Chef's Recipes

Corbezzolo honey mousse with pepperberry sponge and beer sorbet

Giovanni Pilu recipe for corbezzolo honey mousse with pepperberry sponge and beer sorbet from his restaurant Pilu at Freshwater.

By Giovanni Pilu
  • 1 hr 30 mins preparation
  • 45 mins cooking plus cooling, chilling, churning, freezing, infusing
  • Serves 6 - 8
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Corbezzolo honey mousse with pepperberry sponge and beer sorbet
"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
Orange spice syrup
  • 100 ml freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 50 gm caster sugar
  • ½ each star anise and cinnamon quill
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1 small clove
Beer sorbet
  • 460 ml Ichnusa beer (see note)
  • 100 ml sugar syrup (see note)
  • 2½ tsp lemon juice
Pepperberry sponge
  • 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


  • 1
    For orange spice syrup, bring juice and sugar to the boil in a small saucepan. Add spices and set aside overnight to infuse.
  • 2
    Whisk 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).
  • 3
    For 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).
  • 4
    For 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.
  • 5
    To 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; 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
Drink Suggestion: Pilu’s Adrian Hall suggests 2011 Cantine Argiolas Angialis Isola dei Nuraghi Bianco IGT, Sardinia.