The doors to the kitchen are opened with the announcement that dessert is served. The guests walk into the kitchen, where the dishes have been prepared and presented. On the presentation table, still covered in notes and instructions, the dessert spread is spiced with sound emanating from the table and around the room. Voices of the cooks – both prerecorded and live in the kitchen – start to blend into an informal composition. The sounds of china and glassware, descriptions of desserts, instructions on how to make green tea… The table is covered with small sweets and bite-sized morsels. Smoked cheeses with glazed quince, milk-steamed oolong tea, smoky caramels and tiramisu, steamed chestnuts, liquid whiskey and cigars. Slowly the volume of the conversation rises, the cooks leave their pots and pans and join the guests for a cup of tea. The silence dissolves, but the tastes and sounds linger in people's smiles. Finally, digestive paan leaves are offered, to heat up the crucibles of the guests' stomachs and intestines where the next metabolic phase is about to begin. We share our gifts and say our farewells, leaving only the faintest traces of smoke and steam to linger in the fading light…
We could not resist serving the perhaps predictable but nonetheless delicious pairing of smoke and cheese. We smoked some of the cheeses ourselves, while others we bought pre-smoked.
Use the smoking gun to smoke the Comte and Folie Bergere with the apple wood chips for 3 minutes. Smoke the goat cheese and mozzarella with the smoking gun using hickory wood chips for 3 minutes. Leave the cheeses to stand under the glass bell until served.
This is one of Maja's favourite childhood desserts, inspired by a traditional Balkan recipe. We adapted it to use smoked whiskey and steamed the chestnuts on rum, playing with the sweetness and the savouriness so unique to the seasonal chestnuts.
Boil chestnuts and peel them. Steam peeled chestnuts over milk, vanilla and rum infusion for about 5 minutes. Warm the milk and sugar, combine with chestnuts and blend into a velvety cream. Chop marron glacé. Serve with a splash of sweet cream and tiny cubes of marron glacé.
We designed this recipe in 2006 for one of our workshops on flavour pairing. The way that smoke blended the different tastes together without tasting smoky surprised us so much that we had to include it in this menu.
(Inspired by a traditional Italian recipe, and flavour pairing techniques from molecular gastronomy)
Combine espresso, 2 tablespoons spirits, vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon of sugar in a bowl.
Caramelise garlic with a bit of the sugar and pinch of coconut oil on low heat until soft and transparent. Mix in a few teaspoons of coffee and cocoa. Smoke using the smoking gun for a few minutes, leave to marinate for 1/2 hour under the smoking bell.
Beat egg yolks, 2 tablespoons of spirits, and 3 tablespoons of sugar in a bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water until tripled in volume, 5 to 8 minutes. Use a whisk or, to make things easier, a handheld electric mixer at medium speed. (Do not stop beating until removed from the heat). Remove bowl from heat then beat in mascarpone cheese until just combined. Whip egg whites in a bowl until it holds stiff peaks. Once the yolk-mascarpone mixture has cooled a little, gently fold in half of the whipped whites into the yolk-mascarpone mixture, then the remaining half just until fully incorporated.
Blend the Savoiardi in the kitchen blender to coarse powder. Add the coffee with spirits and spices, as well as the smoked garlic mix, blend for a few seconds.
In small bowls spoon 1 part of the Savoiardi mixture on the bottom and 1.5 part of the mascarpone cream on top. Dust with cocoa powder. Cover with a large plate or plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 6 hours. Leave out at room temperature about 20 minutes before serving.
We wanted to make poached pears for this dish, but to our astonishment, it was impossible to find the kind of firm poaching pears that were widespread in the Benelux just a few years ago. So we resorted to another one of our favourite seasonal fruits: the tart and acidic quince.
(Inspired by a traditional Dutch recipe for poached pears)
Slice quinces in small parts. Poach quinces in wine, orange juice, orange peel and spices until soft. Remove the quince from the liquid, then reduce the liquid until it becomes a syrup. Sieve out the spices and orange zest, pour over quince parts and reserve in the fridge.
Soft, melting caramels are something that most of us take for granted, until we tasted the smoke in them. The sensation toyed with our taste buds and made us smile.
Combine butter, sugar, marshmallows and condensed milk in a heavy-based pan over gentle heat, letting everything melt while stirring. Then boil the mixture for about 8 minutes, stirring continuously. Remove from heat, stir in chocolate, salt and vanilla seeds. Spread the mixture inside a square container. Let it cool, then put in the fridge overnight. Cut into square pieces before serving.
(from Chocolate: 100 Everyday Recipes, by Paragon Books)
For the pastry, combine the flower and butter in a large bowl. Work it with you fingers till crumbs start to form. Add sugar and a spoonful of cold water and mix well to produce a thick dough. Cover the dough evenly across the bottom of a greased baking tray, pricking here and there with a fork. Bake in the oven at 190°C for about 20 minutes, then let cool. In the meantime melt the butter, sugar and milk in a cooking pan while stirring constantly. Cook for another 8-10 minutes till the mixture starts to separate from the sides of the pan. Pour the caramel evenly over the baked pastry base and let cool. Cut into different forms and decorate with the smoked walnuts.
With a wink to old men's clubs and secret societies, Pieter and Nik designed a cocktail smoked on a cigar, without making anyone suffer the pungent secondhand smoke.
Break cherry branch into small 4–5 cm pieces. De-bark the sticks. Smoke with cigar leaves using the Smoking Gun for a few minutes. Pour all other ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake with smoked ice (see recipe above). Serve with smoked cherry 'stalk'.
Milky oolong is one of the most surprising teas we've tasted in the last years. It is steamed on milk, giving the tea a sweet, almost caramelised aroma. Shincha with yuzu on the other hand is zesty and invigorating, so we served it just before the guests began to leave, giving them that little bit of energy they needed to get home.
A traditional Indian digestive made out of dried and smoked betel leaves mixed with fennel and aniseed. A small pinch of the leaves per person is sufficient to refresh the mouth and aid digestion.
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