300 gmcaster sugar10star anise2cloves2cinnamon quills2lemons, juice only6royal gala apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1cm dice200 gmcurrant grapes, to serveLicorice and preserved lime ice-cream410 mlmilk100 gmsoft black licorice, thinly sliced290 mlpouring cream4egg yolks75 gmcaster sugar25 gmfinely diced preserved lime rind (see note)
For licorice and preserved lime ice-cream, combine 320ml milk and licorice in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally until licorice softens and melts (about 10 minutes). Transfer to a food processor or blender and purée, then pass through a fine sieve into a clean saucepan. Add remaining milk and 100ml cream and bring to the simmer over low heat. In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar until pale (about 5 minutes), pour over licorice mixture, whisking continuously to combine, then return to pan. Cook, stirring continuously, until mixture starts to thicken and thickly coats the back of a wooden spoon (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat, strain through a fine sieve into a bowl placed over ice. When cool, stir in preserved lime rind and remaining cream, then churn in an ice-cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions. Freeze until required. Makes about 3 cups.
Combine sugar, spices and 120ml water in a saucepan and bring to a rolling boil over medium heat. Cook until a deep golden caramel colour (10-15 minutes), remove from heat and dip base of pan into a bowl of cold water for 30 seconds (this stops the caramel from cooking too far and tasting bitter). Carefully add lemon juice and 1 tbsp of water (mixture will spit, so stand back), add apple and cool, stirring once or twice to help break down caramel, to room temperature. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Add grapes and serve with licorice and preserved lime ice-cream.
Note Preserved limes are available from Middle Eastern grocers and The Essential Ingredient. Ben Shewry prefers to use Malouf’s Spice Mezza Preserved Limes with Cinnamon.