It’s already 1 week since when I got that email.The story begins though some months ago, in September. After reading my first book written by Herve This “Molecular Gastronomy: Exploring the Science of Flavor”, I decided to look for more information about his academic activities and the possibilities to follow some of his lectures.
Through his web-page at the INRA I found information about his monthly seminar at the Ecole Supérieure de Cuisine Francaise. At that time, I had enough money to allow me a trip to Paris to follow the course of September.
Along with testing the effect of freezing on the growth of baked layer pastry (btw not many differences between the frozen and the fresh specimen were observed), madame Renaudin announced the 4th edition of the Rencontres Science Art et Cuisine. I decided to participate. My first gastronomical competition!
The theme of this year was: Modernize our Tradition, with a second module on innovation centred on the use of the Methylcellulose.
It took a couple of months to finally sketch the projects that I wanted to develop as submissions. Naturally I wanted to focus on my Italian origins but more precisely I wanted to research a bit of Sicilian cooking traditions.
I decided to submit two savoury dishes:
• Rosemary Tiramisu with Pink Pepper and Caraway-Chocolate Rose Window shards
• Meat and Ricotta Cassata cake with Almonds glaze, Candied Orange peels and Eggplant Cracklings.
The Tiramisu dish was more intended as a research in tastes since I wanted to preserve the original textures of the dish (just made upside down :P). The making of the mascarpone cheese was quite an interesting experience. This was also the funniest dish to plate indeed!
The Cassata cake was instead quite interesting for the challenge it presented in transforming one of the regional treasure of Sicilian dessert tradition, in a savory dish. As you might know already it consists of a casing made of sponge cake filled up with sweet ricotta cream and covered with green marzipan, royal icing and decorated with candied fruits. Quite sweet indeed! Another traditional dish the “Suscello Pasquale” prepared during Easter time in the east region of Sicily where I come from, gave me the idea of combining meat and ricotta mousse.
So after a few trials (not more than 2 weeks actually) I finished the recipes and submitted them.
My Rose Window Shards won the first price for the artistic creations in the innovation module!! (and I was not even sure to submit them as a separate recipe :p)