HomeRecipesLimone e Fragola Mandorla (Lemon and Strawberry Almond) by Casey Doody

Limone e Fragola Mandorla (Lemon and Strawberry Almond) by Casey Doody

Inspiration for me is driven seasonally. This dish was on the menu during the height of rhubarb season. My favorite way to utilize rhubarb is by pickling, as it still maintains a bit of a bite texturally to the dish. Developing recipes for an Italian restaurant, I decided to utilize semolina for the flour in this cake. I incorporated caramelized lemons into the batter, which enhanced the combination of strawberries and rhubarb. Valrhona Opalys tied this all together with a lush white chocolate basil sauce that’s poured tableside.

Yield: about 17 servings

Lemon Coulis

  • 6 lemons
  • 1250 g granulated sugar
  • 500 g lemon juice
  1. Cut lemons in half vertically and set aside.
  1. Make a dry caramel with the sugar, taking it to a golden amber color. Deglaze with the lemon juice. Pour the caramel in a hotel pan and layer the lemons on top, flesh-side-down, so that the rind is exposed. Cover the pan with foil and bake at 280˚F (138˚C) for 1 to 2 hours, or until the lemons are soft enough to be easily broken down in a blender.
  1. Working in batches, place the lemons along with some of the caramel juice in a Vitamix blender and process to a smooth paste. Pass the paste through a chinois after each blending to ensure the paste is extra-smooth. Cover the coulis with plastic wrap and chill until ready to use in the semolina cake.

Lemon Semolina Cake

  • 600 g unsalted butter
  • 450 g Demerara sugar
  • 2 g salt
  • 6 g vanilla paste
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • Zest of 6 lemons
  • 9 extra-large eggs
  • 600 g almond flour
  • 300 g semolina flour
  • 17 g baking powder
  • 40 g Lemon Coulis
  • Sliced Almonds,  as needed for sprinkling on top
  1. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugar, salt, vanilla paste, almond extract and lemon zest on medium speed. Scrape down sides until smooth.
  1. Add eggs one at a time.
  1. Combine the wet ingredients with dry ingredients. Fold in the Lemon Coulis.
  1. Pipe 100 g of batter per portion into each of 20 JB Prince (M246-4.5) 4 1/2ʺ (11.4 cm) entremet ring molds. Sprinkle sliced almonds on top of batter before baking. Sprinkle a little bit of demerara with the sliced almonds to give a nice crust to the top of the cake. Bake 325˚F (163˚C), 10% humidity, for 20 minutes, rotating halfway through baking.

Strawberry  Coulis

  • 150 g granulated sugar
  • 4 g agar agar
  • 1000 g strawberry puree (Boiron)
  • 2 gelatin sheets (gold)
  1. In a bowl, mix together the sugar and agar agar.
  1. In a pot, bring the puree to a boil. Once the puree begins to boil, add the sugar mixture. Bring the liquid back up to a boil before removing from the heat and adding the gelatin. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
  1. Once chilled, put the coulis in a Vitamix and blend until smooth. Reserve.

Pickled Rhubarb

  • 453 g rhubarb, cleaned and washed
  • 183 g water
  • 179 g white vinegar
  • 30 g grenadine
  • 2 g crushed pink peppercorns
  • 166 g granulated sugar
  1. Clean and cut the rhubarb stalks into 1/4ʺ (6.3 mm) cubes.
  1. In a pot, simmer the water, vinegar, grenadine, peppercorns and sugar until sugar has dissolved. Strain out the peppercorns and cool the pickling liquid.
  1. To compress the rhubarb for pickling, place the diced rhubarb in a vacuum sealer bag. Put enough pickling liquid in the bag to just barely cover the diced rhubarb. Using a chamber vacuum sealer machine, place a filled pouch with rhubarb into the chamber, then press to vacuum seal. The seal bar double-seals the pouch, guaranteeing complete, long-lasting closure. Place in cooler until ready to use for plating.

Vanilla Ice Cream

  • 2000 g milk
  • 860 g heavy cream
  • 20 g vanilla paste
  • 633 g granulated sugar
  • 130 g dextrose
  • 170 g nonfat milk powder
  • 16 g ice cream stabilizer
  1. In a pot over medium heat, bring milk, cream and vanilla to 131˚F (55˚C). Whisk in the remaining ingredients. Bring the base up to 176˚F (80˚C). Chill over an ice bath. Refrigerate overnight.
  1. Immersion blend and spin the next day. Makes 4 quarts.

Opalys Basil Crème Pasti

  • 17 portions , pour is 42g for plating
  • 80 g egg yolks
  • 125 g granulated sugar
  • 250 g heavy cream, 40%
  • 250 g milk
  • 10 g basil
  • 80 g Valrhona Opalys 33% white chocolate
  1. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl.
  1. In a pot, bring the cream and milk to a simmer. Add the basil and allow to steep for 10 minutes. Strain out basil and return liquid to the pot.
  1. Make an anglaise by tempering the egg yolk mixture into the warm dairy liquid.
  1. Whisk in the white chocolate until emulsified. Strain the anglaise through a chinois and into a Cambro. Immersion blend. Cool in an ice bath until chilled. Reserve in the cooler until service.

Rhubarb Curls

  • Rhubarb stalks, as needed
  1. Using a peeler, peel strips of rhubarb and place in ice water. The ice water will cause the rhubarb to curl, creating an abstract garnish.


  • Quartered strawberries, as needed
  • Micro basil, for garnish
  1. Toss equal parts quartered strawberry slices and pickled rhubarb in the Lemon Coulis, just to coat the fruit. This adds flavor and makes the fruit shine.
  1. Place a semolina cake in the center of the plate. Spoon the strawberry-rhubarb mixture (about 40 g ) from step 1 on top, to the right half of the semolina cake. Quenelle a scoop of vanilla ice cream and put it next to the fruit on the left side of the cake. Adorn the top with the micro basil and rhubarb curls. Pour the Crème Pasti tableside.

About Casey Doody

Casey Doody holds the position of Director of Pastry at the Boka Restaurant Group Le Select, GT Prime, Swift & Sons, Swift Tavern and Boka Catering. Known for her unique culinary approach, Casey’s signature style combines French and Italian techniques with modern plating styles, while infusing a whimsical touch and nostalgic flair. When it comes to developing new recipes, Casey finds inspiration by meticulously studying her cookbooks from cover to cover, treating them like books. She adopted this practice early in her career and continues to derive creative ideas from it. Furthermore, Casey’s culinary creations are greatly influenced by seasonality, as well as her extensive travels and dining experiences around town.

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