Sunday, 24 October 2010

Annabel's Lemon Verbena Dessert

I hear you asking "Who is Annabel?", well Annabel is my sister and appeared on Britain's Best Dish with this recipe - fame in the family!! Anyway, this is a lovely recipe for a special pud. If you can't find lemon verbena, just leave it out, it'll still be as yummy. Try adding vanilla instead.

If you can't get your hands on rhubarb, try a compote of plums or apples or summer fruits.

Lemon Verbena Custard:500ml double cream
4 sprigs of lemon verbena
5 medium eggs
100g caster sugar

Rhubarb Compote:750g of forced rhubarb, chopped into 4inch pieces
½ bottle of orange muscat
zest of one orange
1 vanilla pod
150g caster sugar

Pistachio Biscuits:35g softened butter
30g finely chopped pistachio nuts
10g ground almonds
1 egg white
60g caster sugar
2 tbsp plain flour

For the lemon verbena custard:
Preheat the oven to 170°C / 150°C fan.
Place the lemon verbena and cream in a pan and bring to the boil. Turn off the heat and let it steep for at least 15 minutes. Whisk together 5 egg yolks with the sugar and slowly add the cooled cream. Pass the mixture through a sieve. Place ramekins in a roasting tray and fill with the custard.  Pour a little cold water into the bottom of the roasting tray (to prevent the ramekins cracking) then place in the oven and pour boiling water into the tray to create a hot water bath. Bake the custards for 20 minutes. When done they should be slightly wobbly in the middle. Cool in the fridge for 1 hour.

For the rhubarb compote:
Preheat the oven to 200°C / 180°C fan. Put all the ingredients in a shallow baking dish. Place the dish in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Cool in the fridge. Pour a little of the rhubarb juice into a pan and reduce slightly to produce a syrup.

For the pistachio biscuits:
Preheat the oven to 200°C / 180°C fan. Finely chop the pistachio nuts by hand. In a bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the almonds or ¼ tsp almond extract and egg wh and egg white and mix until smooth but not frothy. Sieve the flour into the mixture and fold in the pistachios. Spoon 1 teaspoon of mixture onto a Teflon mat and spread out to create 2 inch rounds (make sure you keep each round 3 inches apart). Bake for 5 – 8 minutes until golden around the edges. As soon as they come out of the oven, curve round a rolling pin to shape, then cool.

Place a baked custard on the plate then about 4 strips of the rhubarb on the side. Rest a biscuit or two on the side of the custard dish and garnish with a couple of lemon verbena leaves on top of the baked custard.

What a fancy dessert! It appeared on Britain's Best Dish on September 15th 2009!
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