Verrine de Carrottes Cardamom
For the yogurt:
1-1/4 cups (310ml) plain yogurt
Scant ½ teaspoon freshly ground cardamom
Pinch fine sea salt, to taste
For the carrots:
1-1/2 pound (750g) carrots, peeled, trimmed, cut into 1-inch (2.5cm) pieces
Three 3 x 1/2-inch (8.75cm) strips of lemon zest
1-1/2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
3 fresh bay leaves from the Laurus nobilis, or dried, imported bay leaves
30 sprigs fresh thyme
Scant ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
For the garnish:
2 scant tablespoons (18g) raw pistachio nuts, finely ground
1. About one hour before you plan to make this, line a sieve with cheesecloth and place it over a medium-sized bowl. Pour the yogurt into the sieve and let it drain. When the yogurt has drained and become thicker, turn it into a small bowl, add the cardamom stir, and let sit for at least 1 hour, and up to 8 hours, refrigerated.
2. Place the carrots in a medium-sized saucepan and just cover them by 1-inch (2.5cm) with water. Add the lemon zest, the sugar, the bay leaves, the thyme, and the salt and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, cover the pan and cook until the carrots are completely tender through, 20 to 25 minutes and most, but not all, of the water has been absorbed. Remove the carrots from the heat.
3. Remove the bay leaves and the thyme from the carrots. Transfer the carrots and the lemon zest, without the cooking liquid, to the work bowl of a food processor and puree. If the carrots won’t puree, add a bit of the cooking liquid to help them along. They won’t ever be silken smooth, but will be a fine blend. Taste the puree for seasoning and adjust with salt if necessary. Reserve.
4. Place equal amounts of carrot puree in four glasses. Top with equal amounts of the spiced yogurt. Garnish with equal amounts of pistachios, and serve while the carrots are warm, or at room temperature.