Lemon and pine kernel iced mousse with fromage blanc and black pepper sorbet

15 November 2006
Lemon and pine kernel iced mousse with fromage blanc and black pepper sorbet

(Serves 6)

For the fromage blanc and black pepper sorbet 100ml liquid glucose
100ml milk
100ml double cream
12g corn flour, mixed to a paste with a little milk
75g caster sugar
50ml water
500g fromage blanc
Juice of 1/4 lemon
Cubeb peppercorns, in a peppermill

For the lemon and pine kernel iced mousse Juice of 6 lemons
Grated zest of 3 lemons
200ml double cream
100g caster sugar
30ml water
4-5 egg yolks (about 120g)
100g pine kernels, toasted until golden

For the lemon curd Juice and grated zest of 4 lemons
5 egg yolks
300g caster sugar
1tsp corn flour
250g unsalted butter, diced

For the caramel craquant 200ml liquid glucose
200g caster sugar
50ml water
100g flaked almonds, toasted until golden


To make the fromage blanc and black pepper sorbet, put the glucose, milk, cream, corn flour paste, sugar and water in a thick-bottomed pan and bring to the boil, stirring all the time. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. Put the fromage blanc in a bowl and pour in the glucose mixture. Whisk in the lemon juice and coarsely grind in pepper to taste. Transfer to an ice-cream machine and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. Place in the fridge to soften slightly about 10 minutes before serving.

For the lemon and pine kernel iced mousse, put the lemon juice and zest in a small pan and boil until reduced to 75ml. Remove from the heat and set aside. Whip the double cream until it forms soft peaks, then set aside in the fridge.

Place the caster sugar and water in a small saucepan and heat gently, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and boil until it reaches the soft-ball stage (115ºC on a sugar thermometer). While it's boiling, whisk the egg yolks in a freestanding electric mixer until thick, airy and very pale. When the sugar syrup is ready, slowly drizzle it on to the egg yolks with the machine running on high. Continue to whisk until cold.

Fold in the lemon juice, then the whipped cream and finally add the pine kernels. Place a 36cm x 11.5cm x 4cm metal cooking frame on a baking tray and pour in the mixture. Freeze until set; this will take at least six hours.

For the lemon curd, bring the juice and zest to the boil in a saucepan. Whisk the egg yolks, caster sugar and corn flour together in a bowl. Pour the juice on to the yolks, whisk well and return to the pan. Cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture has thickened; do not let it boil or the eggs will scramble. Remove from the heat, cool down a little, then whisk in the butter bit by bit, letting each piece melt before adding the next. Pour through a fine sieve into a bowl and leave to cool. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

To make the caramel craquant, place the glucose, caster sugar and water in a thick-bottomed saucepan and heat gently, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and cook, without stirring, until it becomes an amber-coloured caramel. Immediately pour on to an oiled baking tray and sprinkle with the almonds. Put to one side until cold and very crisp. Break the caramel up, place in a food processor and pulse to a coarse powder. Store in an airtight container.

When needed, sprinkle the craquant in an even layer on a baking tray lined with a sheet of baking parchment the same size as the frame for the iced mousse. Place in an oven preheated to 200ºC/gas mark 6 until it has melted and formed a single sheet of caramel. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Just before it sets, cut it into strips the same size as the slices of iced mousse will be.

To serve, place a slice of mousse at the top of each serving plate and put a craquant slice on top. Place a teaspoon of lemon curd on the plate and drag it across to create a teardrop shape. Finally, place a scoop of sorbet on top.

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