The new cookbook by Mat Lindsay, chef-proprietor of Sydney’s highly regarded Ester, is more than just a recipe or restaurant book. It’s designed to build inventive new foundations for how you cook at home. Lindsay – who Nigella Lawson has deemed “a true genius” for his deeply felt, deeply delicious cooking – shares his recipe for a salted caramel semifreddo that can be given a further flavour boost with a hit of honey and tahini.

Mat Lindsay’s salted caramel semifreddo
Serves 10

The combination of salt and caramel has become a classic for very good reason. This semifreddo is very good served just as it is, but also works well with a poached pear and is surprisingly excellent served with a dollop of honey and a drizzle of tahini.

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Begin this recipe at least 7 hours before you’d like to serve it, to give everything time to chill.

Prep time: 10 minutes, plus cooling and 6 hours freezing
Cooking time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:
700ml thickened cream

Salted caramel
200g caster sugar
100g unsalted butter, diced
300ml cream
A pinch of flaky sea salt

Sabayon
12 egg yolks
100g caster sugar

For the salted caramel, combine the sugar and 100ml water in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat and cook, without stirring, brushing down the sides with a little water from time to time, until you have a very dark caramel, bordering on too dark. (The added bitterness from the caramel helps to pull this dessert back from the brink of being too sweet.)

Carefully add the butter and stir until melted and combined, then add the cream. Bring to a simmer for a minute to make sure all the sugar has dissolved, then add flaky sea salt. Make it quite salty; it needs more than you think to balance all the other parts of the dish. Cool this completely in the fridge.

For the sabayon, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together energetically in a metal bowl set over a pot of simmering water, double-boiler style (don’t let the bowl touch the hot water), until the mixture doubles in size and is billowy and pale; a probe thermometer should read 89°C. Cool this completely in the fridge too.

Whip the cream to soft peaks in a bowl – by hand, with beaters or in a stand mixer – then let it cool completely in the fridge.

When all pieces of the puzzle – caramel, sabayon and whipped cream – are ready at the same fridge-coldness, add the sabayon to the salted caramel and mix thoroughly, then gently fold in the whipped cream with a rubber spatula until well combined.

Transfer the mixture to a terrine mould lined with plastic wrap (lining the tin makes retrieval much easier) and freeze for at least 6 hours to set. Scoop or slice to serve as you see fit.

Images and text from Ester by Mat Lindsay with Pat Nourse, photography by Patricia Niven. Murdoch Books, RRP $55.