Experiments in Molecular Gastronomy #1 - Apple Agar Strips


A few weeks ago I tried some delicious vegetarian caviar. Beautiful - but expensive. I began to wonder how hard it would be to make my own flavour pearls.

Well, all good experiments start by buying a beginners' kit.

A selection of powders and syringes

Before attempting basic "spherification", I decided to attempt something much more simple. Agar-Agar veggie strips.

  • 400g Apple Juice
  • 100g Caster Sugar
  • 7g Agar-Agar Powder

The Agar-Agar needs to reach around 90℃ in order to fully dissolve. So mix the ingredients together in a pan and bring to the boil while whisking. Simmer for 3 minutes (keep whisking).

I then decanted the mixture into some plastic takeaway containers and left to cool. But the time it had reached room temperature, it was solid and easy to cut into strips.

Apple Agar Agar strips

It was much stiffer than jelly - and surprisingly brittle. It tasted great - the Agar leaves no flavour, so it was like eating solid apple juice. It paired perfectly with strong cheese.

Apple Agar Agar with cheese

Experiment #1 a complete success! But there's still room for improvement.

  1. This was just regular apple juice from concentrate. I wonder if the acidity of freshly squeezed juice will negatively affect the process?
  2. One fifth of this is sugar! Is that necessary?
  3. I poured it quite thickly into the containers. Would a thinner layer be easier to roll and do something interesting with?
  4. Flat sheets are booooooring! What other shapes would work?
  5. Would savoury flavours work as well? Perhaps something spicy?

Onwards!

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