Grilled Thyme Apricots with Lemon Myrtle Ice Cream

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This recipe is my take on a wonderful dessert I’ve been making for years that I picked up from a Stephanie Alexander book. In her version, she makes a lemon-scented verbena ice cream but I like the native twist using my Lemon Myrtle. I’ve also made the addition of Native Thyme as I feel the subtle herby fragrance works perfectly with the sweetness of the apricots.

By grilling the apricots, they’re tender and juicy on the inside and slightly charred on the outside, giving them a wonderfully smoky, caramelized flavor. Served warm alongside the creamy, tangy cold ice cream, this dish makes the perfect sweet end to any meal all-year-round!

Spices used in this recipe

Method

  1. To make the ice-cream, place the milk, cream, half of the sugar and the lemon myrtle in a small heavy-based saucepan over low heat to infuse for 1 hour, being careful not to reduce the volume of milk. Cool a little.

    Using an electric mixer or hand-held electric beaters, whisk the egg yolks with the remaining sugar in a large bowl until light and foamy, then whisk in the strained warm milk and cream mixture, discarding the leaves.

    Set up a bowl with a fine-mesh sieve resting over it before you start to cook the custard.

    Rinse out the pan and pour in the milk mixture, then cook over medium heat for at least 10 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon. (If you have a kitchen thermometer, 82–85°C is the temperature for a properly thickened custard.)

    Strain the custard through the fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and cool completely in the refrigerator. Churn and freeze the mixture in an ice-cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

  2. To make the apricots, halve the fruit, put into a large bowl and sprinkle with the sugar and native thyme leaves. Leave at room temperature for 1 hour, by which time some juices will have formed in the bowl.

    Place the butter in an ovenproof frying pan that will just fit the apricots in a single layer, then melt over medium heat. Lift the apricots from the sugary juices, reserving the juices, and place cut-side down in the pan. Leave the apricots to sizzle in the butter for 5 minutes or until the cut-side is golden and caramelised. Carefully turn, using a flexible spatula to keep the caramelised surface intact so the cut-side is uppermost. Spoon over the melted butter and the reserved sugary juices. Drizzle the apricots with a few drops of Cognac.

    Preheat the oven griller heated to high setting, then grill the apricots for 1–2 minutes, so that the edges of each apricot half catch a little and become even more caramelised; a bit of scorch is even desirable! Cool a little before serving, as they will be very hot.

    Serve with your ice cream and enjoy!

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