Saffron meringues with pistachio ice cream dressed with rose syrup and a sweet Dukkah.
Dukkah Dukkah Dukkah, I find myself playing mental helicopters, working on a jolified-hand-jive on the journey between the kitchen and my study. A whole new world opens to a snoozy kitty, who becomes giddy and quizzical beyond measure. A rough-n-tumble tickling session ensues which justifies Dukkah-ing is now acceptable on many levels.
Regrettably Dukkah means to pound, not tickle. Dry roasted seeds, herbs, spices and what not are placed into a warm pan, to release natural oils and subsequently ‘pounded pummelled or indeed tickled’ into submission gifting a coarse almost earthy, gritty mix of aromats and texture.
Politely pungent, a poetically perfumed, pretty and potent aromatic blend of herbs, spices and nuts are combined and used mostly sprinkled over salads, charred veggies, humus and the like, gifting a pop of texture and flavour. For our ice cream adornment, however, a sweeter version m’thinks.
Dukkah is, I’m finding, remarkably territorial and can make people a tad touchy (without the feely bit) “ Well I make mine from …’! Whilst doing a huffy hand on hip assertive thing.
“Well I use”:- (huff) Sesame seeds, hazelnuts, cumin and coriander some include nigella, sweet paprika and I’ve heard also of all spice, celery salt, cinnamon, Chinese five spice and star-anis at certain times of the year. I respectfully suggest you keep a watch out for such spice police … gulp. They take their stance and lurk where you least expect to find them.
Shown is a cupboard raid – a sweet version, a simple variation on the theme. No cupboard, not my old spice drawers, thank you! This fragrant amalgam is my jazzed up (ok-use up) version and includes hazel nuts, chopped pistachios and walnuts, light and dark sesame seeds, a pinch of cumin seeds, few rasps of nutmeg, a flay of sweet paprika, 2-3 Schezuan pepper corns, rose pepper corns, some caraway seeds, a couple of whole, fresh, green cardamom pods (discard the husks after warming and before pounding).
Towards the end of the pounding, or pre whizz, some dried culinary rose petals and/or grated air-dried orange peel (remaining from the festivities) are added with a teeny tiny pinch of sea salt.
They recline obediently in their small dry pan after being lightly toasted just before their trip to the pestle and mortar or a mini whizzer (code for a spice grinder). Adding this mix to a dry caramel to flavour shards of toffee is also a worthy thing to do. Also worked on some very fine meringue which is also to be broken into shards.
For the ice cream. I have used some left over pistachio paste, (as marzipan is to almond), top quality, vanilla. Some store-bought custard, and whipped cream all of which was beauteously photographed for another day – or I may have inadvertently deleted them from the camera? Certainly on my list to do again too. Whip the cream, whizz the rest. Cut fold together and then place in a suitable tub, abandon to freeze until required. (or just buy some, seems all the big guns are making it?)
The rose syrup. Stock syrup being equal parts of white sugar to water, dissolved over a low heat was gifted a few drops of rose-water and orange blossom, to taste and then store in fridge in a cheffy bottle.
The meringues I suggest you use your own recipe since it works in your oven (?) simply add a few strands of saffron to bleed into the shapes. My positively mad, thoroughly clever and mildly adorable, chef chum made the ones shown. The collaboration of tastes and textures have simply, and subsequently, stemmed from her recent gift. The component parts in variation could be store-bought but do work seamlessly and deliciously together and would swiftly compile a comparable version. This could be well considered a Valentines treat?
Though that said, I’m now rather a sucker for this pucker tucker dukkah!