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Dessert du levant

A levantine dessert

Mont d’Or has been made in the Haut-Doubs area since the end of the Middle Ages, although the first written evidence of its existence – a letter signed by Jean-Jacques Rousseau – stems from 1764. Originally called “wood,” “cream” or “boxed” cheese, it eventually became known as Vacherin du Haut-Doubs, or Mont d’Or (not to be confused with its Swiss cousin Vacherin Mont d’Or, or simply Vacherin). Mont d’Or is a soft cheese, awarded AOC status in 1981 and PDO in 1996, made from the milk of Montbeliarde and French Simmental cows grazing in mountain pastures some 700m above sea level. It is only made between September 10th and May 10th. Rennet is added to the milk, curds are formed and the temperature is raised to 40°C. The curds are cut and stirred, then filled into cylindrical stainless-steel moulds for pressing. The pressed curd is turned out of its mould, sliced into wheels and bound, by hand, with a strap (sangle) of spruce bark. The straps are harvested by specialists known as sangliers.

  • 2
  • 1 h
  • 15 min
Ingredients
  • For the grapefruit syrup
  • Zest of 1 grapefruit
  • 100 g sugar
  • 200 g grapefruit juice
  • For the dough
  • 200 g sugar
  • 350 ml water
  • 2 g saffron
  • 130 g semolina
  • 250 g Mont d’Or
  • To assemble
  • 250 g cow’s milk curd
  • 1 grapefruit
  • Ground pistachios
  • Dried edible rose buds
Method

Make the grapefruit syrup

 

  1. Peel the zest from the grapefruit and cut into fine strips. Blanch the zest 3 times in boiling water, changing the water each time.
  2. Place the sugar and grapefruit juice in a saucepan over a low heat.
  3. Add the strips of zest and simmer until candied.

 

Make the dough

 

  1. In a saucepan, gently heat the sugar, water and saffron until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  2. Without removing from the heat, add the semolina to the syrup, whisking as you go.
  3. Add the Mont d’Or and continue to stir, this time with a rubber spatula, until you have a smooth dough similar to choux pastry.
  4. Turn the dough out onto non-stick kitchen paper and roll out into a rectangle half a centimetre thick.
  5. Set aside to cool.

 

To assemble

 

  1. Cut the dough into 8 cm wide strips.
  2. Pipe or spoon the curds and diced grapefruit into the centre of each strip.
  3. Roll up the dough to make a sausage shape; glaze with the grapefruit syrup, and sprinkle with ground pistachios and edible dried rosebuds.

Omar Koreitem

Omar Koreitem was born in Lebanon, but came to France as a baby. He discovered a passion for cooking at the age of 31 and took his first culinary steps in New York under Daniel Boulud. As a commis chef coordinating canapés, he would often prepare a thousand or more items for each service. It was a case of in at the deep end – but a very good way to learn the basics and to understand the rigour required. Discipline was no more relaxed under Gordon Ramsay in London, where Omar stayed for two years before returning to France with his wife Moko, lawyer-turned-pastry-chef, who had also embarked on her new career relatively late. In 2015, they opened Mokonuts, a high-end lunch destination where the cuisine is spontaneous, combining the influences of both partners. Cheese is a popular ingredient in Lebanese cooking, and has a very special place here.

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