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Sweet Talk with Head Chef Peter Gunn of IDES

Life’s just a little bit sweeter when dessert’s on the menu, don’t you agree? Easter entertaining is just around the corner, and so woman with drive turned to an expert to bring you the best of creating and plating a standout dessert.

Meet Peter Gunn, Head Chef and mastermind behind pop-up restaurant sensation IDES and Sous Chef of award-winning restaurant Attica. Recently winning the Pacific semi-final of the S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2015 Competition – a global talent search launched by San Pellegrino to find the world’s best young chef – the Australian chef will travel to Milan in June for Expo Milano 2015, where he will compete with 19 other young chefs from around the globe with one talent being crowned the world’s best young chef.

Peter Gunn, IDES
Before his schedule and days get too crazy with travel, we sat down with Gunn to talk life in the kitchen, honing his culinary skills, plans for the year ahead, and desserts. He is after all, a self-confessed sweet tooth himself.

He’s kindly shared the recipe with woman with drive for one of his delectable desserts – the strawberry pie (pictured above). With the two significant ingredients in his strawberry pie – juicy strawberries and fresh basil (a pair that’s convenient enough to pick up on your weekly grocery run and include in a standout dessert for your very own guests at home) he’s also come up with three extra desserts that you can try at home.

Strawberry Pie Mix Recipe

Ingredients:
7cups roughly cut strawberries (quartered and halved)
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup corn flour
3/4 raw castor sugar
1/2 tspn fennel seeds
1/2 tspn salt
1/2 tspn citric acid

Method:
1. Combine water, sugar and cornflour in a sauce pan and mix well
2. Add half the strawberries to the cornflour mix and bring to the boil stirring continuously
3. Boil for 1 minute whilst mixing
4. Allow mix to cool completely and add remaining fresh strawberries, fennel seeds, salt and citric acid

“We serve this by filling a small bowl 1/3 fill with a basil custard, spooning the pie mix on top then covering with malt biscuit crumbs and 3 different varieties of basil; liquorice, lime & cinnamon flavoured.” –Peter Gunn

This “pie mix” can also be boiled for a further 2 – 3 minutes to create a thicker mix that can be placed into a short crust tart base and served with finely chopped sweet basil and crème fraîche. It’s also great with coconut yoghurt and finely chopped crystallised ginger and again with finely chopped basil leaves.

 

 

2 INGREDIENTS, 3 STAND OUT DESSERTS

Strawberries cooked in basil syrup

Bring 250g sugar and 300g water to the boil
Add one bunch of chopped basil (seeds and all)
Remove from heat and allow to infuse for 20 minutes
Return to the boil then strain syrup through a sieve and directly over halved strawberries
When cool, remove from syrup and serve with sour cream and poached basil seeds

“Simple desserts are sometimes the best desserts. The secret to creating a simple yet stand out dessert is to thoughtfully select and use the highest quality ingredients.” –Peter Gunn.

Basil custard, strawberries, balsamic vinegar

To dress up a crème brûlée, infuse the milk and cream with basil.
Once set, cover with diced strawberries season with salt and dress heavily with balsamic syrup.

“All desserts should have a slight acidity to them. I feel it enhances the freshness of the fruit and given dessert is always at the end of the meal when you start to get full it can give you a little kick to get through the rest of dinner.” –Peter Gunn.

Vanilla roasted strawberries and basil ice cream

Toss whole strawberries in vanilla sugar
Bake at 220c for 2-3 minutes
Place in a bowl, add some crushed macadamia nuts, and a large scoop of basil ice cream.

“Making ice cream is the toughest pastry item to get right and when you do get it right be sure to never loose that recipe. My tip is to always use raw castor sugar and always use milk powder in your base to uphold a soft consistency.” –Peter Gunn.

Image Credits: Rebecca Newman / IDES Melbourne

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