“We have had many versions of this appetizer for at least 18 years at Acquerello. Interestingly enough, there are many various forms of savory custards involving Parmesan cheese all over Italy. Some advocate a slow bake in a moderate oven, others develop a little quicker, like a flan. Either way, the water bath, or bagno maria as it is known in Italy, is an essential precautionary technique that protects the delicate cheese and ensures a silky texture.
If baked at too high a temperature, one will find a curdled or broken result that is less than desirable. In this preparation, we used little 2 oz. or 4 oz. aluminum cups that allow the budino to take on a gentle brown crust on top. We also have successfully used another Italian cheese, Grana Padano, and serve the custards with fresh seasonal garnishes,” says Suzette.
For the Parmesan “Bubbles”
- 600g cream
- 600g water
- 400g Parmesan or Grana Padano
- 12g sucro
- 0.5g xanthan gum
- Compress cream, water, and cheese in a vacuum bag and steep for 3-4 hours.
- Strain steeped mixture through a fine chinois.
- In a Vitamix, shear in sucro and xanthan gum.
- Season if needed and then pass through a fine chinois.
- Allow mixture to rest before use.
For the Celery Root Purée
- 870g celery root
- 175g water
- 1275g half n’ half
- 1300g cream
- 600g milk
- Peel and dice the celery root.
- Bag the celery root with all the liquids and cook in a water bath until the celery root is fully cooked and tender.
- Blend and reserve. It will yield the 4220 grams needed below.
For the Poppy Seed Crumb
- 75g sugar
- 350g AP flour
- 6g salt
- 140g butter, melted
- 45g poppy seeds
- zest of 2 lemons
- 20 turns black pepper
- Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl.
- Spread on a baking sheet and bake until lightly golden brown.
- Cool and robot coupe into a crumb.
For the Salad Garnish
- chive baton – 1”
- frisee, frilly parts only (no main white branches)
- celery batons
For the Budino
- 4220g reserved celery root pureé (from above)
- 27 whole eggs
- 15 yolks
- 200g flour
- 200g butter
- 700g grated Grana Padano cheese
- white pepper
- 50/50 truffle oil blend
- Combine flour and butter in a large pot and make a blonde roux.
- Temper in the dairy mixture and bring to a boil.
- Add Cheese to heated emulsified base.
- Temper gently and whisk the mixture into your eggs.
- Season with salt, white pepper, and 50/50 truffle oil blend.
- Spray metal clarified butter cups or 2 oz. aluminum cups with Vegalene from all 4 sides.
- Pour warm water around containers to form a water bath.
- Fill with custard mixture and bake at 375°F for 30 minutes in a water bath, rotating halfway through (top to bottom, left to right).
- Lower heat to 325°F and cook for 20 minutes, rotating again halfway through.
- Remove from oven and check doneness and ability to release from the container.
- Let cool to room temperature before plating up.