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Adapting Herme’s Sensation Satine

My mother is a very playful woman, always up for a joke a prank or a trick, not a bad student in her younger days but definetely the one I would describe to a salesperson when I’d be lost in a department store as the "short woman laughing". So when she arrived from France on Monday for a mini vacation without my father, I wanted to accomodate her playful nature. I put one of these "verrines" (can be translated as dessert in a glass) in front of her that evening and waited for her reaction. I was not waiting for a "wow" but for a giggle and this is exactly what I got! She looked at it, picked it up, turned it around and then said like a kid who just found a Rubix cube "Come on! Tell me, tell me…!" Well, mom it’s really not complicated and I owe it all to Pierre Herme, the mad pastry scientist/creator we all worship! I had originally worked on it for a tasting for an event that never happened so I had three of them left for us.

You probably know by now that every Sunday I tutor Veronica in French and that we start and end our sessions by talking pastries and desserts. We always talk about Herme, and we often end up emailing each other about pastry suppliers, books, discoveries and others. One afternoon I was reading emails when Herme’s newsletter came through and within 10 seconds I was forwarding it to Veronica with a simple "I am So making THIS during the week!" I had not even looked at the ingredients yet, I just loved the play on the layer.

In the newsletter, there was a link to the recipe and I thought "And he is generous…I love that!" I read it, I liked it but I found the actual making a little bit tedious due to the ingredients. His original version contains a bottom layer of orange marmelade then a layer of yogurt panna cotta and the top layer is passion fruit gelee. I thought that orange marmelade would be cloyingly sweet and although I found passion fruits at the store, they were $1.99 a piece…and I needed 20 if I were to follow his recipe. Ah yes, the man is generous but he is not sponsoring my site…so I had to change course and come up with my own Sensation Satine, keeping the fun look of the different layers.

Think about an upscale jello that is a cinch to make. I am sure that if Herme knew what jello was, he would kill me for the comparison but this is the closest I could get! There is not a whole lot of gelatin in each layer, just enough to old everything together and leave an extreme velvety texture to each bite…like satin. I went for grapefruit at the bottom, honey Greek yogurt in the middle, and mango lime for the top. To garnish I macerated kumquats in simple syrup overnight and the little extra is a raspberry chip on top. The chips are so easy to make that you are going to start using other fruits. Mangoes, bananas, strawberries, etc… They are addictive!

It was time to tell mom how Herme did it and how I shamelessly copied him! All you need is a few glasses and an empty egg carton…Yes! An egg carton! Everytime you layer an element, set it at an angle in one empty egg slot, refrigerate until set. Layer the other element and set this one on an opposite angle, the top layer goes flat. When I read it I thought "and there you have why he is among the Masters in the world…duh!!" And my mom to exclaim in her usual fashion: "How cool! Let’s do it again!" I see her point, once you have the concept, the possibilities are endless! Granted the process takes a long time because of the setting periods of each layer but you can spread it over one cleaning and laundry day….or one lazy rainy afternoon.

Sensation Satine (concept adapted from The Sugar Daddy):

Makes 3 large servings (we split)

Mango Lime Gelee:
1 1/2 tsp gelatin
2 Tb water
1 cup mango nectar
1/4 cup sugar
zest and juice from 1 lime

Pour the water into a small container, sprinkle the gelatin over it and set aside. In small saucepan set over medium high, heat together the mango juice, the sugar and the zest and juice from the lime until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the stove, add the gelatin and stir until it is completely melted. Let cool to room temperature. Divide evenly among the glasses and position them at an angle in the egg carton. Let set a couple of hours in the fridge.

Honey Yogurt Gelee:
1 1/2 tsp gelatin
2 Tb water
1 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup honey

Pour the water into a small container, sprinkle the gelatin over it and set aside. In a small bowl, heat half the yogurt in the microwave for one minute. Microwave the gelatin for 15 seconds. Quickly mix the two together, add the rest of the yogurt and the honey. No need to let it cool, layer it on top of the mango layer and position it at the opposite angle in the egg carton. Refrigerate for a couple of hours.

Grapefruit Gelee:
1 1/2 tsp gelatin
2 Tb water
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup grapefruit juice

Same exact process as the mango layer. Let it cool to room temperature before using. Remove the glasses from the egg carton and divide evenly on the top of each glass. Refrigerate for a couple of hours.

Macerated Kumquats:
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
3 cardamom pods, crushed
1 cup kumquats, sliced

In a large saucepan heat to boiling the water, sugar and 3 crushed cardamom pods. Remove from the heat, and let infuse for 30 minutes. Strain the syrup into a bowl to remove the cardamom and add the sliced kumquats, leave to macerate for couple of hours or overnight.

Raspberry chips:
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries, (thawed and drained a little if you use frozen)
1/2 cup sugar

In a food processor puree the raspberries with the sugar until smooth. Line a baking sheet with parchement paper and with a spoon or a spatula, spoon small petals or chips.

Bake at 200F until dried and firm to the touch. They will firm up while cooling but get soft if refrigerated.

Last but not least: the winners from the Canneles drawing held this past weekend. I would like Megan from Megan’s Cooking and Paula who signed "anonymous" to email me their snail mail address at marinette1ATcomcastDOTnet so I can get these puppies out to them. Congratulations!!

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Emma January 31, 2008 um 4:12 am

How yummy does that look…I can’t wait to attempt it. My best friend and I always try to find THE hardest recipe, and this may be one of those

Jen Yu January 31, 2008 um 4:27 am

Brilliant and beautiful! What a delightful treat to share with your mother. She sounds so adorable πŸ™‚ I love your adaptation. Really wish I could dip a spoon into one right now! You are always such an inspiration.

Peabody January 31, 2008 um 5:38 am

It’s simply stunning! Yes, his stuff can be a little on the expensive side from time to time…him and Marcel.

Chez Us January 31, 2008 um 5:45 am

Congrats to you lucky winners of the Canneles – you will soon be in heaven! Guess, I better start looking for those molds! πŸ™‚ Have fun with your mom!

Unknown January 31, 2008 um 6:29 am

sounds like a great mum-daughter time. i wish my mum still is able to cook since she’d got stroke which was really sad and i wasn’t there. my time working together in the kitchen won’t be fun anymore. well, i guess she still is able to watch me cooking, but it’s not just the same when she can mix a mixture and i can lick the bowl hehehe… that looks delicious, helen!

Bron January 31, 2008 um 6:37 am

Wow, looks super! I’d love to sink my spoon into one too, such a neat idea with the egg carton.

Manggy January 31, 2008 um 7:01 am

That’s so pretty! (yes, I’m such a dude) I can only dream of eating a Pierre Herme original.

Pixie January 31, 2008 um 8:37 am

Looks amazing! I wish someone would make that for me one day, I fear trying it myself!

Anonymous January 31, 2008 um 9:41 am

It’s so graceful! Isn’t there a saying in France that it is human nature to want to eat that which we find beautiful?

JEP January 31, 2008 um 10:21 am

What a beautiful work of art!

Karen Baking Soda January 31, 2008 um 10:51 am

Stunning and sensational..
I was thinkin about a dessert for 10 which was this!
Any idea how long it would keep? Thanks!

Babeth January 31, 2008 um 10:54 am

You did a lovely job!
It’s art and cuisine.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) January 31, 2008 um 12:34 pm

I never would have figured out how you did this — thanks for the explanation and instructions. This is the definition of "wow factor".

Katia Mangham January 31, 2008 um 1:21 pm

Those are lovely! Your blog is always very inspiring. πŸ™‚

Veron January 31, 2008 um 3:11 pm

You did the Sugar daddy proud! Perfect rendition. All those layers look yummy!

Anonymous January 31, 2008 um 3:41 pm

Love it! πŸ™‚

Anita January 31, 2008 um 4:02 pm

What a wonderful take on his verrines – and you make it look so effortless!

Deborah January 31, 2008 um 4:18 pm

These are brilliant – and I love the flavors that you chose!

Julie January 31, 2008 um 4:36 pm

If the raspberry chips were the only things you blogged about, it would have been worth it–they’re fantastic! I didn’t know you could do that. I love the mango, greek honey yogurt and kumquats…what wonderful flavors!! I think adapting a complex or expensive recipe is even more ingenious than just following the directions straight up.

Katy January 31, 2008 um 4:38 pm

how cool!!!! i know what i am doing once my eggs are gone… thanks for sharing this!!!

Anonymous January 31, 2008 um 4:49 pm

I love Pierre Herme too and again, I love your photography. You are such an inspiration!

Mary January 31, 2008 um 6:54 pm

Those are really neat! I love visiting your site and seeing all the cool stuff you do.

Anonymous January 31, 2008 um 7:35 pm

Wow, how gorgeous! An incredible concept, executed flawlessly.

KayKat January 31, 2008 um 7:54 pm

Ooo … delicious! Don’t blame your mum, I would be jumping up’n’down too if I saw this! I’ll probably eat it all first before asking questions, though πŸ™‚

LizNoVeggieGirl January 31, 2008 um 9:06 pm

what a fun story – I love the Rubix cube part especially, haha. Sounds like you and your mom have a lot of memories together (as do my mom and I).

that sensation satine certainly is sensational-looking!! breathtaking!!

Anonymous January 31, 2008 um 9:10 pm

He he, did something sort of similar for WTSIM…but it didn’t turn out pretty. Your diagonal layering on the other hand is very pretty! The flavour combination sounds exitingly delicious.

Katie January 31, 2008 um 9:59 pm

Absolutely beautiful and I bet it was a joy to eat.

La cuisine des 3 soeurs January 31, 2008 um 10:32 pm

Fabulous, I saw this recipe in the news letter of Pierre HermΓ©. It seems too difficult for me. Your’s is very well indeed, it looks like the original.Please, excuse my english language.

Brilynn January 31, 2008 um 11:22 pm

That’s so much fun, I certainly want to give it a try!

MyKitchenInHalfCups February 1, 2008 um 12:28 am

I’m beyond words.
That looks incredible.
Do enjoy this girls visit with your mom.

glamah16 February 1, 2008 um 1:51 am

Im still trying to figure out the egg carton bit, but it looks great.One day perhaps I’ll have the guts and time to attempt. I do have to try those chips soon < however!

Cheryl February 1, 2008 um 2:07 am

You are so amazingly talented. So many elements you tackle and bring together in one beautiful creation.

Cynthia February 1, 2008 um 2:28 am

I love reading and discovering the tricks to making these presentations.

Kimberly Ann February 1, 2008 um 4:28 pm

So adorable, both the dessert and your mom!

aforkfulofspaghetti February 1, 2008 um 5:22 pm

Terrific. Beautiful presentation, as ever…

The Downtown Boutique February 1, 2008 um 7:02 pm

This looks SO fun and absolutely delicious!

Anonymous February 1, 2008 um 7:07 pm

While that looks very complicated, it seems the end result is more than worth it!

Randi February 1, 2008 um 7:38 pm

holy crap, genius! I just happen to have some macerated kumquats a friend brought back from greece. this looks incredible, i must make it.

Suzana February 1, 2008 um 8:09 pm

Awesome! Can’t stop looking at this marvelous presentation.

Cheryl February 1, 2008 um 11:14 pm

2 questions- what are kumquats called in French (I live in Lyon) and how do you convert the gelatin measurement to gelatine en feuilles? THANKS! This looks GORGEOUS.

Jaime February 2, 2008 um 2:32 am

oh wow! i love kumquats πŸ™‚

SteamyKitchen February 2, 2008 um 2:34 am

egg carton! who knew it was so easy??

Chris February 2, 2008 um 2:43 am

So fancy and elegant….I have never had kumquats before. They’re oneo of those foods I am nervous about trying…but haven’t a clue why.

Alejandra Ramos February 3, 2008 um 4:33 am

This looks so fun to do! I’m excited to try it out–perhaps with some chocolate pannacotta and raspberry for Valentines Day… You’re right! The possibilities are endless…

Anonymous February 3, 2008 um 5:28 am

I am sooo trying this!
Encore un dessert delicieux. Bien joue! πŸ™‚

Helene February 3, 2008 um 7:56 am

Cheryl: Kumquats have the same name in French and same pronounciation. For the gelatin: 2 sheets= 1 tsp= 7gr

food makes me happy February 3, 2008 um 8:10 am

A lot of work compare to a regular dessert,
But it surely looks fabulous and delicious!

Inne February 3, 2008 um 10:46 am

I love the name 'sensation satine', sounds absolutely moorish. Such a clever yet simple idea – I might even give gelatine another try. Enjoy your time with your mum, Helen!

Anonymous February 3, 2008 um 1:06 pm

Those looks absolutely amazing! Your desserts will forever be an inspiration.

Sara February 4, 2008 um 12:47 am

That is absolutely gorgeous! Beautiful presentation.

Big Boys Oven February 5, 2008 um 5:49 am

This is absolutely beautiful! Something I will hold on to them and never release, so I can have comfort eating them! lol

Amanda at Little Foodies February 5, 2008 um 11:13 am

They are absolutely stunning! Thanks for sharing. Love the idea of a raspberry chip/crisp.

Lis February 6, 2008 um 3:10 am

I get to see the raspberry chips! Yay!!!!


Parisbreakfasts March 12, 2008 um 6:55 pm

THIS is too sensational for words!
But I must tell you, you are wrong on one thing… I would guess that HERME would love the idea of JELL-O
There was a brief phase when all the NY pastry chefs were playing with JELLO..they loved it. Their customers sadly did not get it.
Any way another glorious post from Tartelette.
What P Herme cookbook DON’T you have?
I will bring it to you just to keep you abreast.
Oh that Veronica is one lucky gal.
I think I have to move..soon…south…

Zeitgeist August 2, 2008 um 4:37 pm

Never thought about the raspberry chips… but you have made the magics happen, again!

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