09-03-2011

TREND: Espumas elevate your creations to a higher level

Nowadays, spumas (It.), espumas (Es), écumes (Fr.) have become an established technique throughout the western culinary world. Since Ferran Adrià, of the famous Spanish restaurant El Bulli, brought a new dimension to this whipping technique using a siphon, he has managed to inspire numerous publications, applications and workshops. Espumas, foams, mousses, emulsions, sauces …

Espumas are in
This technique is a simple but fashionable addition to cocktails, desserts and hot drinks, and is easy to learn. Updating a range doesn’t always have to be expensive or time-consuming. Siphons were originally developed to turn liquid cream into whipped cream, and to put a fizz or bubbles in a soft drink using a simple, not too laborious, method. The success of ready-to-use cans of whipped cream meant that siphons were forgotten to some extent, however today they have become a popular tool for introducing a modern and contemporary edge to dishes.

sifon

What you need
Preferably a stainless steel siphon. Not just for reasons of hygiene and durability, but also due to its ability to conduct hot and cold temperatures. Plastic, on the other hand, is less resistant to fluctuations in temperature and frequent use of the screw cap and gas screw lead to quicker wear and tear and gas leaks.
Gas: two types of gas can be used. Gas capsules contain 8 g of either N20 or CO2. We stick to cream capsules (N20 or nitrogen oxide). N2O pushes and compresses the liquid cream, which is sprayed out by the gas as a foam; in the same way as air is whipped into cream in the conventional manner.
Soda capsules (CO2 or carbon dioxide) are used less frequently, but as well as soda water can also be used to make sensational appetizers.

Method
The simplest method is to add flavour to liquid cream. Fruit purees, coulis, vegetable (extracts), chocolate, fish, poultry: the list is endless. Cream is one of the bases that guarantees or determines the consistency after squirting. The golden rule is one part cream to one part vegetable or fruit puree. If you want to create a heavy mousse, use more cream or add one or two sheets of soaked gelatine, provided that the preparation process is cold. Other bases that combine flavour and firmness are (pasteurised) egg white and yolk, gelatine and starch. Cream and/or gelatine are not suitable for squirting heavy, hot preparations. The most popular hot espuma recipes contain starch (potato - pea espuma). Very solid ‘hot’ chocolate mousses can be prepared using fat and protein.

Tips & Tricks

  • Always use a fine sieve. Fruit pips, fibres, sugar crystals, undissolved gelatine can cause a blockage.
  • When using cream in the recipe it is important to combine the selected ingredients thoroughly in advance and not to mix.
  • Fill the siphon up to a maximum of 4/5ths of its capacity.
  • Maximise the gas used by pointing the spray nozzle straight down instead of the siphon.
  • Carefully weigh out the ingredients and place the siphon in the fridge for a few hours before squirting; the mixture does not always bind immediately. 

Reprinted from: Chocolaterie (Confectioners) magazine

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