My heart did a little flip last week when I opened the PnP mailer with the weekly challenge and saw that it was a dessert. The list contained almost all my favourite things, and with the rule of adding another item it was complete. You can vote for my entry here: Mocha Caramel Deluxe and also download the recipe. I adjusted the recipe size according to the quantity of ingredients we were given, so it would be best to double or triple the quantities for the brownie.
Our ingredients for Week 5 was: 80g dark chocolate, coconut milk (which replaced Amarula cream for halaal purposes), four pears, blanched almonds and cream crackers. Rules: One ingredient was allowed to be omitted, one ingredient added and part of the recipe must be custard-based.
With this I made a Lindt brownie, caramel pears in toasted almonds, coconut ice cream, espresso meringues and mocha caramel sauce. This is heaven for me. I tried to create something that looked ‘thrown together carefully’ if you know what I mean? It makes it more appealing and indulgent than a neater-looking dessert, like you can dive right in and have a little adventure around the plate -once you decide on a starting point.
I omitted the crackers, but afterwards I realized I could’ve crushed it to make a crust for a BROWNIE PIE. This is my number one regret of this competition thus far. A Lindt Brownie Pie. Sigh. I opted for espresso powder which would complete my favourite flavours list. Luckily it worked with everything else. The ice cream was my custard-based element, which I made with egg yolks, sugar and coconut milk. I don’t have an ice cream maker so into a shallow baking dish it went, and popped into the freezer. The creamier the custard is, the less chance of icicles forming. Give it a stir and whisk every 30 mins or so to break up the ice crystals, creating a creamier result. It freezes quicker in a shallow dish. When I was happy with the consistency I transferred it to a yoghurt tub and saved for later. You can add anything to it at this stage like nuts, chocolate chips, etc.Melting the chocolate and butter for the brownie. Swoon. That flaky top. The ice cream left me with egg whites which immediately made me think of meringues, flavoured with espresso. Don’t dissolve the granules too much, it should still be visible and make streaks as it bakes.Before going into the oven. Poach the pears in 2 cups brown sugar and one cup water until syrupy and slightly sticky. To the remaining syrup I added espresso powder, butter and chocolate, warmed it through and used it for the sauce.Crush the nuts like me, in a bag on the floor with a mug, or use a grinder if you have one. Toast in a dry pan. The finer bits burn really fast so be extra careful. Adorn the delicate pears with almond finery. Splendid. This was my first take on Plating Up: the brownie cut in half with crushed meringues on a pink plate. With a fork for added effect. But the ice cream wasn’t frozen enough and started to melted very quickly, the heat of the pears not helping. Although I find it much more tempting all melting and gooey. Just fall apart all over the place. And pass me a spoon. Or a shovel, and a straw. Behind the scenes messes!
Update on the Freshly Blogged Challenge: There are now 28 out of 40 remaining bloggers cooking up a storm every weekend battling for the first prize -a trip for two to Munich, Germany. Each week bloggers are chopped by the judges’ , and one lucky blogger with the most votes gets the weekly prize.
Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to vote :)