Louise Cake

20180409_103155Once again we’re adapting a recipe from Ottolenghi and Goh’s Sweet. They in turn have been inspired by the traditional Louise cake from New Zealand, which is a slice with a cake layer topped with raspberry jam and a coconut meringue. Ottolenghi and Goh’s version uses fresh fruit; you could use any stone fruit which is in season, just be sure it’s ripe but not too soft. We love the addition of flaked almonds to the meringue, as it adds a delicious crunch to the fluffy meringue and syrupy fruit. The cake is fairly rich so you could bake it in a square tin and cut into small squares to serve, or bake in a round tin as we did for a more decadent serving.

Ingredients:

  • 125g unslated butter, at room temperature, cut into 2cm cubes
  • 100g caster sugar
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 125g plain flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 20g desiccated coconut
  • 80ml whole milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 medium plums (450g), ripe but firm (or any stonefruit in season)

For the meringue:

  • 60g flaked almonds
  • 140g egg whites
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 185g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp cornflour

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/Gas mark 3.
  2. Spread the flaked almonds on a baking tray and toast for 10 minutes, or until they are a light brown colour. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  3. Increase the oven temperature to 185°C/Gas mark 5. Using a 20cm square or 23cm round tin with removable base, line the base and sides with baking paper.
  4. Place the butter, sugar and lemon zest in a bowl and beat together until pale and creamy. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating until combined. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together into a separate bowl. Add the coconut and stir to combine. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, beating on a low speed, and alternating with the milk and vanilla. Spoon the batter into the prepared tin and smooth the top. Place in the oven and cook for around 25 minutes. The cake is cooked when a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  5. Slice each plum vertically in half and discard the stones. Slice each half into four segments so you have 8 segments per plum.
  6. Once the cake is cooked, remove from the oven and turn the temperature up to 200°C/Gas mark 6. Place the plum segments on top of the cake, forming a layer of fruit across the surface. Be sure not to overlap the plums though, or the fruit layer will become too watery.
  7. To make the meringue, whisk together the egg whites and salt on a medium-high speed, until soft peaks form. Add the sugar a little at a time, and continue to whisk until the egg whites are stiff and shiny. Add the vanilla, vinegar and cornflour and whisk again until combined. Fold in the toasted almond flakes.
  8. Spoon the meringue into the cake tin, on top of the fruit layer and spread out evenly. Create waves and peaks in the meringue by dabbing a spatula into and out of the mixture. Place in the oven and immediately lower the temperature to 180°C/Gas mark 4. Bake for 35 minutes or until the meringue has formed a hard crust and is just beginning to brown. Remove from the oven and cool the cake in the tin for at least 30 minutes before removing the base of the tin and removing the baking paper to serve.

Grilled Figs with Almond Crisp and Verjuice Sabayon

20180331_221618Figs are in season here in Sydney and every store seems to have plump, juicy figs on display. We couldn’t resist any longer, and decided to try Maggie Beer’s grilled fig recipe. Simply glazing and grilling the figs is a great way to highlight the great quality produce. The Almond Crisp and Verjuice Sabayon add texture and tartness respectively, but don’t detract from the real star of this simple dessert.

We have adapted this recipe from one in Maggie Beer’s Maggie’s Verjuice Cookbook.

Serves four people.

Ingredients:

  • 6 ripe figs
  • 3 tsp vino cotto
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • mint leaves, to garnish (optional)

Almond Crisp:

  • 60g flaked almonds
  • 35g brown sugar
  • 25ml verjuice

Verjuice Sabayon:

  • 1 cup (250ml) verjuice
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 30g caster sugar

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°
  2. Place the Almond Crisp ingredients in a bowl and toss to combine. Spread the mixture on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake for 18 minutes, rotating the tray halfway through the cooking time. Watch carefully in case the sugar burns. Once the almonds are a pale golden colour, remove the tray from the oven and set aside to cool. Break into shards.
  3. To make the sabayon, simmer the verjuice in a saucepan until reduced to 100ml. Set aside to cool. Fill a saucepan one-third full of water and bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low. Place the egg yolks and sugar in a heatproof bowl that fits over the saucepan without touching the water. Whisk the yolks and sugar together, slowly adding the cooled verjuice a little at a time. Continue whisking for around 8 minutes, or until the sabayon thickens to the point where it forms ribbons and holds its shape when lifted with a spoon. Remove from the heat and cover the surface with cling film.
  4. Preheat a barbecue plate or chargrill pan to high heat.
  5. Mix the vino cotto and olive oil together. Cut the figs in half lengthways and brush the cut surface with the vino cotto mixture. Place the cut sides down on the very hot chargrill pan, and cook until well caramelised, around 2-3 minutes.
  6. On one side of each plate, arrange three fig halves and a shard or two of the Almond Crisp. On the other side, place a dollop of sabayon, and smear across the plate. Alternatively, serve the sabayon in a ramekin on the side.

 

Glazed Chocolate Mousse and Cherry Sorbet with Almond and Pistachio Crumb

20180307_213757Here’s another Recipe Road invention we created for our friend’s birthday party a few weeks ago. We wanted a rich chocolate dessert to finish the night, but hoped to cut through the richness with something fresh and light. As we had featured cherries in our main dish (Roasted Pork Rack with Cherries and Onions), we decided to link the two dishes by making a cherry sorbet. The combination worked beautifully, with the sorbet cleansing the palate between each bite of the rich chocolate mousse. The almond and pistachio crumb adds a bit of texture and crunch to the dish so it has everything, really! We hope you enjoy.

Serves 6 people.

Chocolate Mousse:

  • 225g dark chocolate (70% cocoa), chopped
  • 160g butter
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 110g icing sugar
  • 90g cocoa powder
  • 3 egg whites
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 90ml thickened cream, whipped

Melt the chocolate and butter together in a bowl set above a pan of simmering water. Once melted and combined, set aside to cool. Once the mixture has cooled to room temperature, stir in the egg yolks with a spatula. Sift the icing sugar and cocoa powder into the chocolate mixture, and stir well to combine. In another bowl, beat the egg whites and sugar to make a soft peak meringue. Gently fold the meringue and then the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture. Pour the mixture into a 1 inch-deep baking tray lined with cling film and transfer to the freezer to set.

Cherry Sorbet:

  • 100g raw sugar
  • 300g cherries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 egg white
  • 550g ice cubes

Pour sugar into a sturdy food processor (we used a thermomix). Mill on a high speed for 10 seconds (Thermomix speed 9). Add the cherries, egg white and 350g of the ice cubes and blend for 20 seconds, starting at a low speed and gradually increasing to maximum speed (Thermomix speed 10). Add the remaining ice and blend for around 1 minute more, until the mixture has reached a smooth consistency. You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Store in an airtight container in the freezer until ready to serve.

Golden Honey Glaze:

  • ½ tsp gin
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • ¼ tsp gold powder

Mix the gin and honey in a bowl, once the mixture becomes thinner, add the gold powder and mix well.

Toasted Golden Almonds:

  • 42 whole almonds, halved lengthways
  • ½ of the Golden Honey Glaze

Toast the halved almonds and then brush with the golden honey glaze. Set aside on a tray to dry.

Chocolate Glaze:

  • 2 gelatine sheets (8g)
  • 50g water
  • 85g sugar
  • 35g cocoa powder
  • 45g cream

Bloom the gelatin by soaking it in cold water. In a small saucepan, combine the water, sugar and cocoa powder, and bring to the boil, then remove from the heat immediately. In a separate saucepan, warm the cream, then combine it with the chocolate mixture. Add the gelatin, stir to combine and set aside. Cool the mixture to room temperature to glaze.

Glazed Chocolate Mousse

  • Chocolate Mousse
  • Chocolate Glaze
  • Toasted Golden Almonds

Once the mousse is set, use a 6cm round cookie cutter to cut 6 rounds from the mousse. Rinse the cutter in warm water between cutting each round of mousse. Set the rounds on a cooling rack and pour a little of the glaze over each one, making sure the sides are fully covered. Remove the rounds from the cooling rack and set on a tray lined with baking paper. Decorate the sides of each mousse round with the Toasted Golden Almonds.

 Almond and Pistachio Crumb:

  • ¼ cup almonds
  • ¼ cup pistachio kernels
  • 5 savoury crackers (we used Eton crackers)
  • A handful of cornflakes

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend to a rough crumb consistency. Set aside.

To serve:

  • ½ of the Golden Honey Glaze
  • Almond and Pistachio Crumb
  • Glazed Chocolate Mousse
  • Cherry Sorbet
  • 18 micro mint leaves

Across one side of each plate, paint a 4cm stripe of Golden Honey Glaze. On the opposite side of the plate, place a small pile of Almond and Pistachio Crumb, and create a small well in the centre of the pile. Place the Glazed Chocolate Mousse on the stripe. Quenelle the Cherry Sorbet and place in the well of the crumb. Decorate with 3 micro mint leaves and serve.