This is a dessert I've had sitting in the recesses of my mind for some time now, but have been waiting for the proper excuse to make. Easter seemed like the perfect time, what with eggs being so central to the festivities, so I held onto it until it finally rolled around.
One of my favourite things to do is to make food look like something it's not. It's been some time since I've done that 'trick food' so I couldn't wait for the excuse to delve into this one.
But really, who needs Easter to enjoy trick food?
Of all the people I make food for, my number one priority in life is my boyfriend, Cameron. He's what motivates me to learn and try new things and attempt to impress him with some crazy dessert. He gets to eat almost everything I make, the only exception being commissions, really. I'll upload snaps of my cakes to Facebook and people will be quick to tell him how lucky they believe him to be. They think he must get the most amazing, whimsical cakes for his birthday. They think him blessed to be able to request from me to bring anything to life via this edible medium. But the reality is that he wants none of that. At heart, he's a simple man.
So when his 30th birthday rolled around I wanted to make him something impressive to mark the occasion.
He just wanted a cheesecake.
What the birthday boy says, goes…
And the berry madness continued. 8.25 kg of strawberries required active searching for uses for them. A nice change, considering I'm usually I'm trying to hold back from devouring a whole punnet at once. The first thing that came to mind was this dessert. It's extremely berry hungry so it fit the bill nicely. It's something I've made a few times before, and posted the first time I tried it, but I've since been playing and perfecting this recipe so it was time to revisit it.
The beauty of this recipe is that it works with any berry you like. If the effort involved seems too much, you don't even have to make it chequered. You could marble it, or only make one flavour and freeze it inside a bar tin. It's completely open to interpretation.
I chose strawberries and blackberries…
I've been wanting to try a joconde imprime for years. I'd always been a bit intimidated by it, so I filed it under O for "one day" and never gave it any serious thought. But when this months theme challenge on was "layers", I knew it was high time I gave this a go. I'd been looking for an excuse to do another honeycomb topper anyway and had been searching for the perfect dessert to do it with.
I knew I wanted the joconde to be patterned with chocolate stripes, but it was the entremet I couldn't decide on. There were just so many options. I'd tried a dessert with chocolate mousse and layers of honeycomb before, but the honeycomb dissolved and the beautiful layers I'd imagine became one disjoined, albeit delicious, mess. I was chatting to my boyfriend about this first world dilemma when he said, "What about bumble bee mousse?"
I felt like I was in my very own Old El Paso commercial.
He’s not just a pretty face…
After making the mini pavlova, I had 6 egg yolks to cull. So I made a carbonara for dinner and turned to custard for dessert.
A couple weeks ago when shopping for something else, I found this cute little platter set on sale for $15. I was dying to use it for something, so it seemed the perfect excuse.
I love me some crème brûlée, and my boyfriend is a custard-loving fiend, so I decided to have some fun with our various favourites.
Three times the deliciousness…
One of my biggest kitchen dilemmas is working out to do with the leftover halves of the eggs when a recipe requires only one part of it. Egg whites aren't as bad as you can freeze them, but egg yolks only last a few days and don't survive the freezer so well.
After making the Pavlova Roulade, I had 6 of them to use up. The easiest way to use a large amount up, other than giving them to my puppy, is to make something custardy. I also had plenty of cream leftover from party baking so I decided a crème brûlée was in order. I'd made a chocolate one before, but I've never even so much as seen a white chocolate crème brûlée before.
Time to experiment.
Crack the toffee open…
I said that I wanted to bake my way through this chocolate cookbook, and I totally mean it. The cake recipe used for both the gateau forestiere and the jungle cake was from that book, as is the following recipe. It's wonderful.
I prepared this mixture in advance, but we ended up having a super hot weekend and so on the night I constructed this for dessert, the vanilla layer began melting all over the place. So there went my grand plans of having a perfectly chequered parfait. But what it's lacking on the aesthetic side it certainly made up for it in taste.
This recipe gives you the freedom to choose your favourite berry. I used strawberry for both the parfait and the sauce. I also sieved out the seeds for a nicer texture. Alternatively, you could prepare two berry layers (such as raspberry and blackberry) if you want a multi coloured/flavoured parfait.
Recipe and assembly instructions…