Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Apple Charlotte

The British have an age-old way with bread and hot puddings, as this apple-filled bomb shows. Take day-old white bread, mould slices of it into a round casing, cemented with lashings of butter, fill it with fruit and bake it until the bread is golden and the centre explosively pulpy. Traditionally filled with apple, variations can include almost any fruit, from bananas and berries to pears or pineapples... but nothing beats the classic.


6 golden delicious apples, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
55 gm (¼ cup) caster sugar, plus extra for baking
325 gm unsalted butter, coarsely chopped
1 lemon, juiced and rind finely grated
2 cinnamon quills
20 slices (about 1 loaf) day-old white bread, crusts removed
170 gm (½ cup) apricot jam
To serve: pouring cream


Combine apple, sugar, 75gm butter, lemon rind and juice and cinnamon quills in a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes or until liquid has evaporated, then cool.

Preheat oven to 190C. Melt remaining butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Skim scum from top and discard, then pour clarified butter into a bowl, discarding milky solids on the bottom. Keep butter warm until required.

Lightly brush six 1 cup-capacity (6cm-diameter base) dariole moulds with a little butter and dust with sugar. Using a 6cm-round cutter, cut rounds from 6 slices of bread to fit base of moulds, then cut a 3cm-wide strip from the remains of each slice. Cut remaining slices into three (3cm x 9cm) pieces. Brush bread rounds liberally with butter and place in bases of prepared moulds. Brush remaining pieces liberally with butter and line each mould with 8 pieces of overlapping bread, allowing bread to overhang and pressing gently against side of moulds.

Divide apple mixture between moulds, then fold over bread to enclose filling. Place Charlottes on an oven tray and bake for 20 minutes or until bread is golden and crisp. Remove from oven, place another oven tray on top and weigh down with food cans for 5 minutes.

To serve, turn Charlottes onto a lightly greased oven tray, scatter with sugar and bake for another 5 minutes or until golden. Warm apricot jam in a small saucepan over medium heat for 1 minute or until warmed through, breaking up fruit with a spoon and adding water if it becomes to thick. Serve Charlottes drizzled with apricot jam and cream passed separately.

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Fudge Sundae With Honeycomb

Sundaes makes great chocolate desserts. Everyone loves a Sundae, and somehow adding the beautifully simple crunch of the honeycomb makes this even better. Be careful when adding the bicarbonate of soda, as the mixture will bubble up. Allow for this when choosing pot size.

250 ml(1 cup) heavy cream (45%)
3 tsp caster sugar

160 gm caster sugar
25 gm (¼ cup) honey
62 gm (¼ cup) glucose
7 gm (2 tsp) bicarbonate of soda

Hot chocolate fudge
130 gm good-quality dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
20 gm unsalted butter
150 gm (2/3 cup) caster sugar
140 gm glucose
1 tbsp cocoa powder

To serve: good-quality vanilla bean ice-cream
To serve: coarsely chopped salted peanuts


For honeycomb, combine sugar, honey, glucose and 30ml water in a saucepan. Cook over high heat, stirring to dissolve and brushing down sugar crystals from sides of pan, until light blonde and reaches 150C on a sugar thermometer (8-10 minutes), being careful it doesn’t become too dark. Remove from heat, add bicarbonate of soda, whisking vigorously for about 5 seconds, then pour onto a baking paper-lined tray (work quickly as the honeycomb will continue cooking if left in the pan). When honeycomb has cooled and hardened (20-30 minutes), break into bite-sized chunks and store in an airtight container. Honeycomb will keep for a week.

For hot chocolate fudge, melt chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Combine remaining ingredients, 160ml water and 1 tsp sea salt in a saucepan, bring to the boil, then add chocolate mixture. Return to the boil and cook over high heat, shaking pan to dissolve any lumps, until well emulsified (3-5 minutes). Set aside in pan and keep warm.

Whisk cream and sugar until firm peaks form. Set aside in refrigerator. Reheat chocolate fudge over high heat until warmed through. Scoop ice-cream into 6 serving glasses, followed by a generous dollop of whipped cream. Scatter with pieces of honeycomb and peanuts, drizzle chocolate fudge over and serve immediately.

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Friday, August 1, 2008

Easy Cherry Tartufo

Tartufo is an Italian ice cream dessert that usually is made of gelato, and is somewhat like a large ice-cream truffle. You can make this from different flavors of ice cream and fruit - try pecan praline ice cream with peaches, or fudge ripple ice cream with dried blueberries.

3 cups chocolate ice cream
1 cup frozen pitted cherries, thawed and chopped
15 chocolate sandwich cookies, crushed
1-1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
1 cup finely chopped peanuts
2 tsp. oil

Mix chopped cherries into the ice cream. Scoop ice cream mixture into six balls using an ice cream scoop. Roll in crushed cookies. Place on wax paper-lined cookie sheet and freeze until firm, about 2 hours.

In small saucepan, melt semisweet chocolate chips with oil, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in milk chocolate chips, stirring constantly until chips melt and mixture is smooth again. Cool to lukewarm.

Place frozen ice cream balls on a wire rack. Spoon melted chocolate over each ball, coating the top and sides. Sprinkle on chopped peanuts. Freeze again until firm, at least 1 hour. Remove from freezer 10 minutes before serving. Serves 6

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