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Thursday, February 11, 2010

The floral citrus

A couple of months ago, on a tip from a chef friend of mine, I found yuzu stocked at Central Market. An unusual citrus better known in Japanese cuisine, I hear that it is being cultivated now in California. The specimens I found weren't all that great looking, but beggars can't be choosers.

Just scratching the rind of the fruit reveals a heady floral aroma unlike most citrus encountered in the typical US market. Yuzu finds its way in a number of Japanese preparations, where the juice is mixed with soy sauce to make ponzu, or the rind is mixed with mixed with spices to make yuzu togarashi. I decided to bring these as a present to BBQDude and family in our most recent cooking adventure at the Great Western Casa McBardo. We decided to crack open Pichet Ong's Asian Inspired Desserts as a reference for using the yuzu, and chanced upon his recipe for yuzu soufflé, which called for an amount of yuzu juice. Alas, when we sliced open the fruit, we discovered that they were very seedy, and yielded very little juice. Fortunately, we had some Meyer lemons to make up the difference - an acceptable substitution. 

Ong's recipe is peculiar for a souffle - it incorporates a bit of flour in it, so it really is hybrid with a cake. But it offers the spongy airiness of a soufflé, while at the same time offering the stability of cake. Unlike a regular soufflé, we had the luxury of prebaking these early, and letting them sit until the end of the meal before plating - and they were fine.

Well, more than fine, really. Unmolded, the dessert separates out into this beautiful and tasty two toned textural layers. 

We plated it with a bit of reserved yuzu zest, and a simple berry compote. 


  1. This dessert looks amazing! Where did you get the recipe? I went to the link but none were available. I would love to try it.

  2. Dragana, it is published in Pichet Ong's cookbook, Asian Inspired Desserts.