February 4th, 2009


Mango & Blackcurrant Espuma

Who would have thought that the old-fashioned Cream Whipper would have become fashionable again? Squirty cream had been at the forefront of Gastronomy during the 60’s and 70’s. They then fell into decline until some clever person has decided to dust them off and bring them back in to the professional kitchen. Today I cannot think of one restaurant in Britain and abroad that would not use several of these little wonders for either soups, amuse bouche, desserts, garnishing starters and mains. They are just as popular behind the bar; making some weird and wonderful cocktail creations.

A fact is that if you aerate  inside the contents the flavour will intensify; the other beauty is that the gas expands the contents and you get more volume than you bargained for. The liquid comes out in a foam form, and ‘espuma’ is the Spanish word for foam. The chefs in the El Bulli camp have been using the cream whipper for lots of exciting experiments and therefore chefs in the profession like to call the foams espuma.

Make sure that you choose the cream whipper to suit your needs. I have also used this cream whipper for other recipes such as the Aerated Hot Chocolate drink . I urge you to have fun and give it a go. Please follow the guide lines outlined in this recipe, as this will prevent you from making the same costly mistakes that I did when I first started out playing with the cream whipper. Most importantly have loads of fun. I have used the mango and blackcurrant espuma to put the funk into breakfast by creating a funky bircher meusli recipe.

  • 250ml Fruit puree of your choice
  • 1 leaf of gelatine

This recipe is easy to make but be wary of the potential pitfalls. Follow these guide lines for success. Ensure that you use 100% fruit puree, smooth with no seeds. The seeds will block the cream whipper and you might need to throw it away. Do not use vanilla seeds as these will also block the cream whipper .  Taste the fruits, if you need to add sugar use icing sugar. Most importantly pass the puree through a fine sieve.

Soak  and dissolve the gelatine in cold water. Add the dissolved gelatine to the puree, gently heat to incorporate, do not boil the puree. Pass the puree through a fine sieve and pour into the clean cream whipper.

Let the puree cool completely, place the lid on tightly and charge with 2 x gas charges. Shake vigorously and let the fruit espuma rest for about 1 hour in a fridge.

Once you are ready to use the espuma, shake the cream whipper vigorously and press the trigger to squirt the fruit foam out of the cream whipper.

Food Fanatics Tips

Using a cream whipper:

Never overfill a cream whipper. If you are using a 1 litre whipper only fill with 750ml of liquid. For a 500ml whipper only fill with 375ml of liquid as the gas needs space to work its magic.

Espuma facts:
  • The liquid or puree must be thick to hold its shape. For the foam to hold its shape for a period of time there must be some form of thickening or gelling agent present in the liquid.
  • For hot foam the best thickeners are fat or starch; this could be found in butter, cream or milk. It’s also important to make sure that the liquid is not too hot the perfect temperature is no higher than 65°C and no lower than 50°C. Place the cream whipper in a bain-marie filled with hot water; keep for no longer than 2 hours.
  • Cold foams also require fat to stabilise the shape but if you make dairy free foam you can use gelatine alongside a thick liquid, to stabilise the foam. All depends on what it is that you are making but I normally use 1 leaf of gelatine to 250ml of thick liquid. If your choice is dairy you can add fat by adding yoghurt, crème fraîche or cream.
  • There are two different gasses available to charge the cream whipper . Standard gas bulbs that will give you the foaming characteristics are Nitrous oxide (N2o) .
  • Carbon Dioxide (Co2) is also available and will give the liquid a fizzy texture commonly found in fizzy drinks. Select your gas carefully to give you the desired end result. If you would like to experiment with making fizzy soda drinks I recommend that you should investigate the Soda Syphons bottles.

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4 Comments to “Mango & Blackcurrant Espuma”

  1. Anton says:

    Hi thanks for making such a usefull blog!
    I made once a crema catalana foam using the Soda gas cartridges, and the final product had a fuzzy taste to it that i didnt like it. Here in Japan , i cannot get hold of the CO2 gas carts which i think will not leave that fuzzyness to the crema catalana espuma.
    Please if you have tryed both gases could you tell me your opinion?

  2. joeneke says:

    Would the isi also work on lemon curd or is the butter content too high?

  3. Madalene says:

    Hi Maureen

    I have never tried to put lemon curd through a Isi gun so it maybe a little trial and error. The butter is not a problem it is just getting the curd to the right consistency I would let it down with double cream until coating consistency if the mixture is too thick it will not work. I would charge it with two gas pellets if you have a 1ltr Isi

    Good luck and many thanks

  4. Derrick says:

    I am glad to find another blog dealing with molecular gastronomy.

    I had a couple questions about Espuma,

    I have found some recipes which use soy lecithin as a stabilizing agent even without the aid of gelatin. Have you tried using soy lecithin?

    According to Herve This, any device capable of injecting Co2 can be used to make foam (he even sugests a bike pump!), have you xpermented with any “alternitive” methods?

    Hi Derrick,

    How interesting!

    Yes I have used soy lecithin to aerate and create volume when making foamy soups. You do not need gelatine to help with the aeration however you must ensure the fat contents, heat and thickness of your liquid is correct to make the lecithin work. I suggest you to read McGee on Food & Cooking – Harold McGee. Another chef hot on these topics are john Campbell.

    I have not used bike pumps but it seriously make sense.
    I have used a vacuum packing machine to make aero chocolates before, melted the chocolate flavored with mint poured into moulds and then let it cool to near setting point then placed it in the vacuum packing machine and did it on hard vacuum let the chocolate bubble and just before the machine suck the air out I turned it off completely let the chocolate set end open and remove, taste just like a aero mint chocolate bar! Great fun.
    I guess the bike pump does a similar thing however you will pump normal air into the food.

    Have a go and have some fun!



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