Nostalgic for the caramel popcorn he loved as a kid, Achatz captures the flavor in the brilliant warm dessert drink he serves at Alinea. It has two parts: a rich, buttery popcorn broth and a frothy, light caramel topping.
Amazing Corn Recipes
Recipe from Food & Wine Best New Chefs All-Star Cookbook
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons soy lecithin powder (see Note)
2 tablespoons canola oil
1⁄2 cup popping corn
2 teaspoons kosher salt
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
How to Make It
Step 1 make the caramel froth
In a small saucepan, combine 2 tablespoons of the sugar with 2 tablespoons of water and simmer the syrup over moderate heat just until the sugar has dissolved.
In another small saucepan, combine the remaining 1 cup of sugar with 1⁄2 cup of water and simmer over moderate heat, without stirring, until an amber caramel forms (340° on a candy thermometer), about 15 minutes. Immediately add 1/3 cup of water and the sugar syrup; be careful, as the caramel mixture will bubble and splatter. Whisk until smooth, then transfer the caramel syrup to a medium bowl and let stand for 30 minutes.
Step 3 meanwhile, make the popcorn broth
In a large, heavy saucepan, heat the canola oil until just smoking. Add the popping corn, cover and cook over moderately high heat, shaking the pan constantly, until the kernels have stopped popping, 2 to 3 minutes.
In another large saucepan, combine the popcorn with the salt, butter, sugar and 31⁄2 cups of water. Bring to a simmer and cook over moderate heat for 5 minutes. Strain the broth through a fine sieve into a bowl, pressing on the popcorn until only the kernels remain; discard the kernels.
Transfer the popcorn broth to a blender and blend until frothy, about 3 minutes. Add the lecithin powder to the caramel syrup and blend with an immersion blender until frothy.
Pour the warm popcorn broth into small glasses, filling them halfway (about 1⁄4 cup each). Spoon some of the caramel froth on top and serve.
The popcorn broth can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Reheat and froth in the blender just before serving.
Soy lecithin powder is available at health-food stores and online at amazon.com.
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