A dessert inspired by cocoa fruit

A dessert inspired by cocoa fruit

Green Pickled Peaches
Chris Chen

This is how I think cocoa fruit should taste. The dish is a compilation of my idealised impressions of the cocoa fruit’s appearance, feel (both of its exterior and interior), texture and scent.

For the candied pomelo peel


Quantity Ingredient
1 pomelo
500g sugar

For the chiffon cake

Quantity Ingredient
25g palm sugar, chopped
6 pandan leaves
8 eggs, separated
200g caster sugar
90ml grapeseed oil
145g self-raising flour, sifted

For the cocoa water jelly

Quantity Ingredient
100g caster sugar
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon powdered agar-agar
1 gelatine leaf

For the chocolate sauce

Quantity Ingredient
2 teaspoons caster sugar
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
30g chocolate with 75% cocoa fat, chopped

For the meringue

Quantity Ingredient
2 egg whites
125g caster sugar


  1. Candy the pomelo peel:
  2. Cut the peel off the pomelo in large strips. Juice the rest of the fruit and reserve the juice. Blanch the peel in boiling water, then refresh under cold running water. Repeat this twice more to remove excessive bitterness and to soften the peel. Put the juice, sugar and 1 litre water in a pan and bring to the boil. Add the peel and simmer gently for 2–2½ hours, with the pan half-covered with a lid, until the peel is soft and translucent. When cool, transfer the peel and syrup to a jar and store for at least 24 hours before using.
  3. Make the chiffon cake:
  4. Make a syrup by heating the palm sugar and 60 ml water together until the sugar dissolves. Cool, then purée the pandan leaves with the syrup. Leave for 30 minutes and then wring through muslin to obtain 60 ml of syrup. Preheat the oven to 175°C. Oil and line two 30 cm square cake tins with baking paper. In a large bowl beat the egg yolks and 60 g of the caster sugar until thick and light in colour. Combine the pandan syrup with the oil. Fold into the egg yolks, alternating with the flour, a third of each at a time. Beat the egg whites until just starting to soft peak, then gradually beat in the rest of the sugar with a pinch of salt until stiff peaks hold. Fold the whites into the egg yolk mixture. Divide between the tins and bake for 35–40 minutes until the cakes spring up when lightly pressed and have shrunk away slightly from the sides of the tins. Turn out onto wire racks to cool. Any excess cake can be eaten immediately or stored in the refrigerator for a few days.
  5. Make the cocoa water jelly:
  6. Line a 20 x 7.5 cm ice-cream tray with plastic wrap. Make a syrup by combining the sugar and 200 ml water in a saucepan and bringing to the boil, stirring only to dissolve. In a bowl mix the cocoa powder with a little of the sugar syrup, working it into a mixture without lumps. Stir in the rest of the syrup. Dissolve the agar-agar in the cocoa water using the same method. Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat. Have the gelatine leaf softening in cold water, drain it and wring dry. Stir into the cocoa water. Pour into the tray and put in the refrigerator for about 1 hour to set.
  7. Make the chocolate sauce:
  8. Bring the sugar and 100 ml water to the boil, stirring to dissolve. Make a slurry with a little of the syrup and the cocoa. Put the chocolate in a saucepan and pour in the rest of the hot syrup. Once the chocolate starts to melt you can stir it. Stir in the cocoa slurry. Heat to 70°C then remove from the heat. If you are worried about lumps in the sauce, whip it in a blender.
  9. Make the meringue:
  10. Make this last and use immediately. I’d recommend using a copper bowl which has been rinsed out with salt, vinegar and hot water, then dried thoroughly. Otherwise use a very clean, dry mixing bowl. Beat the egg whites in the bowl until they start to hold soft peaks. Add the caster sugar gradually, while continuing to beat until stiff peaks form.
  11. Assemble the dessert:
  12. Spread one of the chiffon cakes with a thin layer of meringue and lightly brown with a blowtorch. Cut 4 small rectangles of cake. Cut the jelly into small circles with a ring cutter. Cut the candied pomelo peel into small squares. Serve the cakes with an arrangement of the cocoa jelly, pomelo chunks and the chocolate sauce. Additional garnishes could be toasted peanuts grated on a microplane, and deseeded custard apple.
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