I can’t believe I’ve arrived at the last module of the course; ‘Desserts’, it seems like only yesterday I walked into my first class in Kitchen 9. Now, desserts aren’t really my thing, I’m the kind of girl who when presented with a choice of 2 courses always picks entrée and main. Saying that I think I may be in the minority, I know that many people including my husband, love a sweet ending to a meal.
The focus of Lesson One was ‘Special Dietary Needs’, of which there seem to be many these days. In this class we made a GF Chocolate Cake with LF Chocolate Sauce (recipe below), an egg free Raspberry Mousse, which in class was set on top of the chilled chocolate cake, GF Sticky Black Pandan Rice and a vegan Coconut Gelato. If anyone is interested in any of the recipes, just drop me a line and I will shoot them through.
The cake was delicious, but I think mine was taken out of the oven just before it was ready, which is why it looks slightly collapsed at the tip. It’s one of the down sides of sharing oven trays with other students, someone may decide that theirs is done, & not worrying about the others whips the shared baking tray out of the oven without consultation. Due to the poor photo of mine I’ve also included some photos of Chef’s plates (always lovely). No matter, I think this is a lovely cake, with or without the raspberry mousse, and I’ll be making it again (and possibly again)! One of the tips in making the sponge is to grate the butter to hasten/assist in the creaming process…I love baking tips don’t you? The raspberry mousse couldn’t have been easier to make with only 4 ingredients; raspberries, sugar, cream and gelatine….it was also very tasty. The mixture needs to be cooled to 14C before it is poured onto the chilled cake and allowed to set for minimum of an hour before turning out on a plate. The mousse could also be made in dessert cups or dariole moulds and simply decorated with fruit and/or chocolate. The chocolate sauce is something I will definitely come back to; not only is it easy to make but it also makes for a healthy alternative and is none the poorer for the lack of milk or cream.
Whereas I’ve stated I’m not a dessert girl, I do enjoy making and eating ice cream and gelato, and there is always a homemade batch in my freezer. The one we made in class however is NOT one I would recommend to others or remake. The addition of dextrose and ‘ice cream stabiliser’ gave it quite a chemical aftertaste which I found unpleasant, so much so that I didn’t present it on my finished plate and didn’t even take a photo of it! Chef put a quenelle of it on a plate half way through the class and left it on the bench …it was still intact & unmelted 2 hours later…need I say more? The black sticky rice however was a thing of beauty and deliciousness. Not having tasted pandan flavour before I was delighted an became an instant fan.
As you see, presentation continues to be an important consideration. The next lesson is cream based desserts and will include Pannacotta, Creme Brulee and a Pavlova…. sounds like it’s going to be a busy one.
Gluten Free Chocolate Sponge with Lactose Free Chocolate Sauce
This is a fool proof and rich sponge cake which you can serve simply with a dusting of icing sugar and chocolate sauce, or dress it up with some ice cream and raspberry coulis. Berries and a sprig of mint make a colourful garnish.
- 165 gm Almond Meal
- 150 gm Chocolate – dark couverture
- 125 gm Butter – unsalted
- 80 gm Sugar – Castor 1
- 50 gm Sugar – Castor 2
- 6 units Eggs – separated
- 60 ml Amoretto liqueur
- 150 ml Water (1)
- 85 gm Castor Sugar
- 45 gm Chocolate – compound chopped
- 12 gm Cornflour
- 25 gm Cocoa powder
- 50 ml Water (2) – cold
For the cake:
Preheat oven to 170C and spray and line the cake tin (20 cm)
Melt chocolate over a Bain Marie (gently)
Whilst chocolate is melting cream together the soft butter and sugar (1) in a stand mixer until light and fluffy.
In a clean large bowl whisk egg whites by hand to soft peak and then add the sugar in three additions. Whisk until stiff peak and put aside. Do
When the butter and sugar are creamed, add egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and add the still warm melted chocolate, almond meal and amoretto, mix by hand ensuring almond meal worked through.
Carefully fold in the meringue to the chocolate mix.
Pour into prepared cake tin and push mixture to side of tin to reduce ‘doming’. Bake for 40 – 50 mins, or until a skewer comes out clean, in the preheated oven. Check after 35 mins.
Cake Quality Note: If the sugar and the butter are not sufficiently creamed to ensure the sugar is well incorporated into the mixture, sugar crystals will develop on the top of your cake.
This cake will rise but will collapse due to the lack of any flour.
For the chocolate sauce:
In a saucepan bring the sugar and water (1) to the boil. Take off heat and add the chocolate and allow to melt.
Sift the cornflour and cocoa powder together twice, add water (2) and mix it to a paste.
Place the saucepan with the melted chocolate back on the heat and add the paste whilst whisking quickly. Return to the boil and continue to cook out, whilst stirring until you reach desired consistency.
Pass the sauce through a fine strainer and serve hot or cold
Quality Note: If sauce gets too thick it can be thinned with sugar syrup.
i think your cake looks lovely kathryn. uurrghh that ice cream sounds awful tho. so unnatural:) what a great combo is raspberry and chocolate. i’d love that coconut gelato recipe. cheers sherry
Hey Sherry, Thank you…but I assure you it was slightly under done. The coconut cream recipe was easy and sat on top of the sticky panda rice…I will email it to you.
Like you, I’m also a non-dessert person. Not that I don’t like sweets, I just like savory better. Now I must say your “wonky” raspberry mousse and chocolate cake plating looking just fine to me. I’m not sure if it’s the spiral of chocolate or the wonky in the name, but all I’m thinking about now is Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.
Now I must say, I’m very glad your chef instructor is conscious of dietary needs, but you should remind him that there are many out here with nut allergies as well. Thanks for another fine class.
You are so kind Ron….thank you! I agree, nut allergies are also to be considered. I watched an interesting show about the ever rising food allergies across the globe. I think in the days when food was food and didn’t include additives and preservatives for prolonged shelf life, we were a healthier human race. I am seeing a swing back to growing our own foods, raising chickens, making cheese and returning to eating seasonally and eating WHOLE foods …. I hope this continues as we need this, as does our precious planet.
I’m with you about desserts! I’ve never cared for anything too sweet, even as a child. My favored desserts are ice cream or a dark chocolate mousse. occasionally, a few bites of really tart lemon meringue pie. This class sounded really interesting. It is a challenge cooking for all the dietary restrictions of today, so having a few of these recipes is important. In our family we have tree nut and peanut allergies, as well as allergies to tree fruits, eggplant (unfortunately that one is me and I love eggplant!) dairy, and carrots. We also have several gluten- and meat-free family members, and one vegan. I think that’s all…but I might be missing a food group here or there.
P.S. I liked your wonky plate!
Hi Dorothy….I picked up from your wonderful posts that you were walking a tricky path with allergies. My daughter went through a phase where she choose to be vegetarian, and still eats little meat, but I am lucky that we have no allergies per se. I think it’s really important to consider the diets needs and choices of family and friends.
I think your “wonky” plate is pretty! So great there’s a whole class on baking for special diets. Not to date myself (GASP!), but this wasn’t offered when I was in culinary school in the late 90’s. Times have changed and now I have a young son with Celiac Disease and really appreciate all gluten-free baked goods so much. 😀 Cool that you used Pandan — I think it’s a fun ingredient to experiment with and love it. ~Valentina
A dear friend of mine has Celiac Disease, being Italian he misses pasta and bread but he has an amazing wife who provides wonderful alternatives that he can enjoy. Thank you for your kind comment….it really was ‘under done’!
I always grate my butter but mainly because I forget to take it out of the fridge. That ice cream stabiliser is not something I would use either. But you can totally understand why they need it in restaurants. I look forward to your pannacotta recipe 🙂