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Planet to Plate: Colin Fassnidge’s Lemon Verbena Parfait

The dish is a summer plate for any time of year; fresh, rich and sweet.

Planet to Plate: Colin Fassnidge’s Lemon Verbena Parfait

Dublin-born Colin Fassnidge did his apprenticeship under Raymond Blanc before moving to Australia in 1999. At The Four in Hand Dining Room, he has transformed a pub eatery into a two-hat ‘foodie” destination. Named GQ’s Chef of the Year in 2013, he is passionate about growing and sourcing ingredients, and his “nose to tail” philosophy turns “undesirable” offcuts into delicious dishes.

This dish was inspired by the harvesting of my own honey from the rooftop of The Four in Hand Hotel in Paddington, Sydney. The dish is a summer plate for any time of year; fresh, rich and sweet.  As the seasons progress, the dish becomes more complex with the honey getting richer and more flavoursome.

Lemon Verbena Parfait

Serve: 10 parfait | Prep time: 1 hour. To freeze minimum of 3 hours.

2 litres pouring cream

500 ml milk

200 g lemon verbena (glossary), finely chopped

200 g caster sugar

200 g liquid glucose

14 egg yolks

Apple and ginger juice

3 Granny Smith apples, roughly chopped

3 cm knob of ginger, roughly chopped

150 ml clear apple juice

Lemon juice and salt, to taste

To make the lemon verbena parfait, combine the cream, milk and 150 g of the lemon verbena in a large saucepan. Verbena is a herb that can be grown in the home garden, but it can also be sourced from specialist produce suppliers. Lemon verbena is the type used in cooking and tea, and as the name implies, has a lemony flavour and fragrance.

Bring the mixture to a simmer, then turn off the heat and leave for 20 minutes to infuse.

Reheat gently, and stir in the sugar and glucose until dissolved. Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl. Strain the cream mixture and while still hot pour onto the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Pour into a clean saucepan and add the remaining lemon verbena.

Stir over very low heat until the mixture coats the back of the spoon. Then pour into a bowl sitting on another bowl filled with ice, to stop the cooking. Stir often to release the heat, then place into the fridge until chilled. Churn in an ice-cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to a loaf tin and freeze until firm.

For the apple and ginger juice, combine the apples, ginger and apple juice in a blender, and blend until smooth. Pass through a fine strainer and add lemon juice and salt to taste. Refrigerate until chilled.

To serve, turn the parfait out of the tin, and cut into slices. Spoon some apple and ginger juice into the serving dishes. Add a slice of parfait and garnish with honeycomb and sorrel leaves.

This recipe will feature in Planet to Plate: The Earth Hour Cookbook that will be published to coincide with this year’s Earth Hour, on Sunday March 28 at 8.30pm, and will be available to purchase online from earthhour.org.au/cookbook for $39.95 from March 1.

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