Pomegranate Pistachio Parfait
Meal type Dessert
For the chia cream:
3 tbsp chia seeds
240ml (1 cup) almond milk
1/8 tsp almond extract
pinch salt flakes
2 tbsp honey
¼ tsp ground cardamom
For the pomegranate gelatin:
475ml (2 cups) pure pomegranate juice
1 tbsp honey
4 gold gelatin leaves (see page 46, or 3¼ tsp powdered gelatin)
For the vanilla labneh:
¼ tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp granulated sugar, or to taste pinch ground cardamom
85g (3oz./1/3 cup) labneh
25g (1oz./3 tbsp) pistachios, chopped
2 fresh figs, quartered or torn, or dried figs, roughly chopped a few drops rose water
With chia seeds full of protein and seductive ruby-red pomegranate juice packed with anthocyanins and prostate-healthy antioxidants, this light and easy-to-make pudding sweetened with honey is a dairy-free delight – refreshing, romantic and healthy!
To make the chia cream, mix together all the ingredients in a bowl, cover and chill for 3 hours or overnight.
Cover the gelatin leaves in ice-cold water and leave until soft. In a small saucepan, warm the pomegranate juice with the honey to dissolve. Drain and squeeze excess water from the gelatin then stir it into the juice. Divide the liquid among four dessert glasses. Chill until firm.
Whisk the vanilla, sugar and ground cardamom into the labneh.
Spoon the chia cream layer on top of the pomegranate gelatin layer then top with vanilla labneh. Sprinkle over some chopped pistachios and garnish with figs. Sprinkle over a few drops of rose water.
Organic Blueberry-Toasted Polenta Upside Down Cake
Meal type Dessert
- Unsalted butter ¼ cup 60 g 2 oz
- Brown sugar, packed ½ cup 100 g 3½ oz
- Vanilla pods, split and scraped 2
- Zest of Lime 1
- Lime juice 2 Tbsp 30 ml 1 floz
- Organic blueberries rinse and patted dry 1½ cup (about 8 oz/240 g)
- Dark rum (optional) 1 Tbsp 15 ml
- Plain or gluten-free flour 1/3 cup 50 g 1¾ oz
- Polenta, medium grind 1 cup 160 g 5½ oz
- Baking powder* ¼ Tsp
- Sea Salt ¼ Tsp
- Eggs, large, separated 3
- Superfine sugar 1/3 cup 75 g 2½ oz
- Pure vanilla extract ½ Tsp
- Skim or soy milk ¼ cup + 2 Tbsp 90 ml 3 floz
- Corn or vegetable oil ¼ cup 60 ml 2 floz
*Most baking powders are gluten free, but check label to be sure.
Simple to make, and not too sweet, this make-ahead vanilla blueberry cake a version of the recipe in Vanilla Table is perfect for a light dessert or brunch and easily made gluten free.
Line a 9-inch/ 20-cm cake or pie pan with foil and butter the foil. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C.
Toast polenta in the oven or in a dry sauté pan until you can smell it toasting and is lightly browned. Cool completely, then pulse in a spice grinder or food processor to a medium-fine grind.
Melt butter in a frying pan over medium–low heat. Add brown sugar and stir with a heat-resistant or wooden spatula until the mixture begins to bubble. Add vanilla seeds and pods stirring well for 1 minute. Add lime zest, juice and rum—the mixture will sizzle —and stir until blended. Remove from heat and pour sugar glaze into prepared cake pan. Arrange pods in center of cake pan. Add blueberries in a layer completely covering the top. Drizzle with any remaining glaze. Set aside.
Whisk the flour, polenta, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.
In a large grease-free bowl, and using a hand-mixer or stand-mixer, whisk the egg whites until frothy. Slowly stream in half the sugar and whip the whites to glossy, soft peaks, tripled in volume.
In a large bowl, whisk the yolks with remaining sugar until well blended. Add the vanilla, milk and oil, whisking well.
Fold dry ingredients into yolks, using a spatula to combine. Fold in the whites in 3 stages until just blended. Gently pour or spoon batter on top of blueberries, smoothing the top. Place in center of oven and bake for 23–25 minutes until cake is set and springs back when touched in centre.
Cool for 10 minutes then invert onto a serving plate, carefully peeling foil off the top. Serve warmed or at room temperature with a spoonful of vanilla sour cream or Greek yogurt, scattering a few banana pieces and mandarins around the plate.
Mandarins in Citrus Syrup
- 4 easy peel Mandarins
- 4 oz / ½ cup simple syrup*
- 1 Tbsp Orange liqueur
*Simple syrup 1 cup water and 1 ¼ cups sugar, mix together in a pot and simmer until the liquid is clear and syrupy about 5-7 minutes.
I learned how to make this garnish from Chef Sherry Yard (@sherryyard) at the original Spago Hollywood-my first job out of culinary school. Make sure all the white threads are scraped off without piercing the skin, keeps the citrus segments are suspended in the syrup, keeping them moist. Adding a little alcohol as a natural preservative helps them last for a week. Feel free to add toasted whole spices such as a few cardamom seeds, a cinnamon stick or one whole allspice berry into the syrup for a bit more sweet spice flavor.
Mix simple syrup with liqueur in a jar or other small container – this is a 9 pan. Peel skin off mandarins and using a paring knife and small damp towel, gently separate the segments and scrape the white webbing off each, drop into syrup and store chilled until ready to use on desserts, salads or as a delicious decorative plate design.
The Vanilla Lemon Drop
Meal type Cocktail
- 60ml Vodka (2 shots/ 2 fl oz)
- 30ml Lemon juice, Fresh, Strained (1 shot/1 fl oz)
- 10ml Vanilla syrup - I used Heilala (2 tsp)
- Vanilla bean sliver for garnish
Inspired by a Taste of Vanilla Lemonade in Hawaii, this perfect celebration cocktail, combining two fragrant tastes only takes mere seconds to mix and enjoy ©Photo by Manja Wachsmuth - foodphotographersfavorites.co.nz
Pour liquid ingredients into an ice filled cocktail shaker. Shake well, Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a sliver of vanilla bean.
Brown Butter Plum Tart
Meal type Dessert
From book Vanilla Table by Natasha MacAller
The brown butter plum tart, originally created for Union Restaurant in Santa Monica, is still one of my favorite ways to enjoy the simple yet versatile plum.
Vanilla Tart Shells
In a stand-mixer, beat butter on medium speed until smooth but not whipped. With mixer on low, stream sugar into butter until well combined. Add egg until incorporated. Add flour in three stages, until just incorporated. Don’t overwork dough. Turn out onto a board and work with a plastic dough scraper or spatula until smooth. It should feel like ‘play dough’. Shape into 2 disks, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill until ready to bake.
Remove dough from plastic and press into pans, smoothing dough with your hands. If it gets too soft, place in fridge and chill until firm and then rework the dough. You may also roll chilled dough into rounds between layers of plastic wrap. Peel off bottom layer of wrap and place in tart pan shaping sides to fit snugly (remove top layer of wrap before baking). Cover and chill until firm.
- Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C fan.
- Place a sheet of baking paper inside tartlet shells and fill with pie weights.
- Bake about 13 minutes, until edges are browned. Carefully remove baking paper and pie weights.*
- Brown Butter Batter
- Pit and cut plums into 1-in/2-cm slices.
- Brown butter in a small sauté pan over medium–high heat. Strain for large flakes of milk solids; small flecks are okay. Cool to room temperature.
Beat eggs and brown sugar together in a stand-mixer with paddle attachment on medium speed or whisk by hand until smooth. Sift in flour and a pinch of sea salt and continue mixing until well combined with no lumps—about 3 minutes. With mixer running on low speed, or whisking by hand, stream the butter into the mixture, combining well. Add the vanilla paste and brandy.
Just before baking, gently fold plums into the batter and spoon into par-baked tart shells, filling about full. Bake 12–15 minutes until filling is golden and puffed.