This is how I make Tiramisu – for as long as I can remember.
Trouble with making Tiramisu is what do you do with the left overs. I’ve learnt that if I used a narrow based bowl that opens up to a wider top, while aesthetically pleasing, I would have half-used packets of lady fingers and left over mascarpone cheese filling yet wouldn’t quite be enough to make another! I’ve found that if I use a straight edged rectangular bowl (20cm by 15 cm straight edged Pyrex bowl) it would be close to perfect, with just enough left to also make some cute little deconstructed pots of Tiramisu.
This also won me the top prize at my previous job’s departmental cooking competition so it has truly been tasted and approved by many. My current colleagues love it. My point of difference is the use of Bailey’s – lots of recipes call for rum or brandy but I love Bailey’s and have always preferred Tiramisu made with Baileys. Airy and pillowy; velvety and light; a glorious pick-me-up dessert.
- 6 egg yolks
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 400g mascarpone cheese (2 packets of Tatua Mascarpone cheese)
- 350ml cream, whipped
- 22 Italian Lady fingers
- 1 cup cold instant coffee (Moccona)
- ½ cup Baileys
- 1 tbsp of your best cocoa for dusting
- Combine egg yolks and sugar in the top of a double boiler, over boiling water. Reduce heat to low, and cook for about 10 minutes, whisking constantly. This is your sabayon, remove from the heat and whip yolks until thick and lemon colored.
- Add Mascarpone to whipped yolks, beat until combined.
- In a separate bowl, whip cream to stiff peaks.
- Gently fold the whipped cream in the mascarpone sabayon mixture and set aside.
- Mix the cold espresso with the Baileys and dip the lady fingers into the mixture just long enough to get them wet, do not soak them! Do only several at a time.
- Arrange the lady fingers in the bottom of your bowl.
- Spoon half the mascarpone cream filling over the lady fingers.
- Repeat process with another layer of lady fingers and mascarpone cream.
- Dust with cocoa.
- Refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. It tastes better the next day.
If there are any leftovers, I often make up small individual servings, as shown here.
(Styled by J)
The weather had been quite flippant in the last few weeks and we find ourselves so looking forward to summer that we are wearing jandals already, looking longingly to the sky as if to say ‘I demand summer weather, NOW!’. Of course that had no results whatsoever and we resolve to having warm, hearty, comfort food once again.
What can be better than a good old mug of soup in a blustery cold afternoon? Why, a good ham and potato chowder soup with grilled garlic pizza bread for dunking of course!
This soup is made with a roux, but rather than using a separate pot to prepare it, I add it all into the pot and cook it at the same time. Less washing, more time to enjoy the food and company!
This makes enough for 6 servings, and I usually freeze half for later.
- 6 slices of ham, cut into small square pieces
- 5 large potatoes, peeled and diced to 3/4 inch pieces
- Small brown onion, diced
- 2 medium sized carrots, diced
- 1 cup of sweet corn kernels
- 50g butter (about 4 tbsp)
- 50g plain flour (about 3 tbsp)
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock, boiling
- milk, for creaminess and consistency adjustment (optional)
- In a large dutch oven pot cook ham until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp.
- Add the onion and sauté for just 2 minutes. Let them cook till transclucent, but not browned. Add the potatoes and carrots to the pot. Cook for another 2 minutes, moving the potatoes from time to time to make sure the surface caramalises a bit.
- Push the vegetables to the side of the pot so that you have the centre of the pot clear of food. Add the butter and flour in and stir vigourously. The flour needs to cook but you don’t want it to stick to the bottom of the pot. At least not so much that it browns. Cook for another minute to ensure the flour is completely cooked.
- Add the hot chicken stock a ladle at a time to the pot. Stir to mix before adding another ladle. You can add as much as you like to achieve the consistency to your liking.
- As the soup heats up it will thicken. Add the corn kernels, cook until the potatoes are fork-tender. For a creamier taste or consistency adjustment, you can add some milk in, to your liking.
- Ladle the soup into bowls. Serve with grilled pizza bread.
- Dunk and eat.
Chestnuts have a special place in my memories. From the great – chestnut cream layered sponge cake that was to be found at most birthday celebrations (mango is also a very popular option) – to the not so great – braised chicken with chestnuts. Well at least I remember not liking it so much because I felt that the dish was too singular in texture with everything soft tasting and lacking contrast. I do have to mention though that my favourite way of having chestnuts is having them almost raw. Just blanched, peeled, popped into an airtight bag and away you go. I remember having these as snacks on my hikes across the hills.
Chestnut purée is, however, a totally different matter. When made with the proper balance of chestnut, water, sugar and cream, it becomes one of the tastiest element in any dessert. Take the classic Mont Blanc chestnut tart. Fine strands of piped chestnut cream perched on top of a dome of silky mousse, who can resist! Take it up another notch by tempering this smooth delicate entremet with the intense flavour and sweetness of a candied chestnut. Simply divine.
Ever since I tried Joel Robuchon’s chestnut tart at Le Salon De The de Joel Robuchon in Hong Kong, I have had my heart set on making chestnut macarons. This week I finally had time and oh boy what an amazing flavour. I think it is close to knocking salted caramel off its place and claim the top seat of my all time favourite macaron.
Macarons shell ingredients
(makes about 40 macarons)
150g icing sugar
150g almond meal
110g egg whites, split into 2 bowls of 55g each
150g caster sugar
1g meringue powder
2 drops of gel colouring, I used brown for half my shells and white for the other half.
Chocolate Chestnut purée
120g 28% cocoa White chocolate
120g chestnut purée
Follow my basic recipe to make the shells.
You can add some cocoa powder to the shells (as I have done here) to add depth to the shells.
Heat cream till it just begins to boil and pour over white chocolate that has been broken up in small pieces in a bowl. Wait for a minute before stiring. Leave in the fridge for 10 minutes for it to set a bit and mix in chestnut purée.
Spread or pipe a teaspoon of chocolate chestnut purée on half of your shells and top them with the remaining half of your shells.
The filled macarons need to be kept in the fridge for 24 hours for the filling to soften the shells and also for the flavour to fully develop.
The beauty of this treat lies in the speed and output – minimal time and effort with a large number of serves. This is great for parties or any ‘bring-a-plate’ situations. Instead of bashing biscuits for the base, a single Oreo biscuit is used. The mixer does most of the job for you and it doesn’t take long to bake at all. Since I almost always have a jar of salted caramel in the fridge, it didn’t require any extra time to make. You can leave out the caramel and use whipped cream by itself if you wish.
The mini Oreo is the cherry on the top – you can leave it out if you feel the mini dessert is rich enough. However it does provide a crunchy element as the bottom Oreo would be soft to the bite as you eat it. Since it is already portioned as individual serves, there’s no fussing about with cutting or slicing. Sit back and enjoy!
Mini cookies and cream cheesecake with salted caramel cream
Makes 32 plus
Ingredients for the cheesecake:
- 3 blocks of cream cheese (750g) softened at room temperature
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup cream, lightly whipped
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
- 2 eggs, size 8
- 32 paper muffin cups
- 40 standard size Oreo cookies (reserving 8 to be blitzed)
- 32 mini Oreo Cookies
For the salted caramel cream
- 1 cup cream
- 1/4 cup icing sugar
- 2 tbsp salted caramel
- Preheat oven to 150 degrees Celsius.
- Prepare your 12 cup muffin tins with paper lining. Place a standard sized Oreo on the bottom of each one and set aside. I only have one of this pan, so to prepare I lined up the filled cases on a cookie tray to let them hold each other up. Prepare 32 of these.
- Lightly whip the cream.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix cream cheese and sugar together on low speed.
- Mix in sour cream, your whipped cream and vanilla paste until smooth.
- Mix eggs in, one at a time.
- Blitz the remaining 8 standard size Oreo cookies till it breaks up, but not powdery, and then add them to the cream cheese batter and mix to incorporate.
- Fill each case with the mixture. I find it easiest to use an ice cream scoop with a spring mechanism that pushes the mixture out. Fill each right up to the brim of the case.
- Bake for 23-25 minutes, aiming for a slightly wobbly center. Remove from the oven and let cool for 1 hour at room temperature. Then refrigerate for at least 4 hours, best overnight. (You can also do up to the piping of the salted caramel cream step below and then refrigerate.)
For the salted caramel cream
- Whip cream and icing sugar until it is combined.
- Add the salted caramel and whip till you have stiff peaks.
- Fill it in a piping bag fitted with a large star tip (I used the Wilton 2A tip) and pipe the cream onto the top of each cheesecake.
- Press a mini Oreo on top just before you serve (or else the cookie will go soggy.)
This one has been a long time coming. I have been saving my best peanut butter for these and finally it was time to open the jar of Pic’s Really Good Peanut Butter. These are made in Nelson, New Zealand with only two ingredients: Peanuts, salt. Yes no added sugar! The nuttiness of the peanut butter matched nicely with the dark chocolate.
You can pair them with any colour shells of your choosing, but I’m particularly drawn to the purple and blue combination.
Macarons shell ingredients
150 g icing sugar
150 g almond meal
110 g egg whites, split into 2 bowls of 55g each
150 g caster sugar
38 ml water
1 g meringue powder
a few drops of violet and blue gel colouring, separately.
Follow my basic recipe to make the shells.
I paired these with a peanut butter flavoured dark chocolate ganache.
100g whittaker’s dark chocolate
100ml full cream
4 tbsp good quality peanut butter
Break up chocolate into small chunks. Bring cream up to a boil in a pan, and pour over the chocolate. Let it sit for a minute before stirring. Stir until you have a thickish ganache and add peanut butter in. Stir and let it cool and thicken in the fridge. Spread or pipe a teaspoon of ganache on half of your shells and top them with the remaining half of your shells.
The filled macarons need to be kept in the fridge for 24 hours for the filling to flavour the shells. These freeze well too (up to 3 months).