Saturday, 12 September 2015


Dish as in the restaurant

My new blog is now at:

Heston's in my good book's at the moment. Not only has he brought his team back from Australia, the man has also spent a whopping £2m on a full refurbishment of The Fat Duck and will re-open this month. That, however, is not the best news......we have secured a table for November!

Yes it's an incredibly exciting time here at the moment and we can't wait to see what the new menu has in store. At a whopping £255 per head before wine and service it had better be good, but this is The Fat Duck.

So with Heston on the brain I've been dipping into the book 'Historic Heston' and found a recipe that I've been meaning to do for a while now. Sambocade.

What is Sambocade then? Well at basic level it's a cheesecake, but as we all know Heston doesn't do basic. A biscuit base made from Pate Sable, effectively Sable biscuit. A goats cheese mousse and then a cream cheese mousse encasing a filling of elderflower jam with compressed apple.

I began with the elderflower jam. Placing grape juice and liquid glucose to reduce down before adding a mix of pectin and caster sugar. Once this comes to the boil its a case of adding in the elderflower cordial and a mixture of tartaric acid (I used citric) and a small amount of water.

Pate a bombe preparations

The jam had set pretty well, in fact a little too well. I ended up having to blitz it down a bit to cut down the jellied state of the jam. With that out of the way it was onto the Pate Sable, a simple enough concoction of beaten sugar and butter combined with an egg and liaised with flour, baking powder and salt.

The book instructs you to freeze this dough after rolling it between two sheets of greaseproof paper. For convenience I just placed it in the fridge for an hour to render it firm before baking it until golden.
Cheese cream

After the biscuit has cooled its mixed with a creamed combination of sugar and butter to create the base. I took another opportunity to go against the book by pressing the base into a ring mould and flattening with a spoon as oppose to rolling the base out, freezing it, cutting it again and placing a mould over the top of it.......I think you may be able to see why.

The goat's cheese cream is pretty simple. The recipe calls for double goats cream but I settled for regular double cream. Combine the cheese and cream and you have one mousse. The second mousse isn't so simple. You must make a pate a bombe by whisking hot sugar syrup over egg yolks and mixing until thick and creamy.

Once that's made you take cream, cream cheese and sugar set in a bowl over simmering water to warm up. Add soaked gelatine and combine. I decided to place this into the fridge once I'd added the pate a bombe due to the mixture still being too liquid. Waiting for about an hour for the gelatine to set a little before folding in whipped cream and elderflower cordial. 

To layer it up I rolled the elderflower jam into a ball which contained compressed apples (apples soaked in apple juice and placed under vacuum) placing it into the centre of the biscuit base. Piping a layer of goats cheese mousse around the jam and then topped that with the goats cheese cream and letting it freeze overnight.
Compressed apples

Cheesecakes being filled

My love for Heston was beginning to fade, why so many bowls, man? Every fucking recipe uses about 8-10 bowls worth of stuff! Not to mention the continuous drawn out processes which can be simplified by the experience home cook but for an amateur present a real nightmare surrounded by bubbles and a dishcloth.

Still can't be getting angry now, after all we're almost done! On day two I unmoulded the frozen cheesecakes with the aid of a blowtorch. Using some charcoal powder that I managed to come across online to dust the outside of the cheesecakes. Giving a finish reminiscent of a goats cheese round, clever eh?

Frozen Cheesecakes
Charcoal powder
Coated Cheesecakes

That went back into the fridge to defrost for around 6-8 hours. During this time I set about making the red wine fluid gel which involved reducing half a bottle of sweet red wine (I used Greek Mavrodaphne of Patras coming in at a fair £5.50 compared to expensive Maury or Banyuls) and blending it with gellan F to create a fluid gel. The book instructs you to add sodium citrate but for such a small amount needed (plus I had citric acid) I settled for a pinch of citric just to bring the flavour out.

Dusting fresh fig quarters in caster sugar and cinnamon before introducing them to a hot pan completes the preparations.

Plating up was pretty simple, it had been a long day at work so my swipe of fluid gel lacked finesse but still the cheesecake looked stunning with the charcoal dust and the fig standing proud on the top.

The final plate

With making the dish the day before you kind of forget just how complex the textures and flavours are in this deceptively simple looking cheesecake. Its a triumph of surprise, taste and flavour combination and texture. The goats cheese was pretty strong. If you happen to like your goats cheese with a little less strength then do go for the lighter options. I went for Chevre which was strong but gave the necessary acidity to stand up to the sweet cream cheese and the sourness of the jam and apples.

The fluid gel is decent and tempers the flavours well, adding a little richness. Overall the dessert brought a smile to both our faces, it really is delicious and something that is ideal for an occasion you wish to serve a dessert in advance. Don't be afraid to simplify the step in the book described in this write up, the results are still great.

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