A decadent and totally delicious dessert, there’s nothing quite so satisfying as the crunch of fried brik pastry giving way to molten, chocolate-flavoured ricotta. The halva ice-cream takes the dish that one step further. This is inspired by the Lebanese cheese called areesh – I’ve replaced it with creamy ricotta.
- 400 g fresh ricotta, hung for 24 hours in muslin (see Note)
- ⅓ cup carob molasses (see note)
- ⅓ cup flaked almonds, toasted
- 8 sheets Tunisian brik pastry (see note)
- 1 egg yolk (from 65 g egg)
- cottonseed oil or vegetable oil, to deep-fry
- icing sugar, to dust
- cinnamon, to dust
- 80 g chocolate pashmak (Persian fairy floss)
- 50 g halva, crumbled (see Note)
- 450 ml milk
- 6 egg yolks (from 65 g eggs)
- 70 g caster sugar
- 100 g halva, crumbled (see Note)
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
You will need to begin this recipe 1 day ahead.
To make the halva ice-cream, I would normally prepare the anglaise (custard) in the restaurant using a Thermomix. To do so, place all of the ingredients, except the halva, in a Thermomix set to 80°C, and blend for 7 minutes at speed 4. When the time has elapsed, blend on speed 7 for 5 seconds, then pass through a fine sieve. Refrigerate for 2–3 hours or until chilled.
To make the anglaise the old-fashioned way, bring the milk to the boil and set aside. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale, then slowly pour in the hot milk, whisking continuously. Return the mixture to the saucepan and place over a medium-low heat. Cook, whisking continuously, until the mixture reaches 80°C. Transfer the anglaise to a blender and blend for 10 seconds. Strain through a fine sieve then refrigerate for about 2–3 hours or until chilled.
Once cooled, pour the anglaise into an ice-cream machine and churn following the manufacturer’s instructions. Crumble in the halva, then freeze until required.
To make the lady fingers, combine the ricotta, molasses and almonds and mix until combined. Lay a sheet of the brik pastry on a clean work surface and place 2 tbsp of the ricotta along one edge of the pastry. Brush the entire edge with egg yolk. Roll into a log shape, folding in the sides as you go. Repeat with the remaining pastry and filling. Refrigerate until required.
Heat the oil in a deep-fryer or deep saucepan to 170°C. Cook the lady fingers for 3–4 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on paper towel and dust with icing sugar and cinnamon.
Arrange the lady fingers on a wooden board and decorate with pashmak. Scoop the ice-cream into a bowl and top with crumbled halva. Serve immediately.
• Hanging the ricotta will remove the excess whey and make the ricotta richer and creamier. If you don’t have the time just use fresh ricotta.
• Carob molasses is available from Middle Eastern delicatessens.
• Tunisian brik pastry is a very thin, egg-based crepe sold in packets from specialty food suppliers.
• Halva is a popular Middle Eastern sweet flavoured with tahina, and is available from Middle Eastern delicatessens.