Sunday, April 26, 2020

Bullshot Jello, Marrowbone Shortbread with Pickled Lemon

The bullshot is a classic mid-century cocktail but gained a certain popularity in the 1980s. For some reason I picture Tom Cruise ordering it in a bar. As a cocktail it’s pleasantly savory but strange enough that you won’t want to sip too much. As a jello it replicates the smooth creaminess of roasted marrow without being quite as unctuous. Scooped onto the shortbread with a dab of the lemon, it’s a marvel.

3 four-Inch sawed marrow bone tubes
1 tsp powdered gelatin
¾ c vodka
¾ c home-made beef stock (see recipe)
1 cup flour or more
1 tsp crushed fennel seed
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp sugar
1 pickled meyer lemon*

Briefly blanch the bones in boiling water. Remove from water and push out the interior marrow fat with a small knife into a small pot. Simmer the fat on very low heat until melted. Boil the hollow bones about 15 minutes to clean and scrape off any connective tissue on the exterior. Strain the melted fat though a small sieve and reserve.
Carve down three champagne corks to plug the bottom hole of the bones and so each will stand upright. Be sure they are very tight or they will leak. If you have doubts, dribble a little hot candle wax into the bottom of each. Then dissolve the gelatin in the vodka for 10 minutes and bring the stock to the boil. I have deliberately used very little gelatin to keep the final jello soft. Mix the two liquids. Arrange the bones upright in a container so they don’t spill and pour in the hot gelatin, move to the refrigerator until set.
Mix the flour, marrow fat, fennel and salt into a short crust pastry with just enough cold water to bring everything together. Roll out ½ inch thick onto a square of parchment paper and cut into long rectangles. Back about 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Watch carefully so they don’t burn. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Arrange everything on a wooden board and naturally increase the recipe if you are serving guests.
*Pickled lemons are very easy to make but take a long time. Cut the unwaxed lemons into rounds, and arrange in a jar sprinkling salt on each layer. Cover with lemon juice and make sure everything is submerged. Cover and wait one year. The lemons will be soft and exquisitely perfumed as a condiment. You can add any spices you like. Eat them peel and all.


Andrew Martin said...

Ken, you are a creative genius; this is a culinary triumph.

I've ordered a bullshot a couple of times, both a bit disappointing. The bullshot was the favorite drink of Sir Noel Coward, and there is a fun scene in that big BBC documentary on The Master where one of his favorite bartenders recreates the recipe, pouring out a classic bullshot on camera. As "cocktail porn" it's worth trying to hunt down. (The whole docu is fascinating, of course.)

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