Archive | October, 2016

Dark chocolate parfait and plated in two ways

23 Oct

I have been watching a lot of reality cooking shows. I admire the contestants who can undergo a huge amount of pressure but still create amazing dishes. They do not only create delicious food but also put up gorgeous plating. One of the dish that I have seen a lot recently from the cooking show and I want to make is the parfait. Although I haven’t tried it before but I determined to make it and present it just like the contestants!

I have done some research for the recipes. They all make a large quantity that can server 4-6 people, but I only want something as small as serving 2 people. I cut down the quantity of the ingredients and made up my own recipe. I wasn’t sure if the ratio of the ingredients had been changed and the parfait might not set properly. What I could do is to run it from my gut and hope for the best. At the end they came out perfectly! They were silky and smooth. The texture is between mousse and ice cream.

One more thing I have learnt from the cooking shows is the texture of the food is very important. One dessert normally has 3 or more elements on the plate. Restaurant quality desserts can have 5 to 10 elements! To make it more interesting a soft element is always accompany with a crunch element. I am just an amateur home cook therefore I just use what I can find from my pantry to whip up the crunchy elements. The first one was biscuit crumb. It is self-explanatory – crush a biscuit until is crumble. The second is LSA praline because I didn’t have any nuts but some LSA (ground linseed, sunflower seeds and almonds) instead. I simply poured some sugar syrup on the LSA, let it cool and harden. I only had 2 elements in the plates but the presentation had been transformed to a different level. I was very happy with the plating. The simple chocolate parfaits were much attractive after some simple decorations. 🙂

Dark Chocolate Parfait

Made 4 x 6.5cm half circles

  • 1/2 tsp gelatin, 1 tsp water
  • 50g dark chocolate
  • 2 Tbsps sugar, 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup cream
  1. Bloom the gelatin in the water, set aside.
  2. Melt the chocolate in the microwave at 10 second interval until it is completely melt.
  3. Combine the sugar and water in a pan on high heat, stir until the sugar dissolve. Continue cooking until it becomes syrupy.
  4. Beat the cream until it reaches soft peak.
  5. Beat the egg until it is fluffy, gradually pour in the sugary syrup along the side of the bowl and continue beating.
  6. Add the gelatin to the pan that cooks the sugar syrup. Use the residual heat to melt the gelatin. If it is not hot enough then put it on low heat to melt.
  7. Beat the gelatin to the egg mixture. Add melt chocolate and continue beating.
  8. Fold in the whipped cream and mix well.
  9. Pour the mixture into the silicone mold. I used 6.5 cm diameter half circle mold. Put it in the freezer to set (4 hours or more).

 

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Salted Caramel and Dark Chocolate Ganache Tarts

8 Oct

Recently I had an itch for baking. I wanted to make something slightly more challenging than a cake. When I spotted Angela Casley’s Pastry Caramel Tarts recipe, I knew it was the one I was about to try. I have changed a few ingredients and come up with this gorgeous tarts.

Honestly I wasn’t a fan of caramel until I tried some salted caramel. It is unbelievable that a little bit of salt can elevate the tasty to a different level! I used the dark chocolate with 86% cocoa for the ganache. It was really bitter but it cut down the sweetness of the caramel. I think salted caramel and dark chocolate were a good match. If you wish you can use semi-sweet chocolate or milk chocolate instead. These tarts can be served warm or cold, either way they are equally delicious!

Salted Caramel and Dark Chocolate Ganache Tarts
Makes 6

Pastry

  • 1 cup flour
  • 75g butter
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 Tbsp chilled water

Salted Caramel

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 100g butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Dark chocolate ganache

  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 100g dark chocolate pieces
  1. To make the pastry, place the flour, butter, icing sugar and almond meal into a food processor. Blitz until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk, vanilla extract, lemon juice and water, blitz again until your dough is formed. Add more water if necessary. Roll the dough into a ball, wrap it with plastic wrap and refrigerate for half an hour to one hour.
  2. Preheat an oven to 180C. Roll the dough on a lightly floured bench and line 6 x 4 inch tins. Bake blind until they are slightly brown, about 20-30 mins. Remove from the oven and let them cool.
  3. To make the caramel, place the water and sugar in a pot. Cook the mixture until you have an amber-coloured syrup. Whisk in the butter until it is melt. Whisk in cream and salt. Remove it from heat and let it cool down. Spread evenly into the tart cases.
  4. For the ganache, heat up the chocolate and cream together in a double boiler, mix until the chocolate melts. Pour over the caramel when it is cool.img_3411