Yuzu Curd and Mascarpone Ice-cream on Soft Meringue
An adaptation of “Lemon Curd and Mascarpone Ice Cream on Soft Meringue” by Gregoire Michaud, the esteemed Pastry Chef of Four Seasons Hotel, Hong Kong from his book “Got Cheese? 起士甜品“. This book is really unique. Unlike other recipe books on cheese-themed confections, not only does it tell the reader how to make pastries and desserts from a wide assortment of cheeses, it teaches the reader how to make the cheeses to be used in those recipes! And since I love making things from scratch, even with ingredients like confitures and almond paste, I know this book is a definitely “must-have”!!!
Moreover, I’d not done a plated dessert for sometime now, and this is the perfect
excuse opportunity for another adventure!
The composition of this dessert is rather direct
(1) A shortbread base
(2) Home-made mascapone ice-cream
(3) candided citrus rind
The original recipe called for a shortbread pastry. I’d decided to change it to Sable Breton, using the recipe from Chef Gregoire’s other book “Never Skip Dessert” (yes! i have that one too!)
Baking sable breton in 3″ ring moulds. This french biscuit is packed with so much butter it’s rather difficult to handle. The method de facto is to roll the pate between layers of cling film and freeze it for a couple of hours. I left mine in the fridge overnight. And for good measure, the moulds were left in the fridge as well, which serve as cookie cutters subsequently. This hopefully helps the pate discs retain their shape during baking and thankfully they did! The biscuits need to be baked with the moulds. I tried a batch without the moulds intact and the butter simply melted away causing the biscuit to spread, almost doubling in diameter! But this gave me an idea for another project!
Baked at 180 oC for about 20 min to a an exuberant golden brown! The biscuits shrank a little upon cooling and dislodged themselves from the rings. Given the high butter ratio in the recipe, I didn’t grease the inner sides of the rings and thankfully it went well…
A quick shot of the first batch of sable breton. I only have 3 ring moulds and thus had to bake them in batches. The results were fairly consistent. I love the crumbly textures. They are cooled and then quickly placed in an air-tight container.
Oh yes! I’d added yuzu zest to the biscuits and my oh my the aroma that permeated from the oven door was unbelievable!!! My mum who was doing some gardening along the common corridor came in to steal a peek!
Stacked up for a group shot. The thicker ones in the foreground are used in this plated dessert while those thinner ones are to be deployed in the next project!
Petite dollops of meringue used to line the outer perimeter. The original montage et presentation in Chef Gregoire’s book had the meringue most elegantly piped into spirals. This proved too sophisticated for my daft fingers. And I reckon one probably needs a cake turntable for greater ease. And that I unfortunately do not own. After trying for nearly an hour, i finally conceded defeat, adopting a different strategy to pipe dollops instead.
The meringue dollops were torched gingerly but alas the tips were slightly charred. I need to learn how to handle the blowtorch more proficiently.
A sable breton disc placed in the middle followed by a generous piping of yuzu curd – a crisp island tanned to a sunny golden brown in the midst of an tangy yellow sea of creamy egginess…
The other challenge in this recipe is homemade yuzu mascarpone ice-cream. Not so much pertaining to the making of it, but more of the plating process. Ice-cream was made with syrup first boiled and infused with yuzu confiture. The resulting concoction beared a hint of sourness amidst the creamy honeyed taste. And most most most important of all, the aroma. Yes oh yes the aroma. I had to conscientiously albeit reluctantly pull myself away from the fridge to binge on the ice-cream! I’m so glad I used the full recipe instead of halving it like the other components.
And here’s the recipe (adapted from Chef Gregoire Michaud’s “Got Cheese?”)
Sable breton base
60g granulated sugar (I used vanilla sugar)
70g salted butter at room temperature
28g egg yolks
90g cake flour
pinch of baking powder
zest of half a yuzu (can be omitted or substituted with lemon zest)
35g yuzu juice
15g orange juice
70g granulated sugar
25g diced unsalted cold butter
zest of half a yuzu
Yuzu Mascarpone Ice-cream
100g caster sugar
65g mascarpone cheese
85 g full-cream milk
70g plain yoghurt
1 generous tablespoon of yuzu confiture
100g egg white at room temperature
200g caster sugar
First, prepare the mascarpone ice-cream as it requires overnight freezing. Place water, sugar and yuzu confiture in a heavy saucepan and bring to a strong boil. Sift the mixture to remove any rind from the confiture and allow the mixture to cool and then add to mascapone cheese, milk and yoghurt. Whisk to form a smooth paste and pour into an airtight container. I do not own an ice-cream churner, so I allowed the mixture to firm up in the fridge for about 4 hours before mixing it all up with a hand-blender. The process was repeated after another 4 hours and then left in the fridge overnight. This produces a more or less smooth texture.
Prepare the yuzu curd. Place the citrus juices and yuzu zest in a heavy saucepan and warm gently. While the juices are heated up, mix eggs and sugar in a large bowl. When the juices are just starting to boil, remove from heat immediately and pour it over the egg-sugar mixture in a steady but slow stream. Whisk the concoction with a handwhisk until fully incorporated. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and continue to mix over a very low flame. When the contents just begin to thicken, raise the saucepan to a certain height above the flame and continue to whisk for a thicker consistency. Once it thickens considerably, remove from flame entirely and add all the diced butter and continue mixing until the mixture cools down. Sift the mixture into a large bowl to remove the yuzu zest. Cover the curd with a layer of clingfilm just on the surface to prevent condensation from dripping down while the curd is cooling down. Refrigerate for a few hours before use.
For the meringue, simply whisk egg whites at room temperature with very gradual additions of caster sugar until stiff peaks are formed.
To assemble, bag the meringue and pipe dollops around the perimeter of a flat plate. Caramelise the sugar in the meringue using a blow torch. Place a sable breton in the middle of the plate and pipe yuzu curd all around it. Scoop a quenelle of yuzu mascapone ice-cream and place it over the sable breton base. Garnish with candided yuzu rind and serve immediately.
(1) The use of yuzu for me is an exciting one. This citrus, like the citron is heavenly perfumed and elevates the smells and tastes of any dish they are used in. But yuzu juice is extremely acrid, much more so than the regular lemon. Using a personal suggestion by Chef Michaud, orange juice was incorporated to mellow the astringency of yuzu juice. Having said that, fresh yuzu is extremely expensive here in Singapore, SGD 9.90 for one from our local Japanese supermarkets. I really regret not buying some from Takashimaya in Osaka where they were going for 400 yen each.
(2) yuzu confiture was added to infuse the flavours into the mascarpone ice-cream. I’d only used 1 tablespoon, on a rather experimental basis. For subsequent attempts, I would cut back the amount of sugar added as I wanted a more tangy and somewhat bitter aftertaste. If yuzu confiture is not available, the marmalade-like Korean yuzu tea 유자차 yuja-cha can also be used to great effect.
(3) Sable breton is very delightfullycrisp when it comes out of the oven but rapidly softens if not packed in an air-tight container. A feasible method to “revive” your sables is to use a toaster oven. Turn on the toaster oven for about 5 min before putting in the sable bretons and then turning off the electricity. They would “crispen” up with the residual heat without causing the biscuits to brown further too much
(4) I made two attempts for the “ice-creaming crowning” process; the first “built-up”of sable breton island and quenelle was clumsily removed when the ice-cream showed its first signs of melting. That was rapidly “demolished” (read: gobbled down) while making my way to the fridge for more ice-cream. The second quenelle was no less easier to manipulate. Alas it all went quite well.
I don’t make plated desserts much for a simple reason – I’m not good at it. Perche Melba two months back was probably enough to send Escoffier running out from his grave. And the presentation of ice-creams also pose an intermittent problem for me. To scoop and work a dollop of ice-cream into a decently shape “quenelle” is like an impossible task. Not asking for the highest order of geometric precision here…but hell yeah, I suck at it. One must work in an utmost dexerous manner to get a decent presentation before the grand meltdown (as in the picture above). And having to photograph it is like opening another can of worms! Hair-pulling experience indeed! Was THAT close I was to becoming a cheaterbug, resorting to using mashed potatoes like how some food photography are being done like what Veronica aka Quay Po has shared on her blog not too long ago.
Tempting… all too tempting!
I’m submitting this for Aspiring Bakers #6: Say Cheese! (April 2011) hosted by Jean from Noms I Must. Almost not being able to meet the deadline!!!