Sunday, 10 February 2013

Pancake Macarons (and more)

Pancake and Maple Syrup Macarons
I love making macarons. They are so versatile and fun to make, not to mention delicious! I bought a couple of silpats so decided to give them a test run.

Tuesday is Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day) which is something I don't usually celebrate although it seems the supermarkets this year have found another reason to con us into thinking we do!

When I visited Zumbo last year I ate his pancake and maple syrup macaron and although it wasn't my favourite (too sweet!) I decided to make it anyway as the recipe is in his Zumbaron book.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Explosive Raspberry Marshmallows

Another week, another recipe from Sweet Studio! Inspiration thanks to Mr Darren Purchese.

This time marshmallows thanks to a delivery of freeze dried raspberries during the week from Just Tomatoes! The package of freeze dried fruit I received was fabulous and managed to get through quarantine without any issues (It was opened and checked). No, I wasn't paid to promote the company, I had just had a lot of trouble finding freeze dried fruit at a decent price so thought it was worth mentioning!

These aren't your ordinary marshmallows - they comprise of a chocolate pop rock disk, raspberry marshmallow with raspberry gel centre, dusted in raspberry dextrose!

This was my first attempt at tempering chocolate and surprisingly - it worked!

The rest of the assembly went pretty well, except for the fact that my semi-sphere moulds are 1 cm larger than the recipe states so some of my marshmallows don't cover the centre. Next time i'll make sure i don't fill the moulds as much and make the bases larger.

Either way it's a pretty exciting sweet treat and I'm sure there are endless flavour combinations that could be used here.

Sarah xx

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Chocolate, Mandarin, Salted Caramel Dessert

Chocolate, mandarin (orange), salted caramel

Isn't it exciting when something just works?

That is exactly what happened with this seemingly difficult dessert. For Christmas I was lucky enough to receive Sweet Studio by Darren Purchese. After getting my hands on some extra equipment, I set about making something from the book. First up - Chocolate, mandarin, salted caramel. Mine promptly became orange rather than mandarin due to the price of mandarins but I don't think it mattered.

All up there are 7 components. 

From top to bottom:
  • Candied oranges
  • Chocolate glaze
  • 70% Chocolate mousse
  • Salted caramel
  • Burnt orange creme
  • Orange & vanilla marmalade
  • Aerated chocolate shortbread

I cheated and used marmalade mixed with vanilla bean rather than making my own and candied some oranges rather than doing the decorations written in the recipe. I made most things last night then finished it off this morning. You probably do need to allow yourself a full day or overnight as some components need time to freeze. 

What surprised me was although many techniques were unfamiliar to me, it was all fairly straightforward and not too time consuming. The recipes are well written and easy to follow. I very much liked the two ribbons in the book which are required as I was constantly flicking pages to see what to do next.

Constructing the dessert was fairly simple. I had one small issue trying to find acetate. In the end I used baking paper which worked fine. I also found that the recipe said to remove from the fridge an hour before serving. I found it quite difficult to cut after doing this and would recommend cutting it straight from the fridge. It warms up fairly quickly anyway. The caramel was a bit oozy when cut but everything else stayed intact!

I have plenty of several of the components left over so need to come up with some ideas how to use them up. I think I would prefer it if the recipe stated, for example, to make up only a quarter batch of chocolate glaze. Not sure what I am going to do with the other 750mls I have in the fridge!

All in all it was a delicious, albeit very rich dessert. Apparently it serves 8. I'd say more like 12-16 as you really only need a sliver. 

There is no way I'm going to type out the recipe - go and buy the book if you are intrigued! 

Sarah xx

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Hunny Pot Cake

I think i'm improving! This cake only took me a day from start to finish and was 100% stress free.

Inside is a honey and coconut cake which was really nice. I was going to do a basic vanilla cake but at the last minute changed as I thought it would be more appropriate!