When was the last time you were so smitten by a dish at a restaurant that you unabashedly asked the chef for the recipe? That’s exactly what happened last week when I experienced the pop-up Moroccan menu at Bistro Pastis. Among great company, I enjoyed the spice-forward dishes that were paired with chilled rosés, their wine of choice in the warm Mediterranean climate.
First, I dove enthusiastically into my Beef Koftka: succulent meatballs in a cinnamon tomato sauce that’s topped with a runny egg yolk for good measure. Next, I girted myself, determined to polish off the entire plate of Le Couscous Royal. This mini feast consisted of smoky grilled lamb, succulent braised chicken, and house-made merguez (lamb sausage), all served on a bed of fluffy couscous.
Full to the gills and blushing from the wine, I proceeded onto dessert.
That’s when the world stood still.
Orange blossom water is my weakness. The Ramos Gin Fizz, shaken with frothy egg-white and orange blossom water, is a cocktail close to my heart. Now imagine that drink in dessert form, held together by a silky yogurt mousse. I not only finished mine, but the rest of my (reluctant) neighbor’s too. Can you blame me for pleading with the chef for his recipe?
Thanks to chef, we can make this dessert all summer long. Whip up a batch and serve it in some chilled glasses on the patio. I’ll be spiking mine with some gin but that’s entirely optional ;)
Orange Blossom Yogurt Mousse
by Chef Tobias Grignon
Makes 4 one-cup portions
- ½ sheet of gelatin
- small amount of cold water
- 5 egg yolks
- ½ cup (scant) sparkling white wine
- 10 Tbsp. sugar
- 1 cup plain Balkan-style, full-fat yoghurt (Balkan is more tart than Greek-style, Greek-style can be substituted)
- 2/3 cup whipping cream
- 1 Tsp. lemon juice
- 1 Tsp. Orange blossom water
- 1 orange, peeled and segmented
- 1 sprig of fresh mint
- Soak the half sheet of gelatin in cold water for at least five minutes to soften.
- Combine yolks, sparkling wine and 4 Tbsp. of the sugar in a medium size stainless steel bowl. Place bowl over a double boiler on medium heat.
- Begin whisking the mixture immediately to avoid curdling the eggs and keep whisking constantly. Once the mixture (sabayon) becomes warm, add the gelatin sheet and let it dissolve. Do not stop whisking!
- As the mixture warms it will begin to thicken to approximately triple its original volume and stiffen slightly. Continue whisking over the heat until the sabayon leaves a very thick (about a quarter inch) coating on the back of a spoon or until it sits at least a half inch high when spooned onto a plate.When you have reached this stage, remove the bowl from the heat and set aside the sabayon until it cools to room temperature.
- Whip the heavy cream with the remaining sugar (6 Tbsp.) to soft peaks and set aside.
- Using a rubber spatula, slowly fold the yoghurt into the cooled sabayon. When the yoghurt is fully incorporated, fold in the whipped cream.
- Add the lemon juice and the orange blossom water. If you wish you may add more or less orange blossom water according to your taste.Cover the bowl and let the mousse set in the fridge for at least 1 hour before serving.
- To serve – spoon the mousse into glasses or small bowls, top with fresh orange segments and chopped mint leaves.
Bistro Pastis: 2153 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver, BC 604.731-5020 www.bistropastis.com