Two layers of moist chocolate cake filled and covered with a super creamy peanut butter cream cheese frosting and decorated with Reese’s peanut butter cups, crushed salted peanuts and dark chocolate swirls. This cake was made for an order from a friend for another friend who obviously loves his peanut butter!
Madeleines are the French equivalent of our kuih bahulu; similarly plain, sweet and fluffy. The only difference would be the addition of honey and the much higher amount of butter in the former. The method of preparation is also very similar, with the eggs and sugar beaten to ribbon stage, then the butter and flour folded in gently to preserve the bubbles that gives the cake its delicate sponginess. The recipe I used is from St John Bread & Wine in London where I had the best madeleine I’ve ever had.
Another recipe inspired by the ever talented Lily Vanilli- only boozier! Basically a firm ganache spiked with lots of whisky and brown butter enrobed in tempered chocolate and decorated with chopped pistachios (I chose the greenest so the colours would really pop against the dark chocolate), gold leaf and dried rose petals. What caught my eye was actually the brown butter, I love brown butter with its fragrant nuttiness and toasty warmth. It paired well with the whisky but perhaps its distinctive flavour was slightly overwhelmed by the dark chocolate. Maybe I’ll use 60% instead of 70% chocolate for next time, the whisky provided quite enough bitterness to the truffles already. These truffles are great gifts- everyone likes a little bit of chocolate, right? And booze.
Eton mess is super delicious and one of the easiest yet impressive-looking desserts to make. It’s a summertime pudding created in Eton College and popular throughout the hot summer months in the UK, where strawberries and cream are plentiful and really, really delicious. All you need to do is mix strawberries, crushed meringues and whipped cream, and there you have it- a delightfully juicy, creamy, chewy and barely-sweet dessert. I’ve added some mascarpone to the whipped cream to give it more body and luscious creaminess and also the seeds from a vanilla bean for a sweet, aromatic vanilla flavour.
I came across a fun recipe in Lily Vanilli’s Sweet Tooth for whisky and salt caramel popcorn and thought I’ll give it a spin, only with rum since that’s what I had. I did a little bit of research on caramel popcorn and found that almost everyone recommends baking the popcorn at a low heat for about an hour to crisp up the caramel and avoid the dreaded soggy popcorn. Lily’s recipe has some baking soda added to it to lighten the caramel- something similar to making honeycomb.. which is geekily fun! Notes for next time- maybe add some toasted coconut (coconut and rum belong together!) and almonds for more crunch.
This treat needs to be eaten quickly because it gets stale and soggy fast in humid weather due to sugar’s hygroscopic quality and popcorn’s typical inability to stay fresh for long. Boo. Or yay- so much popcorn so little time?
Victoria sponge, a very popular tea-time cake in the UK is usually two layers of sponge sandwiching jam and buttercream. I decided to use whipped mascarpone and LOTS of fresh raspberries, blueberries and pomegranate seeds instead of jam and buttercream as I prefer something lighter, juicier and not too sweet. Some toasted flaked almonds were scattered on top for a bit of crunch. A note to myself for the next time I make it would be to up the mascarpone filling- more cream is always welcomed!
Just last week in Biarritz, I had The Tart of My Life. It was simple; just a crumbly sablé crust, pistachio pastry cream and lots and lots of juicy, sweet raspberries- but it was so good!! I immediately set my mind to recreating the tart when I got home but got sidetracked by Michalak’s “Tarte Aux Fraises À La Crème De Pistache” from his book instead. Instead of pastry cream at the base of the tart, it’s filled with a fluffy “biscuit moelleux pistache”, which is basically a moist pistachio biscuit. The biscuit is then brushed with a fresh straberry confit then topped with strawberries, jelly, pistachio crème chantilly and a sprinkling of crushed pistachios. The recipe can be found here but I used his book (which I love!) which has lots of helpful and beautiful photos.
This is the ultimate summer biscuit- buttery biscuit, sweet peaches and a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar on top. The recipe is Joy the Baker’s and it’s genius- there’s buttermilk in it which makes it soft and just a bit tangy and plenty of butter. The dough is very sticky but this makes the scone tender and moist when baked. I imagine it’ll be super good split in half and filled with whipped double cream..