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Early drafts of the fruit theory posts have been slow going—and people have been bugging me for something they can use. So here’s a sample sorbet recipe, developed with strawberries, but which also works well with peaches (they have similar solids and sugars levels).  This will be the best sorbet you’ve ever had, if you use good fruit. I’m quite …

  We’ve been working on fruit flavors for several months now. It’s been a purée of trial and error, scientific research, computer analysis, discovery of new ingredients, and trips to the farmers’ market. Now that good fruit is finally showing up here in the northern hemisphere, we’re ready to share what we’ve learned.  Why so much wonkyness? Isn’t it supposed …

We’ve been serving you 21st century food with 1990s design and technology. No longer! We hope you enjoy our new look. The Underbelly blog is now hosted on our own server, with cleaner design and no ads. We’ve imported all the old content, including comments, so everything will be easy to find. You no longer need a Blogger account (or …

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I made another batch with the recipe from the last post, this time with Michel Cluizel Plantation Los Anconès chocolate, along with the Cluizel cocoa powder. This was an intense trip. I’ve always loved this chocolate, but never knew quite what to do with it, besides, of course, just eating it. It has an unusual and intense flavor profile, full …

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  Welcome to our second deep-dive into flavor. I’ve had more requests for chocolate than for all others put together, and I’m not surprised. Who doesn’t love it? And who hasn’t had problems with it? Chocolate’s up there with coffee when it comes to technical challenges, but it presents its own unique vexations.   Chocolate also resembles coffee in that …

  Farmland in Banga, Burundi. Photo by Christine Vaufrey. From dailycoffeenews.com The coffee ice cream method described in the previous post has been so successful at preserving the origin character of coffee that it’s turned into a minor fetish. I can’t stop making batches with different coffees, and eating them, which is getting me into some trouble with my girlfriend, …

Welcome to the first post that focusses on a single flavor. We’re starting with coffee, not because it’s simple—it’s maybe the most complex flavor we’ll have the pleasure of disecting. We’re going to take on this complexity because coffee flavor illustrates so many principles, and because there’s a mountain of high quality research already available, at least with regards to …

  Easier…   Earlier in this blog series I suggested that good texture was easier for industrial ice cream manufacturers, but that good flavor was easier for the home or pastry cook. This is because some of the tools that promote the finest texture—high-pressure homogenizers, high-end ice cream and gelato machines that can freeze the mix in mere minutes, blast …

  Scanning electron micrograph of ice crystals This post is addendum to the post on How To Build a Recipe, and the post on Sugars. I want to clarify the importance of solids—which is really a reflection of the importance of water. These are key ideas—if you master them, you will be well on your way to texture Ninjahood.   …