"Incorporating local ingredients into my dishes reinforces the importance of regionalism in Italian cooking - it's about being true to what's local rather than sourcing something from overseas," says Giovanni Pilu. "In this recipe I use both local and Sardinian ingredients; the corbezzolo honey from Sardinia gives a unique, slightly bitter flavour, which balances the sweetness of the mousse and the peppery flavours in the sponge." Start this recipe a day ahead to make the spiced orange syrup.
- 7 egg yolks (125gm)
- 55 gm (¼ cup) caster sugar
- 135 gm corbezzolo honey (see note)
- 2 titanium-strength gelatine leaves, softened in cold water for 5 minutes
- 250 ml (1 cup) pouring cream, whisked to soft peaks
- To serve: coarsely chopped salted roasted macadamias, lemon thyme leaves and vincotto
- 100 ml freshly squeezed orange juice
- 50 gm caster sugar
- ½ each star anise and cinnamon quill
- 2 cardamom pods
- 1 small clove
- 460 ml Ichnusa beer (see note)
- 100 ml sugar syrup (see note)
- 2½ tsp lemon juice
- 150 gm unsalted butter, softened
- 75 gm each brown sugar and caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- ½ tsp Tasmanian ground pepperberry (see note)
- 150 gm (1 cup) plain flour, sieved
- 1¾ tsp baking powder, sieved
- 1For orange spice syrup, bring juice and sugar to the boil in a small saucepan. Add spices and set aside overnight to infuse.
- 2Whisk egg yolks and sugar until pale and creamy in an electric mixer. Heat honey in a small saucepan over medium-high heat to 121C on a sugar thermometer (2-3 minutes). Squeeze excess water from gelatine and stir into honey to dissolve. Slowly pour hot honey into egg mixture, whisking continuously until cool (6-8 minutes), then fold in whipped cream, transfer to a 1-litre container, cover and refrigerate until set (2-3 hours).
- 3For beer sorbet, bring beer, sugar syrup and 1/3 tsp salt to the boil in a saucepan. Add lemon juice, strain through a very fine strainer, cool and refrigerate to chill (1-2 hours). Churn in an ice-cream machine and freeze until required (this sorbet is best served within 2 hours before serving).
- 4For pepperberry sponge, preheat oven to 160C and butter and line a 20cm-square cake tin. Whisk butter and sugars until pale and creamy in an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition. Stir in pepperberry, then gradually fold in sieved flour and baking powder, and transfer to prepared tin. Bake until risen and a skewer inserted withdraws clean (30-35 minutes). Cool in tin for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Cut into rough 3cm triangles and store in an airtight container. Cake is best eaten within a day of making.
- 5To serve, scoop tablespoonfuls of mousse onto serving plates (a warm spoon helps here), arrange sponge around, spoon a little orange syrup over sponge, top with a spoonful of sorbet, scatter with macadamias and lemon thyme, and dot with a few drops of vincotto.
Note Corbezzolo honey is available from icnussa.com.au; otherwise substitute chestnut or ironbark honey. Ichnusa, a Sardinian beer, is available from select bottle shops; otherwise substitute pale ale. Sugar syrup is equal parts sugar and water brought to the boil, then cooled. Ground pepperberry is available from herbiesspices.com.au.
Drink Suggestion: Pilu’s Adrian Hall suggests 2011 Cantine Argiolas Angialis Isola dei Nuraghi Bianco IGT, Sardinia.