All the side streets in Turkey were filled with wild blackberry bushes and a herb I didn’t expect to find – rosemary – which grows all over the Aegean coast. The combo of blackberry, rosemary and mastic is a winning one, but if it’s your first time using mastic – go easy as it’s an acquired taste and can be overpowering. You can make the rosemary-infused honey up to 6 months ahead of time as it’s a great flavouring to have on standby.
- 200 ml natural honey
- 4 sprigs of rosemary
- 500 g (2 cups) strained blackberry puree
- 100 ml egg whites (about 3 eggs)
- 200 g caster sugar
- 100 ml water
- 50 g tapioca
- 50 ml rosemary-infused honey
- 125 g unsalted butter, room temperature
- 160 g (1 cup) icing sugar, sifted
- 4 egg whites
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- 45 g cocoa powder
- 125 g sugar
- 125 g (1¼ cups) almond meal
- 75 g (½ cup) plain flour
- 50 g cocoa powder
- pinch of sea salt flakes
- 60 g unsalted butter, melted
- 60 g caster sugar
- 1.5 g mastic beads (see Note)
- 500 ml (2 cups) milk
- 20 g Baldo rice (see Note)
- 50 g unsalted butter
- 50 g (⅓ cup) plain flour
- blackberry flowers, oregano flowers and lemon balm shoots
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.
Chilling/freezing time overnight, plus 4 hours
To make the rosemary-infused honey, place the honey and rosemary in a pan and simmer over medium heat for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and pour into a sterilised jar. Cool, then seal and stand overnight. The honey will keep in the pantry for at least 6 months.
Meanwhile, to make the blackberry sorbet, whisk the blackberry puree and egg whites in a stand mixer on low-medium speed for about 5 minutes or until the mixture doubles in size. Meanwhile, place the sugar and water in a small saucepan and stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves, then simmer, without stirring until the syrup reaches 115-118°C on a sugar thermometer. Reduce the speed to low, then slowly pour the syrup into the blackberry mixture, making sure you don’t pour it directly onto the beaters or you’ll end up wearing the mixture! Once all the syrup has been added, increase the speed to high and whisk for 3-4 minutes or until cold. Pour into a container and freeze overnight or until firm.
To make the rosemary pearls, pour the tapioca into a large saucepan of boiling water (at least 12 times the amount of tapioca) and cook, stirring frequently for 14-15 minutes or until the tapioca is nearly translucent. Drain in a fine sieve, then rinse under cold running water to remove the excess starch. Add 50 ml of the rosemary-infused honey and combine well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours to allow the flavours to infuse.
To make the chocolate twigs, using a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy. Add the egg whites and vanilla and combine well. Reduce the speed to low, add the combined sifted flour and cocoa and mix until just combined. Do not over mix. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 165°C. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 5 mm-wide nozzle. Pipe the mixture onto a lined baking tray in the shapes of twigs or branches and bake for 3-5 minutes. Cool on the tray, then store in an airtight container.
To make the chocolate soil, preheat reduce the oven temperature to 150°C. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, then stir in the melted butter until the mixture looks mealy. Spread over a line baking tray and bake, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes or until dry. Cool, then store in an airtight container.
To make the mastic pudding, place the sugar and mastic in a mortar and pestle and pound until a fine powder forms. Place the milk, rice and mastic mixture in a saucepan over low-medium heat and cook, stirring frequently for 15-20 minutes or until the rice is al dente. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. When foaming, add the flour and stir for 2-3 minutes or until the mixture looks blonde in colour - this is called a blonde roux. When the rice is al dente, gradually whisk in the roux and cook over low heat until the mixture starts to boil. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whisk on high speed until cold. Spoon the mixture into serving bowls and serve straight away or cover and refrigerate for 45 minutes or until set.
To serve, top the mastic puddings with a tablespoon of rosemary pearls and cover with a thin layer of chocolate soil. Place a scoop of sorbet in the centre then decorate with the chocolate twigs, flowers and lemon balm shoots. Serve immediately.
• Mastic is the sap produced by trees which grow only on the Greek island of Chios. It is used in the making of ice-cream, sweets, chewing gum and liqueur and also has medicinal and pharmaceutical properties. It has an earthy, musk vanilla flavour. Available from Greek delicatessens.
• Baldo rice is a particularly starchy short-grain Turkish rice that is able to absorb a lot of liquid. If unavailable, substitute with Arborio rice.