Gastronomixs

Caramelised buttermilk tart, pickled silver fir cones, and cowslip syrup

Nicolai Nørregaard grew up on the Danish island of Bornholm, located in the Baltic Sea. As the island is isolated, his parents were often dependent on products harvested from nature and on local farmers. Together with Magnus Høegh Kofoed and Rasmus Kofoed, Nicolai opened restaurant Kadeau on the island in 2007. They wanted to introduce people to the products and natural elements that the island has to offer. In contrast to many well-known chefs, Nicolai has no culinary background or schooling. In the first year that the restaurant opened, Nicolai worked together with several chefs who taught him a great deal until he was ready to take on the role of chef himself. To Nicolai, his lack of culinary background is an advantage, as his creativity is not restricted by knowledge and theory. He was never exposed to the traditional dos and don'ts of cooking and is willing to explore every option.

Kadeau is inspired by living in nature and the local farmers on Bornholm. Nicolai uses hand-picked fruits, herbs, berries, and flowers in his elegant dishes and often applies techniques such as preserving, drying, salting, and ageing. In 2011, Nicolai, Magnus, and Rasmus opened a second restaurant under the same name in Copenhagen. In the high season in July and part of August, the restaurant in Copenhagen is closed and the restaurant on Bornholm is open. 

Nicolai explains the dish that he has created: ‘I found the inspiration for this dish when I literally fell over some ripe silver fir cones while walking in the forest. The cones have a wonderful texture and colour. We preserve it by pickling the cones and we make a very fragrant oil from the needles. It has a very strong citrus note that is similar to yuzu peel. This tart is a celebration of this wonderful tree. I hope you find it as delicious as we do. If you find that some of the recipes make a little bit more than you needed, it's because it is impossible to make a smaller portion.’ 

Creation by Nicolai Nørregaard, Kadeau* restaurant, Copenhagen, Denmark.

2 tarts serve 4.

Caramelised buttermilk tart, pickled silver fir cones, and cowslip syrup

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Ingredients

5

l

organic hay

1500

ml

buttermilk

60

g

dark late-summer honey

150

ml

cream 38%

30

g

butter

100

g

wheat flour

50

g

softened butter, salted and diced

28

g

icing sugar

24

g

egg yolk

1

g

salt

 

 

aluminium foil and salt

20

g

fresh silver fir needles

40

g

spinach, rinsed

100

g

grape seed oil

100

ml

cream

10

g

caster sugar

0.5

g

Iota

1

g

gelatin

25

g

buttermilk caramel

 

 

salt

1

 

ripe silver fir cone

500

ml

spirit vinegar, 6% acidity

250

ml

water

175

g

caster sugar

100

ml

water

35

g

caster sugar

1

g

citric acid

20

g

cowslip flowers, without stems

1

g

Gellan

1

g

Citras

 

 

a few drops of lactic acid, 80% acidity

Preparation method: pickled cones
  • Bring the water, vinegar, and sugar to the boil. When the sugar is dissolved, remove from the heat.
  • Break up the cone into its segments, and place in the pickling juice. Leave to pickle in a clean glass jar in the fridge for two days.
  • Remove the skin from the segments and remove the tough inner part. Cut into small strips.
Preparation method: silver fir oil
  • Heat the oil, spinach, and needles to 80°C on medium heat.
  • When the temperature is reached, blend it for ten minutes and strain.
Preparation method: caramelised buttermilk caramel
  • Bring the buttermilk to the boil over low heat so it splits.
  • Strain it and keep the liquid. Add the honey to the liquid and reduce until it is medium brown.
  • Add the butter and cream. Boil until 108°C on medium heat. Strain and refrigerate. 
Preparation method: hay ash
  • Do this outside. Set the hay on fire in a big casserole.
  • When the flames are almost out, choke the fire with a lid.
  • Make sure nothing is made of plastic, because it will melt. Blend the ash into a fine powder. 
Preparation method: cowslip gel
  • Heat the water, caster sugar, and citric acid to 65°C. Add the flowers. Refrigerate for two days. Strain. Add the Gellan and Citras.
  • Bring it to the boil while whisking every now and again. Strain and refrigerate until set.
  • Blend the set gel into a fluid gel. Strain and season to taste with silver fir oil and lactic acid.
Preparation method: shortbread crust
  • Sift the flour, salt, and icing sugar into a bowl.
  • Add the butter and stir until it has the appearance of sand. Add the egg yolk and rub into the dough until it just holds together.
  • Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for four hours. Preheat the oven to 150°C. Roll the dough into a 3mm-thin sheet and line 9cm tart forms. Make pillows of aluminium foil and salt and put on top of the dough in the forms to press the dough down.
  • Bake for sixteen minutes. Remove salt pillows and bake for another four minutes. Cool on a rack.
Preparation method: caramelised buttermilk custard
  • Heat cream to 80°C over medium heat. Bloom the gelatin. Add the sugar and Iota and blend for two minutes. Heat to 80°C again.
  • Add the gelatin and blend for one minute.
  • Add the buttermilk caramel and season to taste with salt.
  • Leave at room temperature to cool to 25 to 35°C, stirring once in a while. 
Finishing and presentation
  • Fill each tart crust with 50g of buttermilk custard.
  • Dust with ash and freeze for three hours.
  • Put 25g of cowslip gel onto the custard and carefully tap the tart on your palm to make sure that the gel covers the custard.
  • Freeze for one hour. Cut the tart in half. Freeze again for one hour.
  • Start plating ten to twenty minutes before serving to allow the tart to reach the right temperature.
  • Place the half tart on a round plate, left of the centre, so it looks like half of a circle.
  • Put the strips of pickled cones on top of the gel. Serve.

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