This is one of those great desserts that can be made ahead and made in a hurry. It’s egg free and can be served after an hour or so in the fridge, but will firm up over night and still produce a light and fluffy mousse.
Sometimes I will make a simple crumb base to add a bit of extra texture (blitz some plain biscuits with a little melted butter and spoon into the bottom of each serving bowl before adding the mousse on top), but this is entirely optional!
For these ones, I sprinkled some grated chocolate on the top for a bit of colour.
I updated my little banner this morning – realised it was still in its ‘summer’ mode even though today is the first of August, zero degrees C outside and rain forecast! Yes, it has been THAT long since I posted a recipe. But here we go, something to lift the soul and sweeten the heart. Continue reading →
Not one to give up after my first attempt, I ended up making frozen cheesecake balls using ice cube trays and then coating them in grape gel or white chocolate. These worked beautifully. Continue reading →
In recognition of ‘International Pancake Day’ – or Shrove Tuesday
When I was younger and growing up in country Victoria, the biggest thrill of going into the nearest provincial city was eating out. We ate McDonalds once a year (if we were lucky) and at other times, for a posh outing, were allowed to go to the Pancake Parlour. Yes, even then I thought it was a bit kooky, but I just couldn’t get over how delicious pancakes could be.
Now the point of this recipe is show. And why not? After all Shrove Tuesday, or International Pancake Day (for us gluttons) only happens once a year. This is hardly a recipe, more an assembly job. Inspired by the wonderful stacks of pancakes that make eating pancakes such a special thing. Continue reading →
This is what to do with experiments in molecular gastronomy. Hide it in mousse. Super easy (apart from the fruit caviar part), light and with a delicious surprise of bursting ‘grapes’ in the middle. I like the added texture from the tempered white chocolate and the salted caramel sand (which also contrasted the sweetness of the grape). Continue reading →
My youngest son and I love Ricardo’s café, especially their beautiful cheesecake spheres. One day, as he poked about in his apple cheesecake, admiring the apple caviar and white chocolate and gel coated sphere, he wondered if Ricardo’s could make cheesecake that looked like a bunch of grapes… (and bless him, he suggested it to one of the staff, then for the next few weeks, wandered in regularly to stare hopefully at the display to see if his suggestion had been created yet).
These are called ‘Robert’s Absolute Best Brownies’ and are described by David Lebovitz in his excellent book ‘Ready for Dessert’ as the best brownies. He’s right. And David Lebovitz himself admits a reluctance to stand on a soap box to say anything is the best. As with most of his recipes, it’s hard to get these wrong and that’s why I enjoy his recipes so much. These brownies are so decadent and chocolaty rich, studded with chunks of toasted walnuts. Best of all, they are a one-pot preparation and you really can whip up a batch in under an hour. I’ve added dates here to make them extra moist – though they really don’t need it.
I find freezing these work really well to stop me eating the entire tray in one sitting. Served warmed up with cream or vanilla ice cream is the best of the best.
100 g dates, pitted and softened in 100 ml just-boiled water with ½ teaspoon bicarb, then roughly chopped
135 g walnuts (any nut will work, but I think walnuts or pecans are best), lightly toasted and roughly chopped
Preheat oven to 175°C (155°C fan forced) and lightly grease and line a 23 cm square baking tin with baking paper or foil (ensuring some comes up the side to help with removing the brownies after they have cooked).
In a large pot, gently melt the butter and chocolate, stirring until smooth.
Remove from heat and stir through the sugar and vanilla, then beat through the eggs, one at time until fully combined.
Add the flour and beat until the batter is smooth and glossy (it will come away from the side of the pot).
Stir through the chopped nuts and dates.
Pour the batter into the prepared baking tin and bake for 30 minutes until just set.
Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before removing from the tray and cutting up.
I’m kind of embarrassed to admit that I have been playing around for a while and have been keeping a secret of it.
I’ve been fixated with molecular gastronomy – more specifically – spherification. This is the technique that lets you make little spheres of ‘caviar’ – a thin gel membrane holding a liquid that bursts in your mouth. It’s totally amazing! OK yes, it’s total wankery too, and is perhaps a bit ‘so last year’ now. But it’s a challenge and it made me feel a little like Heston (without the genius). Continue reading →