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.
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?