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Monday, February 2, 2009

Global Pantry: Wattleseed

Posted By on Mon, Feb 2, 2009 at 4:00 PM

click to enlarge wattleseed.jpg
I first encountered wattleseed, gathered from various types of acacia that grow wild in the Australian bush, at South Food + Wine Bar (330 Townsend). They grind it with hazelnuts, sesame, pistachios, cumin, coriander, pepperberry, akudjura (bush tomato), and salt to make a savory dip for oil-soaked bread. With all that going on, I couldn't guess which notes were coming from the wattleseed, so I was curious to taste it by itself. My interest was further piqued when I read that the flavor is similar to a mix of coffee, chocolate, and roasted hazelnuts.

Since none of the spice shops I checked with carried it, I finally ordered some from South's online store. With shipping, this came to $13.21 for 15 grams--about a tablespoon. After reading various recipes online, including an Emeril Lagasse ice cream, I decided that a panna cotta would probably be a good and easy way to maximize the flavor.

Update in response to an email: I copied that photo from South's online store. The "best before" date on the package I bought was 25 Nov 2009.

click to enlarge wattleseed_panna_cotta.jpg
The end result was good, but if I hadn't known what it was, I'd

probably have mistaken it for fairly mild mocha. Substitute a

couple of tablespoons each of good cocoa powder and finely ground coffee, and you'd have a tastier dish for a lot less money.

2 cups cream
1/2 package powdered gelatin (about 1 tsp.)
15 grams wattleseed
2 tbsp. sugar (or more to taste)
pinch of salt

Mix all ingredients and heat gently until mixture begins to steam. Turn off heat, cover, and let sit for 30 minutes. Stir, pour into custard cups, let cool for a few minutes, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for several hours before serving.

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Robert Lauriston


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