Monday, February 23, 2009
From Melbourne, With Love
This was meant to be a Valentine's Day post. Apparently, I was too busy belting out the chorus from the famed Annie soundtrack to post on time, again. While putting this post together and snooping around some newly-discovered blogs--- most of which have made it to my regular blog-stalking circuit--- I experienced a revelation. Back in my days as a fashion design undergraduate, I felt a little more than confused about how I was meant to approach designing.
While the concept of creating a logo and brand presence was straightforward and simple enough for me to understand, other aspects of designing---creating mood boards, advertising boards, design development, layout concepts, typography etc. baffled me. It took a good 2 years after graduation for me to come upon this revelation, and finally everything that I learnt back then seemed to be making more and more sense.
I remembered one lecturer, a captivating lady who, in her early forties, is still one of the most unique, most awe-inspiring individual I have ever met. She is always impeccably dressed and made-up; and to my (and all the other students') fascination, always managed to look like a 40's pin-up girl, down to every single strand of blond, barrel-curled hair. She is also one harsh but fair lecturer. I remember more than one occasion when she asked why I did not do my design development in colour, even after I had determined both fabrics and colour range for the collection I was designing. Being a stubborn, hard-headed girl that I was (and still am, mind you), I never listened to her because 1. doing sketches in colours take up time that I did not have; 2. the colours on the fabrics never exactly match my colour pencil-rendered designs anyway.
But now I finally understand. It's funny how we can always find parallels in whatever we do, regardless of how far-off those things may seem to be.
This is my version of the Black Forest cake, which I had dissected and reconstructed. Although I used fresh garnet cherries instead of griottes, I find that it works well with the recipe. On the other hand, you are welcome to substitute Morello cherries or other varieties of sour cherries.
I obviously need to tweak my recipes a little before I am satisfied, mainly because I want the milk chocolate chantilly to turn out a few shades paler than the dark chocolate mousse. But otherwise, I'm pretty happy with this attempt.
Black Forest, Reconstructed
makes 5x 10-cm rings
200g caster sugar
140g almond meal
360g egg white
120g caster sugar
60g butter, melted
120g flour, sifted
40g cocoa powder, sifted
Preheat oven to 180 degree C. Place egg whites and 60g caster sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk at high speed to form stiff peaks. In the meantime, whisk egg yolks, 100g caster sugar and almond meal until pale and thick. Fold melted butter into the egg yolk mixture. Fold in 1/3 of the stiffly-beaten egg whites into the egg yolk mixture. Fold in the rest of the egg whites. Sift the cocoa powder and flour into the bowl, and fod in to combine. Spread on a greased and lined baking tray and bake for 5-8 minutes. Cool, and cut circles slightly larger than the size of your intended pans. You will need 2 circles for each pan.
125g caster sugar
5 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
250g cherries, pitted and halved
Place catser sugar and balsamic vinegar in a saucepan and heat on high heat for 1-2 minutes. Add cherries and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until mixture is syrupy. Cool cherries in syrup.
Milk Chocolate Chantilly
600g double cream
420g milk chocolate, chopped
Boil cream in a saucepan, and pour over chopped chocolate, stir until combined in a homogenous mixture. Clingfilm the surface of the ganache and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Whip to firm peaks. In the case where the ganache hardened too much and is impossible to whip, or where it splits after whipping, you can place the bowl on top of a saucepan of simmering water to bring it back together. Just melt about 1/3 of the ganache, and then remove from the heat, and whisk by hand to attain the same results.
150g fresh or frozen cherries. pitted
1 Tablespoon water
1/8 cup sugar
2 teaspoon kirsch
1 titanium-strength gelatine leaf
Process cherries in a food precessor/blender, and strain. Reserve the pulp. Boil sugar with water and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add kirsch and cherry juice to the sugar syrup and heat gently to about 40-50 degree Celsius. In the meantime, soak gelatine leaf in water to soften. Add gelatine, along with 2 Tablespoon of reserved cherry pulp into the cherry syrup. Stir to combine.
Dark Chocolate Mousse
100 g caster sugar
200g dark chocolate, melted and cooled (I used 70% dark chocolate)
300g cream, softly whipped
Make a pate a bombe: Heat caster sugar and water in a saucepan until the temperature of the sugar thermometer reads 120 degree C (soft ball stage). Whisk eggs and yolks in a stand mixer until thick and pale. In a steady stream, and with the motor running pour the sugar syrup down the side of the mixing bowl. Whisk on medium-high speed until cool. Fold softly whipped cream into the mixture.
Line moulds with tall acetate strips, making sure it is at least 5 cm taller than the height of the ring. Place the first joconde circle at the base. Drain cherries from syrup and dry with a paper towel. Press halves side by side, cut-side out, into the acetate strip, until they line the entire circumference of the ring. Pipe the milk chocolate chantilly over the cherries, covering them. Place the other circle of chocolate joconde on top and lightly press down. Leave to set in the fridge for a few hours. Next, pour warm cherry jelly into pan, and again leave to set in the fridge. Lastly, pipe the dark chocolate mousse on top of the set cherry jelly, and leave to set in the fridge.