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Pete Fred

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  1. Another bite-size treat from Dana Cree... Coconut Haystack Cookies. I have no idea if I made them correctly. The method is a new one on me: make a butter/sugar emulsion, incorporate whole egg and (dessicated) coconut, cook the mixture on the hob, chill the dough, roll into balls (10g for me), bake. There was plenty of guesswork on my part as to how each step should look or feel. Anyway, I really liked them. Best served warm, I think. Initially very buttery, with caramel notes from the bottoms, then finishing strongly with coconut. Quite different from your regular macaroon. Once cooled, they're more dense and chewy, the butteriness somewhat lessened.
  2. A slab of Dana Cree's Nutterbutters (although I think they're now known as Nutterbuddys). The base is peanut butter and chocolate, with cocoa nibs and feuilletine for texture. The top is white chocolate caramel ganache (oh the bubbles! 😭). Very moreish. Highly recommended. Recipe here. (And a bit more backstory here, if you like that sort of thing).
  3. The Nutella, Sesame and Hazelnut Rolls from Ottolenghi 'Simple'. Quite tasty. I liked the orange note. Not sure the sesame seeds added much; I'll probably skip them next time. Warm out of the oven (or after a quick blast in the microwave) they're soft with a little crispness on top; once cooled, they're chewier (no bad thing).
  4. I could only find three people online who'd made it, commenting on the "natural gooey chocolate sauce", the "thin, shiny glaze" and a texture "half cake, half mousse". Either we're all doing it wrong or that's how it's supposed to be. When cooled (L) it went quite fudgy (and definitely needed cream or custard), but a quick nuking in the microwave brought the moussey-ness back (R, not that you can tell).
  5. One for us nostalgia freaks... Barbara Kafka's Microwave Chocolate Pudding. I think this came on my radar when reading her obituary in the New York Times back in the summer. I'm curious.... is it meant to be "self-saucing", or is mine just undercooked? The recipe makes no mention of this film of batter. The crumb might look a little dense in the picture but it was actually really light, and even if the "sauce" is technically incorrect it worked well. This was a pleasant surprise. Beautifully simple and just half an hour from opening the cupboard to doing the washing up. A good recipe to have tucked away in case of dessert related emergencies!
  6. Idly browsing the discount shelf at the supermarket last night, I was shocked and delighted to see them clearing out their stock of maple sugar. So I picked up ten 100g bags at 90% off! 😲 I made Pierre Herme's Financier Carré Blanc which are little maple and cranberry almond cakes. The traditionally shaped ones (L) were made in metal, the others (R) in silicone. I prefer traditional because the edges crisp up a touch more for a nice textural contrast. After getting all excited about the maple sugar, it wasn't a particularly forward flavour and was somewhat lost behind the brown butter. I like financiers, and these were good, but not worth the premium for speciality sugar. Just gotta find a way now to use up the remaining 934g of Canada's finest!
  7. It's not hollow. It's made just like a Swiss roll. 👍 Bake a flat sheet of meringue on a tray lined with parchment. Once cooled, place a tea towel on top, flip and remove parchment. Spread with a layer of whipped cream and cover with fruit. Then roll into a log using the tea towel to assist. As you roll, the meringue cracks into that crazy-paving effect. Place seam side down on a serving tray or plate. It's from this recipe by Ottolenghi. I thought the oven temperature was way too high so did my meringue at 130C/260F until pale beige and suitably cooked (crusty on top, marshmallowy inside).
  8. A batch of Thomas Keller's bouchons. These are excellent little cakes. I make them in Ø 45 mm (1¾") dariole moulds. Quite dinky and gone in two or three bites... They're a tiny bit crispy on top, and are like a cakey brownie. I find them best warm, when the chocolate chips are still gooey. Once cooled, they're a touch more dense (not that that's a bad thing!). Mr Keller certainly knows a thing or two about cookin'. 😀
  9. I know, I'm always complaining about lack of flavour and blaming it on the fruit. I didn't want to waste any rum or wine on what was just a test run so didn't do myself any favours. Come July, when I make another one, I'll no doubt be moaning about the strawberries or cherries. 😁😉
  10. A surfeit of egg whites was all the excuse I needed to have a go at pavlova for the first time. This was 'winter fruits'. A baked meringue, spread with vanilla whipped cream and poached, spiced apple and pear segments, a sprinkiing of blackberries, then rolled. Finally, more cream piped on top and a faintly ridiculous 'artful' placement of more fruit. It was a bit 'meh' in terms of flavour. But this was mainly an opportunity to practise technique and construction ahead of (hopefully) better fruit in the summer, and I was happy with the process and texture of it.
  11. Pete Fred

    Chocolate Caramels

    Dunno if Bruno Albouze was one of your fails or not. Recipe and video here. I tried 55, 60, 70 and 85% cocoa solids, and all worked well... but I can't remember which I preferred. 🙄
  12. Thanks. Worth a lot more than two cents. I'll file these tips in my culinary mind palace. ☺️
  13. Halva babka, based on the one at Breads Bakery in New York. Their filling, but I swapped in a brioche feuilletée for the bread. Not much of a looker at first glance (that's a tahini glaze on top)... ...but more appealing once opened up... A bit disappointing, sadly. The flavour was quite muted. I much prefer their chocolate babka.
  14. I did not. I'll keep my ear to the ground for the digital edition. Thanks. 👍 I do like Mr Harvey; his focus and attention to detail are right up my street. He talked abour cannelés on npr a few years ago, if anyone's interested.
  15. Cannelé. Batter made with egg yolks, moulds coated with beeswax. The difference between the dark and light ones is just oven position. Vive la France!