Located in the posh Roppongi area of Tokyo is RyuGin which was given a three star rating by Michelin earlier this year, and was ranked the 22nd best restaurant in the world by S.Pelligrino and Acqua Panna. Part of the reason for these accolades is the artistic vision of head chef Seiji Yamamoto who enjoys pushing the boundaries of Japanese cuisine.
One example is the dessert seen above, the Ichigo Ame 2011 -196℃ to 99℃. It consists of a strawberry sherbert forged at ultra-low temperatures encased in a strawberry candy coating and served with a hot strawberry sauce. Sounds fantastic doesn’t it?
Of course, going to one of the top restaurants in the world doesn’t come cheap, making the Ichigo Ame out of most of our price range. Luckily, RyuGin had uploaded a reference video to YouTube, so that we can all learn how to make it. Join us as we take you through the process to make this unbelievably sophisticated dessert.
The full video can be seen above. However, it’s about eight minutes long. If you’d like to go the quicker route we offer a blow by blow account below, presented by yours truly. I’ve been known to bake a batch or two of muffins in my day so this should be a walk in the park.
Hands washed? Alright, let’s get cooking!
First get a bunch of strawberries. Then, not being satisfied with the number of strawberries you have, place just one more on top of the pile.
Now you’re ready. Cut the tops off of each strawberry and then cut them into eighths. Put the pieces into a bowl and let them sit for two hours as the sugar dissolves into the strawberry juice.
Next, simmer the strawberries over low heat until you get a thick sauce-like texture. Pour it into a bowl and set aside for later.
Hope you didn’t throw away those strawberry tops! You’re going to need them now. First put them in some boiling water. Remove shortly after and let them dry. Then dip them in some strawberry liqueur and leave to dry again. Once you got that, sprinkle some… um, sugar onto them and them put them in a dehydrator for six hours.
Pretty easy so far, right? Okay, now we need to take some more strawberries and slice them up. Then put them in a bag with a liberal amount of sugar sprinkled on top. After vacuum sealing the bag let it soak in hot water for 10 minutes. Right after that, dunk it into some ice water.
Once the strawberries are chilled put them into a blender along with some cream of some sort. Then add some other kind of creamy stuff because there wasn’t enough. Finally, be sure to add yet another kind of cream… a yellowy kind.
Oh yeah, don’t forget to put in the plastic bag the strawberries were in too!
Once blended, pour the strawberry cream into a strainer sitting atop a glass bowl submerged in ice water.
Then pour the strained cream into…
Be sure to soak that thing in some ice water… because we all know what happens if you forget to do that. Am I right? Yeah…
While that’s chilling, it’s time to get out your liquid nitrogen and start pre-freezing a bowl to about -200℃.
When everything’s ready, just use that thingy to shoot the strawberry stuff into the really cold bowl, like so.
Surprisingly… I mean, as you’d expect, a fluffy kind of strawberry cottage cheese is produced which we will put into a little mixing doodad to make it into a fine powder. Once that’s done, mix in three tablespoons of cereal.
By this time you should have gotten all of these… things… prepared. First put the red stuff with some yellowy and black things into a bowl, and just go ahead and add a bit of that white stuff in the bottle. Finally add water and whisk thoroughly.
Then, take those other bowls of white powdery stuff and dump into a pot. Next cover it with the red stuff you just whipped up. Bring it all to a boil at about 163℃.
Now its time to break out the old Exopat Matfer and aluminum rectangle. Pour the candy strawberry mixture into the metal frame and sprinkle some stuff on it. Once it firms up a little bit roll it into a shape about the size of a Japanese rat snake. Then cut into two-inch segments.
Take four of those segments and melt them together under a heat lamp… kind of rendering the previous step pointless. Once melted then pull a two inch segment and cut off from the rest thus, restoring the purpose of two steps ago. You see, by rejustifying that step extra flavor is added to the candy. Knead that piece of candy well to make sure it’s of even density.
Once it’s soft and malleable, place it over a metal tube connected to an air pump. Then gently deliver air into the candy causing it to expand. While doing this, use your hand to squeeze it gently into a strawberry shape.
When you’re ready fire up the old blow torch to melt the end of the strawberry off of the metal tube.
Don’t put away your blow torch just yet! Now, get your hamster branding iron and heat it up real good.
Sorry, there will be no hamster branding today. Instead, you’re going to use the rod to cut through the part of the strawberry that sticks out.
Then using a really cold funnel and spoon, pour the ultra-frozen strawberry sherbert powder into the candy strawberry.
Cover up the opening with… oh I don’t know, let’s say ketchup?
Use that to seal on the dried strawberry top from before.
Et voila! Easy-peasy!
Pretty isn’t it? It took some time but it was worth it to see this shining and sweet red jewel.
Okay, now you’re going to want to go ahead and smash that up with a spoon.
Finally, top with the strawberry sauce you made before and serve.
So easy it makes you wonder how these restaurants get away with charging such high prices. Still, if you’re not confident with your skills in that kitchen or handling liquid nitrogen and you have the money to spare, why not make a reservation at RyuGin?
This dessert is a part of their Gastronomy Menu which costs 23,100 yen (US$230) per head. However, this Ichigo Ame was from 2011. RyuGin’s original -196℃ to 99℃ series of desserts changes depending on the seasonal fruit, so you may wind up with peach or grape candy depending when you go.
1st Floor, 7-17-24 Roppongi
Minato, Tokyo 106 0032
+81 3 3423 8006
6pm to 1am
Holidays: Every Sunday and National Holidays, Few dates during year end to new years