One of the most enduring memories of my time in France is the lavender fields behind Roger Vergé's restaurant Le Moulin de Mougins and the lavender ice-cream he made. - Jeremy Strode, Bistrode
- 1kg rhubarb, washed and cut into 2cm pieces (about 2½ bunches)
- 250 gm caster sugar, plus extra for dusting
- 400 gm butter, softened
- 200 gm icing sugar
- 2 eggs, 1 lightly beaten
- 500 gm plain flour, plus extra for rolling (3 1/3 cups)
- 8 egg yolks
- 140 gm caster sugar
- 340 ml milk
- 340 ml pouring cream
- ¼ bunch fresh lavender
- 1For lavender ice-cream, using an electric mixer, whisk egg yolks and sugar for 2-3 minutes on high speed until pale. Meanwhile, combine milk, cream and lavender in a heavy-based saucepan, bring to the boil over medium heat, then pour over egg yolk mixture, whisking to combine. Transfer to a clean saucepan, then cook over low heat, stirring continuously until mixture coats the back of a spoon. Strain into a bowl placed over ice, then stir occasionally until chilled. Freeze in an ice-cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions. Makes about 1 litre.
- 2Combine rhubarb and sugar in a medium heavy-based saucepan. Cook over low heat for 3 minutes or until moisture appears, then cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat for 35-40 minutes or until thick. Cool and set aside.
- 3For pastry, using an electric mixer beat butter and sugar for 4 minutes or until pale, add unbeaten egg and mix to combine, then fold through flour until pastry just comes together. Turn pastry onto a floured surface, then gently knead until smooth. Do not over-work. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight.
- 4Preheat oven to 160C. Roll out pastry to 5mm thick on a lightly floured surface, then cut out six strips to line the sides, six 5cm diameter circles to line the bases and six 9cm-diameter circles for the lids. Refrigerate pie lids until required, then line bases and sides of six ½ cup-capacity individual pie tins or muffin moulds, pressing edges with your fingers to seal, leaving a 5mm lip above edges of tins. Blind bake for 20 minutes or until golden, remove baking paper and pastry weights, brush inside of cases with beaten egg to seal, then bake for another 5 minutes. Set aside.
- 5Increase oven to 170C. Spoon 1/3 cup rhubarb mixture into pie shells, brush edges with beaten egg and place pie lids on top, pressing down edges gently using a fork. Brush lids with beaten egg and scatter with caster sugar. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden, stand for 5 minutes, then carefully remove from tins and place on serving plates. Serve with lavender ice-cream.
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