C’est le Combawa! Haute Pâtisserie flavours with edible art by Hugo & Victor and Pierre Cuisine

22 Apr
combawa mousse with raspberry balsamic coulis

Combawa (Kaffir Lime) Custard Mousse, Crêpe Dentelle and Raspberry Balsamic Coulis.
Recipe by Pierre Cusine, styling and photography by Rachel Bajada

Ah le Combawa. How it happens that we only just found each other, I just don’t know, but this exotic ingredient known in English as “Kaffir Lime”- is becoming the star of the show in French patisserie from gourmet desserts to chocolates and macarons.

This is one of the things I just love about modern French gastronomy- the flavour pairings are exotic and surprising. Take an Asian lemon-grassy lime citrus, the fruit of which is often disregarded for being overpowering and acidic, then masterfully match the aromatic qualities of it’s zest with the delicate flair of French patisserie and what do you get? A delicious… love child. A really good-looking… Eurasian one.

I first really discovered the combawa when I recently had the fortune of meeting and interviewing Mr Hughes Pouget – a visionary and talented award winning pâtissier and co-founder of Hugo et Victor, Paris Haute Patisserie concept stores take gourmet patisserie and l’art du chocolat to a whole new level.

When walking into the gorgeous Hugo et Victor store on Paris Rive Gauche, I could only explain the sensory experience as something in-between the excitement of diamond shopping in a high street jeweller, and the gastronomic indulgence of the dessert degustation in a Michelin star restaurant. Need I say no more. The creations by Hugo et Victor strike a perfectly balanced chord between art, fashion and food. In describing the concept, Hughes Pouget himself explains:

“There is something beautiful and fabulous in this ‘universe’… I wanted to create something in-between a pastry shop and a restaurant so that customers have the freedom of choice… so we follow the seasons and the markets- for example we replace the tangerine with the blood orange and during winter we have the Combawa… essentially we created a ‘menu’.“

Hugo et Victors ‘Seasons’ concept is a real hit and it makes so much sense. They alternate their best-seller classics with seasonally introduced flavours across a palette of delicacies from chocolate through to patisserie and even give wine matching recommendations to complete your experience. And as for the Combawa, Hugo et victor now have their own private plantation on the French Riviera to ensure a stable, non-imported, and top quality supply of this exotic fruit normally only gown in the southeast again region.

Hugo et Victor Combawa desserts

Image Supplied. The Combawa Verinne and Combawa Tarte by Hugo et Victor, Paris.
Put it on your 'Must eat when in Paris' list

For those visiting Paris, The Hugo et Victor Combawa tarte and Combawa Verrine (pictured above) should go immediately on the ‘must eat’ list. When I asked Hughes Pouget where he gets his flavour pairing inspiration from, he explained that in his time travelling all corners of the world, he picked up many ideas applicable to patisserie which often resurface years down the track .

“For two years I travelled all over the word… between Singapore, Shanghai, Tokyo, brazil so the inspiration is my travels- as in life, in my work, it’s important to be very curious”.

And so, inspired by this delicious discovery I set out to recreate something delicious that we can all create ourselves, starring this exotic ingredient.

Now, of course I love desserts, but creating something sophisticated and refined that would do justice to this ingredient seemed best left to the experts. So I decided to enlist the help of a much more talented cook than myself. Who better to collaborate with than the illustrious Pierre Cuisine!

A well known and very popular French food blogger famous for his ambitious creativity and original culinary creations, (not to mention his well-maintained incognito status), Pierre’s recipes are an interesting contrast to his day job in finance where I imagine his unsuspecting colleagues have no idea what he is capable of in the kitchen after hours!

Like many food bloggers, Pierre has no official culinary training, but his imagination, passion for food and many years of experimentation in the kitchen result in some absolutely superb and inspired dishes…
Artichoke pannacotta with almonds, pistachio and pinenuts; Calamari surf and turf with Basque Jambon and spicy broth; Cashew cheesecake with coriander-candied lemon cream and pink radish; Chestnut cream and foie gras amuse bouche… the list of deliciousness goes on!

You can see all of Pierre’s creations here but in the meantime- here is a little video to warm you up to the recipe for our very own combawa creation:

Combawa Custard Mousse on a base of Crêpe Dentelle with Raspberry Balsamic Coulis.

The recipe which can be found in English and French further down the page.

Combawa custard mousse with raspberry coulis

Combawa (Kaffir Lime) Custard Mousse, Crêpe Dentelle and Raspberry Balsamic Coulis by Pierre Cuisine. Image © Rachel Bajada

Recipe: Combawa (Kaffir Lime) Custard Mousse, Crêpe Dentelle and Raspberry Balsamic Coulis by Pierre Cuisine

Serves 4

The Combawa Custard Mousse
• 1 Combawa (Kaffir Lime) zest
• 2 eggs
• 2 large tbsp of mascarpone
• 2 sheets of gelatin
• 2 tbsp caster sugar

Whisk egg yolks with sugar to a creamy white consistency; add the mascarpone and whisk again until the mixture is silky and smooth. Finely grate the zest of the kaffir lime using a micro-zester and mix again to combine.
Beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks (with a tiny pinch of salt) .
Carefully fold the egg whites into the combawa and egg yolk mixture.

Prepare and fill a pastry bag with the combawa custard and leave to rest in the fridge for approx 30 mins, allowing the gelatin to thicken the cream.

To form the combawa mousse ‘logs’, Pierre creates plastic tubes using clear plastic projection sheets rolled into narrow cylinders and sealed with cello-tape.

After 30 minutes remove the piping bag from the refrigerator and gently pipe the combawa cream into the individual tubes. Seal the tube ends with cling film and return the tubes to the fridge to finish setting. If you are pressed for time, you can place the tubes in the freezer to set quickly.

Crêpe Dentelle Base

• 1 packet of Crêpes Dentelles

Place the crepe dentelles (or a substitute sweet caramel-like wafer biscuit) in a sealable zip-lock bag and roll over the bag with a rolling pinner until they are crushed into crumbs.

Raspberry Balsamic Coulis

• Approx 20 raspberries for 4 people, plus 3 fresh berries per serving
• 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
• 2 tbsp icing sugar

Place the raspberries, vinegar and sugar in a saucepan and cook on low heat for approximately 5 minutes. Remove from heat and strain the coulis through a fine sieve of tea strainer to remove seeds. Set aside and allow the coulis to cool. Once cooled, pour into a plastic-nozzled sauce dispenser and place in fridge for 10 minutes before serving.

On the plate carefully arrange a rectangular strip of the crushed crepe dentelle to form the base .
Gently release the seals on the plastic cylindrical molds and slowly ‘roll out’ the combawa mousse log, placing it on top of the crushed crepe base .
Add the fresh raspberries and draw a line of raspberry coulis lengthways.

Serve at a cool temperature.

Combawas/Kaffir Lime

Combawas/Kaffir Lime

step by step: how to make combawa mousse

Step by step- how to make the combawa custard mousse and raspberry balsamic coulis

Recette: Mousse de Combawa, Crepes Dentelles et Balsamique de Framboises

Pour 4 personnes

Pour la mousse au combawa
• 1 combawa
• 2 œufs
• 2 cuillères à soupe de mascarpone
• 2 feuilles de gélatine
• 2 cuillères à soupe de sucre

Battez les jaunes avec le sucre jusqu’à ce qu’ils soient blanchis, ajouter la mascarpone et fouetter pour bien mélanger. Râper les zestes de combawas et mélanger à nouveau. Battez les blancs d’oeufs avec une pincee de sel pour obtenir une consistence.
Bien battre le mélange au fouet, et incorporer délicatement les blancs d’oeufs battus avec la crème combawa.

Remplissez la creme dans une poche à douille et mettez le contenu au lréfrigérateur pour une durée de 30min (le temps que la crème prenne un peu).

Faites des tubes avec du rhodoïd ou des feuilles en plastiques de rétro projecteurs. Fermez les tubes d’un cote avec un ruban a adhésif et de l’autre cote avec du film transparent.

Après 30 minutes vérifiez si la crème a commencé à se solidifier.
Commencer à remplir les tubes de crème. Fermez les bouts des tubes avec du film transparent ; et puis consolider avec du ruban a adhésif. placez le contenu dans le réfrigérateur jusqu’à ce que le désert soit servi.

Les crêpes dentelles

1 paquet de 2 crêpes dentelles

Ecraser les crêpes dentelles (ou tout autre biscuit) dans un sac de congélation avec un rouleau à pâtisserie jusqu’à obtenir une poudre.

Le coulis de framboises au balsamique

• Environ 20 framboises (3 ou plus pour chaque personne)
• 2 cuillères à soupe de vinaigre balsamique
• 2 cuillères à soupe de sucre glace

Dans une casserole, mélanger les framboises avec le vinaigre et le sucre.
Cuire le mélange à feu doux jusqu’à ce que les framboises soient cuites (environ 5 minutes).
Passez le coulis de framboises au chinois pour se débarrasser des graines.
Laissez le coulis se refoidir..

Sur l’assiette de service poser délicatement la poudre de crêpes dentelles en forme rectangulaire.
Démoulez la mousse combawa et placez-la sur les miettes de dentelles.
Ajoutez les framboises fraîches tout en dessinant une ligne de coulis.
Servir frais.


20 Responses to “C’est le Combawa! Haute Pâtisserie flavours with edible art by Hugo & Victor and Pierre Cuisine”

  1. su August 28, 2013 at 12:53 am #

    I’m insanely grateful to have found your post on this recipe! I went back to Paris second time specially to eat this dessert but it was not in season yet. Now I guess I dont have to return to Paris again. 😀

  2. Soria August 24, 2011 at 12:53 am #

    Coup de coeur pour ce que tu fais ! Continue 🙂

  3. Grégory August 12, 2011 at 11:39 pm #

    Dear Rachel,

    More i read your blog, more i think that you are a refined person. I see a lot of blogs and i think that i can add your blog in my favourites.

  4. Dominique Tournié June 9, 2011 at 11:28 am #

    Bonjour Rachel,
    Félicitations pour ton blog, continue !
    Tes idées sont bonnes et surtout les gourmands sont flattés par tant de belles choses
    Dominique Tournié

    • frenchforfoodies.com June 9, 2011 at 6:35 pm #

      Merci Dominique! Ca me fait plaisir d’avoir nouvelles de toi et je suis contente que tu aimes mon blog egalement.

      Rachel 🙂

  5. Lora May 13, 2011 at 5:15 pm #

    This looks so perfect and delicious! Congratulations! 🙂

  6. Marianne May 7, 2011 at 9:13 am #

    Fantastic blog and recipes! Photos are great too!

  7. Cook is Good April 28, 2011 at 6:16 pm #

    lovely blog et wonderful recipes, nice to meet you! Giorgia & Cyril

  8. Shann Akkersdyk April 26, 2011 at 11:35 am #

    My mouth waters everytime I read one of your blogs Rach and this one makes me want to get on a plane and find Hugo et Victor’s thank you for making my taste buds dance from the other side of the globe

  9. Mama Yeti April 24, 2011 at 8:56 pm #

    I am fond of Pierre Cuisine. I am glad his blog was honoured with this terrific recipee! Congrats!

  10. zabelle April 24, 2011 at 6:36 pm #

    thnak you now I discover what is a combawa!
    have a nice day

  11. Alexandra April 24, 2011 at 11:09 am #

    Yum! And I love the video with the annonymous Pierre! 🙂 Can’t wait to try this recipe… I hope I can find Kaffir limes in a local fruit stand!


    • Rachel Bajada April 26, 2011 at 11:57 am #

      You might have to look hard in the Asian supermarkets- they can be difficult to find- good luck Alexandra 🙂

  12. pierre April 23, 2011 at 5:56 pm #

    of course the level of Hugo is very high !!!!
    I really enjoyed the experience !
    thanks again Rachel for that day !

    • Rachel Bajada April 26, 2011 at 8:13 am #

      Pierre it was with great pleasure to collaborate with you on this recipe- thank you again!


  13. Ramu April 23, 2011 at 8:21 am #

    It’s gorgeous!Thanks.

  14. Dennis Minor April 22, 2011 at 10:03 am #

    Great posting. Makes me envious as I sit here eating a bowl of cereal.

    • Shannon D'Souza April 22, 2011 at 8:20 pm #

      So you hear about French/Japanese Fusion, like Green Tea Opera, or a Saint-Marc Macha (Sadaharu Aoki is the best!) But Thai/French??! Kaffir Lime, Balsamic and Raspberry! I’m salivating, definite must try!

      Anyone had the Patrick Roger Lime and Basil Chocolate?!

      • Rachel Bajada April 30, 2011 at 12:10 am #

        Shannon I am sitting in a car with my Parisien friend and we are eating the Patrick Roger Basil and Lime chocolate and it is out of this world! Thank you
        For the discovery and see u soon I’m

    • Rachel Bajada April 26, 2011 at 8:14 am #

      LOL get on a plane to Paris and I’ll make it for you!

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