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Is this the alternative to Caviar?

Maison d’Entremets creates Seafood Flavoured Pearls

Here at Maison d’Entremets, we love to create and experiment to bring unusual food products to our customers that tease the senses and offer a completely different experience. Recently, we have been creating products to add to our menu through a method known as Sperification.

Spherification is a method of food preparation which has been known professionally for quite a while, in fact since its invention by Ferran Adrià (and his team of development chefs) at his famous El Bulli restaurant in Spain.

flavoured Caviar

But the downside of this is a truly short shelf life as the product literally disintegrates in a couple of hours.

Our task was to create innovative products with the following parameters:

  • Pearls/caviar type of product to look at.
  • Made of natural lobster, prawns’ meat and shellfish stock.
  • Shelf life up to 6 months.
  • Freezable, without loss of taste and texture.

As with our delicious Peanut Creams, nothing like this existed where we could follow a specific recipe, so we had to create our own. The major challenge we faced was to find the right balance of ingredients and deliver the correct textures, tastes, composition, flavour profiles and mouth feel. What we are doing now is a lot more difficult to achieve compared to the Peanut Creams!

There 2 major technologies available for us to produce these new products:

–     molecular cuisine (spheriphication method)

–     natural fish roe/caviar imitation technology

The first industrial sample of protein caviar was produced in the USSR. It was a caviar product called “Iskra” (an abbreviation of the phrase “artificial caviar”). Its creator was the famous Soviet scientist – Alexander Nikolaevich, who headed the All-Union Institute of Inorganic Chemistry. Under his patronage, several different types of protein caviar obtained from eggs and equipment for its production were developed.

Eggs in the egg method are formed by dropping a drop of a protein mixture containing egg white, dye and cooking dressing into heated vegetable oil or water-oil emulsion. The egg white contained in the mixture curls and a ball resembling an egg is produced.

Protein caviar obtained from chicken eggs has a spherical shape and a dense structure and can be given a different colour and taste. To increase shelf life, egg caviar can be pasteurized. However, these days, the production of caviar from eggs is quite problematic.

One factor causing problems is the use of vegetable oil as a medium for the formation of spherical eggs, as you cannot work with highly heated oil for a long time as it accumulates harmful carcinogens.

If, during the production of egg caviar, the oil is changed as required, then this will need to be done several times a day. In practice, none of the usual manufacturers will carry out these operations on a regular basis as draining oil too often means very high costs to the final product.

In fairness, we must say that we have tried various methods but have found we need made to order equipment, without which we have struggled to achieve the desired result.

Another type of caviar imitation is caviar obtained using extracts from some seaweed, to date we believed that this is the most promising and we are still working on researching this method.

The task we gave to our researchers was to create eggs which differs from all previously produced types of artificial caviar. We want improved flavour, colour and shell structure closer to sturgeon caviar, which makes it possible to obtain the effect of eggs melting or ‘exploding’ in the mouth, which, as experts know, can only be observed in a natural caviar.

This is so far one of the most ambitious projects in our future products portfolio. This kind of product does not exist on the market anywhere and the only way is to trial and test using the help and advice from knowledgeable food consultants in other countries.

Recent scientific studies and our current progress give us hopes that we could develop this product by the end of 2021. So far, we have not been able to solve all issues – but watch this space as we are confident we are on the right track.

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