Saturday, November 15, 2014

Searzall the Sweets

I'm always inspired by new techniques to achieve delicious results. So when Dave Arnold of Cooking Issues posted a Kickstarter on the Searzall, I backed it immediately.

Searzall Flame On!

What is a Searzall? For industry folks, it's a torch attachment that diffuses the flame to eliminate off flavors, AKA torch taste. Primarily used to finish sous vide and low temperature cooked meats. For adventurous home cooks out there, an Eater article has described it as a hand-held broiler. All in all, it's portable intense heat on demand for searing anything to your heart's desire.

I didn't plan ahead when the unit arrived so there wasn't any meat ready for the treatment. Of course I couldn't wait to get it fired up. That left me thinking about what would benefit from applying crazy heat to? Sugar was the answer.

Searzall Candied Fennel
I happened to have some candied fennel kicking around. The caramelization added a level of complexity that was pleasant. It was good but not amazing.

Searzall Malted Milk Powdered Baby Corn
Inspired by elote and grilled corn, I dusted baby corn with malted milk powder. The seared malted milk powder was freaking delicious. Not to mention the roasted corn aroma.

Searzall Malted Milk Powdered Caramel Apple
After testing a caramel apple recipe, it got the malted milk powder treatment. Ridiculously good.

Caramelized Malted Milk Powered Gingerbread

With that method under my belt, it was waiting for a dessert application. Recently, I was coring out centers of cut gingerbread squares for filling and had the light bulb moment. The caramelized malted milk gingerbread nugget was born. It's a flavor and texture extravaganza. A description wouldn't do it justice. You'll have to wait until it's on the Mei Mei Street Kitchen menu again or buy a Searzall and try it yourself.

The Process
Warning: Before you use a Searzall, please be sure to read and follow all the instructions provided especially those relating to safety. It's a wonderful piece of equipment, but can be dangerous if used improperly.

  • Dust small rounds of cake with malted milk powder. In fact, this will likely work with anything that has a cake-like structure and anything with sugar in a dust or fine granule form.
  • Set up a wire cooling rack over a sheet pan on a surface that can handle the heat.
  • Set parchment paper on another sheet pan for the finished pieces.
  • Place one of the rounds on the wire rack on its side.
  • Light up the Searzall.
  • Move the head of the Searzall back and forth over the cake until the milk powder caramelizes. Bank on incinerating one or two to figure out the optimal height and duration of exposure.
  • Rotate the round and repeat the process until all sides are caramelized. You should use a spoon or tool to push the cake around so you don't burn your fingers like I did.
  • Place the round of cake on each end to finish the ends.
  • Place the finished piece on its side and allow it to cool. 
  • Cycle through the remaining pieces until you're done.
  • Suggest eating them with a fine drizzle of smoked dulce de leche on top.

Pre Searzall Malted Milk Powdered Gingerbread

Post Searzall Malted Milk Powdered Gingerbread

For more details on how the Searzall works, check out the Booker and Dax Lab YouTube channel. The Searzall has a ton of potential and I'm looking forward to seeing all the applications folks come up with.

As always, I hope this idea inspires you to create and keep the ideas bouncing.

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