This is an experiment in balancing tastes. I’ve combined something cold with raised spicy heat levels, and have tried to harmonise taste and temperature by introducing sweetness. The level of spicy heat, although heightened and placed out of context, is intended to be enjoyed.
- 750 ml milk
- 2 eggs
- 285 g sugar
- 240 ml thickened cream
- 900 g mango flesh, pureed
- 80 ml lime juice
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
For the palm sugar custard
- 250 ml coconut milk
- 50 ml milk
- 80 g palm sugar (gula melaka), chopped
- 1 egg
- 3 egg yolks
- ½ tsp ground ginger
For caramelising white chocolate
- 160 g white chocolate (the higher the fat content the better), chopped
- ½ tsp sea salt flakes
- 2-3 tsp chilli oil, to serve
- nasturtium flowers, to garnish
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.
Standing time 30 minutes
Cooling time 20 minutes
MAKE THE MANGO ICE-CREAM
Heat the milk to near boiling point. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs and sugar together in a bowl. Pour the hot milk over the eggs and mix together well. Transfer to a clean saucepan and cook, stirring, over low heat until the mixture thickens slightly (it will be thinner than a normal crème anglaise). Sit a clean bowl over an ice bath and strain the custard into the bowl. When cool, whisk in the cream, mango, lime juice and cayenne pepper. Churn in an ice-cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
MAKE THE PALM SUGAR CUSTARD
Lightly oil an ovenproof dish. Put the coconut milk, milk and palm sugar in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer over medium heat, stirring to melt the palm sugar. Whisk the egg and yolks together in a bowl and stir the milk mixture into this. Strain to remove bits of egg which may not have been beaten into the mixture. Add the ground ginger and pour into the oiled dish. Leave for 30 minutes and then scoop off any foam that may have settled on the surface of the custard. Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F). Put the custard dish in a larger roasting tin. Pour enough hot water into the tin to reach two-thirds of the way up the side of the custard dish. Bake for 30–40 minutes until there is a slight wobble in the centre of the custard. Check after 20 minutes or so, as everyone has different ovens and ovenproof dishes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the water bath. This is nice served warm.
CARAMELISE THE WHITE CHOCOLATE
Preheat the oven to 120°C (250°F). Put the chocolate and salt in a thick metal baking tin or metal ovenproof dish. Put in the oven until the chocolate softens, then take it out and spread it about to create a better surface area for caramelising. Return it to the oven for up to 1 hour, stirring it at intervals until it turns a uniform colour of peanut butter. The chocolate may become dry and chalky over time but stirring will smooth it out. Remove from the oven and leave to cool to room temperature and solidify before use.
ASSEMBLE THE DISH
The aim is to spread the elements around the plate so that the diner tastes some spicy heat alternating with comforting sweetness. Scoop a couple of small spoonfuls of custard onto each serving plate and crumble some of the caramelised white chocolate on top. Add a scoop of mango ice-cream and a few droplets of chilli oil, not intermingling with each other. Decorate with petals of nasturtium flowers, if you like.
Recipe and image from Green Pickled Peaches, Chui Lee Luk (Hardie Grant Books, $59.95, pbk).