We are not desserts people. So, we don’t really know how to make desserts. But for the past two weeks we got hooked to a desserts competition called Zumbo’s Just Desserts. Oh what desserts they make in 3-4 hours, with usual ingredients! After watching the first few episodes in awe, the toxic thought showed up: Easy, I can do that. First effort was to be a cake but what do I know? I cannot make just a dry cake, I don’t know creams, what is a sponge? or Jaconde? Somewhere I had a recipe called pandispanya but is it the same thing?
I improvised a cake that turned out like this. It has a sponge cake inside. Since I don’t like all creams, I used Canan’s Magnolia cream from Mide Lobisi. I also put strawberries. So far so good. Then I decided to make something called buttercream. Everyone was doing it in the more amateur dessert competition called Nailed It. The problem is, I was to make 3 mini cakes and needed very little cream and the stand mixer was not happy about it. My hand mixer was broken and it was impossible to do manually. Somehow I managed to do it, and tasted… Terrible! It’s just sweetened butter. Don’t get me wrong, there is only butter and sugar in it but I don’t know why, I expected something else, some character… I decided to add some strawberry flavour so I juiced some. When I added the cream turned lumpy. Pfff…
So I decided to use couverture that I have for some reason.And I had just learned that there was something called tempering! (And I didn’t even know for what it was used. I melted, added the seed, it was too called and reheated… Probably it ended untempered! See the picture for yourself. After all these disasters it ended up tasty, somewhat. Like everything homemade…
So I decided I needed to bring in the heavy guns. Lately Modernist Cuisine at Home is our reference book (It is quite expensive so before buying check from Library Genesis to see whether it is what you are looking for.) I found a tart base recipe. I have full confidence in the book. For the cream I wanted a passionfruit curd, so found the recipe from this blog. Actually she used another heavy gun I have, Pierre Herme’s book, most probably La Larousse des Desserts. You can also preview it from LibGen, where they have the English and French versions.
Not knowing how much I would need, I bought almost two kilos of passionfruit. (So bad, who will eat all that now? heh heh). So I made this cream and really enjoyed the taste at first but then I fridged it and it turned into a flavoured butter. I am not sure, maybe tarts are not good for fridging, but I would be a lot more happy with maybe 1/5th of the butter. I don’t have the tart’s picture because I feel I am on to a great recipe. I will tweek it a bit and post another blog for it. Because even with the overbuttered cream it was legendary!
Now that I had the big guns out, I decided to try the croquembouche I have been hearing in the competition. I love everything with pâte à choux! But while preparing the ingredients we took a detour and decided to make a profiterol instead. Why have no one ever told me it was soooo easy to make profiterols??? It was always too scary for me but it is quite easy. The dough was cooked in 3-5 minutes, cream is quite simple, and melt the chocolate and it’s done!
The only thing is, the priginal recipes were for 15 people! Dividing them to 5 to have recipes for two (ehem… don’t ask much! It is for TWO), I ended up with 2g of this and 4g of that. At one point the dough seemed so small that I thought it wouldn’t be enough but eventually we had 8 balls. The recipe calls for 10 mins in 200 C in oven but ours took about 20 minutes. After the first 10, it wasn’t even risen so we hesitated a bit. For the cream use a good vanilla because it is the cream that has the most mouthfeel. Also if you don’t like the bitterness of dark chocolate, you can consider adding more cream than the recipe’s call.
So anyway, this Zumbo is the reason we have been making desserts for the last two weeks. But luckily it was only one season and now that it is over, we can go back to salty.
At least I hope so.
By the way – the winner was our favourite!