Australian Functional Ingredients – by Vic Cherikoff

Emeril Lagasse's Wattleseed ice cream

Some years ago, Emeril Lagasse discovered Cherikoff Wattleseed and made an ice cream which continues to get plenty of hits. Have a look at this page on the Emeril Lagasse website for Emeril’s version of Wattleseed ice cream.

Cherikoff Wattleseed ice cream

I would strongly suggest a few changes though. I’d definitely give the vanilla the flick. It’s not needed if you use Cherikoff Wattleseed and my Wattleseed extract in the ice cream as they provide all the flavour complexity you need. I’d also add back about a third of the boiled Wattleseed grounds that get sieved out because I like the visual and textural properties of the finished Wattleseed ice cream but this is optional. See my comments on my new Wattleseed paste which follow.

I specifically refer to Cherikoff Wattleseed since there are a growing number of copycat wattle seed products out there, products which are a long way from the one I spent years perfecting the special blend of Acacia species, the roasting process and the milling (then there are also the extracting and pasting processes. It’s a little like US coffee and Australian coffee. Most Australians can’t stand the US roasted product as it lacks the aromatics and just tastes burnt and stewed. (Australia joins Italy as countries where that US iconic corner cafe has actually closed stores because they can’t compete with the excellent coffee from the just as ubiquitous non-chain cafes.)

But back to recipes for Cherikoff Wattleseed ice cream: There are a few ways to embellish the recipe: You could fold in some oven-toasted walnuts or pecans (toast, then chop them coarsely). These impart some of the bitterness so essential to a good dessert but missing from the Wattleseed alone. Sure you could add a dash of bitters but the nuts give that all-important crunch too.

Other flavours which suit Cherikoff Wattleseed include maple syrup, coconut butter, cream or milk or fresh coconut flesh, particularly when it’s still jelly. What does NOT go with Wattleseed because they overwhelm the chocolate, coffee, hazelnut flavour includes coffee, chocolate (actually hazelnuts are fine), refined white sugar and pistacchio as a paste.

I have been working on a Cherikoff Wattleseed paste along the lines of the familiar pistacchio and hazelnut pastes gelato manufacturers often import from Italy. In fact, I’ll be launching it in the New Year for chefs and manufacturers and packing it down for retail through my on-line store late January.

There will also be a Rainforest citrus paste with the delicious mix of wild limes and lemon myrtle sprinkle; a Kakadu plum and Forest anise paste (see following); and Fruit spice and Rosella which combines the exceptional flavour of my Fruit spice with the brilliant crimson colour of the Wild rosella.

Expressions of interest are eagerly sought.

On a recent trip to the Top End late last year while looking for locations for my new TV series, The Upside Down Kitchen, I found a source of an amazing Kakadu plum powder and adding it to the Kakadu plum purée we routinely make, I can make the result shelf stable. I’ve added my Forest anise to the mix and produced another awesome paste for ice cream, gelato, anglaise and crème pâtisserie.

So there’s my current range of 4 flavours. Now it’s just a matter of time and perseverence before New Zealand Natural or some other major ice creamery gets the idea that there’s more to ice cream than chocolate, vanilla and strawberry.

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