Updated: Oct 5, 2020
Compressed fruit has taken over the traditional way of concentrating flavour into fruits without exposure to heat. Traditionally, if you want to highlight the natural flavour of fruits, you will either macerate the fruits in sugar to sweeten them, or you will place them in infused stock syrup over the stove at low heat through water bath in a sealer bag. Both macerating and cooking of fruit not only causes the cell walls of the fruits to break down and become too soft in texture, it can also cause the fruit to disintegrate and becomes mushy as well as losing its naturally vibrant colour.
By compressing fruit, during the process of compression, the air are sucked out from around the fruit and from its cell walls, causing the cell walls to break down and soften resulting in a cooked yet firm texture and an attractive translucent appearance without it going too soft and the natural colour are maintained, if not enhanced.
Therefore, the modernist technique of compressing fruits describes the method of placing fruits in a vacuum sealer bag and retracting all the air through the vacuum from the cell wall of the fruits. As the pressure of the tightly vacuumed bag starts to extract air out, the sealer bag will tighten and start pressing the flavoured liquid (usually stock syrup or stock syrup with alcohol or fruit purees) in to the cell walls of the fruits hat have been emptied of air. This allows the concentrated liquid to enter the empty walls of the fruit that was preciously occupied with air and further intensifying the flavour of the fruit.
Though a common domestic vacuum sealer is unable to give the optimum result of entirely compressing and putting pressure on the cell walls of the fruit, it is still a great way to add flavours to unripe fruits without involving heat that can break down the fruits and making them too soft.
Unripe fruits benefits the most from this method as they lack the flavour a ripe fruits can give.
The below compressed stoned fruits can be done with different stock syrup to accentuate the flavours of the fruits. For the peach, I simply make a simple stock syrup added with some Peach Schnapps, let the syrup cool down before adding the sliced fruits and through the vacuum. Make sure that the fruit slices are considerably thicker as they will shrink a little during the process. the fruits should not overlap on to one another in the sealer bag as this can make it hard to extract all the air out and the ability to create pressure on the surface of the fruit.
I had the fruits in the sealer bag stored in fridge for a day before plating. You do not need a lot of stock syrup to do this, just a couple of tablespoon for a single fruit sliced up or just enough to cover the sliced or cubed fruits. Too much syrup will make it difficult to seal completely and for maximum air to escape, especially in a domestic vacuum sealer.
Ruby Chocolate with Pistachio Ganache and Summer Stoned Fruits
Ruby Chocolate Shell
Compressed white peach, plum and cherry (white peach with peach schnapps, Plum in cherry syrup)
Chocolate Daisies decorations
Toasted Pistachio coated in caramel
Apricots (Diced and Cored) 500 g
A1 White Sugar 450 g
Fresh Orange Juice 125 ml (1 Large Valencia Orange)
Fresh Lemon Juice 1 Tablespoon
Lemon Membranes and seeds ½ Lemon
Orange Membranes and seeds ½ Large Orange
Orange Zest 1 Orange
Vanilla Bean Paste I Teaspoon
5 x 100 ml Jars / 10 x 55 ml Jars
1. Put diced and cored apricots (skin on), sugar, Vanilla bean Paste, orange juice, Lemon Juice and orange zest in to a copper pot and heat until liquid forms
2. Wrap the lemon and orange membranes and seed in a mousseline and tie it in to a pouch and secure the open ends of the strings on the handle of the pot, submerge the pouch in to the jam mix.
3. Keep boiling, try to stir as little as possible but constantly scraping the edges on the bottom of the pot to avoid catching and burning, for a few minutes.
4. Remove the pouch from the pot and put it in the fridge to cool a little, while still cooking the extra liquid out from the jam.
5. When the pouch is cooled, squeeze out as much pectin as possible from the bag and mix in to the jam.
6. Keep cooking jam until setting point. (check with cooled metal spoon or on cold plate)
Cream 35% 95g
Butter 10 g
Glucose Syrup 10 g
Pistachio Paste 80 g
White Chocolate 200g
1. Heat cream to 75°C - 80°C with glucose.
2. Pour hot cream over white chocolate, butter and pistachio paste. Stick Blend until smooth.
Temper Callebaut Ruby Chocolate and cast on to a barre mould.
Composition of apricot jam then top with the pistachio ganache. Assemble with the compressed fruit and serve.