Frozen grapefruit and orange carpaccio with warm almond cake

Frozen grapefruit and orange carpaccio with warm almond cake

By Johnny Iuzzini, Executive Pastry Chef, Jean Georges Restaurant, NYC
As seen at the French Culinary Insitute’s grapefruit dessert demo

Grapefruit Carpaccio
sections from 3 mandarin oranges
sections from 3 blood oranges
sections from 5 grapefruits
300 grams of juices from the above
40 grams honey
1 banana, ripe and mashed
2 whole star anise
seeds from 1 vanilla bean
2 2.25-gram gelatin sheets, bloomed and strained
zest from 2 grapefruits, blanched

Simmer 75% of the citrus juices with the honey, banana, star anise, and vanilla bean seeds for 7 minutes. Strain and add gelatin. Briefly blanch the zest in boiling water and add to the mixture with the remaining 25% of the juice. Chill over an ice bath until very cold. Layer into plastic molds lined with plastic wrap, alternating citrus segments and juice. Freeze. Thinly slice and reserve in the freezer until needed.

Notes: The flavor of citrus juice dulls when you cook it, so that’s why you “refresh” it with reserved juice later on.

The banana flavor is undetectable, but it balances the citrus’ acid and bitterness.

Almond Cake
150 grams almond paste (60% almonds, 40% sugar by weight)
90 grams egg yolks
200 grams heavy cream
150 grams egg whites
cream of tartar
75 grams sugar

Preheat oven to 250°F. Slightly warm the almond paste in the microwave. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, blend the almond paste with the egg yolks, a little at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions, until the mixture is smooth with no lumps. Add the cream slowly and mix until homogenous. Separately, whip the whites with a small amount of cream of tartar to soft to medium peaks, adding the sugar in three stages. Fold a small amount of the meringue into the almond mixture to lighten it, then carefully fold in the rest until evenly blended. Pipe batter into buttered and sugared tart molds 3/4 of the way full. Bake on a Silpat-lined baking sheet for 15 minutes, then rotate tray. Bake for another 3 minutes, then open oven door. Allow the tray to sit in the oven with the door open for one more minute before unmolding. Reserve until needed.

Make your mixer last longer: break up the almond paste with your hands before beating it.

Don’t add the liquids all at once to the almond paste, or else you’ll end up like Johnny, spending the next two hours sifting out lumps, while an angry French chef mutters, “Stupid, stupid.”

Cakes without chemical leaveners like baking powder or soda get their volume by beating it properly. Start the whites at low speed and gradually switch the highest gear.

Add the sugar gradually to the meringue. If you add it all in the beginning, it will weigh down the whites. If you add it all in the end, you’ll get bad texture. You may either add in the sugar in three stages, as above, or add it one tablespoon at a time after the whites form soft peaks.

To Serve
micro lemon bergamot greens

Place a slice of the carpaccio on the plate and allow it to temper. Serve with lightly warmed almond cake and garnish with micro lemon bergamot.