The Edible Washing Up Sponge




This right here is probably my most famous dish, it's certainly my most imitated. I created it in response to some comments I was getting online a few years back. I'd posted my cold apple crumble on Facebook; apple and cinnamon bavarois, mirror glazed to resemble an apple, served on toasted granola and cold custard. All the flavours of a classic apple crumble but served in a contemporary way. Most of the feedback I got was amazing, but a couple of people asked why? Why serve it this way, why not just stick to a hot apple crumble, dumped on a plate and drowning in custard like it should be? For the record, I love crumble served this way. But these comments really got me wound up. If this was the case, why do anything? Why bother to try anything new, or make progress at all?

Here's my response...


Serves 8.

Total time: 3 hours


INGREDIENTS


for the sponge:

200g self raising flour

4 medium eggs

200g olive oil

200g granulated sugar

yellow gel food colouring


for the scourer top:

zest of one lime

100g self raising flour

100g sugar

2 medium eggs

100g olive oil

green gel food colouring


for the lemon foam:

100g sugar syrup

150g lemon juice

250g water

7g soya leitichin


for the baked apple coulis:

1 and a half granny smith apples

60g sugar

85g water

8g lemon juice

green food colouring gel


METHOD

First you need to make your sponge. Turn your oven to 170 degrees C. Put the eggs, sugar and flour into your food processor. Whizz on high speed for 2 minutes until you achieve a smooth, yet thick batter. You may need to scrape the sides of the bowl a couple of times. With the blade running, pour your olive oil through the feed hole into the mix. Then add the yellow food colouring a couple drops at a time until you achieve the same colour as a washing up sponge. Ensure the colour is fully mixed in then transfer the batter to your parchment lined baking tin measuring 8" by 10" and bake for 22 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean when stabbed into the centre of your cake. Remove the cake from the oven and place a sheet of parchment on top. Place a flat tray on top of this and flip the whole thing over. Leave to sit for 15 minutes, this will flatten the top of the sponge. Remove the original tin and leave to cool completely, for around 2 hours.


While your sponge is cooling you can make the rest of the components. To make the scourer top, put the lime zest, flour, sugar, eggs and oil into your food processor and blitz until completely liquidised. With the blade still running, add the green food colouring drop by drop until you achieve a deep green colour. Spread this mixture thinly into a parchment lined baking tin and bake for 4-5 minutes, it won’t take long. Remove from the oven and allow to cool alongside your yellow sponge.


Next, the garnishes. To make the lemon foam put the sugar syrup, water, lemon juice and soya lecithin into a deep bowl. Blitz with your stick blender for around 2 minutes until the soya lecithin is completely dissolved. Transfer to a long, flattish tupperware, cover with clingfilm and put in the fridge. It needs to be as cold as possible to make a foam.


The last thing to make is your baked apple coulis ‘washing up liquid’. Turn your oven up to 190 degrees c. Bake the half apple as it is for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for half an hour. When it has cooled a bit, blend in your smoothie maker with 60g of the sugar and 60g water. Blend to a smooth puree and pass through a fine sieve. Clean out your smoothie maker then put in the other apple that has been chopped up, 25g water and 8g lemon juice. Blend for around a minute and pass through your fine sieve into the baked apple puree. Whisk to fully mix then refrigerate until needed.


TO ASSEMBLE YOUR SPONGES:

Take your cooled lime sponge and break up into pieces. Put into your food processor and blitz until completely crumbed. Leave to one side. Slightly trim the yellow olive oil sponge on all four sides and the top so you have a neat rectangle with a flat top. Divide it into 8 equal rectangles by cutting once lengthways and 3 times width ways. Top each with a layer of green crumb, about 3mm thick, and compress firmly to make dense. Trim the edges to make neat and roughen up the top a bit with a clean metal scourer or fork.


TO PLATE:

Place one of your sponges on a plate, green side up, ensuring the green crumb stays in place. Add a spoonful of your baked apple coulis onto the top of your sponge, allowing it to carefully run down one side (a squeezy bottle is ideal for this). Finally, take your lemon foam out of the fridge. Fold back the clingfilm, place your stick blender into the mix and wrap the clingfilm back over so there are no gaps. Blend the mix, keeping the blades just under the surface of the liquid. Within a minute you will see bubbles forming. Keep blending until you have enough bubbles. You may need to blend again between each plating. Spoon a couple of spoonful’s onto one edge of your sponge and serve immediately.




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