Aiden Byrne: Add some spice to your Christmas menu
PUBLISHED: 00:00 09 December 2014 | UPDATED: 10:49 09 December 2014
Chef Aiden Byrne helps you get into the festive spirit with some delicious aromatic ingredients
I’m trying to get my head around why we use certain ingredients in and around Christmas time and the only reasoning I can come up with is purely medicinal.
The earliest herbal stories of Christmas are rooted in the desert of the Holy Land, and begin with the wise men bearing gifts of gold, myrrh and frankincense to the newborn child.
There are an abundance of go-to herbs and spices that we use during the festive season, whether for decorating the pine tree, for cooking with or simply to aromatize the home to get us in the festive spirit.
In this months recipe I have used a handful of familiar spices which I have no doubt you will all have in your larder, but there is one ingredient that you may like to try for the first time and I guarantee when you have used it once you will most definitely add it to your festive staples.
Palm sugar is such a versatile ingredient and is not just restricted to sweet dishes, it can be used to soften Thai curries, counterbalance the saltiness in fish sauce or shrimp paste, I actually use it at home to mix in mine and the children’s porridge on cold winter mornings.
Banana and peanut crumble with spiced roasted pineapple recipe
For the ice-cream
125g of palm sugar
2 split vanilla pods
3 crushed cardamom pods
2 whole star anise
2 peelings of an orange
250 g of whole milk
250 g of double cream
50 g of shredded coconut
5 egg yolks
Place the palm sugar and the spices in a heavy bottomed pan and place on a low heat. The sugar will melt gradually and the spices will in turn release all their oils and aromas. Add the shredded coconut and allow to caramelise along with the sugar. This process will take a good 20 minutes. Add the milk and cream, and allow to infuse for 24 hours. Heat again and pass through a fine sieve.
Place the yolks in a bowl of an electrical mixer with a whisk attachment. Whisk the yolks until double in size and a much lighter colour, while whisking pour the hot spiced mixture over the yolks and whisk for a further 2-3 minutes. Pour this mixture into a large pan and cook very slowly on a medium heat, stirring continuously until it reaches 84oc. Allow to cool over a bowl over iced water. Churn in an ice-cream machine when required. Store in the freezer.
For the peanut tuille
200 grams of fondant icing
100 grams of glucose
100 grams of isomalt (available from cake decorating suppliers)
40 grams of smooth peanut butter
To make the peanut tuilles place all the ingredients into a saucepan on the heat. Allow to boil together, pour the runny mixture onto a heatproof rubber mat and spread out fairly thinly, forming four individual portions.
Bake at 160oc for 10-12 minutes or until the mixture begins to bubble. Remove from the oven, allow to sit for a minute until the tuille cools slightly and becomes malleable, peel them off the mat and rest over a rolling pin until they cool completely and become crisp. Set aside in a cool non-damp area.
For the peanut crumble
150 g of peeled peanuts
100 g of plain flour
150 g of demerara sugar
150 g of unsalted butter (diced small)
Toast the mixed peanuts and mix them with the flour and demerara sugar. Using the tips of your fingers gently mix the butter into the dry mixture. The mixture will become quite crumbly. Pour it out onto a tray and bake in a pre-heated oven at 160oc for 15 minutes. Allow to cool and break the mixture up into crumbs with your fingertips.
caster sugar to coat
1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon of ground star anise
50 g of caster sugar
50 g of unsalted butter
150 g of Malibu
Peel the bananas and cut them in half, square the bananas off, coat them in a little sugar and place into a dry hot non-stick frying pan. The bananas will begin to slowly caramelize, turn them to colour all sides and bale in the oven for 10 minutes at 160oc. Sprinkle the bananas with the crumble and keep warm.
Meanwhile, cut the pineapple into 3cm cubes and coast them in the ground cinnamon and star anise. Put them into a hot dry frying pan and caramelise slowly on all sides. Add the 50grams of sugar, the Malibu and the butter and continue to cook until the mixture has reduced to a syrup.
Present to your guests as illustrated.