Beating blood - as you would egg whites?
I know, I know. This sounds pretty left field, and borderline ridiculous. Thing is, I got my hands on some fresh pigs blood to make Blutnudeln (pasta rolled with blood in the dough), and with the leftover blood, I just sort of got thinking. Egg whites are mainly water-soluble proteins, right? And blood is also mostly protein by weight, with no real fat to interfere in the foaming process.
I'm going to give it a shot within the next few days, purely as an experimental idea. What about a swirled mixture of a sweet meringue (from egg whites), and whipped, seasoned blood that has been swirled in gently and baked, creating some sort of a pavlolva-inspired dish that is both sweet and salty, with visual separation of red and white?
Forgive me if this just sounds ridiculous, but I couldn't keep my mind away from the idea, until I actually give it a shot in the next few days. First things first, however - will the protein-based liquid (blood) behave at all similarly to the protein-based egg white?
Doubt you can whip the blood as you do egg whites. Most albumins (proteins) will be in the blood serum which only makes up a fraction of the blood. Apart from the amount of protein, egg whites contain different albumins than blood.
I imagine blood will get frothy and potentially curdle but you won't get stiff peaks. If however you employ some molecular gastronomy tools you might get where you want to go.
How are you holding the pigs blood? My understanding is that it does not keep long. A few days, then baked into meringue (assuming it works) would worry me a bit.
A friend made sausages a couple of summers ago, and was super careful with the blood. She really stressed to me how quickly it can turn.
(For the blutnudeln, which was my first foray into blood cuisine, check out the recipe I followed here: http://honest-food.net/2011/02/28/the...)
Update on the blood beating:
So, I tried to beat about a 1/3rd cup of thawed blood in my trusty KA stand mixer. First low speed, then medium, then a bit faster. I don't think there was enough volume in blood for the whip attachment to really do anything. Since I had used up all my other blood by congealing it for congee, I decided to add two large egg whites to it.
I beat the egg white / blood mixture as I would for a meringue. I slowly added the following (rough estimate on amounts):
- 1 tsp malt vinegar
- 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
-1/3rd cup icing sugar
- 1 tsp molasses
I thought the molasses would pair well with the "mineraly-ness" of the blood flavour.
Anyways, I beat that guy into stiff peaks, and the result was a rose-coloured meringue that spread beautifully into a circular pavlova. It's in the oven now (overnight).
If anyone is interested, I'll post a picture and some updates when I get to sample the taste of this thing. I'm very interested.
One question remains - does this give any insight into whether or not blood can be beaten? I'd like to think so, since 2 egg whites combined with 1/3rd cup of blood still managed to form stiff peaks, like a meringue. The proteins in the blood must have helped a bit in the meringue formation, since I really don't think that adding 1/3rd cup of water (aka a liquid without useful proteins) would allow for a meringue formation like this. I'm not entirely sure either way, though...
No pictures, unfortunately, but here's a few conclusions regarding the whole thing.
Baking: Due to the extra moisture in the blood, this took MUCH longer to bake. I also don't think I added enough sugar to stabilize it. As a result, it deflated overnight. The small "forgotten cookie" that I baked alongside it was nice and crispy, however.
Taste: The taste was different, but still quite enjoyable. Initially the sweetness comes through, but as it dissolves in your mouth, you are left with a bit of a heaviness from the minerals in the blood. I made a quick custard mixed with cranberry chutney, and the combination of the custard and (deflated) pavlova was excellent.
Overall, I think that there is some promise in balancing the unique deep flavour of blood with sugars, and I think that some smaller sized pavlova meringues would definitely be worthwhile again. I think it was shown that blood can indeed be beaten, or, at least, it doesn't negatively impact egg white peaks too much (since the smaller cookie I made formed a shell and a crisp just fine). Now, to sample these semi-failed meringues on others, to verify that my taste buds aren't just convincing me I didn't waste hours in the kitchen on a complete failure!...
October 2011 Update!
I'm exploring this concept again. If anyone has any advice, I'd like to hear it.
~3:2 Blood:Egg Whites, stabilized with cream of tartar
~Going to add a hint of molasses again, a bit of vanilla extract, sugar, and a smidge of corn starch
I plan on baking these into meringue shells, maybe in little aluminum tins (~2 inch diameter)
Once these bake out to bone dry, they will get filled with a custard or a whipped cream (thoughts? what would you prefer?)
The fat-based filling has to complement a deep flavour that might be provided by the meringue shell, but not completely overpower it. I was thinking a fruit, like cherry. Maybe cranberry, actually, since we're sort of in the season.
I'd love some thoughts on this. I really believe that there is something real to this, but it does need some accompanying ingredients to round the flavour out. The blood cannot just be a gimmick ingredient, as I'd like to sample this at an amateur food festival of adventurous people, and it'd be selling them short to tout a gimmicky product.
Thanks everyone - I'll keep this updated! Advice/suggestions welcome...
For a bit of short term closure, I'll say that I baked out some meringue shells of various strengths of blood, and I tested them using a vanilla custard and a berry whipped cream. Both were pleasant, but they walked a fine line between being absent with blood flavour, or too strong with a bit of "something". I think that I found a point where there was a really fun flavour that makes you think, so to speak.
I've decided not to pursue selling these at a food festival just yet, but the experiment was very interesting, nonetheless...
Just wanted to let you know, I worked in Mugaritz (3rd best restaurant in the world) last year and I keep myself updated on their cuisine. One of their new signature dishes for 2012 is a blood macaron, and the idea is very similar to your post in 2011. They say (I haven't confirmed this) that they only whip the pigs blood and it mounts just like egg white because of the similar protein structure. Here's a link to a video they made promoting the dish - http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=... , Like I said I was there in 2011, and I know how they work, they have a large team online constantly searching for ideas and it wouldn't surprise me if they got the idea from your very post, they then have their own laboratory to perfect it. They would never admit that though, but the timeline regarding your post is quite a coincidence. Maybe you could shed some light on how you came up with the idea...