David Everitt-Matthias is largely self-taught in the pastry and dessert section, but has developed an exciting, challenging repertoire at Le Champignon Sauvage. Whether it's swiss chard in a confit melon tart (above), or cherries mixed with burdock, we present the latest recipes from the two-Michelin-star chef
LEMON MERINGUE TART
One of my favourite classic desserts is lemon meringue pie, but only when it is as fresh as possible - after 5-6 hours the meringue starts to "weep". So I came up with this version for the restaurant. It is assembled at the last minute and because of this you have wonderful, crisp meringue and very crisp pastry, giving a perfectly clean and refreshing dessert. It is served with angelica and lemon sorbet and jelly, plus some zingy, fresh home-made cardamom yogurt.
INGREDIENTS (Serves 10)
For the tart
- 1 quantity of sweet pastry (see page 28)
- 250ml lemon juice
- Grated zest of 3 lemons
- 600ml double cream
- 14 egg yolks
- 125g caster sugar
- 250g unsalted butter, diced
- 3 gelatine leaves
For the meringue
- 30ml liquid glucose
- 50ml water
- 125g caster sugar
- 100g egg whites (about 3)
For the angelica and lemon sorbet
- 225ml lemon juice
- Grated zest of 2 lemons
- 250ml water
- 25ml liquid glucose
- 100g caster sugar
- 100g fresh angelica
- 11/2 gelatine leaves
- For the angelica and lemon jelly
- 200ml lemon juice
- 150ml water
- 180g caster sugar
- 40g fresh angelica leaves
- 2 gelatine leaves
- 200g cardamom yogurt (see over)
Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface until it is 2mm thick. Cut to a 12cm x 36cm rectangle, transfer to a baking sheet and place in the freezer for a few minutes to firm up. Remove from the freezer, prick all over with a fork and cut into 10 rectangles about 3.5cm x 12cm. Transfer to a baking tray lined with baking parchment and place in an oven preheated to 160°C/gas mark 3 for 5-7 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Store in an airtight container until needed.
Bring the lemon juice and zest to the boil in a medium saucepan, reduce the heat and simmer for two minutes. Pour in the double cream and bring back to the boil, then remove from the heat. Whisk the egg yolks and caster sugar together and pour on the lemon cream, whisking constantly, then beat in the butter a little at a time. Return the mixture to the pan and put it back on the heat for just a couple of minutes, until finger warm. Soak the gelatine in cold water for about five minutes, until soft and pliable. Squeeze out all the water and add the gelatine to the pan, stirring until dissolved. Pass the mixture through a fine sieve into a jug.
Line a 36cm x 11.5cm x 4cm metal cooking frame with a double layer of clingfilm with a little overlap. Put the frame in a roasting tin lined with a cloth - this helps protect the lemon mixture from direct heat. Fill the frame to the top with the lemon mixture, then half-fill the roasting tin with hot water. Place in an oven preheated to 120°C/gas mark 1/2 and bake for 30-40 minutes, until the custard is just set when you shake the tray gently.
Take out of the oven and remove as much water as you can from the roasting tin. Leave to cool in the tin and then place in the fridge in the tin to chill.
Place the glucose, water and 100g of the caster sugar in a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Cook without stirring until it reaches 120°C on a sugar thermometer. When it reaches 110°C, start whisking the egg whites with the remaining caster sugar in a freestanding electric mixer. When the egg whites have formed soft peaks and the syrup has reached the correct temperature, turn the machine down and slowly pour in the syrup down the side of the bowl in a thin, steady stream. Continue whisking until the meringue is cold.
Place the meringue in a piping bag fitted with a small nozzle and pipe it into 4-5cm spikes flat along a baking sheet lined with baking parchment. Place in an oven preheated to 100°C/gas mark 1/4 and bake for 50 minutes to one hour with the door slightly open. The meringues should be dry and crisp; return them to the oven for longer, if necessary. Leave to cool and then store in an airtight container until needed.
Angelica and lemon sorbet
Place the lemon juice, lemon zest, water, glucose and caster sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat, add the angelica leaves and then pour into a liquidiser. Blend until smooth. Soak the gelatine in cold water for about five minutes, until soft and pliable. Squeeze out all the water and add the gelatine to the syrup. Stir until dissolved, then pass through a fine sieve. Transfer to an ice-cream machine and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to the fridge to soften slightly about 10 minutes before serving.
Angelica and lemon jelly
Bring the lemon juice, water and caster sugar to the boil in a medium saucepan, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat, add the angelica leaves and place in a liquidiser. Blend until smooth. Soak the gelatine in cold water for about five minutes, until soft and pliable. Squeeze out all the water and add the gelatine to the syrup. Stir until dissolved, then pass through a fine sieve into a baking tray to a depth of 1cm. Place in the fridge to set.
Trim the ends of the lemon mixture and cut it into 10 slices the same size as the pieces of pastry. Place directly on to the cooked pastry bases, then top with some pieces of meringue at different angles and flash a blowtorch over them to colour them lightly. Place a few streaks of cardamom yogurt on each serving plate. Then add the lemon meringue, two scoops of sorbet and a couple of small scoops of jelly.
I devised this sweet pastry when I was in the National Chef of the Year competition and wanted something that would be very quick to prepare and wouldn't shrink if it was cooked without resting first.
Ground pistachios or walnuts could be used instead of almonds, or you could substitute Demerara sugar for icing sugar to give a completely different taste.
- 270g plain flour
- 150g cold unsalted butter
- 50g ground almonds
- Grated zest of 1 lemon or 1 orange
- Seeds from 1 vanilla pod
- 100g icing sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
Place all the ingredients except the egg and egg yolk in a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg and yolk and pulse until the mixture starts to form a ball. Turn out on to a floured surface and knead as lightly as possible, just until smooth. Form into a ball, flatten, then wrap in clingfilm and chill for at least three hours before use. This pastry is suitable for freezing; thaw for 24 hours in the fridge.
Of course, you don't have to make your own yogurt, but we do at the restaurant. It takes so little time and you can be sure of injecting your own personal taste into it. You can create so many flavours: coriander, vanilla, coffee, liquorice. But one of my favourites just has to be cardamom. The slight acidity of the yogurt and the almost citrus tang of the cardamom just seem to be made for each other. I use it for adding a light touch to desserts. It can help cut the richness of chocolate and is a great accompaniment to anything citrus. So a small yogurt maker is essential in our kitchen. If you want to make plain yogurt, just omit the cardamom from this recipe.
- 10 cardamom pods
- 1 litre whole milk
- 200g natural live yogurt
Place the cardamom and milk in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and cool down to 35°C. Pass through a fine sieve, then mix in the live yogurt and place in a yogurt maker. Leave for 8-10 hours, then store in the fridge until needed.
If you want a thicker yogurt, add 35g of dried skimmed milk powder to the milk before boiling. After the initial use of bought live yogurt, you can use 200g of your own home-made yogurt for the next batch.
SWISS CHARD AND CONFIT MELON TART
This is based on a classic Swiss chard tart from the South of France, known as tourte de blette, which is served as a dessert. Made slightly less sweet, it can also be served as a starter with a side salad. Traditionally it is covered with a pastry lid, making it more of a pie than a tart. My version omits the lid, because I rather like the rustic look of the filling. I have also added some crystallised melon, which seemed logical as the South of France produces superb crystallised fruits. We normally serve this with orange-flavoured crème fraîche but it is good with any citrus fruits or even a crystallised melon ice-cream. It makes a perfect finish to a light summer meal.
INGREDIENTS (Serves 12-14)
- 1 quantity of sweet pastry (see above)
- 500g Swiss chard leaves (you will need to buy about 1kg leaves and strip out the stalks)
- 3 eggs
- 245ml double cream
- 75g Parmesan cheese, grated
- 175g soft brown sugar
- 4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into slices 2-3mm thick
- 100g green raisins
- 100g dried figs, chopped
- 200g crystallised melon, chopped
- Grated zest of 1 orange
- 50ml orange flower water
- 125g pine kernels, lightly toasted
- icing sugar for dusting
Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured work surface and use to line a buttered loose-bottomed tart tin, 22cm in diameter and 3-3.5cm deep. Chill for 40-50 minutes, then prick the base with a fork. Line the pastry case with baking parchment and fill with rice or baking beans. Place on a baking sheet in an oven preheated to 180°C/gas mark 4 and bake blind for 10-15 minutes, until very lightly coloured. Carefully remove the paper and beans, return the pastry case to the oven for 1-2 minutes to dry out the base, then set to one side.
Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Add the Swiss chard greens and blanch for 1 minute, then drain and refresh in cold water. Drain again and squeeze out as much water as possible. Shred the chard finely and set aside.
Lightly beat the eggs, then add the double cream, Parmesan and sugar and whisk until well combined. Place all the remaining, ingredients except the icing sugar in a bowl with the chard and mix together. Pour on the cream mixture and stir to combine. Place in the pastry case, arranging the ingredients quite rustically. Place in the oven at 180°C/gas mark 4 and cook for 30-40 minutes, until the custard is just set. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Serve dusted with a little icing sugar.
SESAME CANNELLONI OF ORANGE AND BURDOCK, WITH CHERRIES POACHED IN BURDOCK SYRUP
This simple and fairly quick dessert has some lovely flavours and textures. Crisp and soft, sweet and sour, light and deep - all of these things come into play when eating. The sesame seeds in the caramel give that special toasted flavour that you get at Chinese restaurants. Poppy seeds or wattleseeds could be substituted for the sesame seeds, while liquorice, star anise or cinnamon could replace the burdock. A rose cream or lemon cream might be nice here.
For the cherries poached in burdock syrup
- 100g caster sugar
- 400ml red wine
- 100ml port
- 6 lemon verbena leaves
- 15g dried burdock root, crushed
- Grated zest of 1 orange
- 500g cherries, pitted but with the stalks left on
For the orange and burdock cream
- 40g dried burdock root, crushed
- 100ml orange juice
- Grated zest of 1 orange
- 200ml milk
- 225ml double cream
- 2 eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 150g caster sugar
- 50g corn flour
- 2 gelatine leaves
- 100g unsalted butter
For the sesame cannelloni
- 200ml liquid glucose
- 200g caster sugar
- 50ml water
- 50g sesame seeds
- 50g flaked almonds, toasted until golden
- 24 small lemon verbena leaves
- Cherries poached in burdock syrup
Put all the ingredients except the cherries in a pan and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Simmer for 3-4 minutes, then add the cherries and cook for 4-5 minutes longer. Immediately remove the cherries with a slotted spoon, place in a bowl and leave to cool. Simmer the cooking juices until reduced by half and leave to cool. Strain the juices on to the cherries and leave to macerate overnight.
ORANGE AND BURDOCK CREAM
Place the burdock, orange juice and zest in a saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer for three minutes. Add the milk and 100ml of the double cream, bring back to the boil, then remove from the heat and set aside for two hours to infuse.
Bring the mixture back to the boil. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs, egg yolks, sugar and corn flour together in a bowl. Add the milk mixture, whisking constantly, then pour the mixture back into the saucepan, place on a medium heat and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring all the time, until thickened. Soak the gelatine in cold water for about five minutes, until soft and pliable.
Remove the pan from the heat, cool slightly, then stir in the butter bit by bit until melted. Squeeze all the water out of the gelatine and add the gelatine to the pan, stirring until dissolved. Pass through a fine sieve into a bowl, lay a little clingfilm on top of the mixture. Leave to cool.
Whip the remaining double cream until it thickens enough to leave a ribbon on the surface, then fold it into the mixture. Cover and store in the fridge until needed.
Put the glucose, caster sugar and water in a heavy-based saucepan and heat gently, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring to the boil and cook without stirring until it has turned into a golden amber caramel. Immediately pour on to an oiled baking tray and sprinkle with the sesame seeds and almonds. Set to one side until cold and very crisp. Break up the caramel, place in a food processor and pulse to a coarse powder. Store in an airtight container.
Shortly before serving, sprinkle the powder over a lined baking tray in an even layer. Place in an oven preheated to 200°C/gas mark 6 until it has melted and formed a single sheet of caramel; it will only take a minute or two, so be very vigilant. Remove from the oven, let it cool and, just before it sets, cut it into 18 rectangles measuring 12cm x 5cm, cutting through the paper, too. Place back on a baking sheet on the paper and flash through the oven just to soften. Remove from the oven and wrap each rectangle around some dowling, about 4.5cm in diameter, using the paper to guide it. Leave until set, then slide the cannelloni off the dowling. Keep in an airtight container until needed.
Beat the orange and burdock cream well, place it in a piping bag and pipe into the sesame cannelloni. Place two on each plate, side by side, then put a third on top, at an angle. Put the cherries on one side, pour round a little of the syrup, then decorate with the lemon verbena.
EVERITT-MATTHIAS AND HIS DESSERTS
With no formal pastry chef training, Everitt-Matthias has developed his know-how in the pudding arena since opening Le Champignon Sauvage in 1986: "As in so many large restaurant kitchens, the pastry section remained elusive. It was quite separate from the rest of the kitchen and was not considered part of a chef's apprenticeship," he says.
"When I opened Le Champignon Sauvage," Everitt-Matthias adds, "I was very conscious of the gap in my knowledge. There was only myself and one other person working here to begin with, so the two of us had to cover every area of the kitchen."
The small size of his team at Le Champignon Sauvage - now up to four in total, including himself - contributed significantly to his development of his repertoire of desserts - and this book.
It's his second, after Essence, which was published in 2006, and is divided according to ingredient: chocolate and nut, fruit, vegetable, roots, pods, seeds and bark; and wild, along with pages on petits fours.