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Leaf-Wrapped Terrine and Agar Aspic

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#1 longroper

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 03:13 PM

I am messing around developing a recipe for a black-eyed-pea terrine. I've got the body of it pretty close to nailed down, but I'm having trouble with the wrapping. I'm wrapping in various greens (collard, mustard, and turnip so far) that have been blanched. It looks great when unmolded, and it tastes great too. When I slice it, though, the wrapping has a tendency to fall off. If I'm extremely careful, I can avoid it, but I'd like it to be a little more robust.

At some point in working out the recipe, I realized that I had accidentally made it vegan, so I decided to keep it that way. This hasn't been a problem, but obviously rules out the possibility of coating the whole thing in a gelatin aspic. Which leads inexorably to...

I've never used agar before. I found it at one of my local stores. It's pretty expensive, so I'd rather have some idea of what might work before I burn through too much. I've come up with two possibilities:

1) Soak the leaves in an agar solution after blanching, then line the mold and build the terrine normally. Will the remaining agar solution on the leaves be enough to bind them together and to the rest of the terrine? Also, I've been using a vinegary water for blanching. I like the flavor of the vinegar on the greens, but I understand acid and agar don't get along very well.

2) Build the terrine as I've been doing and cover it in the agar aspic after unmolding, like a regular gelatin aspic. Is there a possibility of a strange flavor or cloudiness from the aspic? This also doesn't seem like it would help with gluing the leaves to the middle.

Any guidance you can offer will be much appreciated.

#2 Baselerd

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 03:36 PM

I'm surprised that you find Agar to be expensive. A little bit goes a long way...

You may have luck by dipping your terrine in an Agar solution held above 150 F several times, letting the coating solidify between dips. I would even recommend freezing your terrine solid to get the gel to set in a thin layer quickly. However, keep in mind that Agar will have a much different texture than gelatin - it is not soft like a gelatin gel, and is crumbly/brittle. Looking through the MC, they don't recommend use of Agar as a coating gel without combining it with other gelling agents (xanthan gum, sorbitol).

You could also just cast the entire terrine in a larger mold, filled with the agar solution. It probably won't be as aesthetically pleasing though, since agar isn't crystal clear like gelatin (from my experience...)

Edited by Baselerd, 08 February 2013 - 03:41 PM.

#3 longroper

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 05:29 PM

I see. Thank you. I'll give that a shot.

I find agar expensive because I live in Alaska, and everything is expensive. I did look online after I bought it, and it's a lot cheaper everywhere else. It was $11 an ounce here, and there wasn't a price on the shelf. I was just a little surprised when they rang it up.