Pink Grapefruit, Champagne and Henry Mancini’s “Moon River”

Have you ever been so inspired by a song that random creations come over you unexpectedly? It happened a few days ago when I was diving by myself to an appointment. My iPod was set to shuffle songs and some strange coincidence happened when three songs with the word “moon” played back to back. Henry Mancini’s “Moon River” played first, followed by Nick Drake’s “Pink Moon” and Morrissey’s version of “Moon River”.

These songs remind me of my early twenties when I used to sit on my bed at night looking out my window. Morrissey’s voice is so soft and gentle… and Nick Drake’s tragic life always made me a bit sad, but a happy sad, if that makes any sense. Immediately, I had visions of champagne, pink, bubbles and ice, stars, driving at night, something sweet, something sour… just like “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”.

This plated dessert came to me like that, in an instant. It’s a pink grapefruit and champagne sorbet on top of lemon and verbena curd with lemon streusel and red currant jelly. The sorbet is quite unusual with the use of egg yolks and butter. I adapted it from another champagne sorbet recipe that came via my former chef. The lemon curd is enhanced with some verbena from my garden and I love the tartness of the red currant jelly. The sorbet can be served in small frozen shot glasses as a great intermezzo for a multiple course meal or as an elegant pre-dessert.

Pink Grapefruit and Champagne Sorbet

500 grams champagne
250 grams pink grapefruit juice
200 grams sugar
4 egg yolks
50 grams unsalted butter, room temperature
2 sheets of gelatin
a couple of drops of all natural red food coloring, optional

In a medium saucepan, heat the champagne, pink grapefruit juice and the sugar. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks. When the liquids come to a boil, temper it into the egg yolks. Return this mixture to the pan and cook to 84C. Remove the pan from the heat and strain the sorbet base into a clean bowl. Add the softened gelatin and whisk.

Place the bowl over an ice bath and cool the sorbet base. When it is cool to the touch, add the room temperature butter and whisk it in. We want both the butter and the sorbet base to be at the same temperature to create an emulsion. Add food coloring if desired.

Place the sorbet base in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, whisk and churn in ice cream machine. Freeze.

Lemon Streusel

100 grams butter
100 grams sugar
100 grams almond flour
100 grams all purpose flour
1/2 tsp lemon oil
Zest of half a lemon

Cream together the butter and the sugar. Add the flour, almond meal, lemon oil and lemon zest and mix until a dough is formed. Form the dough into a disk and wrap it in plastic wrap. Freeze the dough and when it is solid, grated it with a grater. Bake in a 325F oven until lightly golden.

Lemon Verbena Curd

120 grams whole eggs
40 grams sugar
70 grams lemon juice
Zest of 2 lemons
4 leaves of lemon verbena

Whisk together all the ingredients and cook them over a double boiler until the eggs thicken. Strain through a fine sieve and chill over an ice bath.

Red Currant Jelly

100 grams red currant puree
10 grams sugar
1 sheet of gelatin

Heat the red currant puree and the sugar together. Soften the gelatin in ice water for 5 minutes, squeeze out any excess water and add it to the hot puree. Whisk and pour into your mold. Refrigerate until it solidifies and cut as desired.

And can I ask… what songs inspire you?

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38 Responses to “Pink Grapefruit, Champagne and Henry Mancini’s “Moon River””

  1. andrea says:

    Wow! Absolutely gorgeous.

  2. Christy says:

    A sorbet recipe with butter and egg yolks…ooohhhh….i can already taste how creamy and rich it would taste!! I always dismiss sorbets as being too icy, but maybe this would just be the recipe that makes me change my mind!! Such a beautiful paintings you made of the dessert too!! Please think about writing that book soon so I can buy it!!

  3. cindy* says:

    beautiful aran! i started to hum ‘moon river’ when i read the title. the colors are beautiful and so appealing. lovely!

  4. Aran que interesante el sorvete! Bueno en realidad todo el postre te quedó genial, pero seguro que probaré la receta esa con yemas y mantequilla. Que chulo! A mi los postres también se me ocurren asi, por casualidades. Siempre tengo un cuadernito para apuntarme las ideas ;) Un besito!

  5. What a lovely looking dessert! The photos are just stunning! Moon River is one of my favorite songs of all time and one of the first in my professional repertoire. It is timeless, as is Holly Golightly. I used to dream I was her when I was little!

  6. This is a lovely dessert, and Moon River is certainly a good oldie. If I could keep a tune, you’d have me humming as you tell the story.

  7. Camille says:

    Everytime I look at your blog my jaw drops to the floor. Of course, your photos are gorgeous and the dessert looks heavenly.

    It seems to me to be perfect for dessert when on a “date” with my husband…romantic and refreshing.

  8. Bridget says:

    Oh, these pictures are so pretty! I love the bit of yellow with the pink! :) Beautiful!

    I like to have music on when I am making cookies…it changes based on my mood, I guess. Sometimes I’m dancing in the kitchen and sometimes the music makes me cry. :) I cringe a little bit if the UPS man comes to the door b/c I always have it cranked up a little too loud!

  9. nadia says:

    I want to wear it! The photographs are stunning. I will visit this post again and again like some addict!

  10. chefectomy says:


    Songs don’t really inspire me but food does. Your photos really do as well. The use of champagne is so very clever (and beautiful) here.

    Thanks for the post.


  11. Alexa says:

    What inspiration… It’s magical. You are a genius at combining flavors, textures and the most amazing compositions.

  12. tanya says:

    I love “Moon River,” though I was only ever familiar with the Andy Williams version. Songs don’t usually inspire me, but photos will. Your dessert, as always, looks beautiful.

  13. Olga says:

    lol: at first I thought it was a piece of sushi (like salmon?).

    your pictures are so clean and pretty!

  14. PheMom says:

    So gorgeous! So many things inspire me, but most often it is people – loved ones I’m thinking of when trying to decide what to make.

  15. oh my goodness Aran…i almost fell out of my chair…these are inspiring me–they are like jewelry..hmmm…

  16. Love how you find your inspiration! The colors of this dessert just pop out…looks fantastic!

  17. C.L. says:

    so amazingly beautiful once again Aran. Music is just one of the things that inspires me… It is a huge part of my life. I have quite a soundtrack for my life ya know… Would make a great album… Very eclectic. You continue to take my breath away.

  18. Yummy yummy yummy. Please send some quickly. Oh well, I suppose I will have to settle for Baskin Robbins chocolate shake tonight.

  19. Fabrícia says:

    Your blog is amazing… I love evething…. sorry for my english….
    Congratulations …

  20. You are inspiration unmatched! I feel faint when I see such splendour…in thoughts & in creativity. Gorgeous!

  21. pia says:

    jaw dropping indeed, this one takes the cake. and i absolutely love your description of how you arrived at this incredible concoction. aran, it’s another knock out!!!!

  22. linda says:

    I never have that when I listen to a song, but I’m glad you have, otherwise we would have missed this pretty and unusual dessert :)

  23. ahh c’est marveilleuse!grapefruits grapefruits, pamplemousse are fashionable right now. the ‘it’ fruit.


  24. amy says:

    thanks for stopping by my blog! your photos look just plain stunning!

  25. Suzana says:

    Aran, I just got an ice-cream maker from my hubby, and when I come here you made the most perfect sorbet! No song to inspire me today, just your beautiful photos! :)

  26. Mrs.French says:

    How fortunate for us your ipod played 3 moon melodies in a row…lovely.

  27. Mobula says:

    Inspirarme una canción???? Creo que me inspiran muchas canciones a lo largo del día. Creo que por aquello de que todavía tengo un lado de bailarina y que no puedo ocultarlo ni olvidarlo…

    Si tengo que elegir una canción en este momento elegiría “Wonderful life” de Black. no se si sabras de quién se trata pero se hizo famoso alla por el principio de los `90…

    “Moon River” y “The river run” son otras canciones que tengo en la banda sonora de mi vida, aunque la mia es en versión CD (tengo que comprarme un Ipod ya)….

    El postre, muy, muy refrescante y las fotos maravillosas…

    …haré algo parecido algún día????



  28. Ginny says:

    Delicious and beautiful!!! :)

  29. Peabody says:

    Yum, on the red currant jelly. Though it all looks lovely.

  30. Thip says:

    Beautiful presentation!
    I’ve never made sorbet with yolk and butter though. :)

  31. bbaking says:

    Your food always looks so amazingly beautiful! Bet it tastes good too!

  32. Tartelette says:

    Champagne and grapefruit together are an explosive combinations for the senses! It’s goin got sound really old school but Henri Salvador always makes me dance and smile when I bake.

  33. I never can find currants, except in Europe. Your pictures are beautiful. I like how you took inspiring songs (Nick Drake is one of my favorites) and created something. Sounds Amazing.

  34. Y says:

    Aran, Nick Drake makes me happy sad too, but your desserts always make me 100% happy :D

  35. mimi says:

    oh. my. goodness. these look absolutely fantastic. love the photos, the colors are brilliant!

  36. It’s never too late to say:
    WOW WOW WOW!!!

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