I first experienced Pastry Chef Ben Spungin’s desserts at Marinus, in Carmel Valley, http://www.bernardus.com/. His mom must be extraordinarily proud. Ben’s sweets are some of the most creative, smart, irreverent and successful I’ve experienced. The entire meal was outstanding. Run don’t walk to Marinus for your next special occasion (make a reservation first.) My dinner selections were mostly vegetarian and gluten free. The exception was dessert, “Pineapple Agnolo”, the “pasta” having been made from pureed pineapple; it had to contain a little wheat flour to create the elasticity necessary to create a (pillow) for the filling. I wish I could take credit for independent thought, but my only (brilliance) was conceiving of using my (beautiful German) pinking shears to cut squares of thinly sliced mango to make faux ravioli, an homage to Ben’s original idea. Now I need to think of a better name than “Italian Dessert!” This will be pretty at your Easter or Passover Meal, or any spring or summer dinner party
Italian Dessert – Serves 6-8. You’re going to need a good pair of Pinking Shears.
2 ripe mangoes, peeled, sliced 1/8″ thick into (sheets) as wide as possible, and cut into squares, imitating Ravioli, using the pinking shears
2 ripe kiwi, sliced into rounds, and again in halves, to imitate Agnolotti
1/2 cup sweetened or unsweetened coconut, toasted (more if you want some in a bowl on the table.) OR, have a chunk of fresh coconut that you can grate over the dessert at the table!
Bubble Sauce – recipe to follow
Grand Marnier Zabaione – recipe to follow
Optional: fresh blueberries, raspberries, grapes – make this once and you’ll find what color and flavor paths you’ll want to follow.
2 tablespoons Instant Tapioca (or whatever type you prefer, as long as you know how to get it translucent and keep it intact.)
2 tablespoons fresh grated orange zest
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup agave syrup
1 cup water
Optional: 1 drop each red and yellow food coloring
1/2 cup lemon juice
1. Soak the 2 tablespoons of tapioca in 1 cup of cool water in a small saucepan for 15 – 20 minutes.
2. Grate the rid of (1 oranges) to make 2 T. zest, a little more (1 teaspoon) if you want to add some to your Zabaione Sauce.
3. In a saucepan combine the water, sugar, agave syrup and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Simmer uncovered without stirring for 10 minutes. Add the grated rind and continue stirring for another 20 – 30 minutes or until the syrup has thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Cool while you’re finishing with the tapioca.
4. When the tapioca has (softened) cook in the water over a medium heat until the pearls just turn translucent, stirring only as needed to keep the pearls from sticking together. This should take 1 – 3 minutes. (Too much stirring will cause layers of tapioca to come off the pearls, reducing them in size.) Strain the pearls, running cold water over them to stop the cooking and add to the cooled citrus syrup. Cover and refrigerate until serving. This can be done a day ahead.
Grand Marnier Zabaione Sauce:
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup Grand Marnier (substitute 1/4 cup strained orange juice if you don’t want to use alcohol.)
1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped
In the top of a double boiler (away from heat), beat the egg yolks until thick. Gradually add the sugar, consistently beating until fluffy, light in color, and the mixture mounds slightly. Place over simmering water, continuing to beat, slowly adding the liqueur, until the mixture expands and forms soft mounds (3-5 minutes). Set the top of the double boiler in a bowl of ice and continue beating until the misture is cool. Gently fold in the whipped cream (and 1 teaspoon of zest.) Refrigerate until serving.
1. Ladle 2 – 4 tablespoons of the Bubble Sauce onto a deep dessert plate or small pasta bowl/plate.
2. Arrange the cut fruit on top as if you were placing pieces of pasta.
3. Put a dollop of Zabaione Sauce on top of the fruit, and top with toasted or fresh grated coconut.
This is special, satisfying, and delicious! Enjoy!
P.S. Testers who skipped the Zabaione liked it just as much as the others.