The first dessert is a sleek white confection of coconut mousse and jasmine-infused Chantilly cream; inside, there’s a brunoise of tropical fruits including mango, lychee and pineapple. Hints of kampot pepper and kaffir lime add sophistication. “When you cut into it, you’ll see many layers and textures.”
In the second dessert, chestnut is the star: It’s Lim’s take on a classic Mont Blanc, using her favourite winter ingredients of Ardeche chestnut and Corsican clementines, with a puff pastry layer, Piedmont hazelnuts and a touch of rum.
During her four years in Paris as a student at Le Cordon Bleu, she discovered chestnuts and clementines at work and at the markets. These seasonal fruits “became very Christmassy for me – very special ingredients that I like to work with during Christmastime.” While her chefs in France were fond of using chestnut in combination with blackcurrant, “my personal favourite is clementine, because I like the citrusy flavour that goes with the chestnut.” She recalls her first taste of clementines from Corsica: They were “like a mandarin orange but very juicy and sweet with almost no sour taste. The Corsican ones are really good – and they always come with a stem and leaf.”
The third dessert, a hazelnut chocolate delice, is inspired by “my favourite childhood snack, which is Ferrero Rocher.” Say what? Asia’s 50 Best’s Best Pastry Chef likes supermarket chocolate, too? “Because of the layers of texture you get when you put it in your mouth – as a kid, I would eat it layer by layer,” she recalled. “The chocolate crust first, with the almonds. After that, you get the wafer layer and then the decadent, more creamy centre, with the hazelnut.”
The journey to the centre of the Ferrero Rocher is replicated in her dessert, with its hazelnut praline, Varlhona’s Guanaja 70 per cent dark chocolate, feuilletine and salted chocolate sable. “When you cut into the cake, you get all the different crispy layers, the oozy praline, a little touch of fleur de sel that rounds off the palate, and then a little bit of Christmassy orange zest.”