Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Place milk and cream into a saucepan. Halve the vanilla bean and scrape seeds and pod into pan. Heat over medium heat until the mixture is almost boiling.
While the cream mixture is heating, place egg yolks and sugar into a bowl and whisk until thick and pale.
Remove the cream mixture from the heat and strain into the egg mixture. Discard the vanilla pod. Place mix back on the saucepan and stir constantly over low heat until the mixture reaches 85°C.
Pour the mixture back into a bowl and refrigerate until cool. Once cooled, pour into an ice-cream machine and churn until thick and frozen. Remove from the machine and place in a container in the freezer for at least 3 hours.
White Chocolate Ganache
Soak gelatine leaves in cold water for 5-7 minutes.
While the gelatine is soaking, place milk and cream into a saucepan and bring to the boil.
In a separate bowl whisk egg yolks and sugar until pale. Pour the cream mixture over the egg mixture and whisk quickly. Once combined pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture reaches 85°C.
Squeeze excess water off the gelatine leaves and add to mixture. Once combined, add chocolate and stir until smooth. Pass the mixture through a fine sieve into a container. Place in the fridge for 2-3 hours or until set.
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and allow to sit for 1 hour.
Preheat a deep fryer to 180°C. Mix flour, sugar and baking powder in a medium mixing bowl.
In a separate bowl whisk the eggs and water together. Scrape out the vanilla bean and add to the mixture. Combine the two mixtures together. Drop tablespoon-sized balls of batter into the deep dryer and fry for one minute before turning and frying for another minute.
Remove from fryer and place on paper towel. Roll the sfinci in cinnamon sugar to coat.
Spoon white chocolate ganache onto a serving plate. Sprinkle toasted almonds onto chocolate. Place 3 sfinci on top. Place a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of the toasted almonds. Decorate with macerated strawberries and mint leaves. Dust with icing sugar.
Chef’s Tip: Sfinci di San Giuseppe are a speciality of Palermo, Sicily, and are generally referred to as Sicilian Donuts. Traditionally, they would have been made on March 19 – which is the holy day of San Giuseppe (St Joseph) but now they are served all year round and are a popular Christmas treat.