Monday, February 7, 2011

Decadent Breakfasts

On the breakfast menu - French toast hot cross buns, and ..... I have no words to describe the decadence of the dish on the right!

I'll start up with the death by chocolate dish.  

This dish doesn't really have a name... maybe 'chocaholics wet dream' would suit.  It consists of 'blondie' (white chocolate brownies) sandwiched together with nutella, coated in a marscapone and cocoa mixture, and wrapped in chocolate crepes!

Blondies in chocolate crepes

Bake the blondies using this recipe, and make the crepe batter using the recipe below.  

Chocolate crepes (makes 2)

Combine 1/3 cup plain flour, 3 tsp caster sugar, and 10g of cocoa powder in a small bowl.  In a seperate bowl, whisk together 1 egg, 100mL milk, and 10g melted butter.  Gently fold the dry ingredients into wet ingredients.  Cover, and refrigerate for around half an hour.

Once the crepe batter is in the fridge, slice your blondie into 2cm square logs.  Take one log, cover the three large sides in nutella, and slide another log up next to this once. Cover it's exposed edges.  Stack a third log on top of your original one, and cover it's exposed edges with nutella, and do the same with the fourth log.  Now if you look at the end, it should look like a window, with a nutella cross through the middle.  

I then coated the completed blondie log in a mixture of 3 tbsp marscapone cheese, mixed in with 2 tsp of cocoa, and 2 tsp of icing sugar.  Adjust the quantities to achieve your desired sweetness/bitterness/colour.

I then made the crepes, and wrapped each blondie log up in a crepe.  I very carefully cut the ends off, so you end up with a nice cross section at each end, as you can see below.  

I served the blondies with berry compote, and icecream tossed in spiced sugar.  

A word of warning - this was very rich, half as much probably would have been enough for one person!  You may be questioning whether this is really a breakfast, however, I say the inclusion of crepes keeps it 'breakfasty'.  Also, I can eat whatever the hell I want for breakfast!

French toast hot cross buns, with poached peaches, marscapone and white chocolate cream, with orange syrup and hazelnuts.  

Start by making your french toast mixture.  Whisk together:
2 eggs
1/4 cup of cream
1 tbsp icing sugar
a few drops of vanilla essence

Poach some fresh peaches in boiling water until soft.  Allow to cool a little, rub/peel the skin off, remove the stone, and slice into wedges.  

To make the orange syrup, combine in a small saucepan over low heat:
2/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup water
1 cup caster sugar

Stir until the sugar is dissolved, bring to the boil, boil for a minute or two, and remove from heat.  

For the chocolate cream, melt a handful of white chocolate melts or pieces over a double boiler.  Add 2-3 tbsp of marscapone and combine.  Remove from heat.  

Slice your hot cross buns in half and soak in the egg mixture.  Put a pan on low heat, and add a knob of butter.  Shake excess egg mixture off the hot cross buns, and cook in the pan as you would for french toast.  

Serve with poached peaches, marscapone white chocolate cream, orange syrup, and crumbled hazelnuts. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Ella's Cheshire Cat Birthday Cake

This labour of love took around 4 hours, and a lot of bad language from start to finish.  I baked the cakes the night before in three different shaped bowls, then allowed them to cool, and cut them on quirky angles.

I then roughly iced all surfaces with basic icing, to make the marshmallow fondant icing stick to the cakes.  I couldn't believe how easy it was to make the marshmallow fondant, and also, how easy it was to work with.

To make it, i bought a 250g pack of marshmallows, and split them into pink and white.  I put one colour in a bowl, with 1tbsp of water, and microwaved for approximately 30 seconds, and stirred until it was a smooth mixture.  I then measured out around 250g of icing sugar, and started mixing it into the marshmallows bit by bit.  Once the mixture was starting to almost form a dough, and lose it's tackiness, I turned it out onto the bench, and kneaded the rest of the icing sugar in.  I should mention that I had dusted the bench with icing sugar to ensure that the icing didn't stick.  Once the icing reaches the consistency of playdough, it is ready!  You can either tint it at the marshmallow stage, once it is removed from the microwave, or you can actually tint it once it has turned into icing, by kneading the food colouring through - however this takes a bit longer, and you may end up with stained hands!  

From this point I separated the icing into batches and tinted them different colours.  For the base icing layer of each layer of the cake, I simply tinted to the desired colour, and then rolled out to around 4mm thick, draped it over the cakes, removed any extra, and smoothed out any joins.  You can smooth the joins by brushing with water, and rubbing the area with a small ball of icing, dusted liberally in icing sugar.  

Once you have finished decorating, brush very lightly with water to remove any traces of icing sugar.  The cat's face came out a bit soft and started to fall apart, as it was a 35 degree day, and quite warm in the kitchen.  I wasn't sure whether time in the fridge would help to set it hard or not, and I didn't have time to experiment.