For Blueberry, a cube of buttermilk.

Study: Blueberry. 3.1.3  Buttermilk, in a cube.

Blueberry pancake breakfast, deconstructed, part 3. This is where it gets complicated.


The task for this component is to make the familiar pancake flavor novel, and even a little alien, yet still able to trigger a warm reminiscence for cheap diners and Sunday breakfasts. And be delicious. How can that be done?

Freezing pancake batter on an anti-griddle seems like a great idea, but is also, umm, frozen uncooked pancake batter.  Instead, transform the floppy buttermilk-eggy disk of a pancake into a creamy buttermilk-eggy cube.

Flavor: Culinarily, this is a buttermilk-crème anglaise panna cotta, with a little maple, set in a cube-shape mold. Butter milk and egg, somehow a softer, but less creamy, texture than a cooked custard


Infuse the buttermilk. In a saucepan, mix buttermilk and half-and half, and allow to simmer. Stir in maple and sugar, and allow sugar to dissolve. Let the buttermilk mixture stay warm in saucepan while creme anglaise is made.

Make crème anglaise. YOU MUST TEMPER THE EGGS. Mix cream and half-and-half in a second saucepan. Raise temperature to simmer, do not scald. Scrape caviar from vanilla bean, and add bean pods. Slowly incorporate sugar, reserving 1 tbsp sugar, until sugar dissolves. In small heat-proof bowl, whisk egg yolks thoroughly, and mix in reserved sugar.
Now, TEMPER THE EGGS! Remove the vanilla pod pieces from the cream mixture. Calibrate the cream temperature to very much too hot to touch, yet cool enough not to boil or scald the cream, about 170F. Slowly, slowly, while continuously stirring the egg yolk, add a drizzle of the hot cream mixture to the egg, equivalent to about half the volume of the egg mixture. Then, reverse the process: add about half of the now-egg-cream mixture to the remaining hot cream, stirring to integrate it. Repeat the process, whisking cream into egg, then egg to cream, until the egg is completely incorporated. If the cream is too hot or added too fast, it will create scrambled eggs. You will have failed to TEMPER THE EGGS.
To make a crème brulée, at this point, the crème base would be poured into a ramekin, and allowed to bake in a water bath. Here, we want some of that partly-set texture, and, well, not raw egg, but not quite creme brulee. Therefore, allow the mixture to simmer below boiling for about five to ten minutes. It will thicken slightly.

Let the gelatin bloom and incorporate. In small bowl, mix reserved cold buttermilk and water. Whisk one packet gelatin into buttermilk-water mixture and allow mixture to bloom for about 2 minutes. (For most recipes, a ratio of one packet buttermilk to one cup liquid works well. Here, that ratio produced a dessert that was too toothsome. Keep the gelatin ratio low.) Whisk the bloomed gelatin mixture into the still-hot buttermilk mixture. Once incorporated, allow hot mixture to rest about 5 minutes.
Mix the crème anglaise into the warm buttermilk-gelatin mixture. If you failed to TEMPER THE EGGS right, at this point you might to strain the egg solids from the crème.
Pour the mixture into silicone mold, refrigerate, and allow to chill. If desired, to add color, streak a small amount of blueberry juice into mixture as the panna cotta is poured. The mixture should set in less than six hours. Unmold to plate.



For the buttermilk mixture.
.75 cup buttermilk.
.5 cup half-and-half.
.25 cup heavy cream.
1 tbsp. grade B maple syrup.
3 tbsp. granulated sugar.

For the creme anglaise.
.5 cup half-and-half.
.5 cup heavy creme.
Yolks of 2 eggs.
1/2 vanilla bean.
3 tbsp. granulated sugar.

For the gelatin.
1 packet gelatin or agar equivalent.
Blueberry juice (optional).


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