Monday, July 24, 2006

Pear-Ginger Gelee With Lemon Verbena Cream


Inspired by the Passion-Fruit Gelee with Basil Cream recipe which appeared in the June 2006 issue of Gourmet, I came up with my own version of a light, not-too-sweet, jelled dessert for these hot days. This is my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging at Kalyn’s Kitchen. Kalyn will be at the BlogHer conference this week so her WHB round-up will be next Monday. Be sure to check it out; you will find delicious and enticing entries from food bloggers the world over. If you wish to join in, click here for the guidelines.



Pear-Ginger Gelee with Lemon Verbena Cream
Ingredients
Gelee:
¼-ounce envelope unflavored gelatin
¼ cup water
2 cups organic pear nectar (I used Bionaturae Organic Pear Nectar which has no added sugars
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon crystallized ginger, finely chopped

Cream:
½ cup packed lemon verbena leaves, coarsely chopped
½ cup Splenda granular (or ½ cup sugar if you prefer)
1 cup heavy cream or regular 1/2 & 1/2
½ cup 1% milk
1 teaspoon (heaping) unflavored gelatin
2 tablespoons water

Sprigs of lemon verbena with blossoms

Preparation:
For the gelee, add the two gingers to the pear nectar and heat gently to a simmer. Remove from heat and allow to steep 20 minutes then strain into a clean glass container, extracting all the liquid from the solids. Refrigerate the strained nectar until very cold. Discard the solids.
When the nectar has chilled thoroughly, in a small saucepan, soften the gelatin in the water for about 1 minute then heat on low, stirring, for l minute longer or until fully dissolved. Remove from heat and slowly whisk in the cold pear nectar, 1 tablespoon at a time until the gelatin has cooled. Gently whisk in the remaining nectar. Pour into a small, square glass dish and refrigerate until firmly set.


Meanwhile, for the cream, place the heavy cream and milk in a medium saucepan and add the chopped verbena leaves and the Splenda (or sugar). Bring to a simmer, whisking to dissolve the Splenda, then remove from the heat and allow to steep 20 minutes. Strain into a clean glass container, pushing on the verbena to extract all the liquid. Refrigerate until very cold. (Discard the verbena.)

When the gelee has firmly set and the cream mixture is very cold, in a small saucepan, sprinkle the heaping teaspoon of gelatin over the 2 tablespoons of water and allow to soften for 1 minute. Over low heat, stir until the gelatin has dissolved completely. Remove from heat and slowly whisk in the cream mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the gelatin has cooled. Gently whisk in the remaining cream mixture. Cool in an ice and water bath if necessary. (This is important as you will be pouring this over the jelled pear nectar cubes and you don't want them to melt!)

Cut the jelled pear nectar into cubes, ½ to 1-inch square, and place in 6-ounce glasses. Gently pour the cold cream mixture over each gelee-filled glass, allowing the cream to fill in the spaces between the cubes. Refrigerate until the cream has set. Garnish with a sprig of lemon verbena to serve.

Lemon Verbena, according to Wikipedia, is a deciduous perennial shrub native to Peru, Argentina and Chile, and was brought to Europe by the Spanish in the 17th century. Wikipedia goes on to say “it grows to a height of 1 to 3 metres and exudes a powerful lemony scent. It prefers full sun, a lot of water, and a light loam soil, and is sensitive to cold. The light green leaves are lancet-shaped, and its tiny flowers bloom lavender or white in August or September.”
My Lemon Verbena receives about 5 hours of sunlight, sometimes none at all due to fog, hardly ever to never gets watered and often gets a frost or two in the winter but still grows prolifically each summer. It’s now about 9 feet tall and began blooming in late June this year. The soil is not loamy, but the shrub does live next to the horse corral.

For more ways to use this pungent, lemony leaf, from salt-free seasoning to lemon cake to a hair rinse, click here.

7 comments:

Catherine said...

Lemon verbena cream....delish! I have a plant that's doing quite well.

Paz said...

Very nice!

Paz

sher said...

That looks delicious and elegant. I like the ingredients you used, and it sure would be nice on a hot day like we are having. I might make this and serve it as the main course! :)

christine said...

Sher - I did eat this for lunch one day!


Catherine & Paz - I'm honored. Thanks for visiting.

Kalyn said...

I have a lemon verbena plant too and have been wondering what to use it for. This sounds wonderful.

Pille said...

Never had - or heard of - lemon verbena before, so I'm rather intrigued now. I wonder if I can find some in Edinburgh? Thanks for bringing this new herb to my attention!

christine said...

Kalyn - There is so much more one can do with Lemon Verbena. I hope you visit the link I provided above for great recipes.

Hello Pille, Thanks so much for visiting. In colder climates, I've heard you can grow the lemon verbena in a large pot and bring it indoors for the winter. Good luck!