Monday, 5 August 2013

Chocolate, pear and Amarula feast

Fear: a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, whether the threat is real or not. JRK said, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself”. He obviously had never faced a cooking competition where the competitors seem like Michelin star chefs and me feeling completely out of my depth.
We now face week 5 of the Freshly Blogged competition and judging by the popularity at the top, I find myself torn between going back to my roots of good home cooking (totally in my comfort zone) or producing dishes that star in fancy silverware restaurant menus (which is not who I am).
So this week I combined what a home cook does, poaching and making cake and then stretching my patisserie home chef skills to the limit. The result was very satisfactory, it is something a home cook can make and still be made to look very proficient. It combines simple steps, all built together into a beautiful tower of boozy goodness – it just takes time, patience and a small pinch of fear!
In the end, people will judge you anyway. Don’t live your life impressing others. Live impressing yourself.

This is my weekly submission to Freshly Blogged competition,
if you would like to vote for this recipe -
Chocolate, pear and Amarula Feast
Ingredients
For the almond brittle shards
50g almonds, roughly chopped
1 cup sugar

For the poached pear and caramel
80g butter
1 cup dark brown soft sugar
2 pears, peeled, cored and sliced into 3mm slices
100ml Amarula

For the almond sponge cake
2 eggs, separated
1/2 cup castor sugar
1/2 cup self-raising flour
20g blanched almonds, very finely chopped

For the chocolate mousse
50g butter
1/4 cup sugar
50ml Amarula
80g dark chocolate, melted
3 egg yolks
2 egg whites, beaten stiffly

For the custard
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup Amarula
1/2 cup castor sugar
4 egg yolks
30ml cake flour
1/2 cup cream
Almond brittle shards
Spray and Cook a non-stick silicon sheet (or waxed paper).

Roast the almonds until golden brown. Melt the sugar over a slow heat until an amber colour, remove from the heat.
Stir in almonds then pour on the silicon sheet. As the sugar starts to set, cut shaped chards with a sharp knife. Leave to cool.

Poached pear and caramel
Melt the butter with the sugar. Once melted add the Amarula and the sliced pears. Cook on medium heat for 5-7 minutes, until the pears are just soft. Remove the pears from the caramel and cool. Reduce the caramel over medium heat, stirring often until reduced by half. Set caramel aside to cool.

Almond sponge cake
Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
Beat the egg whites until soft and fluffy and add half the sugar, beat to sift peaks.
In a separate bowl beat the egg yolks and remaining sugar until thick and creamy.
Sift the flour 3 times.
Gently fold the egg yolks into the beaten whites with a metal spoon. Add the flour to the egg mixture. Work the mixture gently until mixed, careful not to overwork. Grease and line a small sheet tin (about 20cm²). Spread the batter evenly into the baking tray, sprinkle with almonds.
Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden. Remove from sheet and cool.

Chocolate mousse
Melt the sugar and butter together stirring all the time.
Add 50ml Amarula and stir.
In a double boiler melt the chocolate. Add the melted butter/sugar mixture to the melted sugar. Allow this mixture to cool.
Fold the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture with a metal spoon. Do not over mix.
Heat the cream and Amarula together.
Cream together sugar and eggs until light and fluffy. Add the hot cream mixture to the eggs, beating all the time.
Return to the heat, continue whisking.
In bowl add cake flour and pour over the hot cream mixture, beating well. Return to the heat and beat well until you have thick cooked custard.
Allow to cool completely, then whisk in the 2nd 1/2 cup of cream.

To assemble
Spray and Cook 4 ring moulds well.
Cut a piece of cake (using the rings) and place at the bottom of the ring. Spoon a layer of the thickened caramel over the cake layer, cover completely. Layer poached pears on the caramel. Pour over the chocolate mousse. Refrigerate overnight.
Unmould the rings, using a hot knife around the edges if it sticks slightly. Dust top of mousse with icing sugar and insert an Almond Brittle shard. Pipe custard around the edge of the mousse tower.

3 comments:

Lavender and Lime (http://tandysinclair.com) said...

This is a real boozy dessert. Well done Rose :)

Kit said...

Looks delicious, Rose, and ticks all the boxes.
I think at least one element of the competition should be about creating recipes that regular people can and would like to cook. So being a home cook rather than a chef, shouldn't count against you. All the people who were following me at my sister-in-law's office were looking out for recipes that made them want to go and cook, that weren't too intimidating.
So keep up with cooking great food that resonates with you and never mind the rest.

Rose&Thorn said...

Thanks Kit. Going to be thinking creatively, but still making food which is truly homemade heaven.

Jeremiah 17: 7-8

"Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. He will be like a tree planted by the water."

It is not your business to succeed, but to do what is right : when you have done so, the rest lies with God.
C.S. Lewis

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