Thursday, February 08, 2007
How sweet can the sweetest sweets get for your sweetheart?
Oh boy am I getting into the lurve thang already? It must be because all those wonderful entries I've been getting for the Monthly Mingle are not only making me gain weight by the entry but also making me think you all are a soppy bunch of bloggers.
Is a day like Valentine's a good day to spread a bit of extra love and be a bit more soppy? How about those desserts and sweets? Can I go overboard and create an extravagant dessert whipped up with all my extra love?
Well for me Valentine's day is not just a day to show my romantic feelings towards my partner, but also show my affections for those around me. My son, my dad, my mum, best friend - all get a special Valentine treat from me. A small little something to show that I care.
It's just a day to STOP - take that moment and be happy for the love around me. Soppy? Yes it is! And I love every soppy minute, kiss and word this day can give me. So, c'mon give me all you got!
In return I am sharing a very elegant and incredible delicious dessert with you. Cool, crunchy, fruity, and creamy all wrapped into a single dessert.
I ask again - is this too much to handle?
Please note: The glacé mixture needs to be stored in the freezer for at least 4 hours (overnight recommended).
For the Nougat Glacé
100g sliced almond slivers
2 egg whites
100g mixed candied fruit - chopped. I used papaya, melon, pineapple, ginger and orange.
For the Fruit Compote
40g each dried plums, apricots and figs - chopped
Juice from 2 oranges
Pre-heat the oven at 160 degrees Celsius. Spread the almond slices on a baking tray and roast for about 4 minutes. Take out and allow to cool.
In a pot add 120 g sugar and gently allow it to caramelize. As soon as the caramel takes on a lovely amber color add the almonds. Constantly stirring, coat the almonds completely in the caramel.
On a piece of baking paper, spread the caramelized almonds evenly. Allow to cool and then with a sharp knife coarsely chop. Place in an airtight container until required.
Whip the cream with a electric whisk until stiff. Place in the refrigerator, where it will remain cool.
Now the next couple of steps need utmost care. We need to prepare a type of an Italian meringue with the egg whites, remaining sugar and honey.
Bring the remaining sugar and honey together with 50 ml water to a boil and allow to cook through for not more than 5-7 minutes, until the mixture starts to get "stringy." This happens when it reaches a temperature of 125 degrees Celsius. You can control this with a sugar thermometer. If you do not have one of these the best way to check this is with the "spoon check" method. Simply dip the spoon into the mixture and then take out. The sugar should drip from the spoon in thread-like strands.
While the sugar-honey mixture is cooking beat the egg whites with an electric whisk in a separate mixing bowl until they are semi-stiff. Place the bowl in a cold water bath.
Once the sugar-honey mixture is ready pour it all at once into egg whites while constantly beating. Do this with a normal whisk and until the entire mixture has cooled down. Add the chopped candied fruit and the chopped caramelized almonds. Mix this gently into the mixture. Finally, fold in the beaten cream. Line a loaf pan or a terrine form with cling film and pour the mixture into it. Place in the freezer and allow to set for at least four hours.
Now you can prepare the compote. In a pot mix the orange juice, honey, butter and the dried fruit together. Allow it to simmer over a gentle heat for 5-10 minutes until the fruits are soft and viscid. Keep warm.
Are you ready to serve?
Take the terrine form out of the freezer just before you want to serve. Place it for a few seconds in some warm water and then tip the Nougat Glacé. Remove the cling film and cut the glacé into slices. On a plate put some of the fruit compote and place the glacé slice on this. Sprinkle more of the compote over the top and serve to your sweetest darlings.
Kitchen Tip: If you have any glacé leftover, place it back into the terrine form lined with cling film put it into the freezer. This will keep for 1-2 months. If it lasts that long.
Simply irresistible! Every bite is a heavenly experience. Your sweetheart will bow to you in total awe when this is served up. The dessert has it all cool, warm, creamy, crunchy, fruity and nutty. My men were eating out of my fingers and licking their own. The success of the dessert was worth every bit if hard work in the preparation.
This is my own entry for Sweet Love.
As the deadline to the Monthly Mingle draws to the end, I will let you all in on a secret - with 30 entries this is going to be the sweetest round-up you'll ever see. Look forward to it next week - I'll let you guess when ;-)
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