Tostada of Strawberries
Bright molds of strawberries and brioche are topped with lavender ice cream -- itself a treat! -- and spiral Sesame-Anise Tuiles. Chef Marisco uses his own brioche loaf, flavored with vanilla, but he notes that challah could also be used. While the Chef uses a small rectangular mold, any shape could be used. Just cut the brioche the same shape as the mold.
- Lavender Ice Cream
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 2 cups
- Half-and-half - 1/2 cup
- Lavender sprigs - 2
- Vanilla bean - 1
- Egg Yolks - 8
- Sugar - 1 cup
- Sesame-Anise Tuiles (Makes about 18 4-inch cookies)
- Confectioner’s Sugar - 2/3 cup, sifted
- Unsalted Butter - 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks), at room temperature
- Egg Whites - 7, slightly beaten
- All-Purpose Flour - 1-1/3 cups
- Sesame seeds - 2 tablespoons, toasted
- Anise seeds - 2 teaspoons, toasted
- Rhubarb Marmalade
- Rhubarb Stalks - 4, trimmed and chopped (about 4 cups)
- Water - 1/2 cup
- Sugar - 1/2 cup
- Pinch of nutmeg
- Water - 1/2 cup
- Muscat wine - 1/2 cup
- Sugar - 2 cups
- Strawberries - 24 to 30, stemmed and diced
- Brioche or challah bread - 4 slices, trimmed of crust and toasted
To make the ice cream: Put the cream, half-and-half, and lavender sprigs in a heavy saucepan. Split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the mixture; drop in the pods. Bring to a boil. Set aside off the heat for 30 minutes to infuse the lavender.
Strain the cream mixture and bring back to a boil. Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture thickens, 6 to 8 minutes. Slowly whisk some of the hot cream mixture into the egg yolks, then add the egg yolks to the hot cream mixture and cook over medium heat for 8 minutes, or until the mixture begins to boil and is thick enough to coat a spoon. Remove from heat, cover, and chill in the refrigerator overnight. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
To make the tuiles: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, beat the sugar and butter together until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Stir in the egg whites, then gradually stir in the flour until it is fully incorporated. Fold in the sesame and anise seeds. Put the batter in a pastry bag fitted with a 1-inch flat tip and pipe 8-inch strips on the prepared baking sheet, leaving space between the strips. Bake the tuiles for 3 to 5 minutes, or until just golden. Turn off the heat and remove the tuiles from the oven, leaving the door open. Lift one tuile from the baking sheet and place the sheet back in the open oven. Wrap the tuile in a spiral around the handle of a wooden spoon or a wooden dowel; let cool enough to set. Slip off and set aside. Repeat to shape all the tuiles into spirals. Let the tuiles cool; store in an airtight container. The tuiles must remain warm to be pliable, and the open oven should do the trick, but if they do begin to cool and set too much to bend, rewarm the oven to low and let the tuiles warm up enough to bend before proceeding.
To prepare the rhubarb: Combine the water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in the rhubarb and nutmeg and cook 15 to 20 minutes, until the rhubarb falls apart and the juices have reduced and thickened. Press through a fine-meshed sieve. Cover and refrigerate.
To prepare the strawberries: Combine the water, wine, and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in the strawberries, reduce the heat to medium, and cook 3 to 5 minutes, until the strawberries are tender. Drain the berries, reserving the juice separately, and set aside.
To serve: Put a 2-inch-by-3-inch rectangular mold in a large dessert plate and fill with cooked strawberries, packing them down. Butter a slice of brioche with rhubarb marmalade. Lift the mold and place the brioche on top of the strawberries. Place a quenelle of ice cream on top of the brioche. Drizzle the reserved strawberry juice around the plate. Garnish each with a tuile.