Clementine Cake with Dates and Mascarpone Mousse
For the Clementine Purée:
Preheat oven to 400°F. Place citrus in a 2-inch hotel pan and cover with water. Place a sheet of parchment on top to submerge fruit. Cover with a double layer of foil and crimp tightly around edges of the hotel pan. Cook for 1 to 2 hours, until fruit is mushy to the touch. Drain liquid and purée whole fruit until smooth. Scale to quart containers, 750 grams per container. Refrigerate.
For the Clementine Cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat eggs and sugar until fluffy. Whisk together almond flour, baking powder, and salt. Add dry ingredients, Clementine Purée, and lemon juice and mix until combined well. Butter and sugar individual molds, scale 70 grams batter into each mold. Bake until browned, puffed, and set. Cool fully before wrapping tightly and storing in refrigerator.
For the Candied Lemon Peel:
Slice peels off lemons, reserving flesh. Blanch peels by covering with water in a small pot, bringing up to a boil, and draining. Blanch a second time. Add enough simple syrup to cover the blanched peels, and cook down until soft and glossy, adding water if necessary as the syrup reduces, to avoid caramelizing. Juice reserved lemon flesh, add to cooked peels, and bring to a boil. Chill peels and syrup over an ice bath and store in quart containers.
For the Candied Kumquats:
Combine sugar and water in a medium saucepot and bring to a boil. Add kumquats all at once and stir to coat. Simmer for a few minutes, stirring, until liquid thins and kumquats cook slightly but are not mushy. Add lemon juice. Chill over an ice bath and store in quart containers .
For the Blood Orange Gel:
Combine blood orange juice and lemon juice in a medium saucepot and bring to a simmer. In a small bowl, whisk together sugar, salt, and agar agar. Whisk dry ingredients into juices at a simmer, and bring to a full rolling boil. Pour into a shallow metal container and chill over an ice bath until set. Break up gel and transfer to blender; purée until smooth. Strain, transfer to pint containers, and refrigerate until ready to use.
For the Mascarpone Mousse:
Combine mascarpone and cream in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat until smooth and fluffy. Fold in yogurt and salt. Bloom gelatin in ice water. Wring out excess water, melt gelatin, and reserve in a warm place. Place egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and begin whipping on medium speed. In a small saucepot, combine sugar with a small amount of water to create “wet sand” texture, and bring to a boil. Cook sugar syrup to 240°F; then stream into the whipping egg whites. Stream in melted gelatin, and allow to whip until cooled to room temperature. Discard half the meringue, or reserve for other uses. Fold remaining half of meringue into mascarpone mixture.
For the Candied Walnuts:
Preheat oven to 250°F. Preheat fryer oil to 350°F. Combine water and sugar in a medium saucepot and bring to a boil. Add walnuts and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain nuts and dry in oven. Cool, toss in powdered sugar, and dust off excess. Fry walnuts in batches until glossy, brown, and crisp. Blot on a parchment-lined tray, salt lightly, and cool.
For the Date Garnish:
Using a pair of scissors, cut each date quarter into 5 triangular pieces. Finely dice 1 tablespoon Candied Lemon Peel and toss with date pieces and just enough syrup from the Candied Lemon Peel to moisten everything.
To Assemble and Serve:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Warm Clementine Cake in the oven. On an oval plate, use a squeeze bottle to deposit three dots of Blood Orange Gel, descending in size, from left to right across the plate. Using a spoon, swipe the two outer dots in a clockwise direction, one pointing up towards 12 o'clock and one pointing down toward 6 o'clock. On the left swipe, arrange a few assorted orange segments. Place a pile of Candied Walnuts on the center dot. Set a quenelle of Mascarpone Mousse on the Candied Walnuts. Place warm Clementine Cake on the right-hand sauce swipe. Top with four slices of Candied Kumquat and a small spoonful of the Lemon-Date Garnish.