Mandarin and Lemon Thyme Sorbet, Almond Meringues, Chocolate Cream and Crushed Shortbread

Luke Tipping

Luke Tipping

4th May 2011
Luke Tipping

Mandarin and Lemon Thyme Sorbet, Almond Meringues, Chocolate Cream and Crushed Shortbread

Mandarin and Lemon Thyme Sorbet, Almond Meringues, Chocolate Cream and Crushed Shortbread Serves 4 From Simpons Restaurant in Birmingham


  • 100ml water
  • 500ml mandarin juice
  • Zest of 2 mandarins, grated
  • 10g milk powder 50g glucose powder (available from health food shops)
  • 100g caster sugar 4 sprigs of fresh lemon thyme
  • For the almond meringues 90g egg whites (about 3) 65g caster sugar 65g icing sugar, sifted Few drops of lemon juice Small pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp toasted almond flakes
  • For the chocolate cream
  • 130g whipping cream
  • 130g milk
  • 50g egg yolks
  • 25g caster sugar
  • 140g Valrhona macae chocolate (or similar with 62% chocolate cocoa solids)
  • For the crushed shortbread 150g plain flour 100g unsalted butter, softened 50g caster sugar To garnish the dish 4 sprigs lemon thyme 2 tbsp fresh mandarin segments


1. Heat the water, half the mandarin juice, thyme and mandarin zest to dissolve the sugar. Mix the milk powder with the glucose powder and whisk into the liquid, remove from the heat.
2. Add the remaining mandarin juice and leave the mixture to cool and take on the flavour of the thyme. Pass through a sieve and churn the sorbet in an ice-cream machine then store in the freezer until needed.
For the almond meringues
1. Combine the 2 sugars and mix thoroughly.
2. Whisk the egg whites with the lemon juice, salt and 1 tablespoon of the sugar until they begin to foam. Continue whisking and gradually adding the sugar to give a stiff and shiny meringue.
3. Spoon the meringue into a piping bag fitted with a 5mm plain nozzle and pipe the mixture onto baking parchment on a baking tray. We pipe ours into sticks about 6cm long but you can vary the shape as you wish.
4. Sprinkle the piped meringues with the almond flakes and dry them in a warm oven (about 90°C) until completely crisp but still white.
5. Store in an airtight tub until needed.
For the chocolate cream
1. Melt the chocolate over hot water or in the microwave on low power. The chocolate should be at about 35°C.
2. Heat the cream and milk in a medium saucepan. Meanwhile, whisk together the yolks and sugar. When the cream mixture boils, whisk it onto the yolks and sugar. Return to the pan and cook, stirring at all times until the mixture has thickened slightly (85°C).
3. Strain the custard through a sieve into a jug.
4. Using a spatula, gradually incorporate the warm custard into the chocolate to give a smooth shiny mixture. For an extra smooth and silky texture, mix the cream in a liquidiser or with a hand blender for a minute.
5. Spoon the cream into a piping bag with a 1cm nozzle and chill in the fridge for 3 hours minimum or upto 2 days.
For the crushed shortbread
1. Mix the flour, butter and sugar together gently to give a smooth dough. Press into a parchment lined baking sheet to a thickness of a pound coin using your hands with a dusting of flour as necessary. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes then bake at 175°C for about 15 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack.
2. When cool and crisp, crush enough shortbread for 4 servings in a bowl with the back of a fork to give a light sandy texture.
3. Reserve the shortbread in an airtight tub until needed.
To finish and serve the dish
1. Place a round or oblong pastry cutter on each plate and inside each press a heaped tablespoon of crushed shortbread. Smooth flat with the back of the spoon and gently remove the rings.
2. Pipe 2 or 3 small domes of chocolate cream on each plate. Add a few mandarin segments then a scoop of sorbet. Finally, finish with 2 or 3 almond meringues and serve immediately.

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