Daniel Pepperell's melon en surprise

Daniel Pepperell won over Sydney diners with savvy twists on Italian food at 10 William St. At Restaurant Hubert, he applies a similar approach to the French canon - to tasty effect. "I introduced dishes like the melon en surprise to Hubert because we like to look at classic French cookery and see how we can give it a modern identity and a sense of place here in Australia," says Pepperell. "I like melons that aren't too ripe for this dish - a little bit of crispness to the flesh is a good thing. Freezing the melon cups, meanwhile, keeps the sorbet stable and cold."

Try other Restaurant Hubert recipes.

You'll need

3 small piel de sapo melons, halved crossways, seeds removed, bases trimmed to stand (see note) Pulp from 4-6 finger limes, depending on size (see note)   Young coconut sorbet Flesh and strained water from 2 young coconuts 100 gm caster sugar 25 gm dextrose (see note) 25 gm liquid glucose 1 titanium-strength gelatine leaf, softened in cold water for 3-5 minutes 375 ml coconut cream, preferably Kara brand 2 tbsp lime juice   Sorrel jelly ½ tsp ascorbic acid (see note) 2 green apples, quartered 100 gm sorrel (about 1½ bunches), trimmed 25 ml sugar syrup 2 titanium-strength gelatine leaves, softened in cold water for 3-5 minutes 2½ tsp Pernod or other pastis


  • 01
  • For coconut sorbet, process young coconut flesh and water in a blender until very smooth, then press through a coarse sieve into a bowl. Whisk sugar and dextrose in a small saucepan to combine, then add liquid glucose and 250ml warm water and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar. Set aside to cool. Combine strained coconut with an equal quantity of sugar syrup in a jug, then transfer 60ml to a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Squeeze excess water from gelatine, add to pan and stir until dissolved (10-20 seconds). Add to remaining coconut mixture with coconut cream and lime juice, stirring well to combine, then set aside until cool. Churn in an ice-cream machine then freeze until required.
  • 02
  • For sorrel jelly, place a bowl over ice to chill (1-2 minutes), sprinkle ascorbic acid into chilled bowl, then juice apples and sorrel and immediately add to bowl, stirring to dissolve acid (see note). Strain through a fine sieve and refrigerate immediately. Meanwhile, bring sugar syrup to a simmer in a small saucepan, squeeze excess water from gelatine, add to syrup and stir to dissolve, then cool to room temperature. Stir in sorrel mixture and pastis, then transfer to a 500ml container and refrigerate to set (3-4 hours).
  • 03
  • Meanwhile, scoop out balls of melon with a Parisian scoop (melon baller), leaving at least 5mm around the edge to make shells. Refrigerate melon balls and place shells in freezer until almost frozen (3-4 hours).
  • 04
  • Fill melon shells three-quarters full with melon balls (remaining balls can be reserved for another use), then top with finger lime pearls and teaspoonfuls of sorrel jelly. Spread coconut sorbet over to fill and cover, smooth tops with a palette knife and serve, or return to freezer until ready to serve. Melons can be assembled 2 hours ahead.

Piel de sapo melon (also called Santa Claus melon) and finger limes are available from select greengrocers. Dextrose is available from select health-food shops and online home-brew suppliers including Country Brewer and Aussie Brewmakers. Ascorbic acid is available from select health-food shops; it prevents the apple and sorrel juices from discolouring.

At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people

Drink Suggestion

Pét-nat chenin blanc – all green-apple tartness.

Featured in

Dec 2016

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