Sunday, 27 April 2014

Paris Brest

A delightfully stunning dessert

This is a simple yet elegant dessert.
Everyone likes pastries and filled with creme patisserie
this is  gorgeous.

There is so much fun in baking to keep one amused and the family, well fed.


Choux Pastry:

1 cup plain flour

pinch of salt

6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter

1/2 cup (125 ml) whole milk

1/2 cup (125 ml) water

4 large eggs, lightly beaten

For glazing:

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup (50 grams) shaved almonds  (I used chopped almonds)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) and place the rack in the center of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Draw an eight inch (20 cm) circle on the parchment paper to use as a guide when piping the choux pastry.  Pipe the pastry onto the unwritten side of paper and place on a baking tray.

In a bowl sift together the flour, sugar and salt. Set aside.

Place the butter, milk, and water in a heavy saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and, with a wooden spoon, quickly stir in the flour mixture. Return to heat and stir constantly until the dough comes away from the sides of the pan and forms a thick smooth ball.  Let cool.
When the dough is lukewarm, start adding the eggs, one at a time, and beat with a spoon until it is incorporated.  Continue until all eggs have been added and the dough is smooth

Transfer the dough to a large piping bag fitted with a large plain nozzle.  Pipe a 2.5cm  thick ring of dough on the paper 20cm circle.  Pipe another thick ring inside the first ring, making sure the rings of dough are touching. Pipe another dough ring on top of both of the lines, continuing until all mixture is used.  Brush the top with beaten egg. Sprinkle with the shaved or chopped  almonds.

Bake for 15 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Bake for a further 35 to 45 minutes or until the Paris Brest is a golden brown color, puffed, and crisp. Turn the oven off and, with the oven door slightly ajar, let the shell dry out for 5 minutes. Remove from oven place on a wire rack and split in half horizontally.  Let dry.

Creme Patisserie

2 cups milk
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornflour
1 whole vanilla bean.

Place the milk and vanilla bean in a saucepan and bring almost to boiling point.  Remove from heat.
Place sugar, cornflour and egg yolks in a bowl and whisk together until well combined.
Pour the hot milk in a steady stream into the egg mixture, stirring continuously.  Remove vanilla bean.
Pour this back into a clean saucepan through a sieve and bring to a simmer.
Continue to simmer for about 5 minutes until the mixture is thick.
Turn off heat and place glad wrap onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming.   Let cool.

To Assemble:  Spoon the creme patisserie onto the bottom half of the pastry.  Place the top half of the pastry shell on top and dust with powdered icing sugar.

Makes one large 8 inch (20 cm) Paris Brest.

So tell me please,
where would you suggest to holiday this year .... Thailand or Vietnam?

Buon appetito, Enjoy, Merryn


Monday, 14 April 2014

Merryn's Menu: Pavlova - Home Made and Fool Proof

Merryn's Menu: Pavlova - Home Made and Fool Proof: Perfect Pavlova When you leave the supermarket car park there is a sign stating  "trolley wheels will lock if taken past this ...

Pavlova - Home Made and Fool Proof

Perfect Pavlova

When you leave the supermarket car park there is a sign stating 
"trolley wheels will lock if taken past this point ".
Every time I see this I am tempted to push a trolley past this point
just to see if the trolley wheels really will lock.

Yesterday I had customers who had come to collect their order
and knowing they did not drive I was intrigued as to how they would get their 2 x 20kg boxes home.

Out the front of our shop proudly stood a borrowed trolley.
"The Coles ones lock but not the Woolworths or Aldi trolleys" I was informed.

So now you too know, some trolley wheels lock when taken too far from the shop.
If only all questions were as easy to answer as this one.

A friend asked me recently how to cook a pavlova that is hard on the outside yet soft on the inside.
Here is my response and I trust these guidelines are helpful;

Pavlova Recipe

5 egg whites (185 gram in weight)
185 gram castor sugar
4 teaspoons white cornflour
1 teaspoon white vinegar
# See note below

Preheat oven to 150 Celsius.
Separate the egg whites from the yolks and weigh them.  (I used the yolks to make Zabaglione)
Here I used 5 egg whites with a total weight of 185 grams.
Put these into your mix master and blend at high speed for about 3 minutes, or until soft peaks form.

Measure out an equal amount of castor sugar (185 grams) and add 1 tablespoon at a time to the egg whites. 
Do this at about 30 second intervals to ensure the sugar is incorporated, until all of the sugar has been added.
Make sure there is no sugar stuck to the inside bowl, you want it all mixed well.

Continue to beat on high for another 3 minutes.
Rub a little mixture between your fingertips to make sure all of the sugar is "dissolved" in the egg mixture.

Take out bowl, add 4 teaspoons cornflour and 1 teaspoon white vinegar and gently fold through.

Place on paper lined tray and place on the bottom shelf of the oven.  
Cook with only top element on, or as with my oven, I can cook with fan only (NOT fan forced but just fan).

Rotate tray after 20 minutes  Bake for approx 40 minutes total until the outside is a light golden brown and the inside is still soft.
Remove tray from oven and let pavlova cool on the bench.

When cool - Decorate with whipped cream and fresh, seasonal fruit.
Here I used just picked passionfruit, strawberries and bananas.

#  Note:  If using 4 egg whites, approx 150 grams, add 150 grams castor sugar, 3 teaspoons cornflour and                 1 teaspoon vinegar, cook for approx 35 minutes.

Buon appetito, Enjoy Merryn

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Merryn's Menu: Garden Share Collective ~April 2014

Merryn's Menu: Garden Share Collective ~April 2014: The slow transition through Autumn between Summer and Winter seems to last forever. The rain this Autumn has been welcome and very refres...

Garden Share Collective ~April 2014

The slow transition through Autumn between Summer and Winter seems to last forever.
The rain this Autumn has been welcome and very refreshing.

Autumn equals Avocados

Avocados actually ripen when picked from the tree.
They mature on the tree and can last for up to 18 months 
as the tree 'preserves'them.
They only ripen when separated from the tree.
This variety is a Secondo, it is a semi dwarf variety (a cross between Hass and Bacon Avocados).

This is a late season watermelon.
My husband puts an upside down pot over it when the chickens are free ranging.
We plan to eat this one!

Kourusagi (Bunny) under the avocado tree.

There are still tomatoes ripening and we have had a mass of corn cobs.

 I am so enjoying these Pitayas (Dragon Fruit).

Luscious Basil, soon to be turned into pesto for winter.
I think they grow much better in Autumn than in Summer.

There are plenty of eggplants -  you can see the pretty purple eggplant flowers.

 A red Birds Eye Chili which seems to fruit all year round.
Self seeding continually so there are always small chillies available for picking.

 Presently we have a carpet of snake bean plants. 
The snake beans grow well from seed as evidenced by this glorious display.
It sure beats mowing, anyday.

Red papaya, these are huge and it is a self propagating tree.

Even though the main branch snapped, these tamarillos are still ripening.

The last of the pomegranates.

Ruby red grapefruit protected from the galahs.

Can you believe limes are priced at $1 each in the supermarket?

Or lemons selling for 50 cents each?

These are the highlights of my April garden.
If you enjoyed my garden, please view
the other Garden Share Collective members via this link.

Buon appetito, Merryn.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Merryn's Menu: Chilli Furikake

Merryn's Menu: Chilli Furikake: I love Chilli - I am possibly addicted to Chilli but it is healthy and harmless. I also like swimming.  Once when I was when competing

Chilli Furikake

I love Chilli - I am possibly addicted to Chilli
but it is healthy and harmless.

I also like swimming.  Once when I was when competing in a school swimming carnival, doing the dreaded 'Butterfly Stroke' half way down the pool,  I felt this hand on my belly lifting me up out of the water.

This muscular teacher apparently thought I was drowning - anyone doing the butterfly stroke looks like they can't swim.   Seriously, whoever invented this method of swimming should be shot!

I think the teacher was trying to win brownie points with a new female teacher, but it didn't do anything for my morale.  Lesson learnt, participate in what you enjoy and not what you are told to compete in.

Likewise, because I like chilli, I will eat chilli.

Chilli Furikake is equally nice sprinkled on boiled rice or any dish that needs a flavour lift.
It is delicious sprinkled over sliced cucumber or spaghetti con aglio olio (with garlic and olive oil).

I bought Adam Liaw's cook book Asian After Work and am thoroughly enjoying the recipes.
Thinking carefully about copyright I hesitated in reproducing Adam's recipe, until I saw this post on
TheHoopla where Chilli Furikake was cooked on Masterchef with Crispy Squid.

Here is the recipe;

Chilli Furikake
2 tbsp bonito flakes
1 sheet nori seaweed
1 tsp sesame seeds, toasted
1 pinch caster sugar
1 tsp Korean chili powder
2 tbsp Maldon sea salt
1. To make the Chilli Furikake, toast the nori sheet over an open flame for few second until it becomes brittle. Crumble the nori into the bowl of a small food processor with the bonito flakes and process until it becomes a coarse powder. Add the toasted sesame seeds, sugar, chili powder and salt and mix well. Store in an airtight container.

My breakfast usually consists of two fried eggs sprinkled with a little finely sliced chilli, depicted here with the welcome addition of Chilli Furikake. It is a great accompaniment to the creamy, home made fried Haloumi.

Does anyone else add extras to their fried eggs and what would you put Chilli Furikake on?
Buon appetito, Merryn