Concord Grape “Caviar”
This is another fantastic molecular gastronomy recipe. However, unlike the “Vanilla Cupcake” shots I made last time, these require a bit more than just gelatin. The final product is so worth it, though! They have a deep purple, almost black color and they pop in your mouth, releasing that sweet grape goodness. And they look convincingly similar to real caviar so you can use them to surprise guests with a dessert that almost looks like an appetizer. I serve mine on squares of shortbread with a sweet mascarpone cream. It tastes like a buttery cheese danish with grape jam. It looks like caviar on a toast point. So deceiving, and so cool!
For this recipe all you really need is some patience. If this is your first time with molecular spherification then this is a great starter recipe for you. It’s really easy, you just need to get the technique down and you’ll be set. You’ll be using an eye dropper or plastic pipette. Here’s a picture of what it looks like:
Clicking the above picture will also take you to where you can purchase a pack of 20. You can also take a trip to the online store. You can also find sodium alginate and calcium chloride there, which you will need for this recipe.
Initially, all of my molecular ingredients and tools came from this Molecular Gastronomy Kit
Now, here are a few tips to help you before we get started. Even if they don’t make much sense now, they will in a minute or so:
- Maintain steady pressure on the dropper, but don’t squeeze hard. You want drops of the solution to fall in the calcium bath, not a steady stream.
- Remove, rinse, and serve. The caviar will continue to harden after being removed from the bath so these can’t be made too far in advance.
- Don’t worry too much about making sure they’re all perfect. They’re squishy and nobody will be the wiser as to which ones are bigger or oddly shaped. Your main concern is speed.
- 8.5 oz Concord Grape Juice
- 2 g Sodium Alginate
- 18 oz. Water
- 2.5 g Calcium Chloride
- In a large, tall vessel dissolve the calcium chloride in the water and set in the refrigerator while you prepare the juice. I usually use a tall glass that I know can hold 18 oz of water. This will be the calcium bath where the spheres “cook.”
- Fill another bowl or glass with fresh water and set aside. This will be the rinse.
- Combine the grape juice and alginate. You will either have to use a hand mixer, a whisk, or an immersion blender for this. They need to be completely incorporated and this may take a little while. Once the alginate is dissolved, set the mixture aside to allow the air bubbles to dissipate. This will make your caviar.
- Fill the dropper with the juice mixture, remove the calcium bath from the fridge, and squeeze drops of the juice into the calcium bath. It should form little spheres in the bath. Allow them to sit for a minute or so and remove with a slotted spoon. Place them in the rinse.
- Follow this procedure until all of the juice has been used. Remove the spheres from the rinse with a fine mesh sieve and place on a paper towel to soak up the extra water. Plate them immediately. Receive praise.