This combination of flavours is one I picked up from my grandmother. She loved infusing her fig jam with aniseed or yansoun as it’s called in Arabic. Here, I’ve infused a yoghurt mousse instead of fig jam and included star anise, but the effect is much the same. I don’t think any description can do this understated dessert justice, you’ll just have to try it to truly appreciate it. It can be assembled up to two days ahead.
Skill level Mid
7 star anise
300 ml double cream
50 g caster sugar
4 gold-strength gelatine leaves, cut into small pieces
60 ml (¼ cup) cold water
500 ml (2 cups) Greek-style yoghurt
1 tbsp pistachios, finely chopped
100 g fresh or soft dried figs, thinly sliced
100 g caster sugar
125 ml (½ cup) water
2 tsp lemon juice
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
You will need to begin this recipe 1 day ahead.
Freezing time overnight
Marinating time 4 hours
To make the compote, place a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Add the figs, sugar, water, and lemon juice, mix well and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15–20 minutes or until just set and still slightly runny. To test, remove 1 tsp of the mixture and transfer to a plate, allow to cool for 1 minute to confirm it’s the right texture. Allow to cool completely.
To make the mousse, break the star anise in half, add to the cream in a bowl and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight to infuse. Strain the cream mixture into a bowl, discarding the star anise. Add the sugar and, using a whisk, whisk the cream until it reaches whipped cream consistency with soft peaks.
Soak the gelatine in the cold water in a heatproof bowl for 10 minutes. Create a double boiler by placing 500 ml (2 cups) boiling water in another heatproof bowl. Place the bowl the gelatine mixture is in on top so that the hot water skims the bottom of the bowl; the heat from the water will help melt the gelatine. Whisk constantly until completely melted.
Place the yoghurt in a bowl and stir in the melted gelatine. Gently fold in the whipped cream until smooth with no lumps.
To assemble, place 2 tsp of the compote in the bottom of 6 x 150 ml glasses or dessert bowls, then divide the mousse mixture among the glasses. Cover and set aside in the fridge overnight to set. Garnish with pistachios just before serving.
Recipe from Dirty Kitchen Secrets by Bethany Kehdy, with photographs by Sarka Babicka.