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Give it up for gorse

This elegant dessert from chef Simon Williams at Woodruff includes gorse flowers


As yellow as the sun and with a glorious coconut scent, gorse flowers can be seen in many areas around Ireland at the minute, and are providing inspiration for the country’s chefs.

Among them is Simon Williams of Woodruff in Stepaside, who is back in the kitchen cooking up dishes for the restaurant’s new ‘click and collect’ service. Here he shares his recipe for a white chocolate and gorse flower cheesecake. See woodruff.ie for more details on the takeaway menu on offer.

Makes one

For the base

200g flour
100g butter
60g caster sugar
10g porridge oats
10g desiccated coconut
5g dried gorse flowers

For the gorse flower gel

250mls water
15g dried gorse flowers
10g caster sugar
2.5 g agar agar (gelatin can be substituted if unavailable)

For the filling

300g full fat cream cheese
300 ml double cream
225g white chocolate (reserve 25g for grating)
Half tsp lemon zest
Half tsp vanilla extract


1. For the base, first pre-heat the oven to 170C. Combine the butter, sugar and flour in a food processor and mix together until it has a sand-like consistency. Add the porridge oats, then and place on a baking tray in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes.

2. Remove from the oven, add the coconut and give the crumbly mix a stir to break up any clusters that may have formed. Bake for a further five to ten minutes until the mix is nice golden colour.

3. Remove from the oven, add the dried gorse flowers and again break up any large clusters of the mix. Leave to cool down for half an hour to forty minutes.

4. For the gorse flower gel, first bring the water to the boil. Remove from the heat, then add the sugar and dried gorse flowers. To prepare the dried gorse flowers, simply pick and dry them, then leave them uncovered in a cool room for two to three days).

5. Leave the brew to infuse for 20 minutes. Strain the liquid to another pot and add the agar agar, then bring to the boil constantly, stirring to ensure no lumps. Remove from the heat and allow to cool while preparing the filling.

6. For the filling, melt the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of just boiled water turned to a low heat (make sure the bowl is not touching the water). Once melted, remove from the saucepan an leave to cool down to room temperature, which should take about ten minutes.

7. Whip the cream so that it’s thickened, but still retains soft peaks. In a separate, larger-sized bowl beat the cream cheese, vanilla and lemon zest until softened. Slowly add in the melted chocolate, and when fully incorporated add half of the gorse flower gel, reserving the rest to decorate the cheesecake.

8. Fold in the cream in two stages so as to retain as much air as possible. Refrigerate the mixture for at least an hour.

9. To assemble the dish, add a handful of crumble base to a glass/ bowl or whatever dish you`d like to serve the cheesecake in. Add the filling mix to a piping bag or simply spoon the mixture over the base, dice and add some of the gorse flower gel which will have set by now. Sprinkle a little more crumble mix, grate the remaining white chocolate over the top and garnish with fresh gorse flowers