Polished Orange-Red Apricots on Brioche with Almond Milk Ice Cream
Lovely, elegant, and a brilliant way to serve perfect, fresh apricots: Marc Janodet stuffs apricots with a nut-honey mixture, then stands them on brioche bases. The apricots are accompanied by almond ice cream served on chocolate tuile triangles, fresh tiny wild strawberries, and syrup infused with verbena, which has a strong lemony tang.
- Fresh Verbena Syrup
- Water - 1 cup
- Sugar - 1/2 cup
- Verbena (leaves) - 1 sprig
- Chocolate Tuiles
- Light Corn Syrup - 2 tablespoons
- Unsalted Butter - 1/2 cup
- Milk - 2 tablespoons
- Sugar - 1 cup
- Cocoa Powder - 1/2 cup
- Blanched Almonds - 1/2 , chopped
- Cocoa Beans - 1/2 cup,
- Ripe Apricots - 8
- Pistachios - 1 tablespoon, blanched, chopped
- Almonds - 1 tablespoon, blanched, chopped
- Pine nuts - 1 , chopped
- Rosemary honey or other fine honey - 1/4 cup
- Brioche - four, 2-inch diameter, thin circles
- Egg - 1, mixed with 1 tablespoon cool water
- Vanilla Beans - 2, 2 vanilla beans, cut into 1-1/2-inch lengths (8 pieces)
- Verbena Leaves - 20
- Pistachios, almonds, and pine nuts - 1 cup, mixed, chopped
- Wild Strawberries - 1 pint, tiny, hulls on
- Almond Ice Cream - 1 pint
- Almonds - 8 whole, blanched
To make the verbena syrup: In a heavy saucepan, combine the water and sugar and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and put the verbena sprig in the syrup. Let stand for 30 minutes to infuse; remove and discard the verbena. Let cool completely.
To make the tuiles: Preheat the oven to 325 F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone liner, parchment, or foil. Mix the corn syrup, butter, milk, sugar, and cocoa powder together in a heavy saucepan. Cook to 225 F over medium to medium-high heat. Remove from heat and stir in the nuts and crushed cocoa beans. Spread the batter in 6-inch long oblongs on the prepared sheet; make 8. Bake 3 minutes. Remove from oven and make two diagonal cuts down the sides of each to create 8 long triangles with rounded bases. One at a time, lift a triangle and curve the base of it up against the side of a dish or other item, letting the point stretch out flat on a work surface. Let cool to set. If the triangles become too stiff to curve, place the pan back in the oven for 30 seconds to warm the triangles again. When completely cool, store in an airtight container.
To prepare the apricots: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a baking pan with a silicone liner or parchment paper; if using parchment, lightly grease the paper with butter. Bring a large pan of water to a rolling boil and slip the apricots in the water. Blanche for 30 seconds; remove with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl of ice water for 30 seconds. Drain well. Slip the skins off the apricots. With a sharp knife, cut a small diameter hole in the top of each apricot and lift out the pit. In a small bowl, combine the chopped nuts and half of the rosemary honey. Fill the apricots with the mixture. Brush the brioche with the egg mixture. Put a brioche disc on top of each filled apricot; invert and place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake 6 minutes, or until the brioche is browned. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature. Paint each apricot with the reserved honey.
To serve: Place two glazed apricots on their brioche bases in the center of each chilled serving plate. Make two small slits in the top of each apricot. Stand a vanilla bean piece and a verbena leaf in each, simulating the stem and leaf of the apricot. Strew the plates with chopped nuts. Place clusters of strawberries randomly around each plate. Hold a tuile, point up, beside the apricots on one plate and place a quenelle of ice cream on the curved bottom of the tuile, anchoring it to the plate; do the same again on the other side of the apricots. Put a whole almond on top of each ice cream quenelle. Repeat with all the plates. Drizzle verbena syrup around the plates and place verbena leaves to one side on each.