Having sworn off from ever making terrines again after this attempt, I turned around and subsequently saw this recipe on the French Fridays with Dorie cooking list - Citrus Berry Terrine. Great. Not that I dislike eating terrines per se, in fact I could quite easily indulge my sugar addiction with decadent terrines like this chocolate one, made by Mardi of Eat Live Travel Write blog. I'm just not a big fan of the ones fixed in place with gelling agents. I simply don't get the concept of suspending the freshest seasonal ingredients in gelatine or agar, only to be sliced afterwards so we can admire its colors and layers from a cross-sectional view. Could someone explain to me what the fixation with that is, please?
Anyway, I decided to give terrines another go, because I'm open-minded enough like that. With this recipe being a sweet, fruity terrine, it might have a chance at chipping away at my reservations. Instead of going the whole shebang with a standard-sized one though, I was inspired by the individually portioned terrines served up at some fancy restaurant, some place abroad, a long, long time ago. If that sounds vague to you, my memory is even blurrier on the details of that terrine. What I know for sure is that it was dainty, pretty and inviting. And that was before it was even sliced into.
Wanting to stick with the citrus-berry theme of this week's recipe, I used our local oranges called Labi oranges and blackberries. The Labi oranges have a thin, green skin with very minimal pith and the orange segments are orange in color similar to regular oranges. Notice that I used the word 'orange' 4 times in that last sentence and it should be recorded for posterity as a very rare occurrence :-). Other than these two fruits, I decided to throw in whatever else was available in my pantry and those were purple grapes and dragonfruit. For the orange juice suspension, I switched it up just a little by using blood orange juice because I quite liked the idea of a pinkish-burgundy terrine.
My gelling agent of choice was agar agar because I understood its setting properties better than gelatine. Hmm, that sounds more like lab-talk than kitchen-talk, doesn't it? The side-effect of being mad about science, sorry... The great thing about using agar is that the mold doesn't need to be lined with any plastic film beforehand because once it's set, the terrine is very firm and can be turned out with great ease. Now I know some people don't quite enjoy the chewy texture of an agar-set dessert, but I grew up eating tons of the stuff (and not gelatine) so to me, it's normal and depending on the flavors the agar agar is infused with, it can be very flavorful.
So I'm not sure whether this is a terrine by Dorie's standards. It certainly has the major elements of the recipe in there... it's colorful, fruity, refreshingly light but one thing it also is, it's shapely (thanks to the agar!). Hope my fellow Doristas, or cooking group members, had better luck with their liquid:gelatine ratios and present you with some amazing-looking, summery terrines.
Here's a song by India Arie for all you Doristas and friends alike, so you can end the week on a beautiful, powerful note. If I woke up one morning and found that I had suddenly acquired the most amazing voice (well, one can only wish), this would be the first song I sing. Happy weekend, everyone!