining cream. Whisk in the softened gelatin. Cool until thick enough to support the weight of the bavaroise. Fill the largest half sphere silicone mold with cremeux about half way. Set the frozen bavaroise into the cremeux and level the tops. Freeze until hard.

Because of the way I devised this dish, you now need something to serve the float in, so let's spray a dish on! (any chance to pull out my Wagner power painter!) I simply melted cocoa butter, let it rest until room temp, then sprayed a few coats on to the bottom of the spheres. I was concerned that this might cause an awkward/slimy mouth feel, but it didn't. It was just "shell" enough to hold it all together, but crumbled instantly with any pressure (see pic below where I'm holding it).

Now, how about some garnish.

Roll out these barrels into a food processor and powderize them. Form them into a shape on your silpat. 400F and watch them until they melt

Once melted pull the sheet out and shape the strips. I used a half round of a PVC but you could drape them around a glass, make them wavy, whatever. I was attempted to elude to the shape on the side of a rootbeer float mug...didn't quite achieve what I was going for.

Drizzle a bit (sparingly because it is so intense) of the syrup and voila!

And finally...munch!


Manggy said...

Freaking finally! ;) That bombe looks awesome, Rob. And kudos for putting all your spheres to good use (I've only got 'em in one size). I'm sure it tasted pretty intensely rootbeery, but how did you like it?

I know there are some good commercial rootbeer brews out there (saw at least one in a health food store), maybe us mere mortals can get away with just a reduction ;)

RAHiggins1 said...

How does one "Gel Filter"?

Gfron1 said...

I can't believe you haven't stated playing with this technique:

Its also the technique that led to my banana martini

Its a whole new world! A world free of sediment. A world of purity and clarity. A world where even peanut butter can be made into a clear liquid! Have fun playing :)

Shiloah said...

Whoa-- Rob!! AMAZING! The sour slovakian cherry gelee is genius. I can almost taste it- I'm sure it was the perfect contrast to the sweet rootbeer syrup. Kudos! (scratch)

Gfron1 said...

I really like the baltic syrups and preserves. I find them to be the best in the world. First, they're dirt cheap. Second, they don't add any crap - just fruit and sugar. So you get a very pure, intense flavor. Often the preserves are whole fruit and syrup, which I put in a processor to make it more "western." Good stuff.

Gfron1 said...

Mark, I didn't answer your question. You definitely could boil down a good rootbeer. The reason I would suggest going from a scratch recipe is that is easy and you can really control the taste. Start with my base and after its boiled a bit, start modifying until you have what you want. My only caution is that all flavors subdued in the boil down except the wintergreen which, inexplicably, increased. I've already adjusted the wintergreen in the recipe.

Cynthia said...

Wow! That's a very innovative take on good old-fashioned root beer. The photos are striking.

isomer said...

Hats off, Rob. That looks fantastic! Congratulations

Gfron1 said...

Thanks :)

The Peanut Butter Boy said...

Wow, that is an amazing creation. I just finished drinking a regular root beer float and decided to see what other people have done with it. This is hands down the best recipe I've seen with these flavors! Excellent work!

Kat Vapid said...

That is brilliant. Congratulations.

Larry said...

What variety of hops did you use?

Gfron1 said...

That's a good question that I didn't think to pay attention to back in 2009. I went to my local herb store and bought it there - so probably a variety that is common to herb stores.