"This dish was served at Stephanie's Restaurant over many years during the '80s, and probably into the early '90s. I was introduced to scented geraniums by my mother, who had quite a collection in her own herb garden - peppermint, nutmeg, clove and, our favourite, rose," says Stephanie Alexander. "My first dish using the rose-scented geranium was an old-fashioned junket. Later I added them to panna cotta, but I think this sorbet was the most successful of all. Just to show that there's nothing new under the sun, recently in Paris I had lunch at one of the 'hot' restaurants, Saturne, and dessert was a raspberry and rosegeranium sorbet with a tiny serve of red and gold raspberries. The flavour of ripe raspberries dominates this delicious sorbet here, but the rose-scented geranium adds a haunting after-note that's not at all cloying. The fragile wafers are based on a recipe that has appeared in several of my books; any excess batter keeps covered and refrigerated for several days."
- 500 ml pouring cream (2 cups)
- 500 gm raspberries
- Pure icing sugar, to serve
Raspberry and rose-geranium sorbet
- 500 gm raspberries
- 250 gm caster sugar
- 4 organic rose geranium leaves, plus extra to garnish if desired (see note)
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 75 gm unsalted butter, softened
- 120 gm caster sugar
- 60 gm plain flour, sieved
- 60 ml honey (1/4 cup)
- 1 eggwhite
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1For sorbet, purée raspberries in a food processor, then press through a sieve to extract the seeds. You should have about 300ml purée. Combine sugar, leaves and 250ml water in a saucepan, bring to a simmer and stir occasionally until sugar dissolves and syrup is well flavoured (10 minutes). Remove from heat and stand to infuse and cool (30 minutes). Discard leaves, then stir in the raspberry purée. Add lemon juice to taste, churn in an ice-cream machine and freeze.
- 2For honey wafers, preheat oven to 180C and line 2 oven trays with baking paper. Trace about 9 evenly spaced rounds per tray using a 9cm cutter as a guide. Turn paper over so ink is underneath. Process butter and sugar in a food processor until creamy. With motor running, add flour, honey, eggwhite and ginger, and blend to a smooth spreadable consistency. Spread batter thinly and evenly into traced rounds with the back of a spoon or small palette knife, then bake a tray at a time until golden brown (7-8 minutes). Cool wafers for a minute on tray then, using a flexible spatula, lift onto a wire rack to cool completely. Wafers are best eaten soon after baking – they become soft over time.
- 3Whisk cream to soft peaks in a bowl. Add half the raspberries and whip to firm peaks, then stir in remaining berries, reserving some to garnish.
- 4To serve, anchor a cold wafer to each plate with a dot of cream. Pile on a spoonful of raspberry cream, balance another wafer on top, pile on a second spoonful of cream and top with a third wafer. Dust with icing sugar, garnish with raspberries and geranium leaves, and serve with a scoop of raspberry and rose-geranium sorbet.
Rose geranium plants are available from select nurseries.