This dessert is about contrasts, sweet soft and yielding fruit matched with a slightly firm, almost savoury almond jelly. The soya milk has an almost earthy flavour that anchors this dish.
- 165 g whole blanched almonds
- 500 ml water
- 300 ml soy milk
- 200 g caster sugar
- 500 ml water
- 1 vanilla pod, split and scraped
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tsp table salt
- 1 tsp white peppercorns, lightly crushed
- 6 apricots
- 4 sheets gelatine, titanium strength
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.
Resting time: overnight + 6 hours
Soak your almonds overnight in a bowl with enough water to generously cover and a good pinch of salt.
The next day, strain the water and blend the almonds thoroughly with the measured water and soy milk. Strain this mix through muslin and let it hang to gently collect all of your almond milk. The milk will only last a few days but any excess can be frozen or used in a drink.
To make the poaching liquor, add the sugar, water and all the spices into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Once boiled, turn the heat to low and let the liquor simmer away gently for 10 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse a little. Gently plop in your whole apricots and then cover with a round of baking paper. Leave the heat on very low and allow the apricots to poach gently until they have softened and cooked, about 10–15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the apricots to cool gently in the liquor. Set aside.
Soften your gelatine sheets in cold water.
Measure 600 ml of the almond milk into a small saucepan and add in 2 tbsp of the strained apricot poaching liquor. Warm this mix gently over low heat until just hot and then whisk in your gelatine.
Divide this mix evenly among 4 serving bowls and allow to cool to room temperature. Once cooled, carefully cover the bowls with plastic wrap and transfer to the fridge to set.
When you are ready to serve, make sure your apricots are sitting in their liquor at room temperature. Take the apricots out of the liquor and carefully halve them, trying to retain as much of their natural shape as possible and discard the seeds. Spoon three apricot halves over the top of each set bowl of almond milk. Drizzle with some extra syrup and serve immediately.
• This recipe can be made over several days, if you so desire. The poached apricots will last nicely in your fridge for a good week and the poaching liquor can be strained and kept for further poaching jobs.
Photography by Benito Martin. Food styling by O Tama Carey. Prop styling by Lynsey Fryers. Food preparation by Nick Banbury.
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