Swedish-born Emma Bengtsson learned to cook in her grandmother's kitchen and discovered her love of pastry working at Edsbacka Krog — the only Michelin two-star restaurant in Sweden at that time. At Aquavit, she quickly became known for her creative interpretations of classic Scandinavian desserts. She anchors this dessert with onion cream, covers the cream with a "soil" of roughly chopped hazelnuts and onions that resemble pebbles and bark. Next she artfully arranges beets, beet tops (so nothing goes to waste), black and green cress and sorrel around quenelled Goat Cheese Sorbet.
Recipe courtesy Chef EMMA BENGTSSON, Executive Chef / Owner - Aquavit
Goat milk sorbet
1. Mix sugar and stabilizer together.
2. Add the water, milk and trimoline to a pot.
3. Wisk in the sugar mixture.
4. Let it boil for about 3 minutes, turn off the flame and place aside for further use.
5. Take the milk mixture that you have, still hot and gradually add to a Vitamix with the goat cheese and mix until smooth even consistency.
6. Add the bloomed gelatin sheets to the hot cheese, cream mixture. Blend until well combined.
7. Cool the mixture in an inverted ice bath. Constantly whisking to allow the hot air to escape. Once the mixture has reached an approximate room temperature, spin in the ice cream machine.
8. Place the ice cream in the freezer and let until hard.
9. Dust lightly in beet powder when ready to serve.
1. Thinly slice onions, and sauté in a large pan until golden brown and soft.
2. Add sherry and vinegar to pan with onions.
3. Cook until al sec.
4. Season with salt and Blend in Vitamix until smooth.
5. Add a pinch of xanthan gum to improve texture. The xanthan gum will unify the water molecules within the onion purée mixture, not allowing them to separate and providing an evenly smooth texture and shine.
1. Toss hazelnuts, with skin still on, in hazelnut oil to ensure an even coating, then spread on parchment-lined sheet tray and bake at 290ºF until golden.
2. Cut 10 white onions in 1-inch thick slices and grill to char on both sides. Alternatively, you can slice the onions and place on a well-oiled sheet tray lined with parchment or tin foil in the oven at 300ºF for 15 minutes until color is dark black and charred.
3. Dehydrate charred onion slices until completely dry the following day.
4. Roughly chop hazelnuts and onions to resemble pebbles and bark. Alternatively, place hazelnuts and onions into a robot coup and using the pulse setting, continue to do so until texture resembles soil.
5. Combine hazelnuts and onion with milk solids in a small bowl, with your hands wearing gloves.
6. Incorporate leek ash, salt, and pepper until the color is black, mimicking dirt, or soil.
1. Cut off the tops to the baby beets and wash in cold water. Save the tops. The smaller pieces will be used as garnish.
2. In a large, deep soup pot place the beets with a generous amount of salt and fill with hot water. Cover and allow to boil until beets are tender.
3. Once beets are cooked, drain water and peel off skins and cut down the beet to ensure an even level when standing up. Do so carefully so as to not rip off the “tail”.
4. On a parchment-lined sheet tray, place all the beets standing up to try and leave out on the BQN rack.
5. Once beets have dried, take a half deep hotel pan filled with hay and one smoking brick and place all inside the smoker. Smoke beets for a minimum of one hour and let beets rest.
1. Slice one red beet and one rainbow beet as thinly as possible.
2. With the given mold, either round or tear drop shaped, cut out size. Trim down if necessary.
3. Place both crudités separate in two pint sized containers filled with ice water. Ensure that the candy cane beet cut outs are in water that contains Ascorbic Acid, to prevent erosion.
1. Make one smooth half dollar sized squeeze of onion cream at the 2 o’clock mark of the plate.
2. Cover cream with the soil, make sure it looks organic and not too well kept.
3. Take three beets, all of different size, making sure to have at least one rather large sized one, if too large you can cut the biggest beet down the middle.
4. Coat the beets in the hazelnut oil and salt. Assemble on the plate.
5. Garnish plate with the small beet tops, black and green cress, and sorrel.
6. Two cut outs of beet crudité and one of candy cane beet crudité.
7. At the fire margin, quenelle the goat cheese sorbet and gently dust with beet powder to one side, exposing both the white and deep red on the plate.
8. Finish with a drizzle of thyme oil.