Charcoal Lemongrass Ice Cream, Matcha Meringue Crumb

So, we are finally allowed to welcome our sojourned family and friends back into our homes and seated at our tables.

There has been so much pressure during lockdown to ‘better your cooking skills’ that now, more than ever, people are out to impress and quite frankly…it fills me with fear. Should I be turning out Michelin style plates for a family breakfast? Will life end because my micro herbs parched in the sun?


The real fact is people actually couldn’t care less if you went for Drive Thru Maccies…they are here to see you, have your company and rekindle your closeness. If you want to go all out because that’s your thing then please do, but don’t feel that you have to. More time spent in the kitchen is less time with them…something to remind yourself of.


So, from this idea, this dessert was born. The title screams ‘new age, down with the cool kids funk’ but the reality is, it’s actually pretty easy and can be made the day before, but shhh, I didn’t tell you that.


So here we go, you’ll get far more meringues than you need (for this dish, can you ever have toooooo many meringues?) and as my friend quite rightly pointed out ‘you could snort these like a pig in a trough….’

Ingredients:


Matcha Meringues


180g Egg Whites (5-6 Eggs)

300g Caster sugar

2-3 tbsp Matcha Powder


Charcoal Lemongrass Ice Cream


4 Sticks Lemongrass, bashed with a meat hammer and tied in a knot

500ml Double Cream

280ml Whole Milk

3 tbsp Activated Charcoal Powder

5 Egg Yolks

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

170g Caster Sugar

Pinch Salt


Strawberry Sauce


300g Frozen Strawberries, defrosted

1tbsp Icing Sugar

1 tsp Lemon Juice


Strawberries to serve


Method:


1. The day before you want to serve, make the meringues and the ice cream base.

2. Preheat the oven 120C, line two large baking trays with non-stick paper.

3. Add the egg whites and sugar for the meringues to the base of a stand mixer. Pop over a pan of simmering water and whisk constantly until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture feels hot to your finger, it will take about 5 minutes.

4. Dry the base and fir to your mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk just below high for 10 minutes or until you have a thick, glossy meringue that feels cool.

5. Sift over the matcha and gently fold in until homogenous. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a plain tip and pipe small kisses onto the baking sheets (it hurts, gets really boring, but your endless supply of cupboard munchies is well worth it, just remind yourself)

6. Pop into the oven, reduce the heat to 100C and bake for 90 minutes. Turn the oven off, do not open the door and leave for at least 4 hours until cold. Peel off and store in a jar.

7. For the ice cream base, add the cream, milk and charcoal powder to a pan along with the lemongrass. Bring to just below the simmer and turn off the heat. Cover and leave for 2 hours to infuse.

8. Bring the mixture back up to a simmer. Meanwhile, add the yolks, sugar and vanilla to the base of a heatproof bowl. Don’t do this too early as the sugar will degrade the yolks.

9. When the mixture is steaming, add a ladle to the yolk sugar mixture and whisk well to temper the yolks. Add this back into the pan with the cream and reduce the heat to low. Cook, stirring constantly until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Take care to go into all the edges of the pan so that so mixture sticks.

10. Pour the mixture through a sieve into a jug, cover the surface with cling film and pop into the fridge overnight.

11. The next day, churn in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If you don’t own one, freeze the mixture, cut into small pieces with a knife and blitz in a food processer in batches until smooth.

12. For the sauce, blitz all the ingredienst in a blender, strain through a sieve.

13. Serve the ice cream with the meringues, sauce and fresh berries.

14. Pure groovy heaven….