(This recipe appeared in the Fall 2020 issue of Pastry Arts Magazine)
This dessert was inspired by the abundance of fig leaves growing at Jacbosen Orchard in Yountville, California. I wanted to achieve the best possible flavor of figs without the actual fruit being in season yet. What is interesting about this dish is the visual texture given by the beehives and the beads of oil. The beads spread across the top of the panna cotta almost look like green galaxies in space.
Yield: 6 servings
Fig Leaf Cream
- 5 fig leaves
- 600 g heavy cream
- Toast and dry the fig leaves in a 325˚F (163˚C) oven for 5 minutes. Cool.
- Once the leaves are cooled, place them in a Vitamix blender on high and process to a powder.
- Cold steep the fig leaf powder in the heavy cream for 24 hours. Strain the cream through a fine mesh strainer, reserving 500 g for the panna cotta.
Fig Leaf Panna Cotta
- 500 g Fig Leaf Cream (above), divided
- 150 g superfine granulated sugar
- 2 vanilla beans, split (beans only)
- 4 sheets gelatin (gold), bloomed
- 500 g buttermilk
- Whip 250 g of the Fig leaf Cream to soft peaks; set aside.
- Place the remaining 250 g of the Fig Leaf Cream in a small saucepot with the sugar and vanilla beans. Over low heat, warm the dairy to 105˚F (40˚C). Remove the pot from the heat and add the drained gelatin, stirring with a rubber spatula to dissolve.
- Add the buttermilk and stir from the center out with a rubber spatula until the buttermilk is emusified. Temper a third of the buttermilk mixture into the whipped Fig Leaf Cream. Now, in thirds, introduce the whipped Fig Leaf Cream into the remaining buttermilk mixture using a whisk.
- Weigh 75 g of the panna cotta base into each of your serving vessels. Place in the refrigerator until set, about 2 hours.
Fig Leaf Oil
- 75 g whole fig leaves
- 200 g canola oil
- Cut each leaf into tenths and place in a high-powered blender, such as a Vitamix. Add the canola oil and blend on the highest setting for 15 minutes. Cool the oil mixture over an ice bath.
- Once cooled, hang overnight wrapped in a cheesecloth over a fine mesh strainer.
Brown Butter Raisins
- 450 g unsalted butter
- 100 g golden raisins
- Place the butter in medium saucepot. Melt the butter over a medium low heat and continue to until the milk solids start to brown. Once the butter has “browned” add the raisins and take the pot off the heat. Allow for the raisins to plump in the hot butter at room temp. Once the butter has cooled, place the raisins and butter in a container and set aside.
Vanilla-Chamomile Fleur de Sel
- 1 vanilla bean
- 20 g fleur de sel
- 5 fresh chamomile flowers
- Split the vanilla pod and scrape out the beans into a small container with the fleur de sel. Using your fingers, work the beans into the salt until evenly distributed.
- Using tweezers, pluck the chamomile pollen from the flower into the salt. Stir the salt lightly to disperse the pollen. Set aside.
Port Wine Reduction
- 1 (750-ml) bottle 6 Grapes Port wine
- Glucose syrup, as needed
- Superfine granulated sugar, as needed
- 1 vanilla bean, split
- Weigh out the port wine into a medium sized saucepot. Add 10% of the total weight of the wine in glucose as well as sugar, and then add the vanilla bean scraped with the pod to the pot. Reduce the wine over a medium-low heat for 1 hour.
- Strain the wine through a fine mesh strainer into a clean medium saucepot and continue to reduce over a medium-low heat. After the second hour, strain the reduction once again into a heatproof container. Lay plastic wrap directly on top of the reduction to prevent a skin from developing as it cools at room temperature. Set aside.
- 250 g coconut water, from a few fresh coconuts or store-bought
- 2 sheets gelatin (gold), bloomed
- In a small saucepot, warm the coconut water to 100˚F (38˚C). Add the gelatin while stirring with a rubber spatula and continue stirring until the gelatin is dissolved. Set aside to finish topping the panna cottas.
Setting the Gelée on Top of the Panna Cotta
- 50 g Fig Leaf Oil
- 100 g Coconut Gelée
- Add the Fig Leaf Oil to the gelée while it is in liquid form. Lightly stir the oil to create beads throughout the gelée. Spoon 15 g of the gelée on top of each panna cotta, making sure to stir the oil after each pour. Allow the gelée to set in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Shaved and Toasted Coconut
- Meat from 1 fresh coconut, or store-bought packaged coconut meat
- With a peeler, “shave” the coconut to achieve 30 pieces of 1”-1 ½” shards of coconut shavings. Toast the shards in a 300˚F (149˚C) oven for 2 minute intervals with the fan speed set on the lowest setting, just until a slight brown color is shown on the coconut meat. Cool.
- Store in an airtight container.
- 375 g Marshall’s Farm honey
- 75 g water
- 6 g Versawhip
- Place the honey and water in a Vitamix blender. Blend on medium-low speed until the honey is loose. Slowly add the Versawhip into the center of the honey vortex while the blender is on medium-low. Once all of the Versawhip has been added and hydrated, blend on medium-high for 1 minute. The mixture will resemble a very light shaving cream. Place in a Kitchen Aid mixing bowl and reserve in the refrigerator.
- Fleur de sel
- Edible flowers (preferably fennel blossoms and fronds)
- Whip the honey in a Kitchen Aid mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Place the Whipped Honey in a piping bag fitted with an Ateco #803 plain round tip.
- Place the wine reduction in a small squeeze bottle with a small tip. Starting at 11 o’clock on your desired dish, pipe various size “beehives” with the Whipped Honey, continuing down to 6 o’clock. Place fennel blossoms on three hives, fronds on two others, and scatter 6 raisins throughout the hives. Place 4 coconut shards throughout the hives, aiming for height. Season the panna cotta with a sprinkle of the fleur de sel and finish with 10 drops of the reduction on top of panna cotta to the left of the hives.
About Ivan Arturo Marquez
Pastry Chef Ivan Arturo Marquez works at Press Restaurant in Saint Helena, California. His mother, as well as seeing Iron Chef Japanese, Emeril, and Pastry Chef Donald Wressell in Le Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie, motivated him to become a pastry chef.