Isomalt Encapsulated Olive Oil
A drop of delicious virgin olive oil is encapsulated with isomalt to form the beautiful translucent shape you see in the picture. The encapsulated olive oil is served over a pinch of salt. This idea was conceived by molecular gastronomy Chef Jose Andres for his restaurant Minibar and he named it Olive Oil Bonbon.
If you are not familiar with isomalt, it is a sugar substitute made from beets that has similar physical properties to regular sugar but with a few advantages.
Isomalt is much more resistant to humidity and crystallization and it also remains crystal clear after being heated. These properties make isomalt ideal for sugar work.
The process to encapsulate the olive oil drop in isomalt is quite simple and requires only basic tools and ingredients. However, it requires a lot of practice and patience to obtain a perfectly shaped drop with a nice straight and long tail. The key to be successful is to control the temperature of the isomalt and adjust it depending on room temperature and how fast you are to create the encapsulation.
You just need a good virgin olive oil, a 1.5” metallic ring mold and isomalt that you can get from our store. We highly recommend an induction burner with temperature settings to make it a lot easier. I am not sure if this is the same process used at Minibar by Chef Jose Andres. Please let me know if you do!
- 200 g (7 oz) Isomalt (buy isomalt)
- 20 g (0.7 oz) water
- 2 cups of virgin olive oil
1- In a small pot with thick base (to distribute heat evenly), heat the water on low to medium heat. An induction burner is preferred. You’ll need to have about half an inch of melted isomalt to dip the ring. If you have a large pot just use more isomalt and water maintaining the proportions.
2- Add a small amount of isomalt and stir with a heat resistant spatula until it dissolves. A silicone spatula is good for this. Stir carefully making sure the isomalt does not touch the walls of the pot or it will get stuck there.
3- Keep adding small amounts and stirring until you dissolve all the isomalt.
4- Attach a thermometer to the pot and heat the isomalt until it reaches 166 °C (330 °F) but not more than 171 °C (340 °F). This process should take about 20 minutes. If it is significantly faster or slower you’ll need to adjust the burner temperature.
5- Reduce heat to maintain the isomalt at a temperature of 140 °C (285 °F).
Encapsulating Olive Oil
1- Pour a cup and a half of oil into a measuring cup or tall container. This is where the encapsulated oil drop is going to fall into as you make it. It will prevent breaking the encapsulation and will cool it down before it reaches the bottom to maintain a nice round shape.
2- Place the olive oil bath next to the pot with the melted isomalt.
3- With a ¼ tsp measuring spoon, scoop some olive oil and hold it with one hand.
4- With the other hand, grab the 1½ inch ring mold (~3.5 cm), dip it in the melted isomalt and remove it slowly. A thin layer of isomalt should have formed in the ring. It sometimes requires 2 or 3 tries to form the film.
5- Place the ring about 20 cm (8 inches) on top of the olive oil bath and immediately pour the oil in the measuring spoon. The thin layer of isomalt in the ring is so thin that its temperature changes relatively fast as you move the ring around. It probably won’t work perfectly the first time so pay attention of what happens and slightly adjust the isomalt temperature up/down and how fast you remove the ring from the isomalt and pour the oil into it.
6- Immediately store the encapsulated olive oil in a sealed container with desiccant packets or alternatively you can keep them in a bath of olive oil making sure they don’t touch each other. They are very delicate so handle carefully. It is always better to grab them from the base. Store them while you continue making more olive oil drop encapsulations but then serve immediately.
7- Remove the cold and hardened isomalt from the ring and make the next drop!
Assemble and Serve
1- Place a generous pinch of salt on serving dish.
2- Carefully place the encapsulated olive oil on the pinch of salt, grabbing it from the base.