Posts Tagged ‘dessert’

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White Chocolate Creme Brulee

October 17, 2008

My sister gave me a little kitchen blowtorch for my birthday, so of course I had to trial it at the first opportunity. After I got over the initial thrill (burning sugar in a plate, and on Hamish’s porridge) I dug out the recipe for white chocolate creme brulee I’ve been meaning to try for aaaaages (from Donna Hay’s Chocolate cookbook, which I highly recommend, by the way) , and my flatmate’s girlfriend mentioned she happened to have a packet mix for creme brulee that her family in America had sent her, and proffered it for the experimentation.

First I made the packet mix one, which took all of about 5 minutes, and then just had to set in the fridge for a couple of hours (no baking). Then I set about the white chocolate version, which did take a bit longer to put together, and then an hour in the oven, and then at least four hours in the fridge…

The packet mix one (above) was very smooth, as creme brulee should be, and quite sweet – but not bad at all. My made-from-scratch white chocolate version (below) was a little less smooth (which I attribute to some amount of inattention on my part while cooking the custard), but richer and overall tasted better – as you’d hope, given the extra effort required.

And yes, I had plenty of fun burning the sugar. Apologies for the blurred photo – I took a couple but all are blurred, so I must have had some sort of pre-emptive sugar rush or something…

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Daring Bakers – Chocolate Eclairs

August 31, 2008

This month’s Daring Baker’s challenge was to recreate Pierre Herme’s chocolate eclairs, as chosen by Tony and Meeta. The recipe calls for a chocolate pastry cream filling as well as the chocolate glaze, and although we had the freedo to swap one of these for a non-chocolate option, well, seriously, chocolate! Who am I to swap that mighty flavour for another?

I was a little disappointed with my choux – it looked beautiful until I took it out of the oven, but immediately deflated – which no doubt means I undercooked it a bit. Never mind, though, it tasted great, and didn’t look too bad once packed full of delicious chocolate pastry cream. They were a bit too delicious, in fact – we managed to consume the massive batch far too quickly, and even with the help of four boys I felt a tad guilty… Also, we couldn’t bear to wait long enough for me to take a good photo… So sorry about that!

Be sure to check out all the other amazing eclairs on the Daring Bakers’ Blogroll!

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Tarte Tatin

July 6, 2008

I’d been wanting to try this tasty dessert for a while, and with my leftover Danish dough (although I know I should have used butter puff pastry – I will next time!) I whipped up the above specimen. It’s basically caramelised apple on pastry (although you cook it with the pastry on top) and is super tasty. I’ll definitely try this one again sometime… Soooooo goooood!

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Lemon Meringue Pie

June 23, 2008

I had a couple of friends over for dinner last night, and made lemon meringue pie for dessert – unfortunately I was hurrying to serve and hate to keep people waiting for their food with my incessant photo-taking, so I didn’t spend long enough to get a decent shot of it. However, here it is. It was pretty tasty, but the curd wasn’t as good as the one I used to make when I lived at home – might have to see if I can track down that recipe. I noticed mid-way through that the recipe I was using didn’t use butter in the curd, which could be the problem – but I think more lemons might = better, too, since I like plenty of citrus-y tang to balance the sugary meringue. 🙂 If anyone has a tried-and-true recipe they’d like to pass on, feel free! 🙂

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Dad’s Chocolate Cheesecake

June 19, 2008

Today is my Dad’s birthday, and of course this must mean cake… But I wanted to do something different. A few days (weeks? I’ve lost track) ago I bought Donna Hay’s Chocolate cook book, and aside from the chocolate custard hadn’t managed to try any of the recipes yet. And the recipe for chocolate cheesecake looked decadent and extremely tempting – so here we go! It is very rich, but definitely tasty. I made a raspberry coulis (from frozen raspberries) to accompany it, and it was definitely good to have the fruity flavour to balance the rich chocolate.

Happy birthday, Dad! Hope you enjoyed your chocolate death… 🙂

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Daring Bakers

May 28, 2008

This was my first Daring Bakers challenge – unfortunately I’m a little late posting, due to a rather unwieldy assignment worth 40% that I needed to finish – it just kept growing! However, now that’s out of the way I can share with you the details of… Opera Cake!

I decided to make this for Mother’s Day, so it was a couple of weeks ago that I took over the kitchen to make the various layers.

Firstly, a little about the group. Daring Bakers is a group of bloggers who attempt a challenging recipe each month, and then blog about their experiences. There are over 1000 members (you can view the blogroll here). Each month a member (or members) host a challenge, and although you have the whole month to make the recipe it has to be revealed on a set date towards the end of the month.

This month’s recipe is Opera Cake, which is a layered cake made from Jaconde (a type of sponge), mousse, buttercream, and glaze. It’s traditionally made with predominently chocolate and coffee flavours, but the Daring Bakers challenge was to make a light-coloured cake in honour of Barbara, who hosts the LIVEstrong food event, dedicated to those battling cancer. The Opera Cake challenge was posted by Fran of Apples Peaches Pumpkin Pie, and Shea of Whiskful, along with Lis and Ivonne, who administrate the whole thing.

I enjoyed making the cake, although it was somewhat time-consuming. The jaconde is made with almond meal, and the mousse and glaze with white chocolate, so I decided to complement those flavours with raspberry buttercream.

It was extremely rich, and very tasty – although the slices weren’t too big you didn’t feel like a second piece! (good for the waistline, right?) None of the components were particularly difficult; I was a little worried about the buttercream, as I don’t yet have a candy themometer, but guesswork served me well. Also, I’d recommend doubling the buttercream recipe, as I felt the layers were a bit thin (and it is very tasty!) – and I made it the night before, and tried to beat it back into shape, but it was a little lumpy still – the texture was perfect when I made it, so next time I’ll make it when I want it.

I’d like to try this again, but with milk and/or dark chocolate; I prefer the flavours, and think the richer chocolate might balance the sweetness a little. Also, aesthetically I like contrast – and you can’t even tell where the white chocolate mousse becomes a white chocolate glaze here. 😉 Still very tasty, though – thanks, Daring Bakers!

The recipe can be found here, if you’re interested, and be sure to check out the blogroll!

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Orange Chocolate Mousse Cake

March 16, 2008

I got another new toy from TradeMe this week – a really awesome cake tin, which enables me to make cakes with fillings. Not just your regular layer cake, oh no – this is a whole new level of gooey goodness! It’s actually a set – a base tin, which just makes a flattish disc, two different shaped tins; the dome one I used today, and a more normal round cake tin, and the insert pan, which sits on top as you bake it, making a dome-shaped hole in the cake.

To assemble, you let the cake cool in the tin (although I did loosen it to make sure it’d move) then put your filling in, and invert it on the base. My cake was orange cake with chocolate orange mousse and orange buttercream, and it was divine! I assembled it in the tin last night and froze it to make sure the mousse was nice and firm for me to decorate onto – and removing it from the freezer at about 3pm left it perfectly defrosted, but still slightly chilled (essential for the mousse) by dinnertime.

I highly recommend this recipe; I know you might not be able to replicate the shape, but the cake itself is very tasty, and so easy to make. The chocolate mousse I used was this recipe, with zest from two oranges added, and would make a great dessert by itself, too.

Orange Cake (from the BBC website)
Ingredients
225g butter
225g castor sugar
4 eggs
220g self-raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
zest of 1 orange

Method
– Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius
– mix all the ingredients together in a bowl
– divide evenly between two well-greased 20cm sandwich tins, or your equivalent, and level the surface with a spatula
– cool for a few minutes, then turn out

Orange Buttercream
75g butter, softened
250g icing sugar
2 tsp orange juice
zest of one orange

Method
Mix it all together and ice your cake! You may need to adjust the amount of liquid – just add it gradually, and stop once you reach a good consistency.

Notes:
– the original recipe says to line the tins with parchment. I didn’t do this (obviously, given the shape of the cake!) but it was fine. I think so long as you grease your tin properly it’s not necessary
– I’ve given the same quantities for buttercream as the original recipe, but I’d suggest making a double mixture, as my icing only just managed to cover the cake

Don’t you love that the cake mixing is all in one step?