I've been working none stop lately and my poor little blog has been sadly neglected. Working 10+ hours a day is not fun. I've been stacking on weight and unfortunately not from eating good food, but rather anything I can get my hands on before crashing my head on my pillow.
Back in Feb, yes FEBRUARY I tried my hand at my very first restaurant dish recreation. When I tasted the Tartare of fig with white chocolate and mascarpone mousse from Cafe Vue I instantly fell in love. I scrutinized every component of the dish, searching for any hidden ingredients. I wouldn't say I have the best palate, but I thought if I concentrate hard enough I might be able to make this myself at home, so heck lets give it a go. Figs are wonderful, mascarpone mousse is just luscious and I want to have basil's illegitimate love child (yep that's right, the herb - not the guy from Faulty Towers).
So I had my work cut out for me. There are quite a few components in the dessert, so many places to go completely wrong! There's a frangipane, a white chocolate mascarpone mousse, a fig compote and basil oil. Some how I managed to get extremely close to the original, well at least taste wise, presentation is a different story. I did muck up a couple of things, but I've made the appropriate changes to the recipe - like my mousse wasn't as fluffy as I would have liked, and my basil oil was a little cloudy. It would be interesting to see just how close I am to Shannon's recipe, but some how I don't think I'll get to see it any time soon. So here it is, my very first recreation recipe!
Fig Compote, with Frangipane, white chocolate mascarpone mousse and warm basil oil.
Make all the components well in advance and assemble dessert JUST before serving.
To garnish make some white chocolate discs or smears, and a few basil leaves.
6-8 fresh figs, cut into quarters then cut in half
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup port
1 cinnamon quill
1-2 star anise
1 vanilla bean, or 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1. Choose a large shallow pan, large enough to hold all of the cut up figs in one layer. In the pan add water, honey, port, cinnamon, star anise and vanilla. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook until syrup is reduced by a half.
2. Add figs and cook until slightly soft, 5 or so minutes. Remove figs from syrup using a slotted spoon, and place into a bowl. Return syrup to the heat and reduce by half. Poor syrup over figs and let it cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate until required. Will keep in the fridge for up to a week. Great on ice cream actually!!
1 massive hand full of basil leaves
150mL extra virgin olive oil
1. Place basil and oil in a food processor and process until basil is completely chopped up and incorporated into the oil. Transfer to a bowl and allow to stand for 2 hours
2. Strain mixture through fine muslin. The chopped basil can be used on pastas or in sauces.
my slightly cloudy basil oil
WHITE CHOCOLATE MASCARPONE MOUSSE
2 eggs, separated
1/3 cup castor sugar
250 g mascarpone, at room temperature
150 g white chocolate
250 mL whipping cream
1. Melt white chocolate over a bain marie. Set aside and let it cool to room temperature
2. Place egg yolks and castor sugar into a bowl and whisk until pale and fluffy. Place over a a saucepan of boiling water and continue to whisk until very fluffy and thick. Exactly like making a zabaglione.
3. Place mascarpone in bowl and whisk with a hand held mixer, or stand mixer until soft and creamy. Fold through zabaglione and white chocolate. Make sure not to over work the mixture as this will decrease the fluffiness.
4. In a separate bowl, whip cream. Make sure not to over whip the cream, soft peaks are enough. Fold through the white chocolate mixture
5. Whip egg whites until soft peaks and fold through the white chocolate mixture. I know a lot of folding and whipping, but well worth the effort!! Place in the fridge and allow to set, at least 2-3 hours.
FRANGIPANE (from Rockpool recipe with changes)
100 gm butter
100 gm pure icing sugar
100 gm almond meal
2 tsp plain flour
2 egg, separated
20 ml dark rum
1. Preheat oven to 170C. Line a muffin tray with cupcake liners.
2. Beat butter in an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Combine icing sugar, almond meal and flour in a separate bowl and, with motor running, gradually add to butter until completely combined. Add egg yolks, beating well to combine, then slowly beat in dark rum.
3. In a separate bowl whisk egg whites until soft peaks. Fold through mixture
4. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or a firm to the touch. Make sure not to over cook frangipane as it can quickly brown and become dry. Frangipane can be stored in an air tight container at room temperature for 4-5 days.
Just before serving take a tall glass, spoon 4-6 pieces of fig and a little syrup into glass. Take a frangipane cupcake and break in half, place on top of fig compote. Take a couple of dollops of mousse and place on top of frangipane. Garnish with white chocolate smears and a few basil leaves. Warm basil oil to 50C, slightly too hot to touch, being careful not to over heat as this will discolour the basil. Drizzle basil oil over white chocolate in front of your guests. Wait for the ooohs and ahhhs and then eat!!
Its all gone!!