I baked these little tarts as part of an ensemble of deserts for Cam's parents when I invited them over for dinner. The main deviation from the usual tarts as I know them is that I baked the meringue separate, rather than piping and torching. It's more practical when you have guests as you can store the meringues separately and top them when ready to serve, rather than having to worry about taking time away from guests or ending up with a weeping meringue.
The tartlets consist of a shortcrust pastry base, filled with a lemon curd cream and topped with the baked meringue.
Every time the contestants on MasterChef get to do some crazy dessert by a world-class pastry chef, I decide I'm gonna make it. Then I look at the ingredients list and decide I either can't afford to or would need a professional kitchen to attempt it. When Bernard Chu brought along his Lolly Bag Cake this year, I knew I'd stop at nothing to make it. I saved the cake for my sister's birthday last weekend and was so excited when the day finally rolled around.
The cake is a celebration of the typical Australian mixed lolly bag. A lot of the lollies were things we grew up with, buying from milkbars or the school canteen. Each invokes a thousand different childhood memories.
From top to bottom the layers are: Spearmint Leaves Buttercream: made using the soft jelly spearmint leaf lollies Bananas Joconde: a joconde sponge soaked in a syrup made from banana lollies Musk-mallow: Marshmallow made from musk sticks Chocolate Jaffa Ganache: ganache infused with a mandarin concentrate Freckles Crunch: a choc hazelnut layer with 100s & 1000s, popping candy and pailleté feuilletine Another bananas joconde layer, coated with dark chocolate The whole thing is then glazed with a ganache made from Redskin lollies. I then chose to decorate it with white chocolate spirals and jaffa lollies.
I made a few changes from the Bernard Chu recipe. Biggest change is making it round rather than rectangle. I opted to use dark chocolate, rather than milk chocolate as I thought it didn't need the extra sweetness. The Masterchef version has two mint layers and a different order, however the version Bernard Chu sells at his restaurant, LuxBite, has one mint layer and the same order I have here. I decided to mirror the original as I thought it would be better balanced in flavour than the TV version.
I changed a few things about the recipe to make it more home-kitchen friendly. I also ended up making 4 of the ingredients as they were nigh impossible to get, or at least get at a reasonable price.
You'll find my version of Bernard Chu's recipe, as well as step by step photos and loads more over at my blog. I've also provided a link to the original recipe and links to where you can get/import all the ingredients, or how to make some yourself.
This cake also marks exactly 4 years since my first cake decorating attempt. I almost didn't want to do this cake for that event as I tend to use the milestone as a measurement of how far I've come and thought I should do an original recipe. But given how technical Bernard's recipe is and how I was able to alter it and troubleshoot with no problems the whole way along, it's still a nice indication of progress.
I made these tartlets for a gathering with Cam's family. The tartlets are chocolate shortcrust pastry filled with a layer of fresh strawberry jelly and topped with white chocolate mousse.
Two of his family members are vegan, so I made this completely vegan simply by subbing a few ingredients in my normal recipes. The most notable change, flavour-wise, is the use of coconut cream in the mousse. It gives it a hint of coconut I just loved, as did everyone else.
Made this for Cam and the family for our Father's Day gathering last weekend. It's a biscuit base with a peanut butter later, topped with chocolate ganache and chocolate-coated peanuts. I made this version vegan/animal dairy free so everyone was able to eat it.
Later in the month I'm making a cake with an insane amount of obscure and hard to come by ingredients. One of these is pailleté feuilletine, which is simply crushed up crêpes dentelles (lacey crêpes). So, rather than forking out the cash to import it, I decided it would be a lot easier to just make it.
Whilst I was at it, I saved some for dessert. I filled these with a strawberry-infused cream. The crêpes themselves are more similar to tuiles than any crêpe I'm familiar with, but a lot thinner and so much more delicate.
It was really exciting for me to have this work. Tuiles were one of the first things I attempted when I started baking, failed at big time and have stayed away from since. To have successfully made tuiles just recently, then also succeed with this more delicate version gives me a lot more confidence attacking them in future.
This is a dessert my partner has been asking me to make for ages but I didn't because I am a snob. Milk tart sounded like a really bland dessert so I put it off. I'm happy to admit when I'm wrong, especially when the result is this delicious.
The milk tart (melktert) is a South African dessert. There's a few variations but it's generally a cinnamon-infused milk-based custard encased in pastry and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. I baked mine inside a sweet shortcrust and served it with cinnamon cream and fresh strawberries. The resultant tart is not only gorgeous in flavour, but really light and refreshing.
We barely celebrate Halloween in Australia, but I can't help but get wrapped up in the gorgeous Autumn-coloured baking festivities. These macarons were inspired by the pumpkin pie, something else we don't really have in Aus. The macaron shells are flavoured with pumpkin pie spices (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and all spice) and filled with a cinnamon-infused whipped dark chocolate ganache.
I drew little Jack-o'-lantern faces on some of them to get into the Halloween spirit a bit.
This dessert is an apple pie taken to refined heights, based off the recipe by Melbourne chef Andrew McConnell. Confit (pronounced kon-fee) is a French technique which sounds super fancy, but it literally just means 'to preserve'. It's used with amazing frequency in cheffed-up recipes and has become a bastardised term. It basically involves cooking something in it's own fat when referring to meat, or in a sugar syrup when referring to fruit, in such a way that makes bacterial growth difficult (thus preserving it). Fancy, over-used name. Delicious and simple dessert.
So what exactly is this dessert? It's layers of apple baked in a citrus amd brandy syrup with a layer of caramel at the top. It's served with a burnt butter (beurre noisette) ice cream, an Anzac crisp and a salted caramel sauce.
The ice cream is amazing. Cam said it tasted like pancakes so I made some pancakes and served them with the ice cream that tasted like pancakes. Yeah, we're consuming the ice cream at every opportunity.
The Anzac crisp is similarly amazing. Modelled after the Anzac biscuit, it's a thin oatey/cinnamoney cookie layer. We ate the dessert then went back for more crisp.
I couldn't decide which picture I liked best so hey, have both.
I needed a brownie mixture for something I was making (you'll get to see that tomorrow) and wanted something super quick and easy to get the job done. This is my One-Pot Chocolate Brownie recipe, so called because you literally whack it together in a single pot and bake it and it's a cinch. I used half to make brownie truffles for the other thing, and the rest I kept for noms.
This is the cake I made for my partner's Uncle's birthday. He said he wanted something plain, so this is what I made. It's a classic sponge filled with a lemon curd cream, then topped with a passionfruit sauce and white chocolate lattices.