Hate it or love it (and for better or worse), you have to admit that foam is here to stay.
I tend to want to view foam as derivitive, as something Ferran Adria was doing ages ago. But by using any amount of logic I’d have to view everything I make as derivitive (afterall, hasn’t pate, duck confit, et al been made for a few centuries, at least?).
I’ve also been served foams that were pretty worthwhile and memorable – the horseradish foam at Charlie Trotter’s a year ago comes to mind.
So my first introduction to making foam was this weekend in the form of a “cappuccino” that was done by Michel Richard whici can be found in How to Cook Everything: Bittman Takes on America’s Chefs by Mark Bittman (this is actually the companion book to the very excellent PBS series of the same name).
The idea is really quite simple and brilliant – brew espresso, add sugar, a little rum and some gelatin and whip to form foam. Spoon the foam into a glass or cup and put some whipped cream on top of this with some chocolate shavings.
The gelatin gives the whole thing enough protein to be able to create a foam, plus it stabilizes it so that the foam doesn’t disappear too quickly.
The end product is a dessert nearly as light as air and one that simply dissolves in your mouth which is not totally dissimilar to cotton candy.
The other cool thing is that Richard has fucked around with the notion of what a cappuccino is and in the strictest sense is still what it claims to be.