Monthly Archives: June 2010

Chocolate peanut butter tarts with peanut butter powder

Surprisingly simple recipe…

Tart cases

The tart pastry is made using this Exclusively Food recipe (which I usually find requires an extra egg yolk and a tablespoon or so of milk to come together properly). Roll out the pastry until about 3mm thick, cut into circles with about an 8cm diameter using a cookie cutter, place in little aluminium pie casings, line with circles of baking paper, fill with baking beads, then bake at 160°C for 5 minutes. Remove the beads and baking paper and put back in the oven for a further 5-10 minutes until golden.


250g cream cheese, at room temperature
250g peanut butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla paste

Beat the cream cheese and the peanut butter together until smooth. Add vanilla and beat. Add the brown sugar and beat until well combined. Spoon into the tart cases.

Chocolate ganache
150g dark chocolate
60g thickened cream

Melt the dark chocolate in a bain marie or the microwave. Stir in the cream. Spoon over the tarts.

Peanut butter powder
120g peanut butter
100g tapioca starch

Blend peanut butter and tapioca starch together in a food processor until it forms a dry powder. Scatter over tarts and store the remainder in an airtight container.


Bacon chocolate custard with chocolate soil and sour cream pearls

Ok yes this recipe is all kinds of insanity. But mostly good kinds of insanity, I like to think.

The flavour of the bacon in the chocolate custard is subtle, as it comes from bacon-infused milk (yeah I thought I was being original and unconventional with my creation of bacon-infused milk, until I stumbled across a blog article all about how chefs in a few restaurants make bacon-infused milk and thicken it with gellan to make, essentially, bacon cream — then I didn’t feel so original, but I did feel less insane). The overall taste of the pudding in the end is of slightly bitter chocolate but just slightly richer and more resonant. And maybe a bit smokey. And bacon-y. I don’t know, just try it. It’s interesting.

And chocolate soil is fantastic. You can and will put it on everything. You know when you make a cheesecake and you sometimes make the crumb base by processing biscuits and butter together? This is kind of the same idea, but about a thousand times better. And it really looks like soil. But nice soil, soil that you wouldn’t mind eating.

As for the sour cream pearls — I hadn’t even considered how spherification-friendly dairy products might be. They have sufficient calcium in them already to react in an alginate bath to allow for reverse spherification. Tremendously convenient.

Malted red velvet cakes

I had lunch the other day at what must surely now be the exact hipster epicentre of this city. I don’t think it had an epicentre before; it was just a nebulous region with a slightly higher concentration of hipsters than other areas. But this little café must surely have become like hipster Mecca since it has opened. Everything is just. so. ironic. From the astroturf flooring with kitschy lawn ornaments, to the creepy foot-shaped salt and pepper shakers originally souvenired from some obscure Western Australian mining town then brought to the table via the box in your crazy aunt’s attic, to the big, brightly coloured plastic cups that make you feel like you’re not old enough to be allowed to use fancy glassware just yet.

Oh and it was full of hipsters. One was wearing a dress with a cartoon dinosaur on it and a very serious expression on her face (the hipster, not the dinosaur, the dinosaur looked quite happy). The hipster couple seated in front of me wearing socks with sandals and expensive-looking architectural quiffs ordered massive soft-serve ice cream sundaes as their entrée (studded with sprinkles and cheap wafers), followed by hotdogs with potato chips out of a packet as their main. So. ironic.

For the record, I really have nothing against hipsters, except maybe when they take themselves too seriously. But then I wonder if taking yourself too seriously is an essential criterion for being a true hipster. They’re a fascinating bunch of people to look at and wonder about (“Why did she decide to use a bulldog clip to hold her skirt up? Was it for practical or aesthetic reasons?”) and hey, at least they’re expressing themselves creatively through their appearance… I think…

The point of all this is that at this hipster café, one of the things I ordered was a malted chocolate milkshake. Of course it was served festooned in multi-coloured sugar sprinkles, which even my 6-year-old niece would have possibly found lacking in sophistication (she of the “I want a cake made out of a mountain of doughnuts” fame), but it was such a good milkshake. I had forgotten how much I like malt. So there and then I resolved to make multiple (OR MALTIPLE! HA! HA!) recipes to showcase its fantasticness.

And given my history of forcing red velvet cake into strange new formats and unfamiliar territory, it was at the top of the list for a malt-based transformation. Transformation is probably a bit of an overstatement — this is just a normal red velvet cake plus about a dozen tablespoons of malt. But the flavours work so well together. I would consider not making a normal red velvet cake ever again; I think I might prefer it with the addition of malt.

Steamed buns with bacon and caramelised bananas

I imagine that this recipe should come with some warnings:

Do not attempt this recipe if you care about your cardiovascular health at all. Do not attempt it if you wish to avoid Type II diabetes. Do not go within a 5-metre radius of the finished product if you want to keep the enamel on your teeth. Do not attempt this recipe if you have a weak stomach or a delicate disposition. This recipe would have been a candidate for if the owner of the site hadn’t deleted it (although Google has lovingly cached it of course). Do not prepare or consume this item while operating heavy machinery. May cause excessive sweating, nervousness, over-excitement or disgust.

That said, as shameful as these things are, they are amazing. And it’s not as if I’ve Lutherised a KFC Double-Down, a.k.a. fried meat + more fried meat + doughnut. This recipe is a petty crime compared to that monstrosity.

It came about out of pure necessity (so I tell myself) when I was trying to put together some form of meal with whatever was hanging around in the kitchen on a public holiday. I had about 20 steamed buns left over from the night before, I had bacon I had bought at the butcher because it was free-range and looked good, and I had bananas which I had bought primarily for their ethylene, so that they would encourage my very unripe chocolate pudding fruit to ripen. A few days previously I had been at a newly opened restaurant and had ordered a dish containing caramelised bananas and I was wistful for them, so they had to make a reappearance. And so everything came together in this ungodly way.

Citrus fizz

I would say that this recipe is a bit of citrus overload, but then again I don’t think there’s any such thing. I sometimes have to restrain myself from cramming citrus ad infinitum into whatever I cook. I’m like a kid in a candy store with citrus, except to render that simile exceptionally bland, the child is very sober and restrained and the candy store is just the local fruit & vegetable store with its not amazingly diverse citrus range.

This recipe is adapted from the latest issue of Delicious, and originally called for six Meyer lemons. Having precisely zero Meyer lemons handy, I changed the recipe to involve input from lemon, navel orange, Emperor mandarin and ruby grapefruit. The fizz element comes from the addition of yeast, which reacts with fructose and glucose (which is produced from the sucrose in the sugar courtesy of the yeast enzyme invertase — ok, wanton science indulgence time is over now) to produce carbon dioxide and alcohol. So the mixture should be slightly carbonated and ever so slightly alcoholic, although the relatively short reaction time really keeps this minimal. I find that the carbonation is barely detectable really, except as a slight change in taste (since carbon dioxide has a faintly sour taste) but it’s a pleasant and interesting change rather than just having this be your standard jug o’ juice.

It takes a little while to prepare, but in all it’s not much effort and it’s worth it in the end.