Strawberry yogurt ravioli
I never really liked peanut butter and grape jelly sandwiches. I can appreciate peanut butter with strawberry jelly but not grape jelly. There is something about the strong, concentrated flavor of grapes that repels me from embracing the classic sandwich like every other child—though, as a foodie, I worry that my averse attitude towards concentrated grape flavors will bear misfortunate towards an affinity for wine. Anyways, instead of pairing my peanut butter with grape jelly, I tend to draw in more natural flavors such as honey and bananas.
While my appreciation for peanut butter with these flavors do not serve as a basis for this article’s recipe, they do serve wonderful supporting roles to the star player—strawberry yogurt ravioli.
By now, you have probably asked yourself, “What is strawberry yogurt ravioli?” Strawberry yogurt ravioli is simply strawberry yogurt encapsulated in a thin, transparent film of calcium alginate polymers. We call the strawberry yogurt encapsulations “ravioli” because they are similar in concept to traditional ravioli—a plain, bland shell housing delicious filling.
A quick primer into the science of making strawberry yogurt ravioli
Basically, yogurt is rich in calcium, and calcium ions reacts with alginate to create a solid substance. Thus, by putting yogurt into an alginate solution, the calcium ions on the surface of the yogurt forms a solid film with the alginate from its surrounding solution. The process of creating films through the calcium alginate reaction is known as spherification or, even, encapsulations. For more info, read this post.
Now, a lot of my improvisational cooking veers towards breakfast-style foods, and that is where the peanut butter, honey, and banana come in. These three flavors in addition to strawberry yogurt and Nutella combine to form a multifaceted complexion of flavors. The sweetness of strawberries, honey, banana, and Nutella all have unique spins—tart, rich, soft, creamy, and the peanut butter establishes its presence as a neutral yet subtlety salty balance to this largely sweet dish. These flavors pair well and carry a refreshing air to them. While I made this plate as a breakfast treat, you can also make this as a dessert.
First, start with these simple but somewhat-preprepared ingredients: strawberry yogurt—I made mine myself using strawberry milk mix and homemade yogurt, alginate solution—instructions on how to make this to follow, banana, peanut butter, and Nutella.
Create the strawberry yogurt ravioli by spooning yogurt into the alginate solution.
Slice a banana in fourths; each piece should be long and have a cut-open side.
Decorate the plate with peanut butter and Nutella. Ironically, the technique should be called “smearing” because you smear the viscous sauces onto the plate.
Finally, set a strawberry yogurt ravioli on top of the banana.
In case you are wondering, the calcium alginate film looks like this. In the picture, the film looks thick, but that is because the yogurt clung to the film. Again, it is edible.
Recipe: Strawberry yogurt ravioli
Ingredients for three
- 3 tbsp strawberry yogurt
- Peanut butter
- 500ml water
- 1.5g sodium alginate
For alginate setting bath
- Create the sodium alginate setting bath by mixing water with sodium alginate until sodium alginate is fully dissolved.
- Use a spoon to scoop up a smooth sphere of strawberry yogurt and slowly dip the spoon into the sodium alginate solution. Lightly prod the strawberry yogurt ravioli off the spoon. After a couple minutes remove the ravioli from the setting bath.
- Slice a peeled banana down its spine and in half.
- Place one piece of banana on a plate and set strawberry yogurt ravioli on top.
- Smear some Nutella on the back of a spoon, and drag the back on a plate to create a swoosh-shaped design. Repeat process for peanut butter.