Anyone using this stuff?
I just tried a batch using agar and the cold oil method. It's easy, and uses common ingredients available in every kitchen. Regular old gelatin should work ok, as well as pectin.
1) Agar up some juice. I used about 2%, but I think you could go as low as 1%.
2) Drip the mixture into a container of cold vegetable oil (chill in fridge). If you're doing big batches, I guess you could use an ice bath to keep the oil cold.
3) Sieve out, and rinse.
The big issue seems to be storage. You're supposed to store them in water, but there is a loss of flavor from diffusion. I'm thinking of storing them in an un-agared version of the base, to prevent this.
There is also another version of the cold oil method I've been read about. You pour the warm mix into the cold oil while whisking. The whisking action breaks the mix up into little droplets. Seems to be much faster then the ol drip drip drip method. Supposedly you can get tobiko egg level fineness from this process.
Of course, there's the big question of all molecular gastronomy items: That's neat, but what can I do with it?
Well, It makes a really nice looking garnish for ice cream, and the way has already been paved with boba tea and mochi nuggets on ice cream.
Sweet caviar would make an interesting inclusion to creams and mouses.
I also think the smaller grades of pearls could be used like crumbs or coconut to coat the sides of pastries and desserts.