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Category Archives: Sweet Things

Reviews of sweet treats and desserts

Caramelised White Chocolate Mousse with Passionfruit Curd and Coffee Crumb

Quite possibly, this is the best dessert I have ever made!  Certainly it was voted so at family dinner on Sunday night.  It took a while to make, but the good news is that you can make each of the components separately and assemble them once you’re ready to eat – and you can pre-prepare and make this a couple of days before you need it – so it’s a great dinner party dish, that you could even prepare over a few days if necessary.

This recipe is from Darren Purchese, from Burch and Purchese Sweet Studio in Melbourne.  I’ve never been, but I am going to have to get there one of these days.

I’d be lying if I said this was the easiest dish I’d ever made – in fact I had one aborted attempt at it a few months ago.  Nothing went terribly wrong, but I must have used old cream which went to soft peaks in a matter of seconds, so once I added the caramelised white chocolate to it and mixed it in, it almost went to butter and sort of split.  It still tasted amazing but it didn’t look so good. Hence, this attempt.

It’s not difficult as much as it can be time consuming, and making the mousse you need to watch, watch, watch that cream.  I heard just the other night at a thermomix cooking class that the older the cream (that is, the closer it is to its’ use by date) the quicker it turns to butter.

What got me started on this recipe again was seeing passionfruit down at the greengrocers the other day.  When I had been going to make it before, they were not available, so I had bought two small tins of the John West Passionfruit Pulp.  I tried to find the passionfruit puree Dani mentions, but could only find it in large quantities – now I know this recipe is so good I’m tempted to buy it – but waste not, want not – I used the tinned pulp and scaled down the added sugar component in the curd recipe.  It still tasted fantastic.  My only criticism of it was that the seeds didn’t keep the lovely golden orange bits around them and ended up looking a little like mouse poo – hence why you don’t see them as a garnish in the photo.

Caramelised White Chocolate

The caramelised white chocolate is pretty easy – a bit of powdered milk and lots of white chocolate.  I was momentarily thrown about how I would work out what the fat content was of the powdered milk, but somewhere in the back of my mind my mathematic skills returned and the easy way is to look for one that has about 3.5 grams of fat per 100 mls of milk.  I used the Sunshine Full Cream Milk Powder and it was fine.  It goes without saying – the better quality white chocolate you use, the better the result will be.  I skimped a bit on this recipe, not because I’mm cheap, but because the supermarket had run out of the really good white chocolate.  The result was still sublime, so I can only image how good it would taste if you used amazing chocolate as a base. I had a few hard lumps in my caramelised chocolate, but nothing that caused any issues.

I left my caramelised white chocolate to cool but not to go completely cold.  Likewise, I don’t think I’d be adding it to the cream mixture if it was too hot – I think this might have played a part in my downfall last time.  So be prepared to do the caramelised white chocolate and the subsequent mousse within a few hours of each other, or you could be courting disaster (well, maybe not disaster, but something that may not look so great).

Caramelised White Chocolate Mousse 

When it comes to whipping the cream in the thermomix, remember less is more!!  And do pay attention to the use by date on your cream – and watch it like a hawk.  Even if it doesn’t look like it’s thickening up, it us – so stop the thermomix every little while and check on the progress of the cream.  I really erred on the side of caution this time and took it very slowly – even slower than the speed 3 that was recommended.  It took some extra time, but it was time I was willing to take as I didn’t want to repeat my previous mistake!

Passionfruit Reduction

As I mentioned before, I had a bit of a cheat in this recipe and used (gasp!!) the John West Passionfruit Pulp.  It worked perfectly, but make sure you reduce the sugar content in the curd component otherwise you’ll end up with it being far too sweet.

Even after reducing, mine was a lot more than 75 grams, so I have put the remainder in a zip lock bag in the freezer, as I know I’ll be going this again before too long.  I think it should freeze ok.

Passionfruit Curd

This is almost like lemon butter, but it’s just passionfruit butter without the seeds.  It tastes absolutely incredible.  The fat in the butter means that the flavour stays in your mouth, and it’s such a beautiful flavour.  I can imagine it would be fantastic too in between layers of sponge – yum!!

Be careful with the leaf gelatine and don’t let it soak too long in the cold water, and make sure the water is pretty cold, or the whole thing will disappear before your eyes.  Three minutes was just about perfect for the leaf I used.

Once you pour the curd into a container and put it in the fridge, you let it cool for a few hours.  It really sets quite firmly.  Once it’s like this, the you put it back into the TM bowl with the butterfly in, and it whips it up to a beautiful light fluff and smooths it out completely.  I bet you find yourself licking the butterfly!!

Coffee Crumb

Our whiz bang coffee machine that grinds the beans for us was going to be the death of me – I couldn’t work out how to just get it to grind the beans, but not to make the coffee.  Derrr – I just grabbed 10 grams of coffee beans, threw them in a clean TM bowl, and ground those bad boys up in a matter of seconds.  Perfect!!  All the other components of the crumb are really straightforward and the recipe makes a lot more than you’ll need for your desserts.  It stores quite nicely in an airtight container, and is quite delicious sprinkled on ice cream.

I didn’t pipe the curd or the mousse into the glasses I served it in – but it still looked ok and of course tasted absolutely phenomenal!

So, in summary – one of the best – if not THE best dessert – I’ve ever made.  Do give it a go!!

 
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Posted by on October 17, 2012 in Sweet Things

 

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Pavlova

I’ve always been sceptical about the ability of the thermomix to beat egg whites.  I’ve done it a couple of times with mixed results, but we all know how fiddly egg whites can be – and how they hate the merest speck of yolk, oil, water… whatever. Sometimes I think they just don’t like me!!  Personally, I have nearly always used my hand mixer to do egg whites – mainly because I like to be able to see how they are progressing and just how ‘peaky’ they are, but yesterday I relented and decided to make Marg Rossi’s Pavlova.

I am a huge fan of pavlova – it’s one of my fail-safe crowd pleasers and so, so easy to make. I say this as someone who has always had the pavlova knack – but some of us are born lucky in that department, and others are miserable failures.  Don’t think I’m smug, I can rattle off a list of a million things I’m bad at, but pavlova won’t be on it.  I usually use Delia Smith’s recipe – which is literally egg white and sugar and nothing else, and the only look in the thermomix gets it to mill my raw sugar down to caster sugar.

There are also two distinct pavlova lovers – one that loves the whole thing to be crunchy, and the other who loves a crispy outer shell and marshmallowy gooeyness underneath.  So, depending on your preference, this might just be the recipe for you!

To make sure your egg whites will fluff up, it’s imperative you have a scrupulousy clean bowl and lid.  Do this after you’ve milled the sugar down.  I actually put mine through the dishwasher, and then did the recommended vinegar clean as well, with the butterfly in place to make sure the butterfly was squeaky clean a well.  I must admit, I was delighted when the egg whites whipped up as I was scared that I was going to waste the 225 grams of egg white.  To make you really jealous, I actually used egg whites I had frozen previously, and they stood at room temperature to thaw out for a few hours, not the up to 24 hours that was suggested in the recipe.  Call me a daredevil!!  I needed to see that it could work if they were a little cold, as I mentioned previously – I see a pavolva as a great short notice dessert that you can make when you’ve got practically nothing in the cupboard, and getting egg whites to room temperature for 24 hours isn’t possible or practical a lot of the time at my house.

Because there is quite a lot of egg white in this recipe and quite a lot of sugar too, it makes quite a large pavlova.  It also spreads quite a bit, so make sure you pile your meringue high and dome-ish, rather than they way I usually do, where I shape it to the way I want it to be when I pull it out of the oven.  I’m not sure if this was just the way mine turned out, but the mixture was a little looser than my usual egg white and sugar only version.

I’ve heard that the trick to the gooey centre is to leave the pavlova in the oven once you’ve turned the oven off – but I’m not sure how true that is.  It certainly does seem to work from the experience that I’ve had.

I really liked the vanilla essence in the mixture, but it wouldn’t be necessary if you are not a vanilla fan.  I love vanilla, and recently bought a massive tube of the lovely vanilla bean paste at Costco – such a deal compared to the $10 for the little jars I had been buying at the supermarket.

So – what was it like?  Well, it looked amazing – perfectly smooth and a lovely light gold colour.  I was thrilled!  Then when I went to lift it off the baking paper, it just wouldn’t budge.  It cracked. And what was underneath felt really, really super gooey.  I peeked under and there was a caramelised saucy liquid, which, to my knowledge means that I hadn’t incorporated the sugar and egg white well enough, or there was too much sugar for the egg white.  Whatever the cause, I erred on the side of caution and put the oven on again at about 100 degrees for another 20 minutes, and let it cool down again.

I was very nervous about getting the pavlova off the baking paper again, so I was a complete lightweight and left it on the baking paper.  Presentation fail, but it was only for family dinner on Sunday night.  If I had been taking it somewhere I would have at least trimmed the baking paper off and worked more on the presentation.

I wasn’t optimistic about the end result, and against every bone in my body willing me to bin it, I put the cream on it and served it up… where it was, I must admit, completely delicious and not a bite was left.  There was still some syrupy caramel sauce, but the family all agreed this was the best pavlova I’d ever made…And that’s really saying something!!

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2012 in Sweet Things

 

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Banana Bavarois with Oat Wafer and Salted Caramel Sauce

So – I’m not even a banana fan, and I love, love, love this dish!!

The recipe is from Terressa Jarvis, who is a Tasmanian Chef.  She has worked at some of Tasmania’s best restaurants, and takes a lot of her inspiration from French cooking techniques and the bountiful Tasmanian produce.  Not that you’d know from this recipe – by my reckoning, I can’t imagine Bananas growing in Tassie!

This would be an amazing special occasion dessert.  You can make each of the three elements in advance and assemble at the last minute.  I must admit I was quite impressed with my piping skills for this recipe – but it might just be that I am finally using the right equipment and not the ziplock bag trick. A month or so ago, I saw some disposable piping bags at the kitchenware shop, and I bought them.  They work out at about $1 each, so they are not expensive, and they worked beautifully.  I’ll definitely use them again.

There are three elements to this recipe:

  • Banana Bavarois
  • Oat Wafer
  • Salted Caramel Sauce

I must admit it was the salted caramel sauce that initially got me interested in this recipe.  Master 3 has recently discovered the love of the macaron.  It’s an expensive habit for me to maintain when we go out – I think the record has been $4.50 for one.  His favourite of recent times was a Salted Caramel Macaron – he asked for a second one later in the day, and then a third!  I succumbed to the request for the second (we were on holidays) but I knocked the request for number 3 firmly on the head.

In a real world, where you weren’t spreading this recipe across a couple of days, I think the Bavarois would be the first element that most people would attempt, mainly because it needs to set.  While you’re waiting for it to set, you could make the oat wafer and the salted caramel sauce.

So, I’ll start with the Bavarois.

Firstly, it is really important that you get the right strength gelatine leaves.  I’ve been using the Gelita ones, and I can say with some certainty, even though they don’t put it anywhere on the packet, that they are gold strength (see the picture if you want to know the exact packet).  If you use any other strength you’ll either end up with something that runs off your plate or a chewy rubber bullet (trust me – I speak from experience – not with this particular recipe, but with a pannacotta a year or so ago).

I used lady finger bananas and 85 grams was about one and a half bananas.  I also used some banana liqueur which I purchased at the local bottle shop.  Sadly, it wasn’t available in small bottles, so I have one rather large bottle to get through, so I think this recipe will be on repeat until the bottle has gone.

I think the saffron threads are in the bavarois for the colour, as I know that banana can go that awful grey colour once it’s been cut up.  This bavarois is a pleasant pale colour, not too artificial, and definitely not grey.  The left over bavarois has been in the fridge for 24 hours now, covered, and it still doesn’t show any sign of going any other colour.

The bavarois is pretty straightforward to make – although I did manage to turn my first lot of cream into butter 😮  I think the trick is to start very slow (speed 2 or 3) and then as soon as it gives a hint of forming soft peaks, stop!  If you don’t stop then, you will run the risk of turning the cream into buttery curdled bits when you incorporate the banana.

This makes lots of bavarois, far more than you need for a serving for 4 in my opinion.  Next time I’ll double up on the recipe for the oat wafers and the salted caramel sauce so I have more to go around, and don’t end up eating the bavarois by itself.

And now, for the oat wafers.  They are great – in fact, I made them last weekend expecting to make this dessert then, and then we had to cancel our traditional Sunday night dinner.  Needless to say, they are so delicious and addictive that the whole tray of them went in a day.  The wafers are sort of a cross between Anzac Biscuits and Butternut Snaps – lovely with a cup of tea or I would imagine amazing with some good old vanilla ice cream in between.  I’m actually disappointed I just thought of that combination – – – I might just have to whip some up now to try!

My tips for the oat wafer would be to err on the side of too thin for the oat wafer.  Also, when you are rolling it out between to sheets of baking paper, try and keep the shape uniform so when you come to cutting the wafer shapes, you will have nice even edges and not waste any.  I found it took about 15 minutes to get them to golden brown, but keep a close eye on them.  Cut the wafer shapes while they are still warm, and separate them if you can.  Mine were a little chewy, which was fine, but I think my preference would be for something with a little more ‘snap’, so you could hit it with your spoon and watch it crack.  I think my problem was not taking them off the tray after cutting them, and letting them dry out a little on a wire rack. I think it gets down to personal preference, but I think the textural contrast of something with a real crunchy bit to it would be even nicer.

Ohhhh, the salted caramel!  I’m sort of afraid it’s so easy to make – it means I am mere weeks away from the hefty lady department!!  This is truly delightful.  I used Maldon Sea Salt and it tasted amazing – you sort of feel like it’s a little too salty by itself until you eat it with the bavarois and the oat wafer, and then it is pure bliss.  To make sure you don’t overdose on the salt component, invert the MC and weigh the salt into that , and once you’re happy with the amount then tip it into the mixture.  By my guesstimate, five grams of salt ended up being about 2 teaspoonfuls of Maldon Sea Salt.

My only mistake was to not take the salted caramel out of the fridge a while before I planned to serve it up – it tasted amazing, but looked a little blobby on the plate.

The family verdict was a resounding “please make this again”.  And I will!

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2012 in Sweet Things

 

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Pine Nut Crumb

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After being the lucky recipient of 35 grams of maltodextrin at one of Dani’s cooking classes this week, I couldn’t wait to try to make the Pine Nut Crumb.  I tasted it at the cooking class and it was lovely – it sort of reminded me of malted milk milkshakes and maltesers all rolled into one…yum!  Maltodextrin is made from tapioca and is incredibly light – so you need a lot to register on the thermomix scales.  It’s also very expensive – a kilogram will set you back about $100 and take up a lot of space in your cupboard, so it’s a good thing to go halves or quarters in with a foodie friend. If I hadn’t had mine measured out so nicely, I think I’d be very careful with scooping out the maltodextrin straight into the thermomix bowl – perhaps put a small bowl inside the TM bowl, zero the scale and measure from there.  I have found that my scales can be a little fussy sometimes, and if you add things slowly sometimes it doesn’t work as well as it could.  I probably should just give the bench a good clean!

The recipe is from Tomislav Martinovic, and he uses the pine nut crumb can be used on both sweet and savoury dishes – if you’re using it on hot foods, spoon it beside it rather than on top of it, so it doesn’t melt until you eat it.  I’ve made this batch because I’ve got an itch to scratch, and it keeps well in an airtight container.

This was the first time I christened my candy thermometer too.  Not sure it works all that well, so I might be back to the shop with it.  It wasn’t that accurate, and so I did the ice water test – and sure enough, the caramel was ready to add the pine nuts to.  So I guess the lesson is, trust your instincts!  If I’d have waited for the thermometer to reach 160 degrees I’d have ended up with a burnt mess – and had to clean up a horrifically messy saucepan into the bargain.

In total, the pine nuts, sugar, glucose, cream and butter have made about 560 grams of caramel.  You only need about a quarter of this for the crumb, and you can enjoy the rest with a cup of tea, on ice cream, or hide it in the back of the cupboard and forget to tell the rest of the family about it!  I think that’s my preferred option – it’s lovely!

I used a lamington tray lined with silicon paper to pour the caramel out onto.  There was plenty of room.  I had to smooth it out a little, but it doesn’t really matter what it looks like I guess.  To break it up, I dropped it on the granite bench from a little height to get a few large chunks, then took to it with a rolling pin – a few short sharp whacks is all it needs.

You can experiment with other kinds of nuts with this recipe, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, macadamia nuts perhaps.  The limit is only your imagination.

I’ll be using this over the coming weeks on all manner of things, so I’ll keep you updated with what I’ve used it with.

 
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Posted by on June 2, 2012 in Condiments, Sweet Things

 

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Recipe – Chocolate Crumble with Lemon Butterscotch Sauce and Hazelnut Parfait

Time required:  1 and a quarter hours, plus 30 minutes crumble chilling, 2 hours chocolate cream chilling, 6 hours parfait freezing.

Serves: 8 (or 6 greedy family members!)

Crumble

75 grams butter, cubed

75 grams demerara sugar

25 grams almond meal

55 grams flour

15 grams cocoa powder

a pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 170 degrees/Gas Mark 3

Place all ingredients in the TM bowl.  Mix for 5 seconds/speed 5 to a breadcrumb texture. Transfer into a bowl and reserve in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes before use.  Sprinkle evenly into a 20cm lined tart ring or cake tin and bake for 9 minutes.  Remove it from the oven but leave the tart ring in place.  Carefully place the 18cm ring on top of the crumble, leaving a border around the edge. Without cutting through, press the tart ring down gently into the crumble.  Set aside to cool.

Chocolate Cream

155 grams 70% cocoa dark chocolate buttons, or chopped to button size

165 grams whipping cream

70 grams milk

1 egg, beaten

Put the chocolate in the TM bowl and chop for 10 seconds/speed 6.  Add the cream, milk and egg and cook for 5 minutes/80 degrees/speed 3.  Pour into the 18cm ring on top of the crumble base and leave to set in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Caramel Hazelnuts and paste

400 grams hazelnuts

120 grams sugar

a large pinch of salt

Place the hazelnuts in the TM bowl and crush for 1 second/speed 6.  Sieve to remove powder, retaining the crumbled pieces and setting the powder aside.

In a large pan, bring the sugar and 40 grams of water to a thick boil, around 115 degrees.  Gently fold in the crumbled hazelnuts and salt.  Mix until the hazelnuts are completely coated in the caramel then pour into a greased tray to cool.

When cold, set aside half the mixture for the final garnish and turn the remainder, plus the sieved hazelnut powder, into a paste by blitzing from 20 seconds/speed 7.  If continuing immediately, leave the hazelnut paste in the TM bowl and proceed with the parfait recipe below. Otherwise, set the paste aside in a sealed container.

Hazelnut Parfait

6 egg yolks

80 grams sugar

350 grams milk

150 grams double cream

prepared hazelnut paste

Pour the egg yolks, sugar, milk and cream in the TM bowl with the hazelnut paste.  Mix for 30 seconds/speed 5, then cook for 10 minutes/80 degrees/speed 5.  Pout the parfait mixture into a bowl that’s sitting over iced water to cool it quickly.  Once cool, place it in a container and freeze, stirring it with a fork every few hours. (An ice cream machine can also be used here.  This recipe makes about 1 litre, and, of course, it can be made and enjoyed without the chocolate tart)

Lemon Butterscotch Sauce

zest of two lemons, peeled into strips

75 grams lemon juice

180 grams whipping cream

75 grams glucose syrup

150 grams sugar

Place the lemon zest in the TM bowl and blitz for 20 seconds/speed 9.  Scrape down and blitz again for 40 seconds/speed 9.  Add the lemon juice and cream to the TM bowl.  Heat for 4 minutes/100 degrees/speed 1.

While it’s heating, place 20 grams of water, the glucose and the sugar in a small saucepan and store over medium heat to create caramel.  Once it’s blond in colour, take it off the heat.

Bring the lemon juice mixture back up to 100 degrees, if necessary, then continue to mix at speed 3 while adding the caramel mixture.  It should be amber yellow in colour. Transfer to a container and reserve in the fridge to set.

Assembly

Ease off the tart rings, using a blowtorch if possible to gently warm the 18cm ring. Cut the tart into wedges and east onto dessert plates.

Drizzle the lemon butterscotch sauce over the top, spangly with caramelised hazelnuts and serve with a rectangle or scoop of hazelnut parfait.

 
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Posted by on May 14, 2012 in Recipes, Sweet Things

 

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Chocolate Crumble with Lemon Butterscotch Sauce and Hazelnut Parfait

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Well, this recipe is well worth the time and the trouble – it is absolutely beautiful.  I’m not sure what possessed me, but I made this for dinner last night, although I started it on Saturday afternoon.  And I thought Mothers’ Day was a day for resting and being waited upon!

This recipe is by Benoit Blin.  He is one of Europe’s leading patissiers, and if this recipe is anything to go by – it’s little wonder.  It was worth the trip to South Melbourne to find the tart rings – I’d do it again in a flash.  I felt like a bit of a food fraud asking for tart rings, as I had no idea what I was looking for – as it turns out, they are like big egg rings – and I’d never seen or heard of them before in my life.  So, in theory you need one 18cm tart ring and one 20cm tart ring, but they only had the 18cm ones in stock, so I had to improvise and use a cake tin for the 20cm part – which actually worked quite well. I’ll keep my eye out for a 20cm ring though, as I think it would make life a little easier next time I make it – and there will be a next time!

Want the recipe?  Check my recipe tab!

The recipe is in a few different elements – which you don’t necessarily have to do in the order that is in the recipe.  I did the crumble first, the caramel hazelnuts second, the chocolate cream third, the parfait fourth, and the butterscotch sauce last.

The crumble is a cinch to make.  Butter (make sure you cube it first or at least chop it into smallish bits), demerara sugar, almond meal (I used some left over blitzed almonds from a slice I had made a while ago and while it could have been much finer, I really liked the almondy crunch!) , flour, cocoa powder (I used some of the cocoa powder I had used for the kirsch ganache – it’s a Dutch cocoa), and a pinch of salt. It makes a rough breadcrumby kind of dough, that you then put in a dish and chill for half an hour before pressing it into a 20 cm tart ring – if you have one.  As I couldn’t get a 20cm tart ring, I bought a gadget called a Profiline Push Pan that happened to be on special at one of the kitchen shops at my local shopping centre.  It’s quite nifty.  What I didn’t do was read the recipe properly and I should have lined the tray or ring, but all things considered it worked pretty well and came out pretty cleanly.  The demerara sugar makes a difference in the taste of the base, so it’s worth buying a bag at your supermarket to have on hand.

The base ended up being about a centimetre thick, and it’s important to have it that thick as you have to press down the 18cm tart ring into the fresh-out-of-the-oven base.  I did, and left the imprint, but then took the ring out, which in retrospect was the wrong thing to do.  I let the base cool for a few hours, and then put the ring back in, which I think was the cause of my chocolate cream leaking out a little.  It wasn’t the worst thing in the world to happen, but it didn’t look as pretty as the one in the picture 😦

I made the base and the chocolate cream on Saturday for serving on the Sunday evening.  I didn’t want to run the risk of a runny chocolate cream, and it set beautifully.

The chocolate cream is very easy to make – I used Lindt 70% cocoa and it worked really well.  The mixture does get a little frothy and I was concerned about the little bubbles in the mix, until I looked closely at the picture in the book, and there was some on that one too – so I didn’t stress!!

The caramel hazelnuts are so easy to make.  Don’t get over enthusiastic when you blitz the nuts – it really is a one second job.  Use a sieve and shake through the powder and set it aside.  In a pan on the stove top, you bring some water and sugar to a rolling boil to make the caramel, then tip in the hazelnuts and coat them with the caramel.  I did find this made loads more hazelnut that I needed for the recipe, so if you’re a bit short on hazelnut, don’t despair.  I’m pleased to report I now have a candy thermometer, which I didn’t get till after I’d made the caramel, so next time there will be no excuses for poor caramel quality!

Making the paste just requires half of the caramel hazelnuts and the hazelnut dust to be blitzed up, which is a quick and easy job.  You use the paste as the basis for the hazelnut parfait.  While I was cooking the parfait (well, while the thermomix was cooking the parfait), I got another bowl, filled it with ice cubes and cold water, and put another bowl on top to pour the parfait mixture in.  Doing it early meant the bowl was nice and cool before I poured the parfait mix in, and chilled it down pretty quickly.  It cooled down within a short period of time, and I then poured it into a sealable tray to freeze.

The recipe calls for you to stir the parfait every couple of hours, and I made this on Saturday night.  I wasn’t prepared to wake up every few hours to stir it, and I’d left my ice cream maker down at the beach, so I was a bit lazy and only stirred it once the next morning, when it was well and truly frozen.  When I went to serve it, it was pretty hard, and I should have taken it out of the freezer 10 minutes or so before I needed to use it, but I microwaved it for 20 seconds, then put into the TM bowl and blitzed for a few seconds until it was beautifully smooth.

The butterscotch sauce was my downfall. but I managed to resurrect it!  I still can’t believe I completely left out an ingredient!!  I wasn’t concentrating – clearly – and put everything in put everything that was supposed to be in the bowl in the bowl, and the set about the toffee-ish part – the glucose and water.  Hmmm, forgot to add the sugar, but of course I didn’t realise that till much later.  So, I added the hot glucose syrup into the hot lemon and cream mix in the thermomix bowl, and did what I was supposed to do – put it in a container to cool in the fridge.  It just looked wrong, and on tasting it was really, really lemony and quite yellow – not the amber colour Dani had written about.  What had I done wrong?  So, I read the recipe again – and realised – to my horror – that I hadn’t put the sugar in.  Epic Fail!!  I did think about starting the whole thing again, but thought I’d try and salvage my disaster first, and then if that didn’t work, make it again.  So, I need up heating the mixture up to 100 again in the thermomix, and as that was happening, just melted down some sugar to near toffee – and then poured it in to the hot lemon mixture… and it worked!!!

The plating up is the challenge – and it was hard to get the 18cm ring out, especially as my chocolate cream had leaked a little.  I ended up leaving it to warm up a little, and then ran a hot knife around both edges, and then pulled up the ring.  Dani mentions you can use a blowtorch, which would have been perfect, but alas the one I received as a gift didn’t come with the butane, and the shop that sells it was closed on Sunday!

I’ll definitely make this again, especially next time I want a dessert to impress!!

 
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Posted by on May 14, 2012 in Recipes, Sweet Things

 

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Quince Paste

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Believe it or not, I’ve only ever eaten quinces twice in my life – and both times were over 10 years ago.  They are such a beautiful colour once they are cooked, whoever would have guessed they are such an ugly looking fruit!!

I’ve also never prepared them before – just eaten the end product.  I noticed they were in season the other day at the greengrocers, and as one of the recipes I have planned for this weekend needs quince paste, I thought I’d do Maggie Beer out of a job and make my own.

The quinces were $3.50 a kilo at my greengrocer, so this is cheap to make.  I’m planning to give away what I don’t need myself to neighbours and family tomorrow.  Next year, if I’ve still got some time on my hands, I’ll make some for the kindergarten fair. One thing to note though, this is a noisy recipe to make, not all of it – but the 50 minutes cooking at the end at speed 5 can start to do your head in a bit…have an iPod ready!

This recipe is based on Jeff Brady’s recipe.  Check his blog at thermomix-er.blogspot.com

If you’d like the recipe, look at my recipe tab on the home page.

Jeff recommends putting your thermomix on a silicon mat when you’re making quince past as apparently the machine can bounce around a bit when you’re making this recipe – I didn’t have an issue with this, but better to be safe than sorry – I can only imagine what a nightmare cleaning up litres of sticky quince paste would be!

If you haven’t cooked with quince before – don’t expect the quince to turn ruby red until the last stages of the cooking.  I’m not sure if it’s a coincidence or not, but my thermomix quietened down considerably once the quince paste had reached the beautiful rich claret colour.

You need to wash the quinces thoroughly before you peel them.  They are a little bit furry, so I tried to get as much of the fur off as I could.  I peeled as best I could, and noticed there were quite a few ‘eyes’ in the quinces, so I had to cut some of them out.  I really need to invest in a corer, as the quince flesh is pretty dense and it was a bit of a nightmare coring these bad boys.

Anyway, in this recipe you blitz the skin and the cores up, cook them, and then strain them, so hopefully any bits I’ve missed will come out in the straining. And, of course, you use the actual flesh of the quinces as well.

The quinces are quite a chore to peel and core manually, and this probably took me longer than it should have – that’s where my kitchen inexperience shows.  But I did it, slowly – so slowly that the quinces were already browning before I got to put them in the varoma tray.  Initially, I had all the quinces in one level, but even when the thermomix had reached varoma temperature, I couldn’t see the tell-tale little droplets on the cover, so I quickly stopped it, split the chopped quince between the two layers, and within a couple of minutes I had the condensation droplets on the top, so I was happy.

When it came to the straining, I didn’t use the thermomix basket, as was suggested.  I know quince paste can be a little gritty sometimes, so I wanted to make sure than none of the nasty bits got into my mix.  I used a regular strainer, lined with some wet paper towel and it worked well – except that it took a while, and in the end I got frustrated with waiting that long, so I poured it through the regular strainer, and strained a few times to get rid of all the nasty stuff.

Dani’s recipe suggested 1.5 kilos of quince, which is what I used.  Not sure if I was overly scungy with the getting rid of dodgy bits, but I ended up with 1.38 kilos of useable quince.  Because I hate maths, I used a calculator to work out what amount of sugar I needed to make the paste.  I know I could have done it in my head, but I wanted to be sure – and I didn’t want to have to cut up quinces again. I actually thought that all the quince and the sugar wasn’t going to fit in the bowl, but it did after I used the spatula to push it down a little.

Once the mixture has finished cooking, you leave it in the bowl for 5 minutes to cool down a little.  I took a peek and took the lid off once the timer had gone, and it was like watching Vesuvius – quince lava bubbling away.  I’ve elected to pour it into a tray lined with cling wrap as I don’t want to oil the tray and risk interfering with the taste of the quince.  Definitely do not leave the mix longer than 5 minutes to cool down before you pour it in to the tray or containers you are using – it sets pretty quickly!  Even just on 5 minutes I had to use the spatula to induce some of it out. It’s quite thick, so you have to use the spatula to spread it out, and for good measure I’ve banged it on the kitchen bench a few times to get any bubbles out.  Be careful though, the mixture is very, very hot.

Once you’ve tipped the mix out into the container you are using, get the thermomix bowl and fill it with water to start washing it – it’s much easier to clean when the paste is still warm.

Can’t wait to use this tomorrow for the Blue Cheese Eclairs!

 
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Posted by on May 5, 2012 in Recipes, Sweet Things

 

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