Pistachio Waffle, Yeast Foam, Pear and Banana-Cinnamon Ice Cream

Anything that has to do with fermentation and yeast fascinates me. That why I love baking bread, brewing beer and even fermenting my own homemade salami. When I first saw a wierd congealed mass in my bottle of vinegar and later learned it was a “vinegar mother” that can basically make vinegar out of wine, I did not throw the bottle away. I cracked it open, harvested the mother and started making vinegar. fermentation just seems like magic! You combine a couple of things together, like grain and water, and let it sit for a while. Poof! you have a food or a drink.

So, when I read on David’s blog that he added yeast and fermented some heavy sweetened cream to get a thick yeasty “foam”, I knew I’d be trying something with it. The process is easy enough. Mix in some yeast into sweetened cream and let it sit for a while before chilling the mixture. Right before I served it, I whipped the now fermented cream to a thick light foam. The taste is a bit difficult to describe, sweet, a little bread-y and feels extremely light on the tongue. This is a wonderful and versatile product.

The pistachio waffle recipe here is from “Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Herme“. The batter is definitely not like any waffle batter I’ve made before. It is rich with butter, cream and eggs. The batter is so thick a spoon can stand in it. The end result right out of the waffle iron is pretty soft as opposed to crispy and fluffy. However as soon as it cools slightly it firms up into a tender and slightly crispy waffle. There is no mistaking that this one is designed by a pastry chef for dessert as opposed to a breakfast staple. The best part is that unlike most other batters for pancakes or waffles, the pastry remains very tasty and crisp at room temperature the next day.

For a fruit component I used pears. Some of the pears were poached and pureed with bourbon and gellan to make a smooth pear butter. The rest I scooped into balls and marinated them (and tried to compress them) raw with turbinado sugar, bourbon and vanilla using the FoodSaver. They were not compressed, as I expected, but were very nicely marinated and loaded with flavor. The banana ice cream is flavored with coffee, vanilla and cinnamon. For garnish, I used roasted pistachios and some pickled blueberries leftover from the venison dish.

The combination of textures and flavors worked out very well. My problem with this dish boils down to aesthetics. Specifically the damn pistachio coulis. It was supposed to be green, or at least much “greener” than this drab olive color. The idea is the green color will offset the beige and brown all over the place. That vibrant green color is why Thomas Keller recommends using imported scrupulously peeled pistachios. I did not really peel mine and certainly did not fork over a lot of cash for the Sicilian stuff.

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