Category Archives: Desserts

Pepper Club perfection

I’m not in the habit of blogging about OTHER people’s food. This is essentially vanity fare, so I like the focus to be on ME. However, every once in a while, you come across something so simply sublime that it cannot go unmentioned.

Ginger Crème Brûlée with Brandy Snaps from Chef Gabriël le Roux at The Pepper Club in Cape Town

Creme Brulee

Every custard's dream job

Apologies for the below-par picture – I only had my cellphone camera on me.

First of all, I’ve never really been much of a crème brûlée fan, perhaps because I’ve never had a good one. Just glorified custard to me, really. But this was not just any set custard with burnt sugar on top.

The consistency was stiff enough not to wobble off your spoon, but still incredibly light and airy. The layer of caramelised sugar on top was thin and crisp; no sharp bits to hurt your mouth and the flavour complemented the custard instead of overpowering it. Clearly you can tell that my previous experience of this dessert favourite hasn’t been pleasant.

Okay, I went back for another one. I had to make sure it wasn’t just the wine that was warming me up to this little cup of heaven. It was lots of fun dipping the rolled brandy snap into the cup and scooping out the custard, instead of using a spoon. Not so glamorous maybe, but that’s rather inconsequential to my enjoyment at that very moment.

No, we didn’t only have dessert. The meal began with starters ranging from oysters to fig and camembert phyllo cigars and lamb kebabs dipped in a yoghurt and apricot raita of sorts.

Main course consisted of beef fillet with fondant potato, red onion chutney, creamed leeks and a wild mushroom sauce.

Here are some of the other desserts that were on offer:

Banana Tarte Tatin

Banana Tarte Tatin

Berry Compote and Vanilla Mascarpone Pavlova

Berry Compote and Vanilla Mascarpone Pavlova

Look, it’s no secret that I love to complain. As such, my only disappointment for the evening was that I had nothing to bitch about on the way home. Nothing! I must be losing my touch… 😉

Executive Chef Gabriël le Roux was at the Paranga group (Paranga and Bungalow in Camps Bay) before heading up at The Pepper Club.


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Scones for memory lane

Mom!

Yesterday I stumbled upon (literally, not the app) Cook Sister’s Mamma’s no-recipe scones post. It made me think of you. You often baked cheese scones. Spicy ones. You always wanted to turn our garden into a tea garden.  Sorry that never happened, but I’m working on something even better.

Scones

Squishy, scrumptious scones

In the recipe, Jeanne instructs us to ‘cut’ the liquid into the flour by drawing a grid. I’d forgotten that you taught me how to do that when I was still two bricks and a tickie high. You used a butter knife instead of a wooden spoon, and I think the knife works better. Thanks for that tip 😉

I can’t remember your scone recipe. Gosh, there is so much I don’t remember about our years together. But this one works really well. They were the fluffiest, softest little things. They rose exceptionally. You would have liked them I think.

Scones with apricot jam and fresh cream

Wat is 'n scone sonder jêm?

One recipe that you taught me that I do remember is bread and butter pudding. You always made things so simple: one egg to one cup of milk to one teaspoon of vanilla essence. I’m a big girl now so I use vanilla extract instead. It wasn’t around when you were.

Back to the scones. They were very quick and easy to make. And they disappeared just as quickly! At 7pm, 12 scones came out of the oven. At 7:30pm, there were three left. Danny laid into them. Baking for boys is a thankless job. Well, at least that way I know they were good.

So now I’ll have another – just for you.

Cherry

PS. Here’s the recipe.

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Let them eat cake – GFWS

“Let them eat cake”  – who said that? If you said Marie Antoinette, sorry, but you’ve got a little egg on your face!

You’re forgiven for thinking that the glamorous queen uttered this iconic statement, but as Eric Lanlard pointed out to us as we made macaroons, or Macarons, she did not. The phrase was first appeared in The Confessions of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, written before Marie Antoinette even arrived in France.

Marie Antoinette did however have a cat named Macaron, and it’s believed that these little treats were her favourite (the dessert, not the cat).

Macaroons fit for a queen? You decide.

Top Billing and Mercedes Benz hosted a garden at this weekend’s Good Food and Wine Show. The most delectable desserts were on show in the little garden. I say ‘on show’ because I never tasted them. I took these photos on Thursday and on Sunday – the desserts were still there. Do you think they’re plastic? If so – poor form at a GFWS!

Berry nice!

Berry nice!

So here’s me practicing my food photography with the office’s lovely Canon. Seriously, I’m tired of my ‘mik ‘n druk’ now. Must get upgrade.

Dotty delight

Dotty delight

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Lemon Meringue

That’s Meringue as in merr-ing-gyoo, y’hear?

It was our first time. I was a little nervous; when dealing with substances with the consistency of egg whites, we all know how quickly you can end up with a bun in the oven instead of just a hot piece o’pie, you know what I mean?

Blonde Beauty

I've always had a thing for golden blondes...

A lemon meringue always looked particularly complicated, all the layers, and crusts and I aren’t the best of friends yet. Flaky, to say the least… but this recipe from Fresh Living‘s little fast ‘n slow booklet was amazingly simple and accurate. I swear, it looked almost identical to the picture on the page! I love it when that happens; you know they ain’t using no fancy tricks and gadgets your poor wooden spoon would never live up to.

No gebakte pere, just a gorgeous blonde tart – like me.

Lemon Meringue

Crust:
1 packet of tennis biscuits
1/2 cup of melted butter

Yellow:
3 egg yolks
rind and juice of 4 lemons
1 can of condensed milk

White (meringue):
3 egg whites
2/3 cup of castor sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Pre-heat oven to 180ºC. Finely crush the tennis biccies in your food processor, or by putting them in a bag and smashing it against the counter. This is also a lot more fun. Mix finely crushed biscuit bits with the butter. Flatten into a pie dish and bake in the oven for about 10 minutes. Take it out and let it cool. Resist the urge to eat the yummy smelling crust.

Then… beat your egg yolk and lemon juice and rind until its pale and thick. Seriously, mine never got thick. Frothy, yes, but not thick.  But once you add that all important tin of condensed milk – the stuff kids’ dreams are made of – it will become thick. Problem solved.
Pour said thick yellow gloop into the pie dish on top of the crust.

Then… okay there’s a trick to meringue. Jamie Oliver was on the telly JUST when I was making this baby, and he was making meringue! Freaky, I know. He says older eggs make better meringue. It’s true: the egg whites are thicker. Also, pour the sugar in gradually while beating whites and vanilla. Put the sugar in your hand and use a loosely closed fist to let the sugar stream in slowly. It looks real sexy too. So basically, beat your egg whites, sugar and vanilla until softish peaks form. Mine weren’t soft or stiff, just perfectly in-between, and this worked for me.

Spoon the meringue on top of yellow gloop and make loving, swooshing movements with your spoon, like you’re a happy French housewife with nothing else to do. It will make pretty peaks and troughs – another thing I learnt from Jamie.

Bake for 30 minutes, remove from oven, let it cool. Decorate with some rind and serve.

C’est bon!

Lemon Meringue

Lemon Meringue

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Top Deck Cupcakes

Do you really need an excuse or occasion to bake cupcakes? I certainly don’t, but a new recipe for icing is more than enough motivation.

Top Deck Cupcakes with Roux icing

Chocolate below, white on top...

When someone calls their recipe “The Best Frosting I’ve Ever Had“, that’s really putting your neck out there. And who am I to disagree without shoving spoonfuls down my throat first, just to make sure I tasted right the first time.

And that’s just what I did. Chocolate cupcakes with white icing look so much cooler than vanilla cake with chocolate icing, no? It’s the Top Deck of cake.

The secret to this icing is the sort-of ‘roux’. Click here for the recipe and you’ll see what I mean.

I only ate three myself. I gave the other 21 to neighbours and colleagues. I deserve a Top Deck slab for my charitable ways…

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