A Cool, Creamy Dessert Inspired by the Forest

Josip Martinovic, Executive Chef at McCalls Catering & Events in San Francisco.
Josip Martinovic, Executive Chef at McCalls Catering & Events in San Francisco, shares his exquisite dessert featured at the Save the Redwoods League Centennial Celebration Gala. The lush forest of Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park inspired the chef’s creation.

Verrine of Thyme-Infused Gelato with Green Waffles, Sweet Herb Oil, and Elderflower Cream

Verrine: Savory or sweet food served in a small glass, typically in France.

Servings: 12–14
Active Preparation Time: 2 hours
Total Preparation Time: 8 hours

Step 1


Make at least 8 hours before serving

2 cups whole milk
1 tbsp. lemon thyme, chopped
5 yolks of large, free-range eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream

In a medium saucepan, bring milk and thyme to a gentle boil, cover, and remove from heat. Steep for 30 minutes, then strain through a fine-mesh strainer.

Combine egg yolks and sugar using an electric mixer. Beat at medium-high speed for 3 to 5 minutes until very thick and pale yellow. After the milk has steeped, return it to a boil. Add half the milk to egg-yolk mixture and whisk until blended. Stir egg yolk-milk mixture into remaining milk and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is thick enough to coat a spoon.

Remove from heat and immediately stir in cream. Pass mixture through a strainer into a medium bowl set over an ice bath to chill. Then freeze in an ice-cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Place in the freezer in a plastic container.

Step 2


2 eggs, free-range
½ cup sugar
¼ cup milk
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. spirulina powder
½ oz. spinach juice
Juice ½ lb. of spinach or purchase at grocery.
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

In a mixing bowl, whisk eggs and sugar until incorporated. Add remaining ingredients except butter. Stir until it has the consistency of batter.

Pour butter evenly on top of a full sheet tray lined with parchment paper. Spread the batter to 1/8-inch thick. Bake for 15 minutes at 300 degrees, or until dry and crispy.

Cool and break into half-dollar-size pieces.

Step 3


1 bunch Italian parsley
1 bunch dill
4 oz. olive oil
½ tsp. lemon zest

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Let sit for 3 hours. Oil will rise to top. Skim oil from the top with a ladle.

Step 4


1 cup buckwheat
1 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

In a sauté pan, toast buckwheat over medium-high heat until lightly darkened. Remove from heat and add honey and apple cider vinegar; mix.

Step 5


Make within 10 minutes of serving.

4 egg yolks
4 tbsp. superfine sugar
4 tbsp. elderflower syrup
2 tbsp. lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in a glass or stainless-steel bowl. Place over a low-simmering double boiler. Whisk for 5 to 7 minutes until mixture gets light and foamy. Take off heat

To serve

Scoop 3 oz. of gelato into a 6-oz. mason jar or glass. Place one waffle piece on an angle. Spoon in an ounce of elderflower cream. Top with toasted buckwheat. Drizzle sweet herb oil. Serve.

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