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challenge in creating a good dessert, and the pleasure it brings to its
recipient, is unmatched by any other type of cooking. There is something
that is associated
with a homemade dessert that evokes among all of us a
sense of comfort and
it is a gift of love."
~ Nancy Silverton
the Basics for Dessert
by Alain Ducasse
New York Times, March 27, 2002
This is the
fifth of eight columns by Alain Ducasse, the chef and owner of
at the Essex House in Manhattan. They are being written
end of an elaborate dinner you need something fresh. And light. And somewhat
exotic, too. In my restaurant, we serve chilled mango and a sorbet of
fromage blanc or sour cream spiked with pepper after the dessert. It's meant
wake up the palate before the finale of caramels, little cakes and
I don't consider it a full-fledged dessert, but it can easily be turned into
adding warm caramelized mango. Then you have that combination of hot
cold, raw and cooked, which I adore.
First, prepare the sour cream sorbet to give it time to chill. You might
I call it a sorbet and not an ice cream when it has a dairy base.
sorbets, like this one, are made with sugar syrup, while ice
cream is made with
a custard, using eggs.
For the sauce, I like the sharpness of passion fruit because it makes the
much more complex, especially with raw mango in it.
To cook the mango, I caramelize it first in a pan, then under the broiler,
care that it doesn't lose its texture and fresh flavor. Too much
cooking and it
turn to purée.
I'd like to make an important point, which applies to all my cooking. After
the mangoes are cooked, you will have butter, sugar and some of the mango
left in the pan. Those are the essences of your ingredients; don't
lose them. You
want to capture those treasured touches of flavor and return
them to your dish.
For this dessert I give them a little refinement by
cooking them until they
caramelize, adding some lemon juice for balance.
As you eat the sorbet, it starts to melt into the barely warm mango. The
sauce contributes a sweetly acidic note, bridging the two.
To keep things simpler, omit the cooked mango and just go with the sorbet,
sauce and the raw mango. Either way, the delightful heat of pepper
with each bite."
Glazed Mango With Sour Cream Sorbet
and Black Pepper
Time: 30 minutes
2 large mangoes, ripe but not soft
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus
butter for baking sheet
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup passion fruit sauce (see
Sour cream sorbet (see
1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
1. Peel mangoes. Cut in thirds horizontally, leaving the pit
section. Place each portion without pit cut-side down on a work
surface, and with
a large knife cut into 8 slices perpendicular to
the cutting board. Gently
push down on slices so they spread out
2. Sliver enough mango flesh left around the pits to make
3. Butter a baking sheet large enough to hold mangoes in a
Heat the broiler.
4. Melt remaining butter in a large nonstick skillet. Use a
each sliced mango third in the pan so they keep their
Cook over medium heat about 5 minutes, sprinkling with two
with pan juices.
5. With spatula, transfer mangoes to baking sheet, place
broil until edges just start to color. Do not overcook.
Set mangoes aside.
6. Add remaining sugar to juices in skillet, and cook over
until juices start to caramelize. Add lemon juice, and continue
until amber colored. Season lightly with pepper.
7. Place a sliced caramelized mango third in each of 4
plates. Spoon passion fruit sauce around each, and scatter raw
around. Top each with a large oval scoop of sour
1/4 teaspoon coarse pepper on top and
serve at once.
Yield: 4 servings.
Sour Cream Sorbet
Time: 15 minutes, plus freezing
1 cup sugar
1 pint sour cream
3 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 tablespoon finely
grated lime zest.
1. Combine sugar and 3/8 cup water in saucepan. Simmer until
2. Whisk sour cream in a large bowl until smooth. Gradually
sugar syrup. Whisk in lime juice and zest. Refrigerate until cold.
Transfer to an
ice cream maker, and freeze according to the
Yield: 1 quart
Passion Fruit Sauce
Time: 30 minutes, plus chilling
1/3 cup sugar
1 stalk fresh lemon grass, in pieces
2/3 cup passion fruit nectar like
Looza or Ceres
(sold in fancy-food shops)
2 tablespoons lemon juice.
1. Mix sugar with 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan, simmer
until sugar dissolves, add lemon grass, and set aside to cool 20 minutes.
2. Stir in passion fruit nectar and lemon juice. Refrigerate.
Yield: 1 cup.
Copyright 2002 The New York Times Company. Used with
Confiture de Vieux Garçon
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