It’s an acquired taste but for those who love liquorice it’s a long, passionate affair. So how much do you know about the black sweet?
• The liquorice plant is a legume native to southern Europe and parts of Asia.
• It grows all year round to a height of about 1 metre. Its flowers are purple to pale whitish blue and its fruit is a 2‐3cm oblong pod containing several seeds.
• Liquorice grows best in deep, fertile, well‐drained soils, with full sun, and is harvested in the autumn, two to three years after planting.
• Pontefract in Yorkshire was the first place where liquorice mixed with sugar began to be used as a sweet.
• Today, liquorice extract is produced by boiling liquorice root and subsequently evaporating most of the water.
Liquorice has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for over 5,000 years and is the second most prescribed herb in China, exceeded only by the powers of ginseng.
Today, alternative health care professionals continue to use liquorice to relieve respiratory ailments such as bronchitis, colds, coughs, congestion, sore throat, and allergies. In addition, it’s used for stomach problems (including heartburn from reflux), inflammatory disorders, skin conditions (including eczema and psoriasis), minor skin infections, and liver problems.
Liquorice parfait, with grapefruit and pistachio crumble
Try Justine Schofield Batch 37 Liquorice recipe.
Cooking time: 20 minutes
1 cup pistachios
½ cup Darrell Lea liquorice
50g Darrell Lea liquorice cut into small pieces
1 vanilla bean split in half
1 drop of aniseed essence
1 egg yolk
2 tsp. glucose
60g caster sugar
2 tbs. Pernod
1 grapefruit segmented
For the crumble, pulse the pistachios and liquorice in a food processor until desired texture. Reserve for later. Gently heat the cream, liquorice, aniseed essence and vanilla bean in a saucepan until liquorice is soft.
Remove vanilla bean and allow to cool slightly. Place cream mixture into a food processor and blend for one minute.
Pour through a fine sieve and set aside. To make the sabayon, add the eggs, glucose, caster sugar and Pernod into a large metal bowl.
Place over a pot of gently simmering water. Do not whisk at this stage. Allow the egg mixture to reach 84°C. Or until the mixture looks like it is thickening.
Remove from the heat and whisk immediately with an electric mixer until pale and thick. A ribbon formation should be made in the mixture when a wooden spoon is used.
Now fold half of this sabayon into the cooled liquorice cream. Once combined add the remaining sabayon and fold through until well combined.
Pour Into the individual moulds and place into the freezer until firm. To serve, place moulds in some hot water briefly to loosen.
Demould and garnish with grapefruit segments and the pistachio crumble.