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phan1

Anyone tried making Heston's "Flaming Sorbet"?

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Hi, I was wondering if anyone has ever tried or thought of making Heston Blumenthal's "Flaming Sorbet". He made this in hi Christmas Special just last month that aired in the UK. I would definitely like to try it, probably sometime in the next 2 weeks. It's basically a scoop of apple sorbet that sits on a bed of flaming brandy, and it doesn't melt!

What he does is make an apple sorbet base that includes apple juice, freeze dried apples, and malic acid. He heats up the mixture and then blends in gellan gum, the heat resistant hydrocolloid that keeps the sorbet from melting. After blending in the gellan gum, he then quickly cools the mixture by transferring it into an ice bath. He then churns it into ice cream. He probably uses liquid nitrogen or something crazy to churn it, but I'm just going to do it on my simple ice cream machine.

Now here's what I don't understand. When he quickly cools his sorbet base in an ice bath, won't that mixture gel together? How are you supposed to churn something that has already gelled? Or is it a gel that's still soft enough to churn? He uses an immersion blender and blends the base together at boiling temperatures. He says this prevents the mixture from forming a gel, but that's only at really high temperatures right? Won't the mixture still form a solid gel once it hits room temperature?

I actually never used gellan gum before, so I'm not in tune with how it is used exactly. It seems like a complicated but very versatile substance. If added directly to a warm sauce, it can be a thickener. But it blended at boiling temperatures, it will form solid gels. Can anyone give me a crash course on this substance? Oh, and I'm pretty sure he uses this in his drink where one half of it is literally cold and the other hot, where the drink is actually a pureed fluid gel put at different temperatures. :)

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Yeah, he mentions that gellan is used in the hot and cold drinks as well. I haven't had a chance to play with it yet but I plan to. I've been looking for a source for locust bean gum in less-than-huge quantities and someone here on the forums pointed me to a source that also carries other interesting toys so I ordered the gum, some ultratex and both low and high acyl gellans but I don't have them yet. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

Edit: I just went through that portion of the episode again, actually he doesn't mention it in regards to the hot and cold drink so I must have read it somewhere else. I know I saw it somewhere, I just can't remember where right now.


Edited by Tri2Cook (log)

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Yeah, he didn't want to spoil the secrets to making the drink hot and cold on the show. But I found an old online newspaper article where he only briefly mentions that he's using a gum to make a drink that is half hot and cold.

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I have seen gellan for sale recently on this UK website infusions and somewhere else but cannot remember where - possibly wild harvest.

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Now here's what I don't understand.  When he quickly cools his sorbet base in an ice bath, won't that mixture gel together?  How are you supposed to churn something that has already gelled?  Or is it a gel that's still soft enough to churn?  He uses an immersion blender and blends the base together at boiling temperatures.  He says this prevents the mixture from forming a gel, but that's only at really high temperatures right?  Won't the mixture still form a solid gel once it hits room temperature?

I'm not familiar with this dish, but I've played a little with gellan, and have inadvertantly made some non-melting sorbets using to much gelatin. This was a with a Pacojet, though. Pacojets deal very well with gelled bases. If I had to guess without further knowledge, I'd guess that he makes this by mixing in the gellan at a high temperature to hydrate it, letting it gel solid, then freezing and Pacotizing.

My intuitive guess would be that you aren't going to have good luck duplicating this with a standard churn type ice cream maker. Maybe, though. Try it and see!

Le Sanctuaire is probably your best source for gellan if you are in the US. La Tienda sells the Texturas (El Bulli) brand, which I presume is great but also very pricey. I don't think that a soft alcohol flame is going to generate very much heat, though, so you might be able to use agar, gelatin, or pectin instead and get a similar result. The effect might even be reasonable with just a scoop of any heavily stabilized sorbet.

Tell us how it goes.

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Now here's what I don't understand.  When he quickly cools his sorbet base in an ice bath, won't that mixture gel together?  How are you supposed to churn something that has already gelled?  Or is it a gel that's still soft enough to churn?  He uses an immersion blender and blends the base together at boiling temperatures.  He says this prevents the mixture from forming a gel, but that's only at really high temperatures right?  Won't the mixture still form a solid gel once it hits room temperature?

I'm not familiar with this dish, but I've played a little with gellan, and have inadvertantly made some non-melting sorbets using to much gelatin. This was a with a Pacojet, though. Pacojets deal very well with gelled bases. If I had to guess without further knowledge, I'd guess that he makes this by mixing in the gellan at a high temperature to hydrate it, letting it gel solid, then freezing and Pacotizing.

My intuitive guess would be that you aren't going to have good luck duplicating this with a standard churn type ice cream maker. Maybe, though. Try it and see!

Le Sanctuaire is probably your best source for gellan if you are in the US. La Tienda sells the Texturas (El Bulli) brand, which I presume is great but also very pricey. I don't think that a soft alcohol flame is going to generate very much heat, though, so you might be able to use agar, gelatin, or pectin instead and get a similar result. The effect might even be reasonable with just a scoop of any heavily stabilized sorbet.

Tell us how it goes.

How much gellan did you use? So I have a reference point.

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I'm not familiar with this dish, but I've played a little with gellan, and have inadvertantly made some non-melting sorbets using to much gelatin.

How much gellan did you use? So I have a reference point.

The non-melting sorbets were made with Gelatin, not Gellan. I don't recall the exact amount, probably something like 30 grams per liter? It was accidental, and based on a misconversion of units. I've also accidentally made non-melting ice creams in the Pacojet by using too much Okinawan purple yam, and frequently made non-melting mousse-like creations by using too much high fat chocolate.

When using Gellan as a stabilizer for Pacojet sorbets (ie, not intended to be an unmelting mass) I use something like 10 g per liter (or about a Tablespoon per Pacojet beaker). This forms a fairly firm gel that Pacotizes (with the air-release button depressed) to form a smooth, dense sorbet. Depending on brand, similar quantities of Citrus Pectin or Agar should also produce good results.

Gellan is pretty simple stuff to play with. Heat it, blend it, let it cool. If you stir it while it cools, it thickens but does not form a firm gel. The complexities come with the synergistic effects, which I've not really explored. The CPKelco web page has some information (http://www.cpkelco.com/gellan/index.html), and much of the Gellan chapter of Imeson's 'Thickeners and Gelling Agents for Food' is available as a Google books preview.

Personally, for more traditional sorbets I think I've decided to stick with Agar and Pectin (as needed), as both of these are more easily explained as desirable ingredients. Gellan, like Xanthan, is made by bacterial fermentation of sugars, and it's just hard to make this process sound appealing in cases where one is being open about one's ingredient choices. But for stuff close to boiling, Gellan is probably your only choice (although Agar should work fine for moderately hot stuff). And the Gellan really is great for flavor release.

typo


Edited by Nathan Kurz (log)

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Personally, for more traditional sorbets I think I've decided to stick with Agar and Pectin (as needed), as both of these are more easily explained as desirable ingredients.  Gellan, like Xanthan, is made by bacterial fermentation of sugars, and it's just hard to make this process sound appealing in cases where one is being open about one's ingredient choices.  But for stuff close to boiling, Gellan is probably your only choice (although Agar should work fine for moderately hot stuff).  And the Gellan really is great for flavor release.

typo

I've been making sorbets lately and would like to know how Agar, Pectin, (and Gellan)? can help in improving it. Do I just mix some in? What percentages? What does it do for the sorbet?

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I've been making sorbets lately and would like to know how Agar, Pectin, (and Gellan)? can help in improving it. Do I just mix some in? What percentages? What does it do for the sorbet?

Usually you mix them with a portion of the sugar (to ensure even distribution), stir into the base, and then heat it enough to fully hydrate the stabilizer. Most agar requires boiling, but TIC Gums has a lower temperature soluble agar available. We've been successful heating the gellan and pectin to about 85C (185F), but I don't recall what the specs call for.

The percentages vary with brand, but for all of these 1% is a reasonable starting point. This depends on a lot of variables we haven't fully isolated (acidity, Brix, calcium?), but you are aiming for a fairly firm gel when cooled. You'll get good results across a fairly wide range of concentrations.

It does about the same thing as a traditional stabilizer mix: denser, smoother, slower-melting, longer shelflife. Most commercial sorbet stabilizers seem to be based around gelatin or Locust Bean Gum. Gelatin works well, but isn't vegetarian friendly. We haven't liked the texture or taste of the LBG. If you like your sorbets light and slightly icy (some do) you probably won't benefit much from adding stabilizers.

I've only been using these with Pacojet sorbets, so I don't how this would vary for a traditional batch freezer. We are currently using Citrus Pectin for most things. Apple Pectin is OK, but gives an dull apple taste and foams up a lot unless processed with the Blue Button held down. We've been doing almost everything this way, as we prefer the denser texture that results.

Good luck!

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