Recipe Lab Book Post: Pectin Jellies (Pâté de fruit)

When I originally started this blog, a big part of the point of it was keeping track of my more successful culinary experiments so that I could repeat them as needed.  I haven’t really done that, but today I definitely need to, since I’m trying to work out a new recipe for pectin jellies.  This is going to be a blog post without pictures, because it really is mostly notes to myself.  But they might be of interest to other culinary chemists, too.

You might ask why I need a new recipe for pectin jellies, since the original one was so good.  Unfortunately, at some point, I stopped being able to find the pectin I needed, at which point the recipe stopped working. I’ve been trying a few different pectins without success.  The Lotus brand is the easiest to get hold of, but it just doesn’t work with the recipe I have.  After discussion today with the lovely chocolatiers and patissiers at Savour, I learned that one of the reasons for this is that Lotus adds dextrose to their pectin, so it just isn’t as strong as I’m expecting.

(This isn’t an act of obnoxiousness by Lotus, by the way – when you make pâtés de fruits, you usually start by mixing the pectin with some sugar so that it doesn’t clump up and make your confections lumpy.  Lotus has done this for you – I just don’t know what proportions they are using.)

(Note to self – I wonder if I could write to Lotus and ask what their ratio is?)

Anyway, while I am assured by Savour that they definitely use Lotus or Sosa Pectin Jaune for their jellies, they have evidently changed the recipe since the class I attended ten years ago, probably for the same reason I’m doing this now.  Kirsten Tibbals very kindly gave me the two recipes they currently use, so that I could try to rework my own recipe.

I’m not going to reproduce it here, because I’m pretty sure that would be taking advantage of her generosity.  Instead, you get my first two, semi-successful attempts.  Hopefully by this time next week, I’ll be able to give you a proper recipe. Continue reading

Recipe: Vegan Gingerbread Cupcakes with Spiced Apples

Wow, I’ve finally caught up with all the pre-programmed posts and here I am… in, it must be said, a rather less auspicious space than I would prefer to be at this time of year.

It’s been a difficult year for me.  I’ve lost a lot of people to cancer, several of them friends who were close to my age.  Our cat, Mayhem, went into acute kidney failure in May and had to be put to sleep.  I have been having ongoing problems with my wrists and now also my knees, which might be arthritis, and basically there is always some part of me that is hurting.  And work has been in the throes of a restructure which has been extremely stressful and is now reaching the pointy end.  It looks like I’m going to find out on the day of the Christmas party whether I still have a job, whether it is still with my scientists or somewhere totally different, and whether my workload is going to double in the new year.  (And also whether I win an Institute award, which is… an interesting combination.  I mean, it would be sort of hilarious if I won an award at the same time as I lost my job, but I think that’s a form of hilarity I could do without.)

So I’ve been kind of depressed.  Though the Employee Assistance Program chappie who came in to talk to us at work this week says it sounds to him less like I’m depressed and more like I’m having an entirely congruent reaction to a deeply shitty year.  (And then he suggested that maybe one reason I’ve had trouble writing recently is that the ‘voice’ I use for writing no longer reflects my reality, which… may be true.  On the other hand, does anyone really want to read recipes by someone who is alternating between depression and fury? Let’s find out!)

Anyway.  These are the kind of cupcakes I make for a work fundraiser when I am actually really fed up with everyone and everything and also wondering why men who grow moustaches for Movember can’t bake their own cupcakes if they want to do a morning tea fundraiser.  But since some of the men in question are my very own scientists who I want to support, and since I know full well that even if they did bake, they probably wouldn’t bake vegan cupcakes, and since I like my vegan colleagues and feel that they deserve morning tea, I pretty much have to bake vegan cupcakes.

But – and I want to be clear about this – I absolutely refuse to ice them.

Yes, that’s where my hard line is.  I will, apparently, bake cupcakes in my spare time and when I don’t have to even when I am feeling angry and miserable and let down, because my scientists are the ones fundraising and I still love them (none of this is their fault, after all, except the moustaches), and also because everyone knows that vegan cupcakes are pretty much at the bottom of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, so it would be unethical not to provide them. 

Icing, though?  Icing is way up at the top of that pyramid, in the land of faffing around and spending lots of time on things, and that is something I reserve for organisations who actually value me.

So instead of icing, these cakes are topped with sliced apples and Viennese Christmas Sugar, which tastes good, and also is a really fast way to make a cupcake look pretty without putting a lot of effort into it.

That’ll learn ’em.

Your shopping list

1/4 cup glacé ginger
1 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
4 tsp ginger )
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup molasses
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup soy yoghurt
zest of 1 lemon
2 apples
2-4 tablespoons Viennese Christmas Sugar (this is a really coarse-grained white sugar – sanding sugar, I think, in US terms – mixed with pieces of star anise, hibiscus, rosehips, nutmeg, coriander, cassia and probably a few more things.  You could make something similar with demerara sugar and whatever appeals to you in your spice cabinet) (also, this measurement is a complete guess, sorry.) Continue reading

Recipe: Lemon and Raspberry Tarts with Ruby Chocolate

Yes, I went to the Ruby Chocolate demo, and yes, I pre-ordered a big bag of ruby chocolate, so there are probably going to be a few ruby chocolate recipes on this blog in the near future.  For those unfamiliar with ruby chocolate, it’s being hyped as The Newest Chocolate – an entirely separate sort of chocolate to dark, milk or white chocolate, made from a particular variety of red cacao bean, and treated in such a way as to keep its pink colour (though, alas, this denatures pretty fast when exposed to heat – you can’t really use this chocolate in baking and have it retain its colour).

We were informed at the demo that when the first ruby chocolate recipe was tested – this is the recipe for manufacturing the chocolate itself, not recipes made from the chocolate – they decided to reduce the sugar by 9%, because ‘people are more health-conscious these days’.  I find this hilarious, because certainly, when I am feeling health conscious, the absolute first thing I do is focus on the sugar levels in my chocolate…

The demonstrator, Kirsten Tibballs, told us that ruby chocolate was more like milk chocolate in its manufacture than other chocolate types.  Myself, I find that it tastes closer to white chocolate – but a very tangy, acidic sort of white chocolate.  It supposedly has berry overtones, and I can certainly taste that, but I think it also has citrusy overtones, hence my tendency to use it with lemon, a flavour that I normally think tastes terrible with chocolate.

Having said all that… much as I want to love ruby chocolate, I don’t think I’m ever going to be a big fan of it.  I like it, in moderation, but it’s a little sweet for my taste, and I’m not sure acidity is what I look for in chocolate.  Basically, I’m a dark chocolate girl all the way.  But it’s definitely an interesting flavour to play with, and I think it works well here.

This recipe is adapted from a Savour recipe for a Ruby PB&J Tart.  I don’t like peanuts, so I replaced them with almonds in the pastry and the crunch, and I took out the peanut and ruby chocolate cream and replaced it with lemon curd, because you can’t really go wrong with lemon curd in a tart.  The ruby chocolate whipped ganache is entirely theirs, however. 

The results were pretty good – I’ve reduced the sugar in the pastry here, because I found it to be a little on the sweet side (nothing to do with being health-conscious, though, I promise!), and I think if I were doing this again, I’d find smaller tart shell moulds, or give people half a tart each – this made for a pretty enormous dessert.

Having originated as a Savour recipe, this recipe has a lot of parts to it, but the good news is that you can make most of them well in advance.  The pastry shells are basically a biscuit crust – you can make them and bake them a couple of days ahead.  Lemon curd is happy in the fridge for several days, and you can make the whipped ganache up until the point it needs whipping a day or two in advance, too.  The only thing you really have to make just before you use it is the chocolate crunch, but that’s a five minute job. And you should whip the ganache just before putting it on the tarts, but it will sit quite happily on the tart once done – I mean, I have one tart left in the fridge from yesterday, and it’s still fine, so you can safely make this in the morning and serve it in the afternoon.

If you are making the tarts all on the one day, I’d recommend starting the whipped ganache first, because it needs to cool in the fridge for 4-6 hours, or more.  Make the pastry while the ganache is cooling.  Or, if you are me, take a nap and then make the pastry (it’s been a very long few weeks at work). The pastry needs to sit in the fridge for half an hour, so you can use that time to make the lemon curd, and then get that in the fridge.  Then you make the pastry tartlet shells, which are probably the most difficult part of this recipe and definitely the part that takes the longest.  Then you make the crunch and spread it over the tart shell bases.  Then you put on the broken raspberries.  By this time, if you are lucky, the lemon curd will be cooled and set, so you can spoon it over the broken raspberries and add some whole ones.  Finally, you whip the ganache and pipe it onto the tarts, hopefully more successfully than I did.

Makes 8 x 12cm tartlets

Your shopping list

Ganache

250 + 325 g thickened cream
25 g glucose syrup
150 g ruby chocolate
red or pink food colouring

Pastry

160 g unsalted butter, softened
90g icing sugar
35g ground almonds
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
250 g flour, plus flour for dusting (trust me, you want the flour for dusting, this is sticky)

Lemon Curd

You need about 1.5 – 2 cups of lemon curd.  So you can either make a double batch of my lemon curd recipe, which will leave you with a LOT of egg whites to play with, or you can make a whole egg lemon curd with the following ingredients:

2/3  cup caster sugar
2 eggs
4 lemons (you want 2/3 cup of lemon juice and as much zest as you can get away with)
80g butter

The rest

125 g ruby chocolate
40 g roasted almonds, finely chopped (salted is nice, but I forgot that bit)
40 g almond spread, or any other nutty spread of your choice – mine had almond, cashews and brazil nuts)
300 g raspberries

Continue reading

Recipe: Ravioli primavera

An actual savoury recipe!  Who knew I could still do those?  Actually, I have an uneasy feeling I’ve done something very like this before.  I mean, me, pasta, vegetables – that’s basically my default work night dinner, frankly.

But I think this is a little different to my last primavera, primarily because I’ve gotten a lot lazier since then.  Also, someone told me that adding some pasta cooking water to one’s pasta sauce makes it come together better, and they are quite right, so if nothing else, this recipe has that particular upgrade!  (I’m still hopeless at remembering to salt my pasta water, however…)

This is a pea-free primavera, because Andrew doesn’t like peas.  It is also a broad-bean-free primavera, because shelling broadbeans is for people who are much less lazy than me.  Besides, Woollies had pea ravioli with spinach and feta, so I figured our pea requirements were covered.

And that’s about it.  It’s a simple, tasty meal for four, and a good celebration of spring.

Your shopping list

Olive oil
1 bunch baby carrots
2 golden shallots (the French ones that look like miniature onions)
2 bunches asparagus
200g cherry tomatoes
60 g baby spinach
2 tablespoons pesto
100 g ricotta
50 g parmesan, finely grated
650 g vegetable ravioli (I used the aforementioned pea ravioli and a sweet potato one.  But any light-tasting vegetable ravioli will do.)
a ladle or two of reserved cooking water Continue reading

Recipe: Almond biscuits with Davidson Plum Powder and Ruby Ganache

I know.  I know.  This is a completely ridiculous recipe to share because it’s basically all obscure ingredients.  And do you want to know how it came about?  It came about because we had a bake sale to fundraise for my Relay for Life team, and I’d made vegan cupcakes, and blueberry-lemon cupcakes with berry mousse (leftover from the Tentacle Cake), but I didn’t have anything gluten free in the mix.  And I have a lot of people at work who need gluten-free goodies.  So I decided to make one of my many trusty almond biscuit recipes, and thought, what do I have in my pantry?

And the answer was Davidson plum powder and Ruby chocolate.  Among other things.  So… this is technically a Pantry Special – but only if your pantry is full of *really* random things that you bought at farmers markets and specialty shops and then forgot to use.

On the other hand, if your pantry *is* full of such things, this is actually a pretty good recipe.  It’s not too sweet, it’s nicely acidic, and it’s gluten-free (and the only dairy is in the ganache, so if you are someone who can handle a little bit of dairy but not much, you can probably cope with this).  And it’s super fast to make!

Also, you get to feel like a super pretentious version of Arabella Weir and Richard E Grant on Posh Nosh when people ask you what flavour your biscuits are.  ‘We took a gracious handful Ruby chocolate from the very first shipment to reach Australia, and gently seduced it into a menage-à-deux with the cream.  Then we added some Davidson plum powder.  It’s acidic and a little bit demanding, and but it condoles perfectly with the almonds in the biscuits…’

Apologies again for the lack of pictures.  I was baking a lot of things in a hurry and forgot to pay attention to the photography side of things.  To make up for it, if you scroll down, I’ll tell you how to make a ‘lava lamp’ from kitchen ingredients.  Accompanied by a terrible photo, if I do say so myself.

Your shopping list

200g almond meal
50 g sugar
10 g Davidson plum powder
1 egg
40 ml cream
120 g ruby chocolate

Now what will you do with it?

Preheat your oven to 170°C, and line a baking tray with baking paper.

Combine the almond meal, sugar and Davidson plum powder in a bowl, then mix in the egg until you have a nice dough.

Roll into small balls – walnut sized, or thereabouts – and place on the tray, then flatten slightly.

Bake for 15 minutes or so, or until just getting golden brown underneath.

Now chop the ruby chocolate (or if you have it in tiny pellets, it will be fine as is), and put into a heatproof bowl.  Bring the cream to the boil, and pour over the chocolate.  Cover the bowl for 30 seconds to speed the meltiness, then stir until you have a smooth mixture.

Dollop the ganache onto each biscuit, and top with a few little purple edible glitter stars, if you have them.  Because why not?

Variations

Well, freeze-dried raspberry powder would work in a pinch.  You want something acidic but dry, so that the biscuit keeps the same texture.  Passionfruit powder might also work, but I’m not quite sure how that would mix with the ruby ganache.

As for dietary requirements, this biscuit is gluten-free and low-fructose, but full of nuts and rather dependent on the egg.  The dairy is only in the ganache – you could replace the cream with soy milk, but the only variety of Ruby chocolate currently available on the market contains milk powder, so if you are strictly non-dairy, you are going to be out of luck.

Random Science Experiment – Lava Lamp edition!

So, this made a lot of us happy at about 2 in the morning when we were trying to stay awake.  It was me, and one of the animal techs, and her non-scientist friend, and then we started demonstrating this for the Cancer Council volunteers and the teams next door to us.

So what I’m saying is, the picture may be crappy, and the experiment may sound really basic, but it’s more spectacular than you might think.  Especially at 2 am.

Your shopping list

Vegetable oil
Water
Food colouring
Alka seltzer

Extremely Scientific Method

Put a little water in the bottom of a glass jar and mix it with the food colouring.  Pour in vegetable oil to nearly the top.

Crumble an alka seltzer tablet into the jar.

It will start off just fizzing, but after 30 seconds or so, big, coloured bubbles will start floating down from the top.  It’s pretty awesome.

Also, when it stops, you can add more alka seltzer to get it started again.  After four or five times, it stops working so well, probably because the concentrations are off.  But it was great while it lasted!

Recipe: Very Hungry Caterpillar Birthday Cake for a Three-Year Old

Just when I was thinking about what sort of cake to make for my niece’s birthday, my friend in Germany sent me this photo of a Very Hungry Caterpillar cake.  Now, that is a spectacular cake, but I don’t really love decorating with fondant – and also, frankly, I’m nowhere near good enough at it to make anything that pretty.

On the other hand, it did make me think about caterpillar shapes and whether a very hungry caterpillar might fit nicely on a cake shaped like a 3.  After all, he is an arch-plus-a-bit, once you count his head, and a 3 has two arches.  I figured I could decorate the rest of the arch with the three plums he ate on Wednesday.

My niece is both fascinated by the idea of birthday cake and a VERY picky eater.  She likes banana cake, but if it doesn’t look like banana cake, she might not be willing to eat it, because you just never know.  Also, banana cake must be banana and nothing else.  No rogue pineapples or dates or anything like that are allowed.

So I found a very plain banana cake recipe, and used it to make one ring cake and the little cakes.  Since I needed chocolate cake crumbs for my brother’s cake, I made the other ring cake a chocolate cake, but for the purpose of this recipe, I’m going to recommend making a double batch of the banana cake.  It’s easier, and you don’t have to worry about the icing tasting odd with one of the cakes.

A few notes.  You will need two 20 cm ring tins (or one ring tin, which you wash in between, which is what I did) for the 3, a miniature madeleine tin (about 3x5cm for each cake) for the plums, a big friand tin for the head, and a gem scone tin (like a patty tin, but all the indentations are round rather than pie-shaped) for the body.  Or rummage through your cupboard and find something roughly the right size, and use tin foil to make it closer to the shape you want.  That’s what I did with the friand tin.

Unless you have a very large oven, I suggest you halve the recipe below, and make the cakes in two batches.  I’ve provided the full shopping list below, with the halved amounts next to them for those who don’t like mental arithmatic.

You will also want food colouring pastes if possible – they give a good strong colour without having to use enormous amounts, which is what you want.

Continue reading

Recipe: Walnut and Chocolate biscuits and a fundraiser

Every year, I organise a team of colleagues to do the Global Challenge, a pedometer-based challenge where you have to get a certain number of steps per day.  My team of seven has changed every year, but there are three people who have been in it every time, and more who have taken a year or two off and come back.  This year, we have my three regulars, someone who is back from last year, someone who is back from four years ago, and two newbies.

During the Global Challenge, there are certain weekends where we have ‘mini-challenges’, that encourage us to beat our personal best, or reach some arbitrary number of steps as a group, etc.  Traditionally, I try to organise long walks for these challenges – we’ve walked from Black Rock to Saint Kilda, up along Merri Creek to Fawkner for doughnuts, from Parkville to Williamstown to go on a ghost tour, from Brunswick to the CBD to go on a chocolate walk, and all the way from the mouth of the Moonee Ponds river up to Pascoe Vale, where we got caught in a thunderstorm. 

I was looking for some activities for us this year, and after getting a hard no on my belly-dancing plans, and establishing that several of our walkers couldn’t do really long walks this year for health reasons, I started looking around for more sensible options.  Which is when I spotted the ad for the Cancer Council Relay for Life… which just happened to fall on one of our challenge weekends.

This is a 24-hour relay to raise money for the Cancer Council, but it’s also about remembering people lost to cancer, and it has a fair bit of symbolism attached, in that nobody walks for 24 hours straight, but teams try to have someone on the track at all times.  If one person can’t continue, someone else will carry on for them.

I suggested this, only half-seriously to my lot. (Fine.  You don’t want belly-dancing.  How about a 24-hour relay, then?)  They were in.  And I mean, IN.  I was… appalled.  But also the team captain, so I got us signed up, and went recruiting for more team members.  My feeling was that we wanted two people rostered on at all times, in case someone needed a break, and ideally, I wanted the shifts to be offset so that someone was always fresh.  Fortunately, I was able to recruit 13 people, with two more joining us on the day, which meant that we each did two 2-hour shifts, and most people stayed on a bit before or after their shifts to help out.

Teams are encouraged to have costumes, themes, etc.  I was still recovering from the conference I’d just finished organising, so I was pretty much planning to just make sure people showed up and leave it at that, but I organised a bake sale to fundraise, and during the bake sale, our team plan evolved.  We would wear lab coats!  We would Engage With The Community!  We would have a science fair booth, with experiments that people could participate in!  We have a purple and yellow dragon onesie which is the same colours as the Cancer Council’s logo!

And we did.

I have to say, the day was a lot more fun than I had expected (I had not expected it to be any fun at all – I have dodgy knees which were playing up that week, so I knew it was going to be painful, and that’s about all I knew).  Cancer Council was delighted to have medical researchers participating.  The other participants – especially the children! – were delighted by our activities.  There was a silent disco overnight, which was hilarious to watch – between the people singing along and the people dancing to music only they could hear as they went around the track, it was quite something.  The lab coats turned out to be both warm and highly visible.  We realised early that we wouldn’t be winning the 4x100m sprint activity, so we turned it into a onesie costume relay with the costume having to be worn by each successive participant – and lost convincingly, dramatically, hilariously, and to sustained commentary from the organisers, who found the whole thing hysterical. 

Me, pretending to be a scientist. You should see me pipetting!

There were also some serious moments – the carers and survivors lap at the start, and the candlelight ceremony in the evening, which remembered people who were fighting cancer and people who had passed away from cancer recently.  It was very moving.

And I was very proud that, while other teams slowly shrank in size over the course of the event (I felt bad for one team where almost everyone went home at 9pm, leaving three people to carry the subsequent 13 and a half hours alone), my team mates all turned up on time, full of energy and enthusiasm, and walked, ran or danced their shifts, no matter what hour of the day or night. 

You probably didn’t come here for an extended report on Relay for Life, and I promise that the recipe is coming up next.  But while you are here… if you are currently feeling inclined to support a really good cancer charity in Australia, I’d love it if you’d sponsor meOr my team, who really were fantastic.

My awesome team, who totally deserve your sponsorship

And now for the recipe!  Which is linked, tenuously, to this post by the fact that I invented it for our fundraising morning tea.

This was a bit of a pantry special – I needed something for the people who couldn’t eat lactose or fructose or gluten (of which I have quite a few at work), and I needed something that was quick and wouldn’t require me to go to the shops.  I had half a packed of crushed walnuts and half a packet of cashews.  I had cocoa, and cinnamon.  And I had leftover vegan chocolate ganache from making Sachertorte cupcakes.

So that was easy.  This is basically my almond biscuit recipe in yet another iteration, but I found that without almonds, it made a pretty sticky, sloppy dough, so I added some rice flour to help hold it together.  I did find that I needed slightly damp hands to shape it, even so.  But the results were really delicious, so it was worth the minor hassle.

Very few pictures, I’m afraid – I was too busy trying to make the biscuits in time after a very long day at work – but if you scroll down to the bottom I *will* tell you how to make a rainbow carnation. 

Your shopping list

100 g walnuts (crushed is fine, you will be pulverising them anyway)
100g cashews (ditto)
50 g cocoa
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
75 g caster sugar
1 egg
1-2 tbsp rice flour, if needed
1/4 cup soy milk
125 g Lindt 70% chocolate
30 ml maple syrup Continue reading

Recipe: Fierce Strawberries (and tentacle cake)

A while back, one of my Professors welcomed me back from long service leave with a copy of Deceptive Desserts: A Lady’s Guide to Baking Bad, by Christine McConnell.  I was particularly taken by her recipe for Screamberries, and my brother and I originally had evil plans to make this as a birthday cake for Elisabeth’s first birthday (just think of the photos!), but for some reason (possibly because my mother was appalled?) we decided to make the orange and banana cakes instead.

Well, this year, what with one thing and another, it became practical to have my brother’s birthday party and my niece’s both on the same day.  Obviously, this necessitated two cakes, and when I asked my brother what he wanted for this cake, the answer was ‘tentacles’.

So that was easy, then.

I made a few modifications to McConnell’s recipe.  Vanilla mousse seemed boring, so I filled the waffle cups half with vegan chocolate mousse and half with berry mousse.  Stabilised whipped cream seemed like way too much like hard work for a relatively small result, so I didn’t do that.  And my first batch of waffle cones weren’t great, so I had to make another double batch in the hour between getting back from cantoring in Middle Park and leaving for birthday shenanigans in Canterbury.  So I signally failed to follow the instructions and just dumped everything in together.  I can’t claim that they were brilliant waffle cups, but they were fresh and they did the job.

And really, who cared about the waffle cups?  The mousse was delicious, and really, we were all here for the strawberries and the tentacles, right?

Incidentally, you can make this recipe in advance and take the components in separate boxes to wherever you are going, at which point it takes about ten minutes to put together.

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Recipe: Chocolate Truffle Cake Pops That Really Should Be Vegan

Why yes, this is indeed another Wedding Cake Leftovers post.  Is anyone really surprised by this?  This time, the cake bits in question were the vegan sachertorte cakes.  I also had leftover dark chocolate, leftover milk and leftover cream – which is why these cake pops didn’t turn out vegan.  But there is no reason why yours shouldn’t be!  I was really just trying to avoid wasting ingredients, and decided that on this occasion, that was more important than feeding my vegan scientists.  I’ll make something for them next time, don’t worry.

This is another super easy recipe, but I’m really pleased with how it turned out – the cake pops really taste like chocolate truffles, but they are much easier to make, because the cake crumbs make them a bit less sticky than pure ganache, and a lot more inclined to roll into nice, neat balls.

Because I had what seemed like acres of chocolate cake crumbs, I wound up dividing my mixture in two and flavouring half of it with freeze dried raspberry powder that I had discovered in my freezer, and the other half with six little peppermint candy sticks leftover from Christmas, which I found in my pantry.  So despite being an extremely decadent, rich, fudgy chocolate truffle recipe, this also counts as an extremely frugal recipe!!!

Yeah, that’s not so convincing, is it?

But it is quite a good pantry-and-fridge-clearing recipe, which counts for something, I think.

 

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Recipe: Lemon and Ruby Cakepops

You probably thought I was done with rainbow-wedding-cake related posts, didn’t you?  Nope.  Not a chance.  I’m actually writing this a month before you are reading it (and a good thing, too, because right at this very moment I am almost certainly collapsed into an incoherent heap after running a conference all week) and if I dared look into my fridge right now, I would see, in addition to these cake pops, a large box full of chocolate cake crumbs, a big ball of white chocolate ganache the size of my clasped hands, a bowl of lavender whipped ganache, and half a carton of cream – ooh, and I’ve just realised what I should make next, but I’m not going to tell you what that is because that would be cheating.

In short, you would not believe how many leftovers that wedding cake generated, so having spent the last few Sundays reviewing the individual cake recipes, we are now starting on the Leftovers Chronicles.

(And yes, I’m milking this for as long as I can, because I do want to start blogging regularly again… but I don’t trust this current burst of energy and ideas to last, so I want to try to blog well ahead of time while I can so that if it all goes to hell for a month or two, there won’t be such a long gap between posts…)

Anyway, cake pops.  Cake pops are traditionally made from cake crumbs and icing mixed together and dipped in chocolate or candy melts.  I usually find them horrifically sweet, to be honest.  But I also didn’t have many other ideas for what to do with epic amounts of cake off-cuts.  So I thought I’d see what happened if I mixed them with the lemon curd that I also had leftover, and the results were actually pretty good, and not too sweet at all. 

As for the ruby chocolate… yes, of course I pre-ordered some from the first shipment in Australia.  If you haven’t tried it yet, it’s quite an interesting taste – I think it’s like white chocolate, but with an acidic bite to it.  It is not, to be honest, my favourite kind of chocolate, but it does go very well with lemon, which most other kinds of chocolate do not.  If you can’t get your hands on ruby chocolate – which is not cheap, in any case – white chocolate would work just fine, but the overall result would just be a little sweeter.

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