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Maggie Beer, Jessica Pratt, and Matt Moran at Aria Restaurant, with a view of Sydney Opera House.

Recipe: La Dolce Jessica

Created by Maggie Beer for Jessica Pratt

The sopranos that conquer Lucia's stratospheric notes are some of the greatest the world has ever seen. Jessica Pratt has joined the ranks of Nellie Melba and Joan Sutherland: one of just three Australians to sing the role on the hallowed La Scala stage.

And now, Jessica Pratt is following in Dame Nellie Melba's footsteps in more ways than one, with Maggie Beer creating a dessert in Jessica's honour to mark her debut at Sydney Opera House: La Dolce Jessica.

When Dame Nellie Melba was at the height of her worldwide fame in 1892, legendary French chef, Auguste Escoffier of the Savoy Hotel, created a dessert in her honour, especially for a dinner party held by the Duke of Orlèans: the Peach Melba.

La Dolce Jessica is a deconstructed trifle, with a lemon curd base, fresh raspberries, and raspberry jelly, crystallised macadamia nuts, an Amaretto crumb, and toffee tuile. Maggie Beer has also shared a version that you can make at home.


Ingredients

Makes 4–6 servings

Note: this recipe needs to be prepared a day ahead.

For the raspberry jelly:
  • 250g frozen raspberries
  • 50g water
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 3½ x 2g gelatine leaves
For the amaretti:

Makes approximately 12 tablespoon-sized biscuits

  • 125g almond meal (Maggie uses the Lucky brand)
  • 85g caster sugar
  • ½ tsp lemon zest
  • 50g egg whites (approximately 2 eggs, preferably free range, reserve the yolks for the lemon curd)
  • 20ml vinocotto
  • 3 Tbsp granulated sugar
For the lemon curd:
  • 4 egg yolks
  • ⅔ cup caster sugar
  • 3 tsp finely-grated lemon zest
  • 100ml strained lemon juice
To assemble:
  • double cream
  • a handful of toasted macadamia nuts
  • a handful of fresh raspberries

Method

For the raspberry jelly:
  1. Blend the raspberries, water, and sugar together
  2. Place the blended mixture into a small saucepan and bring slowly to the boil over a low heat, stirring frequently
  3. Set aside to cool slightly
  4. Put the gelatine leaves in a bowl with enough cold water to cover and leave to soften
  5. Squeeze excess water out of the leaves and drop them into the raspberry juice
  6. Stir well, then pour into a shallow baking dish and place in the fridge overnight to set
  7. Once set, cut into cubes

Once the raspberry jelly has set overnight in the fridge, cut it into cubes.

For the amaretti:
  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C
  2. Grease and line one large oven tray with baking paper
  3. Place the almond meal, sugar, and lemon in a medium-sized bowl, and stir to combine
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until frothy
  5. Add the vinocotto to the egg whites
  6. Add the egg white mixture to the almond mixture, using your hands to bring mix them together.
  7. Wet your hands and dip them into the granulated sugar, then roll the dough into tablespoon-sized balls and place on the prepared baking tray.
  8. Bake for 20–25 minutes or until golden and crisp.
  9. Leave to cool on wire racks.

Double or triple the amaretti recipe to enjoy these Italian-style macaroons with a cup of tea.

For the lemon curd:
  1. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a stainless steel bowl until frothy
  2. Transfer to a heavy-based stainless steel saucepan and add all remaining ingredients.
  3. Stir continuously over a low heat for 10–15 minutes until mixture thickens
  4. Place a round of baking paper on the surface to prevent a skin forming and cool in the fridge.

Note: the lemon curd can be made in advance. When the mixture has thickened, pour the warm curd into a hot, sterilised jar, seal, and store for up to three months.

To assemble:
  1. Add two amaretti to a glass or small bowl, then two raspberries, with a teaspoon of lemon curd, and a scattering of toasted macadamia nuts.
  2. Add a few dollops of double cream and two cubes of the raspberry jelly, scatter more toasted macadamia nuts and fresh raspberries, and add another teaspoon of lemon curd.
  3. Repeat for each serving.

Assembling the dessert: layer each of the ingredients in a glass or a small bowl.

Maggie Beer makes La Dolce Jessica in Matt Moran's kitchen at Aria Restaurant

Maggie Beer makes the restaurant-version of La Dolce Jessica in the kitchen of Matt Moran's Aria Restaurant.

 

 


Aria Restaurant is serving La Dolce Jessica until the end of July. Aria Restaurant is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, and offers two and three-course options for pre-theatre dining. ariasydney.com.au


La Dolce Jessica

La Dolce Jessica at Aria Restaurant, Sydney.

 

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