Chef Heston Blumenthal, known for his 'molecular gastronomy' and use of unusual ingredients, tackles popular recipes in his kitchen/lab to create the perfect version of the the dishes.
In his search for the perfect trifle, Heston goes through the development of the dish within British history. He believes the key ingredient will be the perfect sherry. As the base layer, he needs to make a classic syllabub, which will be absorbed by regular ladyfinger sponges with a few amaretti biscuits for additional flavor. The second layer - the macerated strawberry fruit layer - is given an unusual component of a sweetened black olive paste. For texture, there are two crunchy layers, first a caraway almond biscuit, and a later layer of crystallized puff pastry. For the intervening creamy layers, he wants to create something as light as possible, and tests various methods of thickening them to keep them light, to not add any off flavors, and to keep them creamy. For fun, he visit a scientist friend to determine how people sense various textures in their mouth, the results from which will influence how Heston layers the trifle and prepares the creamy layers. For the custard, he decides to go traditional but stabilize it with a little gelatin. For the whipped cream topping, he adds tapioca starch to cut the fatty aftertaste, and mascarpone for creaminess and flavor. His perfect trifle is garnished with angelica, crystallized rose petal confetti and sweetened crystallized coriander, caraway and fennel seeds, the finished seeds which are made with the assistance of a variable speed drill and coffee tin.
In his quest for the perfect risotto, Heston thinks he's come across the dish that will become his most difficult challenge since there are so many traditions and conventions to making risotto. The only convention he knows to be true is the use of home made chicken stock and a rice of some sort. He goes an unconventional route in choosing two different types of rice with which to cook - each for their different properties of taste and texture - but also infusing the flavor of a third, Basmati, into the final dish. Additional flavor is added all the way through the process, from the addition of Basmati rice into the stock to the addition of a saffron and Basmati infused acidulated butter (which will also act as a garnish, for bursts of flavor). Heston's perfect risotto is served with an accompaniment of a frothed chicken stock, mushroom and Basmati rice velouté and a saffron rice tuile.