Archive for the 'Dessert' Category

Masterchef Country Women’s Association Marble Cake

Saturday, July 10th, 2010

The day after the Masterchef contestants presented burnt and raw cakes, runny jam and rock hard scones, many were discussing – what went wrong?  Many attributed it to the outdoor setting and the unfamiliar oven.  So I set about trying to prove that in normal circumstances, the challenge can be done!  I wanted to try the marble cake as I hadn’t seen one before that had only two colours (pink and white) and had jam in the middle.   Oh noooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!  It burnt!!!  As you can see, i had to shave the sides down!!!  Not even the pretty pink icing could hide my shame (especially since the judge said that no icing can run down the side!).   

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THe cut through the middle test:  Fair distribution of colour, but still a bit too much pink.  Not burnt on the inside.

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Crumb was okay and the icing was fairly even (on this slice at least hahaha), but still dry for my liking :(   Big fail!   I concluded:  It’s not me, it’s not the contestants, it’s the word “moderate” to describe the oven temperature.  Everyone’s oven is different. Whilst moderate generally means 180 degrees, my oven is fan forced so I should have turned it down 10 degrees.  Who knows what the CWA oven is like?  So “moderate’ could have meant a bit range of potential fails  :(   Oh well… better luck next time.

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Link to the recipes:

Quick Apple Tarte Tatin

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

Masterchef Australia should come with a warning.  Warning: Do not watch unless you have a well stocked pantry of food to satisfy guaranteed longings.  Well I luckily do have tonnes of stuff in my pantry and fridge, and today’s craving was for a warm tarte tatin.  That’s a French upside down apple tart.  The apples are caramelised then covered with a puff pastry blanket to cook (traditionally in a frypan), inverted and served with vanilla bean ice cream.  I wanted to make individual serves, so here’s the recipe for 2 people.  Step 1: Peel and slice one granny smith apple.  Step 2: Melt a tablespoon of butter in a saucepan, and a tablespoon of brown sugar. Step 3: Put apples in and cook until soft and some of the juices have come into the saucepan to form a sauce. Step 4: Meanwhile, cut two discs of puff pastry and preheat the oven to 220 degrees. 

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Step 5: I lined two tart tins with baking paper but for the traditional way, just simmer off some of the liquid until the caramel is thicker, then lay a whole sheet of puff pastry on top and put it in the oven.  For my way, lay the apples nicely in a spiral, then simmer the sauce until it’s thicker, and then pour over the apples.  Lay the pastry on top.  Step 6: Bake in the oven until puffed and the edges are very brown and the sauce is caramelised.

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Final step: carefully invert onto a plate and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Eat immediately whilst still warm and whilst the pastry is crispy.  Cooked and eaten in 40 minutes :)

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Lemon Meringue Pie

Monday, October 5th, 2009

Last year for my birthday I was given (upon request ;) ) the Ripailles French cookbook. It’s more of an anthology, filled with beautiful recipes divided into chapters such as meat, eggs, sugar, and with every classic French dish that we Aussies would know, and more.  So I tested one of my favourites. I’m not sure if it’s French, but it was yum! The lemon meringue pie.  It said it would take 30 minutes prep, and 30 minutes cooking, and I took around 30 minutes more than that.  3 processes.  The first – the pie crust. It’s richer due to the addition of almond meal. I just ground my own in the food processor.  However, I found that it needed extra water and an extra egg yolk as my mix was too dry and crumbly to mix.  Key trick is to chill the pie crust in the freezer first, and prick it with a fork too.

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At the time it was chilling, I made the lemon curd. It didn’t make any difference to substitute half the butter for margarine. but you do need the full 3 lemons. It seems like alot but it’s not.  I had to add over 4 times the amount of cornflour though, to thicken it to spreading consistency.

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As I chilled the curd in the fridge and let the tart case cool, I whipped the egg whites. I used a round tip nozzle to pipe it onto the pie.

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So here’s the final product out of the oven.

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So it’s a bit uneven coloured because of my grill. I’m sure if I had a blowtorch though it would have been fine.

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Next time I might add more butter into the pastry as it was a bit hard, but overall, quite okay for a first attempt.  but there’s hundreds more recipes to try as well from that book! It’s an essential for your technical cooking collection as well as just to turn through with a cup of chocolat chaud!

Triple Chocolate Masterchef tart

Monday, July 27th, 2009

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OK so Masterchef has finished, all this free time now without TV to watch- what better to do than to test out the recipes! First up, the Aria chocolate tart.  I didn’t bother with the macarons, the sorbet or the chocolate glacage slick, but the tart seemed appealing enough.  So.. as you can see, my first attempt wasn’t exactly Masterchef quality, but it was ssooooo nice.  I made the mistake of lifting it off the tray before it had set, so I disturbed the top setting. And also you can see where I patched up the pastry which actually was quite crumbly. You do need to flour the board well to roll.

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Definitely key tips are to let the pastry rest in the tin. And also, I halved the dough recipe and made one third of the filling recipe, which was enough for one tart and three mini tarts.  Cut with a heated knife to get a good edge.  Delicious strawberries! The recipe is found here: