Sunday, February 21, 2010

24-Hour Turnips

I get asked to donate food for events multiple times each week, and I've gotten to the point where I get tired of making the same things for these events. So, when its appropriate I use these donations as an opportunity to play.

I've been increasingly playing with Pierre Hermé's 24-Hour Apple technique. This technique creates a delicate, flavorful apple that maintains its structure versus turning to mush. This donation was for a Spanish tapas event, so I thought I would apply the technique to turnips. Here's how it goes.

First, slice the turnips (or applies or any other firm veg or fruit). I used my Japanese peeler which created a 25' continuous strip, but a meat slicer works well or a hand peeler if you have the patience.

Brush the bottom of a pan with butter (or oil), and start layering the turnip. The key is to have thin turnip to work with.

Continue layering, brushing every two or three layers with melted butter. Sprinkle these layers with salt, sugar and pepper. On the apple version you just do sugar, although black pepper might be fun too. You can add other seasonings: cinnamon, citrus peel, smoked paprika...but I kept it simple because every 10th layer I added blue cheese and crushed pecans.

Once you've made as much as you want - at least an inch thick, wrap the whole pan really well with a couple of layers of saran wrap. Poke a few holes for steam release and weight the top down.

Oven to 175ºF and bake for 12 hours. He calls them 24-Hour apples (turnips), but I've never gone longer than 12. On most ovens you need to turn on Sabbath mode to have your oven not turn off automatically, so go read your manual.

I turned the turnips (ha!) upside down and let them chill in the fridge until set up.

Now let me tell you something- I don't know if my kitchen has ever smelled so amazing as when I walked in the next day. Really an incredible smell - deeply complex aroma of turnip and blue cheese.

I just happened to be playing with inverse puff pastry so I made little squares of puff.

Next I split the puffs and placed a square of the turnips inside. I glazed the top with honey and set a lavender bud on top. And off they went to the party.


Joanie Connors said...

Fascinating technique!

So many people I know here won't eat turnips - won't even try them.

How do you tell if a turnip is bitter? I've had even small ones become inedible after cooking.

Tri2Cook said...

Awesome Rob... turnip baklava! I do the same thing (use donation work as a chance to play a little). It usually ends up costing me a little more (in money and time) than if I just did something simple but it's a lot more fun.

racheld said...

Okay. Pork and Pork Belly were too too for words.

This one---these wonderful earth-fruit morsels of mouth-filling delight, this plain old everyday cook-in-chunks with bacon vegetable---you've gone and done alchemy to marvel and surprise.

May I confer your G.R.I.T.S. Guy credentials, with julep cup and mint, for a job well done and a work of art.

All Hail, Y'all!

Gfron1 said...

Joanie - check out this link: and you'll see a variety of answers to that question.

Anonymous said...

Wow. This is one of the most interesting ideas I have seen in a long time. I am bookmarking this.

Manggy said...

I'm not sure I've ever had a turnip before. It's difficult to translate all this produce :/ But that does look magnificent. Of course you had to show off with your turning slicer :P

Gfron1 said...

Okay, I just have to laugh that this pic was accepted by FoodGawker even though I said that it was over saturated. I'll just start over saturating them all. Welcome arugalove! Browse around and you'll find that this is a pretty tame recipe for me (its my sickness). And Mark, those peelers are expensive but not so bad in the long run - mine was right around $450.