A student with a taste for the flavours of the Middle East has scooped top honours in our My Dish recipe contest.
Bella Duncan, who created a cardamom and lime creme brulee, served with pistachio ice cream and pistachio and ginger brittle, for the menu at Wellington restaurant Logan Brown, beat off strong competition from winners in six other categories to win $1000 of cookware.
"My family is part-Lebanese and many Middle Eastern desserts combine the tang of citrus and ginger with a sweet punch of spice and crunch of nuts. Cardamom is my favourite spice and the smell as I grind it in a mortar and pestle makes me feel like I'm sitting in a spice souk," she said.
"I love texture contrasts in desserts so have included nuts and the caramel of the brittle with soft custard and ice cream. "
Duncan, 23, has just finished a Masters in geology at Victoria University and is about to start studying for a PhD.
"When I was doing my Masters cooking was my form of relaxation."
Judge Ruth Pretty praised the combination of flavours in Duncan's recipe and said was a good fit for Logan Brown's menu.
"Everyone loves creme brulee but it was refreshing to see one as flavoursome as this one. Creme brulee is normally very rich, but the cardamon and lime would cut that richness so you could eat more of it."
CARDAMOM AND LIME CREME BRULEE WITH PISTACHIO ICE CREAM AND PISTACHIO AND GINGER BRITTLE
For the brulee:
2 cups cream
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup caster sugar
4 cardamom pods
Zest of 1 lime
Extra caster sugar for topping
Toast the cardamom pods in a small pan until the outside of the pod starts to brown. Remove the casing from the seeds, then crush them lightly in a mortar and pestle.
Put the cream, crushed cardamom seeds and lime zest in a saucepan and warm over low heat until the cream is hot, but not quite boiling. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool and infuse for 20 minutes.
In a bowl, whisk the sugar and egg yolks together until pale. Strain the warm cream to remove the cardamom and lime, then add to the sugar and egg mixture. Whisk until thoroughly mixed. Pour back into a clean saucepan over low heat and stir until the mixture thickens just enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Do not allow the mixture to boil.
Divide the mixture between four 125ml-capacity ramekins and place in a baking dish with enough water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover with tin foil, and prick holes in the top of the foil to allow steam to escape. Place in an oven preheated on 180°C and bake for 20 minutes until the mixture is just set but still a bit wobbly in the middle.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool before placing in the fridge for one hour to set. Sprinkle sugar evenly on top of each custard and use a blow torch to melt the sugar until golden brown.
PISTACHIO ICE CREAM
You need an icecream maker for this recipe.
1 cup shelled pistachios
3 egg yolks
85g light brown sugar
Toast the pistachios in a pan until starting to brown. Whiz in a blender until mostly finely chopped, but there are still some larger pieces.
Pour the milk into a saucepan over low heat and bring almost to the boil. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 20 minutes.
In a bowl, whisk the sugar and egg yolks together until pale. Add the warm milk to the sugar and yolks and whisk thoroughly. Pour back into a saucepan on low and stir until the mixture thickens just enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Do not allow the mixture to boil. Leave to cool for at least an hour, stirring from time to time so it does not form a skin.
Whip the cream until it holds its shape and fold into the cool custard. Use an ice cream maker to churn until thick, but not fully frozen. Add the crushed pistachios and continue to churn until the ice cream is a thick, frozen consistency.
PISTACHIO AND GINGER BRITTLE
3/4 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup shelled pistachios
1/4 cup crystallised ginger, roughly chopped
Toast the pistachios in a pan until starting to brown. Remove from the heat and the hot pan and put to one side.
Put the sugar and water in a pan and stir over a low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat and continue to cook until the edges are just starting to colour. Add the pistachios and crystallised ginger and cook for 1-2 minutes until the mixture reaches a deep caramel colour. Pour on to a foil lined tray to cool. Break into shards when cold.
TO SERVE: Place a creme brulee and a scoop of ice cream on a plate. Add a shard of brittle to the top of the ice cream, and garnish with lime zest.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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