Cherry Bomb

Everyone loves a bit of magic, something that deceives the senses. Recently I have been working on my dessert for the upcoming competition at work, looking at the combination of cherries and almonds. I wanted to bring a sense of fun and whimsy to the plate and was looking to create fake cherries to sit unassumingly amidst all the other elements.

It has taken me about a month of infrequent testing and frequent frustrations to find exactly the right medium and technique to perfect. Initially I had envisaged them being filled with ice cream but temperature differences screwed this plan up. They have evolved into a bitter chocolate ganache coated in a sour cherry gel and I am pretty proud of them.

Fake fruit and veg aren’t ground breaking by any means. Heston has led the way with his infamous mandarin meatfruit served at Dinner (at the Mandarin Oriental appropriately), see here for our poor imitation of it. Nuno Mendes at Viajante also serves a fake olive made of kumquat and spinach, a combination that I found actually quite repellent.

The reaction when people ate them was immensely gratifying, those who were unaware of its actual nature were genuinely surprised. I’m a not-particularly-secret egotist and someone telling you ‘that’s incredible’ is pretty great.

The rest of the dish is comprised of an almond ice cream, some almond brittle, fresh and pickled cherries. The acidity of the pickle manages to cut through what is otherwise quite a rich dish and the brittle adds a nice textural crunch.

Now I just need to work on the other three…

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