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Desserts

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It’s starting to look a lot like silly season; but we prefer to think about the arrival of stone fruit season. It’s a time for enjoying ripe juicy peaches, rich dark plums and sweet and fragrant nectarines. Essentials’ Megan Chalmers has put together a multi-textured recipe that uses stone fruits in the most celebratory and creative way. Spiced Poached Plum and Stone Fruit Trifle with Orange Blossom Marshmallow Serves 4 Spiced Poached Plums 1kg blood…

There comes a time when decadent desserts are the order of the day. Essentials’ Megan Chalmers knows how to unleash the most creative and sweet extravagant flavours, designed to warm your soul, like these Banoffee Buttermilk Pancakes. Banoffee Buttermilk Pancakes Serves 2, in large stacks 1½ cups self raising flour, sifted 2 teaspoons baking powder, sifted ⅔ cup caster sugar ¼ tsp nutmeg 1½ cups buttermilk 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 4 whole eggs Unsalted butter,…

Beechworth Honey has long been at the forefront of championing Australian varietal honeys. The business was created 25 years ago by husband and wife team Steven and Jodie Goldsworthy in Beechworth in North East Victoria. This honey cake recipe with dried flower petals and raw Australian honeycomb is a great way to celebrate their single origin 100% pure/raw honeys. Honey Cake with dried flower petals, raw Australian honeycomb Cookie Layers 170g Beechworth Honey’s Bee Bold…

Capturing Tropical and Fresh Fruit Flavours: Essentials in-house chef Megan Chalmers has collaborated with New Zealand freeze dried ingredient company Fresh As and Whitsunday’s newest resort, Elysian Retreat to present a range of tropical inspired menu items, including this flame-grill assisted dessert. Brown Sugar Pudding with rum-glazed flame-grilled pineapple, Fresh As Freeze Dried Pineapple Chunks, double cream Brown Sugar Pudding Preheat oven to 180°C. 250g pitted dates, chopped 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda 1½ cups…

Individual panna cotta served with a tablespoon of orange blossom honey syrup and  segments of candied orange. 2 tsp powdered gelatine 3 tbsp chilled water 1¾ cup thickened cream 6 tbsp caster sugar 2 tsp orange blossom water 1¼ cups Meredith Dairy goat’s milk yogurt Method 1. In a small bowl add the chilled water and gently scatter the powdered gelatine into the water using a teaspoon. Allow to stand for five minutes until the…

Rosewater Meringue with poached strawberries and rhubarb, vanilla mascarpone cheese and dried rose petals. Serves 5 Rosewater Meringue Pre-heat oven to 90C 6 egg whites 375g caster sugar Pinch salt 1 tbsp white vinegar 1 tbsp rose water Method 1. Whisk egg whites while slowly adding caster sugar. Whisk for 10-12 minutes until stiff peaks form and all sugar has dissolved. When it’s right you should be able to hold the bowl upside-down. If you’re…

Syrniki are Russian fried quark (cheese) pancakes that are traditionally garnished with light sour cream, varenye (jam), honey or apple sauce. The cheese mixture may contain raisins for extra flavour. Melbourne’s Blue Bay Dairy quark cheese is the perfect ingredient for making these quick-as-a-flash breakfast recipe gems. They’re simply delicious! Syrniki (seer-nee-kee) Russian Sweet Cheese Fritters Makes 12-14 medium size pieces 250g Blue Bay Quark Cheese, or drained cottage cheese 2 eggs pinch of salt…

Have you tried grilling fruit? The intense heat of the grill adds a caramelised texture to most fruits, also adding sweetness and a more pronounced flavour profile. Just about any fruits can go on the grill as long as they are fairly firm and not overripe. The perfect pairing, we feel, is a quality homemade granita. These are a synch to make, and can be prepared quickly. Here our a few of our favourite grilled…

There comes a time when a decadent dessert is the order of the day and this sweet extravagant bread and butter brioche pudding is designed to warm hearts and minds. Makes 4 individual puddings 4 eggs ¼ cup caster sugar 1 tsp vanilla extract ¼ tsp cinnamon 2 cups full cream milk 300ml thickened cream 4 small brioche buns 50g softened unsalted butter 1 small punnet of raspberries 1 small punnet of blackberries ½ cup…

These luxurious single serve no-bake black forest cakes are designed to be frozen prior to serving, creating a unique frozen dessert option, perfect for spring and summer entertaining. Base ¾ cup raw cashew nuts ¾ cut coconut flakes 2 tbsp cacao powder 10 medjool dates, pitted 1 tsp coconut oil ¼ tsp sea salt flakes Method 1. Add the raw cashews and coconut flakes to a food processor and pulse until a crumb consistency is…

In Michelin-starred restaurants around the globe and in Good Food Guide-hatted restaurants in Australia, detailed layering of delicate flavoursome elements combine to make exquisite desserts. While these perfected plates of beauty seem impossibly complex to craft, Essentials’ Megan Chalmers shares a few tricks of the trade, putting together a buttermilk rice pudding with baklava wafer, Turkish delight and sugared rose petals to ensure your evening’s dining table is an award-winner. Buttermilk Rice Pudding 2 cups coconut…

Few desserts entertain better than a decadent cheesecake bursting with colour and natural fragrances. They may look tricky but we’ll let you in on a secret… they’re a cinch! Sesame Ricotta Cheesecake Tart with baked strawberries and sweet balsamic dressing 1 x Cheesecake Biscuit Crumb Base (see recipe below) Note: For the Sesame Ricotta Cheesecake Tart, add 2 tbsp black sesame seeds to the biscuit crumb base while blitzing. 250g cream cheese, warmed to room…

New Zealand freeze dried ingredient company Fresh As are culinary leaders in capturing the intense flavours of fresh fruits, herbs and many other food delicacies – literally frozen in time. Their products including freeze dried food segments and powders, give chefs a new set of creative powers – enhancing dishes with both flavour punch and great textural accompaniment. This recipe presents a little taste of its freeze dried magic. Plum and Pistachio Semifreddo with Fresh…

There’s nothing more winter friendly than toasting marshmallows over an open fire. But have you ever considered how easy it is to make your own homemade marshmallow? Essentials’ Megan Chalmers shares this recipe for light and fluffy orange blossom marshmallow; one that’s a touch more adult indulgent and that also pairs well with winter poached fruits or chocolate desserts. Orange Blossom Marshmallow 500g caster sugar 1 tbsp liquid glucose 400ml water 2 tbsp gelatine powder…

Kompot is a non-alcoholic sweet beverage of Slavic origin, that may be served hot or cold, depending on tradition and season. 4 whole Davidson plums 150g red currants 200g sliced poached seasonal fruit (see recipe below) 2 tbsp sugar 8 -10 cups water 4 fresh lemon slices, and 30ml juice (optional) Method Over a low heat, warm fruit and liquid to a simmer, allowing sugar to dissolve and fruit to cook and collapse; cook for…

This perfect autumn season dish is a wonderful way to wow guests with all the colour and fragrance of quinces. Chestnut Puff Pastry – Makes 1.2kg puff pastry (enough for 8-10 Tartes Tatin) 300g plain flour 200g chestnut flour 500g firm butter Pinch salt 250ml iced water Method 1. Remove butter from refrigerator and cut into small cubes 1 hour before using. 2. Sift flours into a mixing bowl and make a well in the…

Designed to win over even the fussiest of gourmet guests, this Chocolate Fondant with cacao jelly and chocolate crumble is  a winning and decadent dessert . Chocolate Fondant Makes 6 fondant ramekins Melted butter for greasing ramekins Cacao powder for dusting 100g butter 200g dark chocolate 4 whole eggs 4 egg yolks 100g caster sugar 150g plain flour, sifted 100g cacao powder Chocolate shavings and freshly-picked rosemary flowers to garnish Method Pre-heat oven to 180C 1.…

500g caster sugar 1 tbsp liquid glucose 400ml water 2 tbsp gelatine powder 2 egg whites 2 tsp vanilla bean paste Icing sugar for dusting Method 1. Line a large baking tray with cling film. 2. In a medium saucepan combine the caster sugar, liquid glucose, and 200ml of water. 3. Over a low heat, stir until the sugar dissolves to form a syrup. 4. Bring the syrup to the boil and continue boiling until…

Finely milled roasted wattleseed is a wonderful ingredient in ice cream. Flavour extraction is via hot, not boiling water, similar to a plunger coffee. The wattleseed presents an earthy, yet unique coffee/nut-like flavour. Outback Chef, Melbourne (Jude Mayall), is a leading supplier of premium roasted wattleseed. Method 1. After infusing, filter out the grains and use the liquid to flavour vanilla the ice cream anglaise base (see recipe below). As a rule, Jude suggests 3…

Vanilla Ice-cream Base Makes 500g 150ml thickened cream 225ml full-cream milk 5 egg yolks 60g caster sugar 1 vanilla pod, halved and scraped Ricotta and Crystallised Ginger Flavouring 500g vanilla ice-cream base 1 cup smooth ricotta 50g crystallised ginger, finely chopped 2 tbsp tokay/topaque wine (optional) Method 1. In a heavy-based saucepan add cream, milk and scraped vanilla pod and beans. Bring to a gentle simmer then remove from heat. 2. In a large bowl,…

Autumn/Winter Waffles with poached pears, pecan crumble, salted caramel sauce and ricotta and crystallised ginger ice-cream Serves 6 Waffle Batter 1 cup plain flour 4 tsp baking powder 2 tsp caster sugar 2 eggs, separated ½ cup melted butter 1 cup full-cream milk Method 1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients. 2. Whisk egg whites until moderately stiff. Set aside. 3. In second bowl, mix together milk, melted butter and egg yolks.…

Makes 2 tarts, serves 4 500g sweet pastry (see recipe below) Sweet lemon zest and salade de fleurs to garnish Lemon filling: makes 750ml 5 whole eggs 1 egg yolk 130g caster sugar 200ml thickened cream 130ml lemon juice 1 tsp grated lemon zest Preheat oven to 180C. Method 1. Roll out the sweet pastry to approximately 2-3mm thick and use it to line greased individual tart tins. Cover with baking paper, fill with dried…

In terms of world-famous wines, it’s impossible not to respectfully mention the region of Rutherglen, Victoria and in particular Buller Wines’ rare collection of fortified wines. Aged for 40 years, the Rare range of tokay, muscat and frontignac are simply astonishing wines, unrivalled in their category. Very few wines receive a full 100 points from leading US wine critic Robert Parker. He awarded the Tokay its 100 point score in October 2005, and the Muscat…

Serves 6-8 Sweet Pastry – Makes 500g 140g cold unsalted butter, diced 100g icing sugar Pinch salt 1 egg, lightly whisked 230g plain flour 20g cornflour Method 1. Put butter and sugar in bowl of electric beater and beat until creamy. 2. Add salt and drizzle in egg slowly, beat until smooth. 3. Sift in the flour and corn flour, mix briefly until it just comes together. 4. Tip dough out on floured surface and…

A chestnut bonet with pickled orange, candied orange, orange jelly and chestnut crumble is the ultimate adult dessert indulgence. Richard’s bonet – a classic dish hailing from Piedmont, Italy – was made a little more complex in flavour with the addition Australian sweetened chestnut puree. Smartly balanced with the acidic, unsweetened orange jelly and the brightness of other orange additions, it becomes an exploration of texture as much as taste. Atop, the orange-poached chestnut is soft…

Poached Quince Tarte Tatin with chestnut puff pastry and buttermilk icecream Chestnut Puff Pastry – Makes 1.2kg puff pastry (enough for 8-10 Tartes Tatin) 300g plain flour 200g chestnut flour 500g firm butter Pinch salt 250ml iced water Method 1. Remove butter from refrigerator 1 hour before using. Cut into small cubes while firm. 2. Sift flours into a mixing bowl and make a well in the centre. 3. Place butter and salt in the well and…

Serves 6  Dacquoise meringue 50g Lindt dark chocolate, chopped finely 100g sultanas, chopped 200g caster sugar 4 free-range egg whites (about 140g) 2 tsp Dutch cocoa powder, sifted 150g roasted and peeled Australian hazelnuts, crushed 75g almond meal ½ tbsp white vinegar 1 punnet strawberries (thinly sliced) Chocolate cream 50g Lindt dark chocolate, finely chopped (to make a ganache) 100ml cream (to make a ganache) 250ml cream ¼ tsp vanilla bean paste Baking paper Heat…

Pear in Mulled Wine 6 pears, peeled 10 cloves 2 cinnamon quills 1 tsp ground nutmeg 1 cup brown sugar 2 cups cold water Zest of one large orange 2 cups red wine Method 1. Place all ingredients except the pears in a saucepan and bring to the boil. 2. Reduce heat to a simmer, add pears and poach until soft. 3. Allow pears to cool in liquid to infuse flavours. Can be preserved in…

Throughout the deeper reaches of the Swiss and Austrian alpine valleys, German forests and Russian villages, traditional winter foods, preserving techniques and family recipes are handed down from grandmother to granddaughter (ot babushki k vnuchke). In the spirit of giving, Essentials’ Megan Chalmers has reinvigorated a selection of the finest European winter treats to help ward off the winter nasties and restore the soul. Mini Black Forest Cake with forest floor of chocolate soil, mascarpone…

Serves 10 to 12 Method Pineapple Fresh pineapple (1.2Kg) 1. Clean the pineapple, cut it in 1.5cm thick slices and remove the heart. 2. Grill the slices and rest them. Method Crema Catalana 1 litre full cream milk 7 egg yolks 225g sugar 60g corn flour A substantial sliver of lemon rind Cinnamon stick 1. Put the milk, the lemon peel and the cinnamon in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Let stand for…