Bitter bon bons

Bitter bon bons

By
From
Marque
Makes
40-50
Photographer
Stuart Scott

Cornstarch moulding is a technique as old as the hills and was mostly used for making liquor chocolates. We made it ours by using bitter liquors in the centre with the idea that the bitter digestive properties would make a refreshing and surprising endpoint. The sugar cage is very delicate and is the only thing that comes with an instruction at Marque: ‘Pop it into your mouth and don’t squeeze’. This is about as effective as ‘Wet paint. Don’t touch.’

Ingredients

Method

  1. Begin this recipe three days in advance. Preheat the oven to 100°C. Place 2 kilograms cornflour in a deep roasting tin and dry out in the oven for two days, whisking every few hours. The cornflour should contain no moisture by the end of the process.
  2. Combine 300 grams caster sugar and 80 millilitres water in a small saucepan and cook to 117°C. Pour 100 millilitres bitter liquor, such as Amaro, Cynar, Gentian or Campari, into a saucepan the same size. Once the sugar has reached 117°C, pour in the bitters. Pour the mixture from saucepan to saucepan six times to cool down the mixture. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature and thicken.
  3. Remove the cornflour from the oven and whisk to remove any lumps. Scoop out about 1 cup cornflour and reserve. Lightly tap the tin on the workbench to produce a smooth surface on the cornflour. Using the rounded end of a cream charger make holes in the cornflour 1 centimetre deep, producing small hemispherical holes. Make the holes in rows and space them 2 centimetres apart from each other. Take care to ensure the holes in the cornflour are smooth and of uniform size.
  4. Preheat the oven to 60°C. Put the sugar syrup mixture into a syringe or a squeeze bottle and fill each hole with the syrup. Place the reserved cornflour in a sieve and dust over the tops of all the bon bons so they are evenly covered and no longer visible. Carefully move the tin into the oven and cook for 2 hours. Remove the tin from the oven and leave at room temperature for 24 hours without moving it. Carefully remove the bon bons from the cornflour and store in airtight containers under a thin layer of cornflour to protect them.
  5. To serve, use a clean, dry pastry brush to dust off the excess cornflour from the bon bons, taking care not to break them. Then use another brush, dipped in a small amount of oil, to polish the bon bons so they shine. Store the polished bon bons sitting on top of an absorbent cloth (this will protect them from damage).
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