For the lemon thyme ice cream:
For the apricot compote:
For the chocolate sponge:
For the Maldon sea salt caramel:
For the dark chocolate glaze:
For the chocolate mousse:
First, make the ice cream. Boil the milk. Once boiled, pour it into a container with the lemon thyme and allow it to infuse overnight. Split and scrape the seeds out of the vanilla pod. Sieve the milk into a pan and add the whipping cream, vanilla and 100g of the caster sugar. Whisk the egg yolks and the rest of the caster sugar together until light in colour. Prepare an ice-water bain-marie by putting a bowl in a container of water with lots of ice. Bring the milk and cream to the boil, then pour half the boiled milk and cream over the egg yolk mixture and whisk it. Put it back in the pan. Over a gentle heat, and with continuous stirring, cook the mixture to 85°C. Take the pan off the heat and pass the liquid through a fine sieve into the bowl sitting in the iced water bain-marie. Once it has cooled, transfer to a container and leave it overnight in the fridge. The following day churn it in an ice-cream machine, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Prepare the apricot compote. Put the apricot purée and vanilla pod in a pan and bring to the boil. Rain in the sugar and powdered pectin, and cook it down. Then add the chopped apricots and allow to cool.
Next, make the sponge. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Sift the flour and cocoa powder together. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites. Gradually add the sugar and increase the speed until you reach the soft-peak meringue stage. Then whisk in the egg yolks. Fold in the sifted flour and cocoa powder. Spread the mixture onto a 25cm x 30cm tray lined with a non-stick baking mat, and bake in the preheated oven for 18–20 minutes, or until the top of the sponge springs back when pressed. Allow to cool.
The next element of the dessert is the Maldon salt caramel. Boil the cream and vanilla pod together, then take off the heat and allow to infuse for 1 hour. Put the sugar and glucose in a heavy-based pan over a medium heat, and stir until they begin to melt. Then stop stirring and cook until the melted sugars turn to amber caramel. Strain the cream and bring it to the boil once more. Gradually add the warm cream to the caramel, mix it well and remove from the stove. Add the butter piece by piece, before finally adding the Maldon salt. Combine them well and allow to cool. Once cool, transfer to an airtight container until you are ready to assemble the dessert.
Prepare the dark chocolate glaze. Sieve the cocoa powder. Soak the gelatine in cold water; once it is soft, carefully strain off the excess water and discard it. Boil the 175ml water and the caster sugar together. Continue to boil on a low heat for 2–3 minutes, then add the sieved cocoa powder and the whipping cream. Return to the boil and simmer for 4–5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the soaked gelatine; mix it in. Pass the mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl and allow it to cool. Store in the fridge until needed.
The last thing to make is the chocolate mousse, as it needs to be used immediately. Finely chop the chocolate and put it in a mixing bowl. Pour the milk into a pan and bring it to the boil. While it is heating up, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture becomes light in colour. When the milk has boiled, pour half onto the egg yolks and sugar mixture and mix thoroughly. Pour everything back into the pan and cook on a low heat, stirring continuously until the mixture reaches 82–84°C. Take the pan off the heat and pour the mixture through a fine sieve onto the chocolate. Using a spatula, combine until the mixture becomes smooth and emulsified, then leave it to cool. Put the cream into a bowl and whisk until soft peaks form, then carefully fold it into the cooled chocolate mixture.
It is now time to assemble the dessert. Cut the sponge into rectangles that will fit into your moulds; you will need two per mould. Have them handy. Line the moulds with the freshly made mousse, ensuring there are no air bubbles. Place a layer of sponge in the mould. Pipe a generous amount of caramel on top, then top that with another layer of sponge. Fill the mould with more mousse, scrape it flat and freeze.
Once the desserts are completely frozen, unmould them carefully and put them on a wire rack. Slightly warm the glaze and pour it over the top of the unmoulded desserts, coating the top and sides evenly. Shake off any excess glaze by tapping the tray gently on the table. Place them on the serving plates and allow to defrost. Serve with apricot compote and lemon thyme ice cream.