Fennel Ice Cream with Smashed Wild Rice Shortbread

Recipe by: Ben Ungermann - Contestant

Serves: 4


Fennel Ice Cream:

Wild Rice Shortbread:

Pear and Goat’s Cheese Salad:

Chestnut Paste:

Bitter Whisky Caramel:

To Serve:

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  1. Turn on ice cream machine to pre-chill. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. For the Fennel Ice Cream, place 200g chopped fennel into a high speed blender and process until smooth. Place purée into a piece of muslin and squeeze out 50ml fennel juice. Set juice aside until needed and discard the solids.
  3. Place remaining 200g of chopped fennel in the jug of a high speed blender and add the milk. Blend until smooth, then strain through a fine sieve. Measure ½ cup of the liquid and set aside until needed. Discard remaining liquid.
  4. Heat cream in a small saucepan over a medium heat until almost boiling. Remove from heat and set aside. Place egg, sugar and 50ml reserved fennel juice in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whisk until pale and fluffy.
  5. With motor running, gradually add the hot cream, then reserved ½ cup fennel milk, until fully combined. Place mixture in a medium saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring continuously, until mixture thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon. Remove from heat, strain through a fine sieve into a medium bowl and set over an ice bath too cool.
  6. Once cool, transfer the anglaise mixture to the pre-chilled ice cream churner and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions. Once churned, stir through 20g finely chopped fennel fronds then place ice cream into freezer to set.
  7. For the Wild Rice Shortbread, place ingredients into a medium bowl. Rub butter into dry ingredients with fingertips and bring together to form a soft dough. Roll out between two sheets of baking paper, to 1cm thickness. Place the dough, still between the baking paper, on to a lined baking tray. Pell away the top layer of baking paper, transfer the tray to the oven and bake until golden, about 15 - 18 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
  8. Once cool use fingertips to crush the shortbread to a fine crumb. Set aside on the tray until needed.
  9. For the Pear and Goat’s Cheese Salad, first prepare the pickling liquid by combining sugar and vinegar in a small bowl then set aside. Cut pear into 2cm thick slices then use an apple corer to cut 20 discs from the pears and place pieces into prepared pickling liquid. Toss gently but thoroughly to coat and set aside to pickle for 15 minutes.
  10. Once pickled, drain off liquid. Pat pear discs dry with paper towel and place into a clean medium bowl.
  11. Crumble goat’s cheese over the pear rounds. Add mint and olive oil and toss gently. Set aside in fridge until needed.
  12. For the Chestnut Paste, place peeled chestnuts, milk and sugar into a high speed blender and blitz, until a paste forms. Place into a piece of muslin cloth and squeeze the liquid out into a small saucepan. Discard the pulp. Gently heat the liquid over a low heat, stirring regularly, until liquid thickens to a paste, about 3-4 minutes. Set aside until needed.
  13. For the Bitter Whisky Caramel, place sugar and 50ml of the whisky in small frypan and heat over a low to medium heat until a very dark caramel forms. Add butter and cream and whisk until the mixture has emulsified. Cook for 4 minutes until thickened, remove from heat, add remaining whisky and set aside until needed.
  14. To serve, place a spoonful of Chestnut Paste onto each plate and use the back of a spoon to smear slightly. Sprinkle Wild Rice Shortbread crumbs on paste, on and around the paste. Spoon pear and Goats Cheese salad over plates. Top with a quenelle of Fennel Ice Cream and scatter with fennel fronds. Serve with Bitter Whisky Caramel in a small jug on the side.
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