Okay…this is ‘high end’ for sure…but still very affordable. If you have an espresso machine, no matter how basic, this is GREAT… hell…even with simple coffee reduced a little bit more, this will be great!
Okay, the basics:
Isomalt (you can use regular sugar turned into sugar glass, but Isomalt keeps the glycemic rating down…) You’ll want that given the amount of sugar involved!
Espresso (3 servings, reduced by evaporation/heat to 2 servings), then go by instruction (0.5% of weight of Sodium Alginate to espresso…though I found 0.7% better). To evaporate, as the espresso is made, put into a pot, and boil off 1/3 of what you put in. Not doing this is fine, but this gives a more concentrated flavour, since there’s very little ‘caviar’ in the final mix!
Drop this using a pipette or small syringe into a bath of Calcium Chloride, following instructions on it as well…About 1 tsp/750ml or so… at least, that what my math worked out to…but… I’m not a math wiz!
Caramel powder (use milk instead of cream at the same ratio, to a dry point, then blend). Using milk (instead of cream and butter) leaves a VERY different caramel. It’s not even really caramel…but I don’t know what it is! But DAMN is it good! Tastes like caramel, and is dry to the point you can blend it to powder!
Using isomalt makes it a LOT less sugary… it’s less sweet than using regular sugar, but that shows off a bit more of the bitterness of the espresso, and enhances the sweetness of the caramel powder.
‘RECIPE’ IS FOR 100 ‘CUPS’ … each ‘cup’ is a small silicon mold…
Cook the 3 cups of isomalt, time depends on heat, it will stall at times as water cooks out… (212F, 255F, and 300F in my case) use a candy thermometer to get to 333F. At 333F, shock in bath of cold water in sink, as cold as the tap water can get is fine. DON’T GET WATER IN THE SOLUTION…YOU WILL NEED 911 IF YOU DO! After hissing stops, put into steel server, or pyrex measuring cup. Do this over the counter! Place in 300F oven for 15 minutes to let bubbles to settle. USE heat gloves now… I shouldn’t need to tell you this, but this is VERY hot! Place the amount you need in the cups so that your can spread them up the sides. Don’t fill them full! Usually, on the first pour, your can get 8 shells, then 4 (as they cool down, then 2 and 2 before it needs to be reheated for 10 – 15 minutes). Once the sugar is in the mold (after each ‘step’ the 8, 4, 2 and 2), use a spoon to spread it up the sides to create the bowl. After the 16 created here, discard the spoon, and add the hardened sugar back to the mix at the end of the next batch of cups.
You can make the ‘caviar’ while the cups are cooling, make the cups faster by putting it in the fridge… Don’t forget to put the isomalt container back in the oven!
If you try this, I can say you won’t get it on the first try…and there’s nothing wrong with that… This is science, and cooking, which is a science of itself! Experiment, try, fail, learn, try again… that’s how this all started! The only failure you can do, is not to learn and try again! That’s how I found that .7% of Alginate worked better than .5%… could be my elevation, or the minerals in the water! This is a precise thing, and MINIMAL changes…changes everything!
NOTE: Once the three pieces are together, they only last about 10 – 15 minutes!
Cups and powder will last a while, but only add the espresso caviar when ready to serve! Otherwise the liquid in them will melt the other ingredients!
Let me know if you have questions! I am by NO MEANS an expert in this…but I love to learn, and even looking into questions you have gives me knowledge!