13 November 2015
Ahem. Yes, this is quite a mouthful, isn’t it? In more ways than one!
This recipe is the direct result of me setting out to challenge myself. That’s right, I threw down the gauntlet, picked it up again, then went into the kitchen to use it as an oven mitt.
Admittedly needlessly complicated for a dessert, but if it turns out properly, the immense sense of relief and accomplishment is a high all on its own.
A lot of people don’t like lychees as they can sometimes taste like they’ve been soaked in perfume. If you would like to make your own syrup using a different fruit, or just buy something ready-made, that’s completely up to you. As this dessert was part of an Asian-inspired dinner party menu, I went with lychees.
2x 400g tins of lychees in syrup
1 cup boiling water
1 cup caster sugar
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
Yeah, you caught me using tinned fruit already in syrup. Big deal. Fresh lychees just didn’t work properly, and believe me I tried!
1. Place all ingredients in a pot over medium-high heat and bring to the boil.
2. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 1 ½ to 2 hours, or until deep amber and viscous. (Viscous means ‘syrupy’, but I think I’ve already said syrup too many times. And now I’ve gone and said it even more!)
3. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
4. Pour the syrup through a sieve to remove the lychees and spices. (Keep these in a container if you want, they’re basically preserved. You just want that precious, precious syrup.)
5. Place the syrup into a jug, cover and refrigerate it until ready to assemble the dish.
For the Icecream:
200ml coconut cream
200ml sweetened condensed milk
250ml pure/single cream
2 tbsp loose green tea leaves
1 tbsp dried ginger
2 tsp black peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
3 green cardamom pods
For the Batter:
1 cup white self-raising flour
1 cup chilled water
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp cinnamon powder
I’m cheating again here aren’t I? Sure, I’m not making a custard base for the ice cream, but with the amount of fuss still to come, a bit of a shortcut is very handy here! The ice cream itself is a bit dense, but as you’re deep frying it, that should work to your advantage as it’s less likely to melt quickly.
Feel free to take out any of the above spices that you don’t like, just ensure that you replace them with something else so that you don’t end up with something that tastes too plain. If you can’t get dried ginger, then just use ground ginger instead as it’s the same thing, just powdered.
You’ll want to use a green tea with a strong flavour. I’ll recommend ‘gunpowder green’ as it’s pretty potent.
1. Place the green tea and spices into a mortar and pestle (or a spice grinder) and crush slightly. (You can grind it to a powder if you like, but I just want the release the flavours and strain the spices out later to keep the ice cream smooth.)
2. In a pot over medium-high heat, bring coconut cream to a simmer along with the green tea and spices.
3. Allow to simmer for 1-2 minutes, then remove from the heat and leave aside to cool. (Don’t worry about the tea going bitter, the overly-sweet condensed milk will even it out later.)
4. Pour the cooled coconut cream through a sieve to remove the spices, then mix in the condensed milk until combined.
5. Whip the cream to soft peaks, then fold into the coconut cream/condensed milk mixture a bit at a time until smooth.
6. Pour the mixture into a dozen 6cm hemispherical moulds. (I use a silicone mould as it’s easier to pop out the ice cream, but if you can only find a metal tray, simply place a sheet of cling film over it and pour onto that. You can probably get ice cube trays with the right shape too, or even a full sphere to make things easier.)
7. Pour any leftover mixture into a container and place it into the fridge for use in Step 9.
8. Place the filled moulds into the freezer and allow the ice cream to freeze solid.
9. Place a dollop of the unfrozen mixture onto the top of half of the hemispheres, then place the remaining hemispheres on top to make spheres.
10. Repeat Step 9 until you have at least 6 spheres.
11. Place back into the freezer and leave them until you are ready to coat them in batter. (The longer they freeze, the less likely they will melt while frying. You can make these up to a week beforehand to save time.)
12. In a bowl, mix together all of the batter ingredients until combined. (Try to remove as many lumps as you can, but don’t get too pedantic as lumps usually turn into crunch when they fry.)
13. Roll the spheres in the batter, and return them to the freezer for at least 2 hours.
14. Trim off any batter that may have puddled around the ice cream spheres, and then give a final coating of batter followed by more time in the freezer.
15. Once you are ready to serve, heat the oil in your deep fryer to 190°C (or 375°F).
16. Fry the frozen spheres for approx. 30 seconds or until golden brown. (Do this a few at a time, each sphere will reduce the oil temperature and you don’t want to overcrowd the fryer.
17. Serve immediately with some mixed diced fruits. (I’ll suggest dragonfruit, as they are still considered exotic by most people and can come in a range of bright colours. Otherwise, things like mango, kiwifruit and pomegranate are just fine.)
Serves at least 6, but you may have enough leftover ice-cream mixture and batter to make 8 or more serves.
A video of this recipe is also available - https://youtu.be/HzDQqgUhZpQ.