Competition

Matching Zacapa

Tim Raue is on the path to being one of Europe’s outstanding chefs. Awarded his first Michelin star in 2007, he now runs his own restaurant ‘Restaurant Tim Raue’ in Berlin, where a second star arrived for his sensational cooking in November 2011.

You need to motivate your guests to try something new” Tim Raue

But Tim’s most recent challenge was cooking great food to accompany Zacapa rum. With its complexity and powerful flavours, Zacapa was an ideal test.

There’s also the challenge of overcoming prejudice that you can only pair food with wine or beer.

But the reward can be huge when you get those flavours right. Not only did Tim come up with simple, easy-to-follow recipes for bar food that highlight parts of Zacapa, he also developed a choice of two desserts to complement the premium rum as well.

“A restaurateur must have courage and self-confidence to serve unusual combinations,” Tim insists. “His guests won’t invent them on their own. He needs to motivate his guests to try something new.”

Kicking off with small canapés of pineapple jelly cubes, Tim was especially keen on the addition of coriander, finding: “The herby influence of the coriander coaxes a totally new facet from the rum – its sweetness especially is really highlighted.”

Small details like this make the combinations really sing – and are what lie behind Tim’s copious talent.

And his hazelnut torrone with kumquat and ginger canapé showed how well more powerful flavours work alongside Zacapa. “This combination is perfect,” says Tim. “Kumquat and ginger accentuate the aromas of the rum,” he adds.

But Zacapa is also well suited to the end of a meal. A twist on the classic crème brûlée, combining cane sugar and cinnamon bud with kumquat “captures Zacapa’s sweetness, while the rum relieves the pudding of its heaviness”, Raue explains.

He also picked out some of the richer flavours in Zacapa. Chocolate crème drops (a combination of milk and dark chocolate, plus vanilla sauce) combined with raisins soaked in rum, pineapple and lemon meringue was perfect as “chocolate highlights the darker aspect of the rum,” says Tim.

Are you serving up great bar food to match your drinks? Or have you come across any surprisingly good combinations recently? Tell us here…

Recipes:

Canapés

1. Pineapple Jelly and Coriander

1l Ponthier’s pineapple purée

1 vanilla bean

1 cinnamon stick

2 tbsp black pepper

50g vegetarian gelatin

Thoroughly mix all ingredients, allow them to steep for 12 hours and then pour through a strainer. Heat the purée to 90°C and stir in 50g vegetarian gelatin. Pour into ice-cube trays and refrigerate. To serve, cut the pineapple jelly into cubes, dip them in lemon juice and sprinkle with minced coriander leaves.

2. Hazelnut Torrone, kumquat and ginger

Hazelnut torrone (Italian nougat)

Kumquat

Ginger

Arrange slices of hazelnut torrone on a plate and garnish them with kumquat slices and ginger matchsticks.

Dishes

1. Chocolate crème drops, rum raisins and Latin American aromas

Ingredients for chocolate crème drops:

200g vanilla sauce

130g finely chopped dark chocolate

70g finely chopped milk chocolate

Place all ingredients in a bowl and carefully heat the mixture above a bain-marie until the chocolate has melted. Afterwards allow the crème to cool in the refrigerator. Keep the crème in a piping bag until ready to serve.

Ingredients for rum raisins:

60g raisins

60ml Ron Zacapa

Pour the Ron Zacapa into a pot and bring to the boil. Pour in the raisins and bring to the boil again. Remove from the heat and steep for 4 hours.

Ingredients for the pineapple:

1 large and very ripe pineapple

100ml passion fruit juice

100ml freshly pressed pineapple juice

Peel the pineapple and slice it into 1.5-cm-thick slices. Combine the two juices and stir. Macerate the pineapple slices in the juice mixture for 1 hour.

Ingredients for the lemon meringue:

3 egg whites

100g sugar

A pinch of salt

10g lemon juice

2 tbsp finely chopped candied lemon peel

Whip egg whites, salt and half of the sugar in a food processor. Shortly before the egg whites have stiffened, add the remaining sugar and the lemon juice. Continue to whip until the egg whites are stiff. Quickly transfer the mixture into a piping bag and immediately pipe the mixture in 2-cm-diameter drops onto a baking sheet covered with baking parchment. Sprinkle the drops with candied lemon peel. Dry the meringues for ca. 3 hours in a 60°C oven with the oven door kept slightly ajar.

To serve:

Arrange chocolate crème drops, pineapple, rum raisins and lemon meringue on a plate. Decorate with lemon balm leaves and freshly grated lemon zest.

2. Cane sugar and cinnamon bud pudding with kumquat

Ingredients:

500g milk

3 tbsp cane sugar

½ tsp ground cinnamon buds

2 egg yolks

2 tbsp corn starch

8 tbsp cane sugar to caramelise

Combine the milk with the cane sugar and bring to the boil. Blend a few drops of water into the corn starch and add this mixture to the sweetened milk, stirring to thicken it to a creamy texture. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the egg yolks. Pour the pudding into 4 small bowls. Bake in a 120°C oven for 10 minutes. Allow to cool for a few minutes, daub the pudding’s surface to dry it, sprinkle with cane sugar and caramelise with a torch.

For the sauce:

12 kumquats

300ml freshly squeezed orange juice

50g fresh ginger

60g cane sugar

Mix the orange juice with the sugar and ginger. Bring the mixture to the boil. Thoroughly wash the kumquats, slice them lengthwise into 6 wedges and remove all their seeds. Cook the kumquat wedges in the boiling juice for 2 to 3 minutes or until the fruit is soft.

Decorations:

Ginger cut into thin strips

2 tbsp chrysanthemum blossoms