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Middle Eastern ‘ice cream sandwich’ with poached peaches

Middle Eastern ‘ice cream sandwich’ with poached peaches

  • Dessert
  • medium
  • 8
  • 2 hours, plus churning and freezing time

PT2H

Sweet, ripe peaches are a quintessential summer fruit and absolutely sing of the season, so I wanted to create a dish to truly celebrate them. Ice cream is also a perfect image of summer, so as an ice cream lover I wanted to incorporate that. In an early season of Masterchef Australia (of which I am an avid fan!), a contestant made ‘Frozen Baklava’ in a Middle Eastern invention test – fragrant pistachio ice cream sandwiched with layers of filo. I loved the concept so wanted to try designing my own version. Peaches and pistachios go so wonderfully together. The fragrant Middle Eastern spices really accentuate the natural perfume of the peaches and bring them to life, the ice cream is smooth and delicate, and the crunchy pistachio filo along with the rose petal crumb add texture to complete the dish. Do not be intimidated by the long list of ingredients and steps – the steps themselves are very easy to follow, and the result will truly impress.

Ingredients

1
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4
2
To begin, roast the pistachio kernels. Spread them out on a large baking tray big and roast in the oven for 5–7 minutes or until just golden. Remove, set aside to cool and roughly chop
3
For the ice cream, place the cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, fennel seeds, cumin seeds and coriander seeds in a medium saucepan and dry-toast over a medium-high heat until just popping and releasing their aromas (taking care not to burn)
4
Reduce the heat to medium and add the double cream, almond milk, rose and orange blossom waters, vanilla pod, orange zest, honey and salt. Heat until almost boiling, then remove from the heat and allow to infuse for a further 5 minutes
5
Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a medium-sized bowl until thick and creamy. Strain the warm milk mixture through a fine mesh sieve into the egg yolk mix, whisking as you go until thoroughly combined
6
Pour the mixture into a clean medium saucepan and return the strained spices from the sieve. Cook gently and slowly over a low-medium heat, stirring constantly until thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from the heat and pour mixture (including the spices) into a bowl, then cover with cling film and leave in the fridge to cool completely
7
Once completely cold, strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, then stir in the yoghurt until thoroughly combined and no lumps appear (the yoghurt can only be added once the mixture is completely cold or else it will split)
8
Churn the mixture in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions until almost completely set, then fold through 100g of the roasted pistachios
9
While the ice cream is churning, line a 20cm square loose-bottomed baking tin with a double layer of cling film. After incorporating the pistachios into the ice cream mixture, add the mix to the lined tray, smooth over the surface and freeze until solid
10
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4
11
In a blender, blitz together 100g of the roasted pistachios with the honey and orange zest to form a paste. Blend in the melted butter until thoroughly combined
12
Lay out 1 sheet of filo on a large chopping board and spread over 2 tbsp of the soft pistachio butter (if necessary melt down again for a few seconds in the microwave)
13
Repeat twice more, each time pressing down on each new layer of filo so that it adheres to the previous one. Finish with an uncovered last sheet of filo so that you end up with a layer made up of 4 filo sheets, containing 3 layers of pistachio butter
14
With a large, sharp knife, cut out rectangles of pastry measuring 3cm x 12cm. Place the filo rectangles onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake for about 7 minutes or until nicely golden, taking care not to burn. Remove from the oven and reserve for assembling later
15
For the syrup, place the cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods and coriander seeds in a small-medium saucepan over a medium heat then dry-toast until they start to release their aromas, taking care not to burn. Add all the remaining ingredients (except the lemon juice) and increase the heat to high. Bring to the boil, then decrease the heat to medium and reduce until thickened. Add the lemon juice
16
Cut around the stone of each peach and twist the 2 halves away from each other to separate. Use a small spoon to gently lift out the stone, taking care not to break up the peaches
17
Place the peach halves in the hot syrup, cover with a snugly-fitting circle of baking paper, then cook over a low heat until tender, testing at intervals by gently piercing the peach halves with a small sharp knife. The peaches are done when the knife slides in easily, but the peach halves are still holding their shape. This will take between 5 and 15 minutes, depending on the ripeness of the peaches
18
Allow the peaches to cool in the syrup, then remove and discard the skins. Set aside for plating later
19
For the rose petal crumb, combine the flour, salt and ground almonds in a bowl. Set aside
20
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a bit of elbow grease), beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until combined, scraping down the bowl if necessary. Add the vanilla and rosewater and beat until just combined
21
Add the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Finally add the rose petals and remaining 45g pistachios, beating briefly until just combined and evenly distributed. If the dough is too wet, add a tiny bit more flour. The dough will feel quite sticky but do not add too much flour or it will spoil the texture
22
Wrap the mixture in cling film and chill in the fridge until firm. At this point, half of the mixture can be shaped into a cylinder and wrapped in cling film, to be made into cookies another time
23
Preheat oven to 180°C/gas mark 4
24
Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Remove the dough from the fridge and roughly crumble over the lined tray
25
Place the crumb in the oven and bake for 10–15 minutes, or until nicely golden. Remove and allow to cool
26
To begin assembling, remove the firm ice cream block from the freezer and remove from the tray. Remove the cling film, place on a large chopping board and cut the ice cream into rectangular blocks the same size and dimensions as the filo rectangles (3cm x 12cm)
27
Take 1 filo rectangle, top with an ice cream block, then finish with another filo rectangle to create a ‘sandwich’. Place in the middle of a plate of your choice
28
Sit a peach half alongside the ‘sandwich’. Drizzle some of the reserved syrup around the edge of the plate and spoon a tiny amount over the surface of the peach. Sprinkle a little rose petal crumb next to the peach. Finally, scatter about 1 tbsp dried rose petals around the plate to garnish, plus some extra chopped pistachios if desired. Repeat for other portions and serve

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