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Problems working with ginger desserts


phan1
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Hi, I don't have much luck making ginger-flavored desserts. It never comes out right. What I usually do is simply grate fresh ginger into my custard, whipped cream, simple syrup or whatever. It seems like the logical approach to make ginger flavored desserts.

The problem I have is that the flavor is too pungent and astringent. It hits your nose like hot mustard. I've tried boiling the ginger to mellow it out, but it doesn't work. It's till too astringent. The only thing I've been able to do is dissolve pre-made ginger candy into my desserts, which I'd rather not do. Maybe the ginger I'm using is too pungent? What am I not doing? It'd be nice to use fresh ginger, bBut now that I think about it, is fresh ginger ever used in desserts? I know most people use powders or candies, and that looks like that's the route I'm going to have to take...

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Well that's a nice coincidence. Just last night we had a juicy half of a honeydew melon. It struck me how long it's been since I had 'powdered ginger on melon', which back in the 70's seemed like quite the thing.

I don't keep the powder any more. I minced up an inch of ginger on the chopping board and put it in a (large-ish) bowl with about 3 tbsp of honey. 2 - 3 minutes in the microwave (600W) and it made a very tasy dressing for the fruit. You can turn honey more or less caramelised, quite quickly in the microwave. As with caramel over the stove, it can burn if overdone.

QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.

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we've had similar problems using fresh ginger in recipes as well...here's what i know works so far...

ginger caramel-make a basic caramel of sugar and water, and add a few slices of fresh ginger. stop the caramel with cream, strain to remove ginger and cool. how large of a batch will determine how much ginger you need...i would do (2)1/4"x1" slices per 400g of sugar.

ginger mousse-make a ginger simple syrup. we use a recipe that calls for an italian meringue and whipped cream, folded together either on it's own or with a base (if you wanted to make a ginger-coconut mousse, for example). we use the ginger simple syrup to make the italian meringue, verses a plain sugar/water mix. i don't have the recipe on me but can send it another time...

ice cream-similar to the ginger caramel, we make a basic caramel with sliced ginger (honey works well too, making my favorite honey-ginger ice cream) and stop it with the dairy. from there, continue making your ice cream as you normally would (anglaise style...)

otherwise, we use dry powdered ginger for pretty much everything else--cakes, meringues, etc.

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For custards, ice creams, mousses, parfaits, etc. I usually peel and thinly slice the ginger, put it in a pan, cover it with cold water, heat to a boil and drain. I then do a cold infusion in the dairy with the blanched ginger for about 12 hours and strain out the ginger. Both the dairy used to make the base and the cream to be added at the end (whipped or not and if applicable) get the infusion (at about 40% by weight total ginger to total dairy). It gives a pure, clean ginger flavor without being overpowering.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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One thing I do know. Not all ginger is created equal. I have actually thrown a batch of ginger in the trash because it tasted so awful after candying...and it's not as if you can really get much of a sense of how it tastes by biting directly into it when it's raw.

I would imagine that you could get a batch of more or less pungent ginger. :hmmm:

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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To make ginger custard ... the chef I worked with once would get me to peel slices of fresh ginger, add it to the milk/cream as it boiled ... you could strain it immediately and use the milk, or for a stronger flavour leave it to cool, strain then reheat and add it to the eggs/sugar etc.

I also make ginger caramels ... by doing the same, boiling the cream with the ginger slices, strain, then add it to the sugar.

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Here is something that might help if you want to use grated raw ginger and tone down the "bite" somewhat but still have the distinct ginger flavor.

Just as the casein in milk will isolate and modify the capsaicin crystal compound in chile peppers, it will also separate and carry off some of the "biting" compounds in ginger. (also onions, garlic, etc.)

Grate the ginger, add enough milk to cover (must be whole milk to work) and allow to stand for 20 to 30 minutes. Pour into a very fine sieve and wash the milk away with water. The ginger will retain its flavor but the more assertive, hot flavor compounds will be gone.

This is why it is very easy to produce a ginger flavor in milk, cream or custards. I have tried this with various types of milk and non-fat milk doesn't work so it has to be the fatty compounds that do the trick.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Are you straining the infusion or letting it sit? As with andiesenji, I find that milkfat will pull out some of the harsher elements of the ginger, so poaching it would help; also instead of grating it try cutting into coins instead... less busted surface area will probably help mellow out the flavor. If nothing else works, maybe just use the ginger juice and not the whole root.

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i bet using the "coin" method will allow you to control the flavor. you might try to just make a nice ginger syrup that you like the concentration of and then use that to flavor your desserts. as you're steeping your ginger in your syrup, be sure to taste as you go and pull out the ginger when it reaches the flavor you like. store in fridge.

Stephanie Crocker

Sugar Bakery + Cafe

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i bet using the "coin" method will allow you to control the flavor rather than grating. you might try to just make a nice ginger syrup that you like the concentration of and then use that to flavor your desserts. as you're steeping your ginger in your syrup, be sure to taste as you go and pull out the ginger when it reaches the flavor you like. store in fridge.

Stephanie Crocker

Sugar Bakery + Cafe

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Thanks for the advice guys. Yeah, I think my problem was grating the ginger instead of simply slicing it and letting it steep. The grated ginger likely made everything too harsh, similar to grating garlic.

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