Some things are worth the wait—true love, world peace, even a standing ovation. Café Boulud’s pastry chef, Julie Franceschini, received the latter in August, when she presented the final course at a Corsican wine dinner hosted by executive chef Rick Mace.
Dubbed La Clémentine, her hyper-realistic creation, prepared in the likeness of a clementine, was so convincing diners stood up to applaud it.
Thankfully, Café Boulud patrons can still experience this special occasion dessert, but it must be requested 24 hours in advance. Franceschini crafts the pint-sized pièce de résistance by shaping blood orange mousse into a sphere then filling it with a sweetened lemon sauce. Afterward, she sprays it with green food coloring and an orange-hued, white chocolate wash as well as a coat of pastry glaze for shine. It’s finished with an authentic orange stem and served on homemade canistrelli, a traditional Corsican biscuit, with a grapefruit sorbet and a citrus salad.
Interested in preparing La Clémentine at home? See below for step-by-step instructions.
This recipe is adapted from Cafe Boulud’s kitchen. The measurements are in grams which the chef uses for consistency and accuracy. A digital kitchen scale is a valuable tool and can be purchased online and at most kitchen supply stores. A flexible silicone hemisphere mold is used to make the dessert’s sphere shape.
La Clementine (serves 8)
Blood Orange Mousse
- 200 g prepared blood orange purée
- 200 g heavy cream
- 6 g powdered gelatin
- Warm purée in a heavy bottomed sauce pot. Sprinkle the gelatin over the surface and whisk in until fully dissolved.
- Allow the purée to cool to room temperature before proceeding.
- Working in a separate bowl, whip heavy cream to medium peaks.
- Using a spatula, gently fold in one third of the whipped cream into the purée and gelatine mixture to lighten it before adding the remaining whipped cream.
- Fold gently until the mixture is uniform.Immediately fill hemisphere molds and place in refrigerator to set for at least four hours or overnight.
- 100 g lemon juice
- 50 g sugar
Put in a saucepan and bring to a gentle boil. Let reduce slightly to a syrup consistency. Chill the sauce over a bowl of ice.
- Using a melon baller or small spoon, make a well center of the mousse and insert the sauce. Return to the freezer until firm.
- Once frozen, remove halves from the molds and gently press together to form a ball. Return to the freezer to set.
- Once set, place on a rack and paint with melted white chocolate colored with orange food coloring.
- 20 g sugar
- 125 g flour
- 1 egg
- 20 g white wine
- 40 g vegetable oil
- 3 g baking soda
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Sift all dry ingredients together and add wet ingredients. Mix until uniform.
- Spread on a lined baking sheet. Bake in oven for 10-15 minutes or until set in the center.
- Cut with a round dough cutter into circles small enough to fit under the mousse while warm and store in an airtight container.
- Trimmed sections or supremes from one orange, one grapefruit, one lime and one lemon
- Corsican biscuits
- In a chilled bowl or plate, place one biscuit and scatter the pieces of fresh citrus around each.
- Place one clementine on top of each biscuit and serve immediately.
- For an even more convincing presentation, serve with orange leaves or stems.