Monday, September 21, 2009

Mandarin & Lavender Cream Pots with Pashmak

There's a lot of mandarins around at the moment. I adore them, their light citrus flavour is just perfect for baking and their juice happens to be the 'secret' ingredient for my favourite cupcake recipe. I had an abundance of mandarins thanks to a huge sack of them that we grabbed straight off the tree at A's family home. I also had a ton of chocolate pashmak leftover from my pupcakes, and I thought: citrus and chocolate? Always a great combination!

I'm trying my hardest to steer away from the heavy puddings and cakes that I love to make during Winter, now that Spring has finally sprung. This is pretty great for Spring, especially when it's chilled; it's light and zesty, somewhere between a creme caramel and a lemon delicious. And the fluffy chocolate flavoured pashmak goes so well with it. My special little twist was a touch of lavender, rather than using mandarin liqueur like the original recipe. I think it gives it that extra touch of Spring, more for the scent than the flavour, so everything is very subtle and soft.

Mandarin & Lavender Cream Pots
(Adapted from Stephanie Alexander's recipe from A Cook's Companion)
2 large mandarins (I used low-seed Honey Murcotts)
1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 cups cream
1/2 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
Edible lavender or lavender essence
Optional: Persian fairy floss (pashmak), I used chocolate flavoured (Note: For those who have been asking, I picked up some from The Essential Ingredient. You can also buy it from Middle Eastern grocery stores and online.)

Preheat oven to 160 degrees C. Remove zest from mandarins with a vegetable peeler and cut into a fine julienne Place in a saucepan of cold water, about a cup, and bring to the boil. At the same time in a separate saucepan heat the 1/2 cup of water with the cup of sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and then set aside. Drain zest and bring to boil in more cold water again. Drain and simmer zest in sugar syrup for 5 minutes. Drain once more.

Add zest to cream and slowly bring to scalding point. Cover and set aside to infuse and cool.

Juice mandarins and measure. You need 4 tablespoons. Whisk juice, caster sugar, eggs, eggs yolks and 1/4 tsp of lavender essence (or 1 tsp of lavender flowers). Whisk in cooled cream. Strain mixture into a large bowl, pressing well to extract every drop of flavour from the zest.

Pour mixture into 6 x 100ml porcelain moulds and stand in a baking dish lined with a tea towel Pour in hot water to come halfway up the sides of the moulds and bake for 20 minutes, until just set.

Allow to rest for a few minutes in the water bath, then remove and cool completely.

Serve warm or (my personal preference) refrigerate for several hours or overnight and then serve cold and topped with chocolate persian fairy floss.

If you prefer to serve it hot, the pashmak will just melt not long after you put it on top of the pots, so you might be better off sticking to the original recipe and serving it with a splash of liqueur, but I really loved it cold. It was smooth and so creamy, but it didn't feel too rich or heavy.

So even though I would have loved to whip up a mandarin pudding or cake of some sort, the change of season compels me to change with it. It was still incredibly delicious and satisfying, but refreshing rather than hearty. I will miss the winter puds, but I'm also looking forward to all the great desserts that the warmer weather will inspire :)

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  1. Hey Steph

    Good looking dessert. how was the texture and did it go with the pashmak? and where did you get your pashmak from?

  2. Wow! These look so good. The combination of mandarin and lavender intrigues me, and you know how I love anything with Persian fairy floss on top :)

  3. Persian fairy flossssss! steph this looks amazing. I think you should definitely apply for being a pastry chef as im always drooling at your creations.

  4. oh my goodness such decadence! pashmak on everything, i say! and i'm with you, the creme brulee must be served cold for that cool, slippery feeling.

  5. Yay! More pashmak! Great combination of flavours, I agree.

  6. Mmm, great idea to put lavender in the creme. And pashmak looks like Santa's beard, don't you think?

  7. SydneyCider - Thanks! The texture was great, very very smooth like a creme caramel or brulee and the fluffy slightly crunchy fairy floss was a good contrast. I got mine from Essential Ingredient, though it was totally overpriced. I know there are lots of groceries where you can get it though! And online I think:

    Lisa - I wasn't sure if it would work but it was surprisingly lovely! As long as you don't overdo the lavender as it can smell quite strong. :) Hehe same, expect a lot more, I have another whole bag and a half of it to get through!

    abbie - Umm the original recipe tell you to do that, I think it's to keep the texture of the cream very smooth

    Helen - Hahaha I agree! Same here, but not too cold, or it gets too jellified :)

    Conor - :) Thanks! Expect more pashmak in the future hehe

    Belle - Thanks! I was lucky enough to pick some up at the store that day, so I was just experimenting :) Haha it does, I love how hairy it looks!

  8. I love your exotic flavours! The fairy floss makes it very pretty.

  9. I like your usage of Pashmark. I'm crazy about the stuff myself! So much nicer than regular fairy floss! :D And I love the use of lavender-I love sweet florals so this would be right up my alley :)

  10. OH aren't you a clever gal?? I remember that pashmak from the pupcakes for RSPCA! Mmmm and these pots look sooooo good too!

  11. I have never tried Pashmak. It is very interesting. The cream pots looks absolutely delicious.

  12. I must say I would prefer these warm with a scoop of ice cream as well as pashmak! But either way they would be delicious mmm!

  13. just heavenly. Great idea to add the pashmak to the top, they look like they've come out of a restaurant kitchen!

  14. These are so cute! The lavender sounds like a lovely touch, perfect for spring!

  15. Your pashmak reminds me of your pupcakes! It does at a wow factor to the dessert. Mandarin and Lavender. How interesting!!

  16. Arwen - Thank you :) I love the look of pashmak, it's so delicate and fun!

    Lorraine - Thanks :D Same, it's so much more fun than the regular stuff! I just bought lavender and i want to use it for everything! must control myself...

    Trisha - Hehe yup I have so much leftover from the pupcakes because I went totally overboard and bought two packets! I only used about a handful for them! Thanks so much :)

    Katherine - If you can find it, you should give it a go. It's so fun :) Thank you!

    FFichiban - Hehe yup I'm sure they're good with a scoop of icecream too! Thanks!

    Maria - Aww thank you! You're too kind!

    Betty - Thanks :) I know, spring gives me hayfever but I love all the flowers!

    Sophie - Ooh saffron flavour sounds fantastic! I will have to try it sometime!

    Ellie - Hehe thanks! I agree, I thought your pashmak dessert looked so gorgeous!


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