If you've been following my blog, or even only read a post or two, you have probably realised a couple of things by now:
1. I love food
2. I love to cook
3. I love a challenge; and finally
4. I spend far too little time doing housework, and way too much time surfing the net looking at pictures of food!
Once you've taken all of these things into consideration, they kind of come together in the various challenges that I have partaken in so far. I guess it was only a matter of time before I came across Foodie Fights. Needless to say, my interest was immediately piqued, so I put in my application to participate in the next challenge. I was very excited to see my name on the list of 10 participants for this fortnights challenge - Peaches and Tarragon. Hmmm, this was indeed to be a challenge! We are amidst the throws of winter here (although you wouldn't know it today...being 35oC!!) so fresh peaches are not exactly available. Added to that, I'd only ever eaten them fresh - never cooked. Then there was the Tarragon. I knew it was a herb, often used in French cooking and usually paired with chicken? I think???? So now I had to come up with a tasty recipe using an ingredient that I couldn't get with an ingredient I had never used, let alone tasted. The announcement was out on Wednesday which gave me a few days to ponder my predicament. Inspiration hit me at about 2am on Saturday morning. Peach icecream with tarragon tuilles. I have made icecream before - the old beater and freezer method as I don't have an icecream maker, and have wanted to make tuilles for ages after reading various peoples entrants in the a previous Daring Bakers Challenge. However, we ended up with a really busy weekend and I didn't even get a chance to get in to town to buy ingredients until this morning, so I had run out of time for icecream. Helene of Tartelette to the rescue!! She is my absolute idol. Amazing cook, fantastic food stylist, and unbelievable food photographer. I jumped on her recipe for Mango and Vanilla Bean Buttermilk Pannacotta. Perfect. This looked yum and I figured I could adapt it easy enough, and still use my tuilles as a garnish. I made a few changes to the original recipe, so here is what I did:
1 cup pureed tinned peaches (thank god for the canning process - I used 8 halves of peaches in natural juice!!)
3/4 teaspoon finely chopped fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon water
1 3/4 teaspoons powdered gelatin
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream (extra)
3/4 cup full cream milk
Puree the tinned peaches with half of the finely chopped tarragon and divide among 4 glasses, being careful not to spill any excess on the inside of the glasses. Place the glasses in the freezer.
Sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let it bloom.
In a medium saucepan, heat the 1 cup of cream with the sugar, remaining chopped tarragon and vanilla until the cream is just about to boil, stirring occasionally to make sure the sugar dissolves completely. Remove from the heat and stir in the gelatin until completely dissolved.
Let the mixture cool for about 10 minutes then add the extra 1/4 cup of cream and the milk. Allow to cool to room temperature. You can speed up the process by placing your saucepan over a bowl filled with ice but keep and eye on it as it will thicken faster. Once the cream is cooled, slowly pour it over the frozen fruit and let set in the fridge, at least two hours, preferably overnight.
65 grams softened butter
60 grams sifted icing sugar mixture
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large egg whites (slightly whisked with a fork - I use duck eggs for baking)
65 grams sifted plain flour
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped tarragon
Preheat oven to 180C or 160C fan forced.
On low speed, cream together butter sugar and vanilla until just combined. Gradually add egg whites and beat only until combined to a smooth batter. Be careful not to overmix.
Line a tray with baking paper. If using a stencil, place it on the paper
and hold down with one hand while using an offset spatula with the other to gently smooth the batter over the stencil.
You want a thin but even layer of batter. Now, very carefully remove the stencil. I found it easiest to start at a corner and pull the stencil up on the diagonal.
Make 3 more in this way then place in the oven for 4-5 minutes until lightly browned around the edges.
As soon as they are cooked, remove from the oven and shape over a folded piece of cardboard. You have to do this really fast before they cool and set.
This is why you only want 4 biscuits at a time on the tray, otherwise they snap when you try to bend them. Mind you, the kids think it's a good thing because they get to eat all the broken ones!! Allow them to cool completely before removing them from the card to a SAFE PLACE away from curious little fingers! (Like I said, the kids like to eat the broken ones - they don't care who breaks them!!!)
When ready to serve, place one or two of the tuilles on top of the cream mixture in the glass, then sit back with a spoon and enjoy!!
So, what did we think of the taste?? Yum yum yum! The kids both loved it, and Matthew said it is a definate must next time we have people over for a meal. I was feeling really dubious about it, having never combined fruit and herbs like this, and not being a great fan of pureed anything as it just looks like regurgitated baby food to me, but this blew me away! The peach puree was lovely and cold and refreshing, and the tiny bits of tarragon through it added a lovely extra "note". The cream layer set into a beautiful, silky concoction which delicately melted away with a creamy, but not fatty mouth feel. The coolness of the fruit perfectly balanced the mousse-like texture of the cream. The little tuilles on top were a cute finishing touch with a lovely vanilla taste and soft bite. The tiny flecks of tarragon in them left a really pleasant aftertaste, which also tied them in with the main part of the dessert.
I am definately going to make this dish again, and can't wait for the arrival of summer so I can make it with fresh juicy peaches. Thanks Helene for the inspiration and thank you also to Foodie Fights for pushing me out of my comfort zone to find a new favourite dish! Definately a success!! Now I've just got to go and plant some tarragon in the garden......
Oh yeah, and if you like the looks of this, please head on over to Foodie Fights and vote for me (Nana Glen Mum). thanks heaps!