Burnt butter set custard with fennel sable, sour lime and nettle powder



First published in 2021
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Burnt butter custard

  • 200g of unsalted butter
  • 100g of milk powder
  • 600g of whole milk
  • 200g of double cream
  • 2g of xanthan gum
  • 140g of caster sugar
  • 200g of egg yolk
  • 4g of vanilla paste
  • 2 sheets of gelatine

Fennel sable

Sour lime gel

  • 250ml of lime juice
  • 100g of sugar
  • 12.5g of agar agar

Nettle powder

Milk gel

To serve


Make the set custard, gels and powder the day before. For the custard, place the butter in a pan and cook until a dark brown colour then add in the milk powder. Take the milk powder to a very dark brown, then remove from the heat and strain through muslin cloth. You only need the solids for this dish – the strained brown butter can be saved and used in other dishes


In the same pan used to burn the butter, heat the milk and cream. Stir in the strained milk solids and leave to infuse overnight in the fridge

  • 200g of double cream
  • 600g of whole milk

Place the spinach and nettles into a dehydrator set at 52ºC and leave to dry out completely (at least 8 hours). After this time, blitz to a fine powder using a high-powered blender or spice grinder, then reserve in an airtight container


To make the sour lime gel, place the lime juice and sugar in a pan and bring to the boil. Stir to dissolve the sugar then add in the agar agar and boil for a further minute to activate it. Pour into a wide container and place into the fridge overnight to chill and set

  • 250ml of lime juice
  • 100g of sugar
  • 12.5g of agar agar

To make the milk gel, place all the ingredients in a pan and stir to combine. Place over a medium heat and take to 95ºC whilst continuously stirring. Pour into a container sat over an ice bath to cool quickly. Leave to set in the fridge overnight


The next day, finish the custard. Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water to soften

  • 2 sheets of gelatine

Beat the yolks and the sugar together until smooth and thick. Heat the infused cream and milk mixture back up to 80ºC. Strain the cream through muslin cloth into the yolks and whisk (reserve a few spoonfuls of the caramelised milk powder for garnish). Add the vanilla and xanthan gum and transfer to a Thermomix for 10 minutes, speed 2 at 80ºC. Alternatively, you can pour into a pan and slowly heat whilst continuously stirring until you have a thick custard


Drain the gelatine and squeeze to remove excess water. Add the gelatine to the Thermomix (or pan) and blitz for 30 seconds, or if using a pan just stir into the cream until dissolved completely. Line 8 moulds (8cm in diameter) with cling film and pour roughly 180g of the mixture into each one. Place in the fridge to set


To make the fennel sable, preheat an oven to 170ºC/gas mark 4. Soften the butter by beating it in a stand mixer. Add the sugar and mix until just incorporated – it doesn’t need to be creamed together. Add the cream and yolk and let the machine turn once more, then add the flour and fennel seeds and mix together into a dough


Roll the dough out between 2 sheets of baking paper until 4mm thick. Use an 8cm round cutter (the same size as your moulds) to cut out discs, then bake for 15 minutes


Meanwhile, blitz the set sour lime jelly in a blender until it turns into a gel. Pass through a fine sieve into a piping bag. Repeat this process with the set milk gel


To serve, place the set custard in the mould on top of a sable biscuit. Quickly heat the outside of the mould using a blowtorch and remove it. Using a small fine sieve, dust the top of the custard with nettle powder. Pipe 3 large dots of the milk gel on the custard, then pipe smaller dots of the lime gel around them. Finish with flower petals, lime zest and a pinch of the reserved caramelised milk powder. Carefully transfer each custard to serving plates

First published in 2021
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