This is the perfect summer dish for when peaches are at their sweetest.
This is the perfect summer dish for when peaches are at their sweetest. Heady with saffron and grounded by a spiced basil ice-cream, the freeze-dried yoghurt and pomegranate foam adds just enough tang to bring all the flavours together. The saffron syrup will continue to develop flavour and colour for seven days, so you can begin this part of the recipe up to one week in advance.
- 50 g freeze-dried yoghurt powder (see note)
- 150 g saffron pashmak (Persian fairy floss)
- 20 blue dandelion flowers
- 20 micro lemon balm cress
Saffron sugar syrup
- pinch of saffron
- 220 g caster sugar
- 120 ml water
- 200 g caster sugar
- 200 ml water
- 4 green cardamom pods, bruised
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 vanilla bean
- 2 star anise
- 1 fresh bay leaf
Basil ice cream
- 70 g caster sugar
- 450 ml milk
- 6 egg yolks (from 65 g eggs)
- 3 bunches basil, leaves picked (about 150 g )
- 200 ml spiced syrup
Pomegranate and sumac foam
- 2 sheets gold-strength leaf gelatine
- 250 ml (1 cup) pomegranate juice
- 2 tsp sumac
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- pinch of saffron
- 2 large peaches, stones removed
- 1 fresh bay leaf, torn
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthways and seeds scraped
- 200 ml saffron syrup
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.
Steeping and chilling time 24 hours
You will need to begin this recipe 1 day ahead.
To make the saffron sugar syrup, combine all the ingredients in a saucepan. Place over low heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and transfer to a sterilised jar. Allow to steep for 24 hours before using. The syrup will last for 6 months stored at room temperature.
To make the spiced syrup, combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 7–8 minutes or until a light syrup forms. Remove from the heat and transfer to a sterilised jar and allow to cool to room temperature before using. The spiced syrup will keep for 6 months stored at room temperature.
To make the basil ice-cream, I would normally prepare the anglaise (custard) in the restaurant using a Thermomix. To do so, place the sugar, milk and egg yolks 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 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.
Meanwhile, bring a large pan of water to the boil. Add the basil leaves and cook for 3–4 minutes or until tender. Drain and refresh in iced water. Drain again and squeeze out as much water as possible. Place the basil and spiced sugar syrup in a blender and blend for 30 seconds or until smooth. Pass through a fine sieve.
Combine the cooled anglaise and basil puree. Pour into an ice-cream machine and churn following the manufacturer’s instructions. Freeze until required.
To make the pomegranate and sumac foam, bloom the gelatine sheets by placing them in cold water for about 5 minutes or until soft. Drain and squeeze out excess water.
Place pomegranate juice and sumac in a medium size saucepan over gentle heat and bring to a simmer. Remove the saucepan from the heat, add the gelatine and whisk until dissolved. Pass the mixture through a fine sieve into a heatproof bowl. Refrigerate for 1–2 hours or until set. Spoon the set jelly into a cream gun and charge with two bulbs. Shake vigorously and store in the fridge until required. Shake vigorously before using.
To make the saffron-roasted peaches, preheat the oven to 160°C. In a mortar and pestle, pound the saffron with ¼ teaspoon of sugar until combined. Add the remaining sugar and pound to combine. Cut each peach into 10 wedges, place on a baking tray lined with baking paper, and season with the saffron sugar, bay leaf and vanilla bean and seeds. Finish by pouring the saffron syrup over the peaches. Transfer the tray to the oven and roast for 10–15 minutes or until the peaches are tender but still holding shape (time will depend on ripeness of the peaches). Remove the peaches from the oven and baste with the pan juices. Reserve until required.
To serve, arrange 5 pieces of peach on each plate and drizzle with some of the pan juices. Sprinkle 2 tbsp of the yoghurt powder on and around the peaches, then top with 3 quenelles of basil ice-cream. Finish with the pomegranate foam, pashmak and micro herbs and flowers. Serve immediately.
• Freeze-dried yoghurt powder is available from specialty food suppliers.