Strawberries with tarragon and black pepper honeycomb with burnt English cream surprise
For the honeycomb
For the marinated strawberries
For the caramel
For the burnt English cream
For the garnish
- 1 small bunch fresh tarragon, deep-fried in vegetable oil until crisp (CAUTION: hot oil can be dangerous. Do not leave hot oil unattended.)
For the honeycomb, place the sugar, honey, glucose and water into a pan and boil until the liquid reaches 150C/300F on a sugar thermometer. (This amount will double in volume so make sure you have a big enough pan.) Add the bicarbonate of soda and quickly whisk to combine. The mixture will rise up in the pan when the bicarbonate of soda is added so be careful. Immediately pour the mixture into a non-stick tray. Add several grindings of freshly ground black pepper and set aside to cool, uncovered. Break into shards.
For the marinated strawberries, place the sugar, red wine, water and star anise into a medium saucepan and heat over a low heat until the liquid has reduced by half. Pour the reduced liquid over the strawberries in a small bowl and leave to infuse for 30 minutes.
For the caramel, boil the sugar and water together in a shallow pan until it turns golden-brown. Brush the side of the pan with water every 40 seconds. Pour onto a greased non-stick baking sheet and leave to cool. When the caramel has set, shatter into shards.
For the burnt English cream, remove the tops of the eggs with a special egg top remover (available from specialist kitchenware shops) and pour the contents through an egg separator (available from specialist kitchenware shops). Set aside the egg whites for another recipe (such as meringue; they will keep covered in the fridge for two days) and place the egg yolks in a mixing bowl. Remove the membrane and clean and dry the egg shells.
Add the sugar to the bowl with the egg yolks and whisk together until pale and fluffy. Pour the cream into a small pan, add the vanilla seeds and place over a gentle heat to infuse the cream with the vanilla. When the cream is just below boiling point, remove from the heat, discard the vanilla pods and pour the hot cream over the egg yolks and sugar and whisk until combined. Pour the cream mix into a clean pan, return to a gentle heat and stir until the mix starts to thicken enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Set aside and leave to cool slightly.
Carefully spoon the cream mix into the cleaned egg shells and set aside in an empty egg box to keep them level.
To serve, sprinkle a little sugar over the custard in each egg and caramelise using a blowtorch. Serve the egg in a small eggcup on a small serving plate. Serve with the infused strawberries and garnish with the black pepper honeycomb, caramel and deep-fried tarragon leaves.