Saturday 18 March 2017

Pistachio, Orange Blossom and Pomegranate Delices

Okay, so these look and sound rather fancy and I must point out now that this recipe certainly isn't for the faint-hearted cook, without trying to put you off!! This has got to be my longest method for a recipe I have ever created in the history of my 2 and a half years blogging. It took me so long to write this and never mind the good amount of hours spent cooking and experimenting to create something I was happy with. 

It is, let's just say, one of my more complex recipes...after all, if I'm gonna go all out and do old school patisserie I may as well do it justice and do it properly as it should be done. A delice is essentially a fancy french term for a layered slice which you'll often find in many forms of flavours and textures in all standard patisseries. The layered slice is an exercise in culinary harmony, and a budding pastry chef has much to learn from them. 

The real skill and secret to a successful delice is that all the components hold themselves individually and that they are precise and in the right order. The base is a patisserie sponge made with ground almonds called a joconde. It provides the structure and moisture due to its high fat content, but is soft in texture and complements the mousse layer. 

I wanted to create a delice with middle eastern inspired flavours as I've noticed this exciting cuisine is definitely on the up as a new emerging trend and a layered slice is the ideal opportunity to experiment with flavours and texture combinations. The middle eastern trend is taking ahold in the UK with countless new restaurant openings alone in 2016. Yotam Ottolenghi’s restaurants and cookbooks being frontrunners in helping to boost the awareness of Middle Eastern foods and culture. 

The floral, botanical trend is also definitely something that is 'trendy' right now, especially when it comes to floral flavoured desserts. So, what I call the mousse is actually titled malabi. A popular middle eastern dessert: creamy, perfumed, milk-based pudding flavoured with either orange blossom or rose water. It was perfect to experiment with as I could create a mousse-like layer with just the cornflour as the stabilising agent - the 'traditional' way of course. 

I think for me, one of the best bits about this dessert is that element of excitement when you slice into it and uncover the fruity, dark ruby red jelly core. It would be great to serve to friends and family without telling them about the hidden centre and wait for their surprise reaction as they discover it for themselves (in the hope that they actually like pomegranate!!) 

Pistachio,  Orange  Blossom  and  Pomegranate  Delices

Makes 6

You will need three 13 x 5cm (depth 4cm) size approx. silicon loaf moulds


For the Pomegranate Jelly Cubes:
1 gelatine leaf
100ml pomegranate juice
5g caster sugar

For the Orange Jelly Glaze:
2 gelatine leaves
200ml orange juice
10g caster sugar

For the Orange Blossom Malabi Mousse:
350ml whole milk
120ml double cream
75g caster sugar
30g cornflour/cornstarch
2 tbsp water
1 ½ tsp orange blossom water

For the pistachio Joconde Sponge:
Cooking oil spray for greasing
25g pistachios, finely ground with a processor
40g ground almonds
40g icing sugar
10g plain flour
1 large egg
10g butter, melted and cooled
80g egg white (about 3 medium eggs)
20g caster sugar

For decoration:
10g finely chopped pistachios


Prepare the loaf moulds by lining tthem with cling film (plastic wrap), making sure to line the base and up the sides, leaving extra overhanging around the edge to fold over with once they are filled. Try to avoid any wrinkles with the cling film, making it as smooth as possible and getting it right into the corners. 

Prepare the pomegranate jelly cubes and orange jelly glaze the night before so it has time to set. Apply the same method to both. Place the gelatine leaves in a jug of cold water and leave to soak for 5 minutes. Heat the juice (separately) and sugar in a saucepan and bring to the boil, then squeeze the excess moisture out of the gelatine leaves (making sure to put 1 leaf into the pomegranate juice) and dissolve them into the hot juice, give it a quick stir. Pour the pomegranate juice into a silicon ice cube tray, you may not need all the juice depending on the size of your cube tray. You could pour the leftovers into ramekins for jelly desserts. Leave them to set in the fridge overnight. Pour the orange jelly into the three prepared lined loaf moulds, distributing the juice equally to create a thin layer on the base. Leave to set in the fridge overnight. 

On the day of serving, prepare the malabi. Combine the milk, cream, and sugar in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Once the mixture comes to the boil, remove from the heat. While you’re waiting for your milk to heat up, dissolve the cornflour in the water, whisking as you add it to make sure there are no lumps. When the milk comes to the boil, quickly whisk in the cornflour paste along with the orange blossom water and immediately remove from the heat. Leave to cool in a bowl, place a layer of cling film on the surface to stop a skin forming, chill in the fridge until thick enough to pipe. 

Prepare the pistachio joconde. Preheat the oven to 200°C/350°F/gas 6. Line a 15 x 20cm (approx. size) traybake tin with parchment paper and lightly grease with the cooking spray. Firstly, make a pistachio paste by putting the finely ground pistachios into a pestle and mortar and grind until they form a paste (this takes a good 5 minutes, the natural oils come out of the nuts and help to make a paste-like consistency.) 

Put the paste, ground almonds, icing sugar, flour, eggs and butter into a bowl and whisk together for about 3 minutes to make a smooth paste. 

Whisk the egg whites into stiff peaks in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Gradually whisk in the caster sugar until a smooth and glossy meringue forms. 

Fold in a spoonful of the meringue into the pistachio mixture to loosen it, then fold in the remaining meringue. Spread out thinly onto the lined prepared tin, leveling it out if necessary to the corners. Bake for 12-15 minutes until cooked, a skewer inserted should come out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool, peel off the parchment paper. 

Fill the malabi mousse into a piping bag and cut a large hole. Pipe a thick layer into each of the prepared loaf moulds with the jelly glaze as the base. Then turn out the pomegranate jelly cubes from the tray and place 2 into each loaf mould, leave a gap between the 2 cubes and so there is a border left around the edge of each cube. Then use the rest of the malabi mousse to pipe around and a thin layer on top of the jelly cube, repeat with all three moulds until it is all used up. Place back into the fridge to set for 1 hour.  

Once the pistachio joconde sponge has cooled completely, cut three 13 x 5cm rectangles out and place on top of the malabi like a lid, this forms the final layer and will be the base once turned out. Press down slightly so it fits snug inside the mould but it should reach the top. Then use the overhanging extra cling film to cover the sponge. Leave to set for roughly another 4-5 hours. 

To serve, remove from the fridge. Unwrap the cling film top and turn out the delices onto a board. It may require a knife around the edge to tease it out at first, or try tapping the base, bending the silicon slightly. Once released, peeling off the surrounding cling film, cut each one into precisely half so you end up with 6 cube shaped delices in total. For decoration, sprinkle chopped pistachios onto half of each delice diagonally using a piece of paper - cover one side corner to corner, so that you create a clean line edge. 

They are best served chilled on the day of making but should be stored in the fridge if necessary.   


  1. Great post! Pistachio, Orange Blossom and Pomegranate Delices recipe seems very tasty, and you explained the method very nicely. i appreciate your effort. it is very easy to read and to implement.

  2. Thank you! Yes I try my best to make it as easy to follow as possible and it is good that you think the same. :)