Molecular gastronomy emulsions Cashew Milk Air
For my first molecular gastronomy experiment I set off to test something rather simple yet effective. The main ingredient in this recipe is lecithin. The concept behind this molecular gastronomy test is to see if combining an emulsifier, such as lecithin, to a fatty watery liquid (the cashew nut milk) will yield the light air (foam) that is common with this type of emulsion, and be able to stand the test of being suspended in the air.
Lecithin is an emulsifier that allow fat and water to mix. [It has also been shown to support fat burning, healthy cholesterol, and triglycerides levels, cardiovascular health, liver function, nerve function, brain function and memory.] Together with the cashew milk I want to see if this combination will yield substantial air (foam) that will be combine the taste of the original mixture.
For this experiment I needed some fresh cashew nut milk, lecithin, and an immersion blender.
Let’s start with the Cashew Nut Milk:
For this recipe I soaked 1 cup of cashews.
Note: it is important that you use raw cashews and that you soak them to release the enzyme inhibitors. I usually soak my nuts in water for about 4-8 hours. You then, rinse and are ready to make the nut milk.
Once I got my cashews ready all I added was 3 cups of water, 1 tbsp of raw honey, and a pinch of pink sea salt. This is all you need to make the nut milk. You could also substitute dates for honey, but I wanted to use honey to see if I could still achieve the wonderful air (foam). I’ve heard from other chefs that using honey makes the air (foam) impossible to get. I set off to disprove this theory too.
What you want to do is get yourself a powerful blender. I highly recommend the vita-mix 5200 series simply because of the straightforward functions and power. This blender has the most power of any blender on the market. I personally believe in having the very best kitchen equipment is just as important ans obtaining the best ingredients.
After I got all of my ingredients together for my nut milk, all I did was put it all in my vita-mix and blend. You want to make sure you blend long enough (for about 2min) and at a steady speed (about level5-6) so you could really get the best nut milk.
Once I got my nut milk blended I sieved it through a superbag or some sort of other fine mesh cloth to remove the cashew pulp from the milk.
The beauty of the superbag is that you get better results due to its highly technological advanced structure. These bags are the best to use in the kitchen and could be used over and over.
Once I got the milk ready, I put it on the side and got ready for the combination of the lecithin powder. This process was very fun because it allowed me to get the gram scale out and get all scientific.
I measured approx 3 g of lecithin powder and put it on the side. The next step was to measure out approx 600 g of the cashew milk and put that to side in a bowl that would be big enough to use an immersion blender. Note: I found it very important to use a big enough bowl while doing this test. The reason behind this must have to do with the overall volume capacity of the bowl used during the immersion blender part. you need more free room for the particles to completely transform to air (foam).
Once I got the bowl ready, I lined it with plastic wrap so I wont get my kitchen all messy. I also added in the 3 g of lecithin and the 600 g of cashew milk in the bowl.
The step was the immersion of the blender and the chemical reaction of making air (foam). I got my trustee immersion blender and started to blend right at the surface of the mixture.
The beauty of blending this was that I instantly started to see the air foam up right in front of me. It was as if I turned the power button on and my cashew milk started to rise and do some interesting things with the texture. Imagine for a second a fluffly pillow made of air (foam), that is exactly the kind of feeling I got when I saw the cashew milk rise with the introduction of the immersion blender. It was really magic being produced right in from of me.
After a minute what I ended up with was a foamy cascade of beauty.
I must have blended the cashew milk for about 1 minute straight on level 4 on my immersion blender. I noticed that it would produce more air (foam) if I was blending along the surface of the cashew milk as opposed to the bottom of the mixture. The end result was something so spectacular that it made me want to shrink down and go for a swim in this stuff.
Once I got the air, it was ready to test and serve. Some questions that I wanted to test out were the following:
1) Will the air (foam) hold enough to be suspended in t
he air on an upside spoon?
2) Will using the honey effect my air in a negative way, and henceforth make the air to heavy to be suspended?
3) How will the overall taste come out? Will it melt in my mouth? Will it be crunchy? What texture is overall present?
In order to test my first question, I had to run the spoon test. The spoon test was set up to test to see if the air will hold while being suspended upside down.
For the upside down test I just inverted the spoon and observed.
The results were amazing! The air actually held up and did not fall off the spoon whilst inverted. This proved that the cashew milk air was officially a air (foam) worth serving. This result also shattered another myth that using honey with lecithin will cause the air (foam) to be too heavy and thus effect the overall air. This was not the case, in fact the air was stronger and lighter than I would have imagined.
There was one last thing to do, I had to taste test the air (foam).
Results: The air was delicious. The texture was so light yet crispy and melted on my tongue. The overall texture was very light, it really reminded me of eating snowflakes. These snowflakes were very tasty too. The taste came through in perfect time. It really tasted like cashew milk, except in an overall different texture that is both elegant and could stand the test of time.
One final conclusion to share is that the foam stayed foamy for a very long time (over an hour) while in the glass. This is good because it proves that the molecules are strong enough to hold its form for serving and other culinary adventures.
With that said, I do want to test freezing the foam and adapting it to other extremes to see how it could hold in different climates.
Enjoy, and remember to check out more pics in my flickr page on the bottom corner of my blog. Also, feel free to comment and ask questions, and please subscribe. Thanks.