Thursday, March 27, 2014

An elBulli Snack: 1107 Black Olive Oreo with Double Cream

Even the "easy" recipes in the new elBulli 2005-2011 volumes come with challenges. Most of the time those challenges involve one (or both) of two factors:
  • Sourcing Ingredients
  • Time
The Black Olive Oreo snack involves both. The ingredients I had trouble with were the 220 gram jar of black olive puree and double cream. Living in a major city you wouldn't think either would be much of an issue, but it turns out that while quite a few places sometimes stock double cream, it's availability can be pretty spotty. Black olive puree? Should be easy in a town with the Italian roots of Philly, but no. Lots of places have small jars of olive puree but they all seem to to be some version of tapenade with capers, anchovies and whatnot added. The recipe and more below...

I finally found the double cream at the Di Bruno Brothers' Rittenhouse store after scouring 3 local groceries, the Reading Terminal Market, and the Italian Market for the olive puree and the cream. As for black olive puree, how hard could it be to make? I bought about 300 grams of pitted black olives and pureed them in my trusty Cuisinart. If you should decide to do the same, pick over the olives carefully: pitted olives are not always completely pit free.

And time? This recipe take 3 days to put together.

Step I: Make The Dried Black Olive Puree

Dehydrated Black Olive Puree

Drain the olive puree in a fine sieve for 30 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 70C. That's 158F and chances are your home oven doesn't go that low. Mine bottoms out at 170F so that's where I set it. The olives take 10 hours to dry at 70C so I figured I'd start checking on them after about 8 hours.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread on the puree in an even layer.

Dry for 10 hours. It actually took about 9 hours in my somewhat hotter oven. YMMV of course. You end up with the  very dry, crisp bits of olive wafer you see in the picture.

Step II: Make The "Oreo" Dough

The ingredients from page 196 of elBulli 2005 Catalogue:

170 grams Dehydrated Black Olive Puree
210 grams Flour
190 grams Butter
180 grams Egg
3.4 grams Salt

Uh oh. My 300 grams of olives produced 75 grams dehydrated puree. This is not really a problem since the recipe makes 10 servings and there are 2 of us. 75/170 = 0.44 more or less. So now we have:

75 grams Dehydrated Black Olive Puree
92.4 grams Flour
83.6 grams Butter
79.2 grams Egg
1.5 grams Salt

First  leave 2 large eggs out at room temperature for 30 minutes.

  • Cut the butter into small cubes and let it soften in a small bowl.
  • Weigh out the flour and salt.
  • Combine the flour and black olive crisp in a food processor and whiz 'em together.
Flour and Dehydrated Black Olive Puree

After the half hour has passed tare a small container and break the eggs into it. They should come to about 100 grams. If not, add another egg. Then use an immersion blender to completely emulsify the eggs. Weigh out 79.2 grams of the eggs and set them aside.

Ready to Mix

Add half the olive/flour mixture and half the eggs to the butter and fold together with a rubber spatula.

Add the rest of the eggs, olive/flour mixture, and salt and mix until smooth (Confession - I dumped the salt in with the flour and olive crisp.)

Black Olive Dough
You'll end up with a very thick and sticky dough. To  make it easier to roll out cover it tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for half an hour to firm it up.

At elBulli they probably used pastry frames to ensure the rolled out dough would be just the right 2 mm thickness. Pastry frames are expensive. A nickel is 1.95 mm thick.

Ready to roll

Lay out a sheet of parchment paper and spread the dough in an even layer. Put another sheet on top and  gently roll it to the thickness of a nickel. Even after an hour in the refrigerator the dough was very soft and sticky. It was tough to get it even. And it blurped over the edges a bit.

Not Approved by Ferran Adria

Lift the dough sandwich into a sheet pan, cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 days. Then freeze it over night.

Step III: The Cookies

Pre-heat the oven to 340F.  Use a 4 cm cutter to make the little disks. The dough will gradually get softer and become more difficult to work with.

Work as fast a possible. You'll probably end up with about a third of the dough left over. Freeze it for later.

These babies are slippery. I put 'em on a Silpat for the 7 minutes on a side baking. If your oven isn't perfectly level you'll find out in this step. After 7 minutes flip 'em and cook for another 7 minutes.

These were in 3 perfect lines

Let the cookies cool and put them in an airtight container if you're not going to fill them immediately.

Step IV

So now for the real fun... Load some double cream into a piping bag, lay out a couple pairs of olive cookies and...

Pipe the double cream around the edge of the cookie, leaving a space in the middle where...

You put a little blob of the olive puree. Top 'em with the other cookie...

Not quite as thin as the real thing. But still delicious.

And there you go!

These are concentrated olive essence. And a great way to get into the elBulli mindset of making a particular ingredient even more like itself. Serve this with the Margarita 2005 and you're on your way!

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