Sweet spot

Build­ing fla­vors through color and fla­vor


Ac­cord­ing to colum­nist Miko Aspi­ras, great desserts start with pri­or­i­tiz­ing fla­vors

This is how it all be­gins. The start of my thought process. Though it took me sev­eral years to mas­ter or­ga­niz­ing ideas to cre­ate a plated dessert, I thor­oughly en­joyed the se­ries of events that led me to where I am now. Get­ting to this place is a lot sweeter be­cause I en­dured and lived through the whole process and progress. I have de­vel­oped my own style, my own sys­tem, and, per­haps, that’s the rea­son why I have come to love com­posed desserts.

It’s not brain surgery. The rou­tine is sim­ple but not al­ways easy to fol­low. Re­mem­ber to edit, keep things clean, avoid com­pli­ca­tions, and aim for co­he­sion.

Al­low me to take you through my cre­ative jour­ney.

Whether for a com­pe­ti­tion piece, some­thing that I would serve in a restau­rant à la carte, or even just a dessert for my fam­ily, I make sure to pay ex­tra at­ten­tion to fla­vor. Main fla­vor I start from the core since this is the big­gest part of the dish. This fla­vor has to be the most prom­i­nent one, what the con­sumer will pre­dom­i­nantly taste or what con­sti­tutes ap­prox­i­mately 90 per­cent of the over­all dish. Strong fla­vors such as choco­late, cof­fee, and fruits are the best ex­am­ples of this el­e­ment. Sup­port­ing fla­vor This part is as es­sen­tial as the main fla­vor be­cause with­out it the pre­vail­ing fla­vor will fall flat. This com­prises around 10 to 25 per­cent of most of my plated desserts. You can have two to three sup­port­ing fla­vors, but keep in mind that they should al­ways com­ple­ment the main one. For in­stance, I like mar­ry­ing orange with my dark choco­lates, and cit­rus in­gre­di­ents like lemons and limes with my berries. Back­ground fla­vor This is one of my se­crets. I love high­light­ing ev­ery dish with an un­ex­pected in­gre­di­ent. Salts, spices, and herbs are some of the com­monly used items. The pur­pose of a back­ground fla­vor is to ac­cen­tu­ate the dish’s over­all fla­vor and ap­peal. I con­sider vanilla or its less pop­u­lar cousin, the tonka bean, as back­ground fla­vors as they make a com­po­nent ex­tra creamy in taste. Salt ac­tu­ally gives you a feel­ing of want­ing more and coun­ters the sweet­ness of the dessert. Back­ground fla­vors should not com­prise more than five per­cent of your dish.

For this is­sue, I em­ployed laven­der as my main fla­vor, with pur­ple as in­spi­ra­tion. The black­berry and yo­gurt act as sup­port, while the olive oil and honey re­main in the back­ground. I’ve long been play­ing with flo­ral fla­vors in my desserts and, of the lot, laven­der is my fa­vorite. It mixes well with sweet and sour notes as well as oils. I com­bine sim­ple fla­vors and var­ied tex­tures that all work in har­mony to come up with a fra­grant and re­fresh­ing meal en­der.

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