Nothing lightens the mood of an elongated menu like a bit of humor, here evinced in tiny Époisses baskets made of clay—the lid lifted before each guest. I hope that a smile results, overcoming perhaps the disappointment of not getting a whole wheel of Époisses.
- Yield: 4 Servings
- 2 | Pluots, halved
- 4 grams | 1 teaspoon ascorbic acid
- 3 grams | ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 kilogram | 4 ¼ cups water
- 1 kilogram | 5 cups sugar
- 400 grams | 14 ounces Époisses de Bourgogne cheese
- 200 grams | ¾ cup heavy cream
- 5 grams | 2 teaspoons low-acyl gellan gum
- 5 grams | 2 teaspoons high-acyl gellan gum
- kosher salt
- 16 | buckwheat flowers
- Noble sherry vinegar
- Twin Sisters olive oil
- FOR LAST YEAR’S PLUOTS: Sterilize a large glass jar with a lid by submerging the jar in boiling water for 10 minutes. Remove from the water and let cool to room temperature. Leave the pot of water on the stove. Wearing gloves, carefully fit the Pluot halves in the jar along with the ascorbic acid and salt. Combine the water and sugar in a saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and pour the hot syrup into the jar. Screw the lid onto the jar, tightening it only about 80 percent. Return the pot of water to a boil and submerge the jar in the boiling water for 15 minutes. Remove the jar and immediately tighten the lid fully to secure the pressure in the jar. Let the jar cool overnight in the refrigerator. Transfer the jar to a cool, dark place, such as a root cellar, preferably for 1 year.
- FOR THE ÉPOISSES: Prepare an ice bath. Put the Époisses with rind intact in a blender. Pour the cream into a small saucepan and warm slightly over low heat. Add the gellan gums and mix with an immersion blender until completely dissolved. Increase the temperature to high and, using a rubber spatula, stir until the cream begins to thicken, wiping down the sides of the pot with the spatula as needed. Boil for 30 seconds, then transfer to the blender. Mix on high speed for about 2 minutes, until the mixture is smooth. Using a 60 millimeter (¼ cup) ladle, pass the puree through a chinois into a bowl, then nest the bowl in the ice bath to cool the puree. Season with kosher salt, then refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to serve.