Frozen Blood Orange Capsule with Bitter Almond Cream by Rick

Rick Billings
370 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
(617) 536 7200

Biography & Interview »


Rick Billings
CLIO | Boston

Stacking up to the creative genius of Chef Ken Oringer is a serious challenge, one that pastry chef Rick Billings has pulled off with aplomb at Clio. A mere 25 years old, Billings had the good fortune to work with two of Boston’s top pastry chefs – Kristen Murray at No. 9 Park, and Alex Stupak, his predecessor at Clio. If Murray gave Billings a sense that anything is fair game as far as ingredients in desserts go, Stupak demonstrated that there’s no limit when it comes to creating ethereal textures that venture way beyond foams. Ironically when Billings studied at New England Culinary Institute (NECI), he was more interested in savory than pastry cooking, turned off by the refrigerated cases of desserts that boasted maximum shelf-life but minimum flavor and vitality. “I like that plated desserts have a short life. Ice creams melt, foams fall, herbs wilt – there’s much more life to that!” And at such a young age, there’s surely much more life – and success – to this talented pastry chef.


Frozen Blood Orange and Amaretto Capsule with Bitter Almond Cream and Coffee Streusel
Pastry Chef Rick Billings of Clio – Boston, MA
Adapted by

Yield: 6 Servings


    Blood Orange Gel:
  • 500 grams blood orange juice
  • 50-100 grams sugar (depending on ripeness of the oranges)
  • 6 grams agar agar
  • 3 grams gelatin, bloomed

    Amaretto Caramel:
  • 500 grams cream
  • 4 vanilla beans, split and scraped
  • 10 grams dextrose
  • 500 grams sugar
  • 5 grams glucose
  • 400 grams amaretto

    Coffee Streusel:
  • 400 grams butter
  • 200 grams almond flour
  • 400 grams cake flour
  • 10 grams coffee powder
  • 20 grams coffee liquor
  • 10 grams salt
  • 4 grams modified food starch
  • 400 grams granulated sugar
  • 200 grams demerara sugar

    Bitter Almond Ice Cream:
  • 2 kilograms whole milk
  • 650 grams marcona almonds, raw
  • 300 grams demerara sugar
  • 80 grams milk powder
  • 8 grams dextrose
  • 10 grams glucose
  • 6 grams gelatin
  • 10 grams stabilizer
  • Bitter almond essence (amount varies on almond quality and technique)


For Blood Orange Gel:
Bring the juice to a boil with the sugar and agar agar in a medium sized pot. Add the bloomed gelatin off the heat, and place mixture over an ice bath until completely cooled. Blend until a perfectly smooth gel is achieved.

For Amaretto Caramel:
In a medium-sized pot, bring the cream to a boil with the vanilla beans; add the dextrose off the heat. In a separate pot, cook the sugar and glucose until medium caramel. Slowly pour the cream into the caramel while whisking, until fully dissolved and homogenous. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature, and then add the amaretto. Place in the freezer.

For Coffee Streusel:
Combine all ingredients except the demerara suar in an electric stand mixture until fully mixed. Flatten out mixture on a Silpat and bake at 300°F until fully cooked and dried, about 30 minutes. Allow to cool and grind in a Robocoup with the demerara sugar.

For Bitter Almond Ice Cream:
Bring the milk to a boil in a large sauce pot. Add the marcona almonds and use a hand blender to mix up until the almonds are in very small pieces but not completely blended. Allow mixture to sit overnight.

Cook the almond milk with the demerara sugar, milk powder, dextrose and glucose to 80° C, then add the bloomed gelatin and stabilizer. Strain the mixture through a chinois, pressing hard to extract all the liquid from the almonds. Add the bitter almond essence to taste. Freeze mixture in Pacojet containers.

To Assemble Capsules:
Cut 6 pieces of acetate into 2-inch by 5-inch rectangular strips. Cut 12 squares of acetate measuring 2 inches by 2 inches.

Spread some of the Blood Orange Gel on 6 of the 12 squares. Then spread an even layer of the gel on all the strips. Form the strips into tubes by bringing the shorter ends together and secure. Place each tube on one of the square bases covered with gel and freeze. Once frozen, fill tubes with the Amaretto Caramel. Spread some more of the gel on the other squares and place on top. Freeze capsules overnight.

To Serve:
Spoon some of the streusel onto the serving plate. Unmold a capsule and place on the side of the streusel. Spread some of the gel on the plate and sprinkle some coffee extract to the side. Run 6 portions of the ice cream in the Pacojet and place a quenelle next to each capsule. Place some micro anise hyssop around the gel and capsule.

Wine Pairing:

Lustau East India Solera Sherry


back to top

   Published: March 2006