‘I learned simplicity, learned slowly and with difficulty how unassuming everything is, and became mature enough to put simplicity into words. And this all happened because I was able to meet you, back when the first time I was in danger of surrendering myself to formlessness. And if this danger always finds a way to return and always returns larger and stronger, it is also true that the memory of you grows in me, the awareness of you, and it too keeps strengthening.’ – Rainer Maria Rilke, an excerpt from a letter to Lou Salomé.
There’s a restlessness that comes with the middle of the year. July, a month, that, awakens a sense of inherent unease. Her arrival, a swelling beneath of subterranean springs, of blistering and boiling, of overflow. I’ve never understood why we choose to furnish our wounds. And July, she’s long been licking at mine. The more she continues to lick, to unstitch what was once sewn, and undress the surgical wound, the more vulnerable the flesh comes to her infection. I long for her departure, but she’s thirty-one days of Winter, and I exist, here, wasted and wanton, for the arrival of Summer. July, an abyss of the season. A time so often without skin.
And then there’re these Sea Salt Violet Millionaire’s Shortbread. I promised them a few months ago, and it’s taken this long to bring them to fulfillment, but they’re here. Filled with a sugared layer of crème fraîche caramel fragranced with delicate violet, a buttered shortbread base, and a thick slathering of dark chocolate, they’re heaven. Richly so. A touch of sea salt rounds out their inherent richness and serves to elevate all the boisterous flavors within. A mouthful is ever-so crumbled, sticky-sweet, salty, and creamy, the perfect sugared antidote against the will of the month.
– Here, I use culinary violet essence. It’s incredibly concentrated, powerfully so, and a little bit does go a very long way. The strength of the essence will differ based upon its brand and constitution, so I suggest using only a tiny drop at the beginning, and adjust as necessary to reach your desired taste preference. For me, I wouldn’t exceed over an eighth of a teaspoon or about three small drops. You want the violet flavor to be delicate and present, not heavily-perfumed and overwhelming. If you can’t source violet essence, it can be substituted with another floral essence, such as rose, orange blossom, or even lavender. I’ve used almond before too. Again, adjust as necessary. And the essence can be omitted all together, if you prefer.
– Because the chocolate is left unadulterated in this recipe, it should be the very best quality you can find. Use a dark chocolate that you wouldn’t just bake with, but that you would eat. Here, I use Callebaut callets that contain about 60% cocoa solids. The chocolate is dark and smooth, with just the right amount of bitterness. A chocolate with a minimum of 60% is a good amount to aim for here, but you could go a little higher, for something slightly more bitter. I wouldn’t exceed over 75%. And please don’t use milk chocolate, the sweetness of it would overwhelm the entire thing.
SEA SALT VIOLET MILLIONAIRE’S SHORTBREAD
For the crust:
250 g all-purpose flour
100 g granulated sugar
1 tbsp corn flour
½ tsp salt
200 g unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla bean extract
Pre-heat the oven to 180 Celsius. Line a 20 cm square baking pan with non-stick parchment paper. Let the paper slightly overhang the sides. Set aside.
To make the crust, add the flour, sugar, corn flour and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the beater attachment. Beat on medium speed for a few seconds to combine the dry ingredients. Set the mixer speed to medium-low and stream in the melted butter. Beat until combined then add in the vanilla bean extract. Continue to beat until the dough is evenly moistened and has begun to roughly come together, a further minute. Stop mixing and tip the mixture into the prepared pan then use your fingers to press the dough into an even and flat layer. Bake until golden brown and just firm, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool completely before covering in the caramel.
For the caramel:
250 g granulated sugar
60 ml water
125 g unsalted butter, cubed
120 g crème fraiche
Seeds from 1 vanilla bean pod
¼ tsp violet essence
¼ tsp salt
Next, make the caramel. Combine the sugar and water into a medium-sized saucepan set over medium heat. Heat, swirling the pan often but not stirring, until the mixture begins to turn an even amber color. It should reach about 120 Celsius on a candy thermometer. Lower the heat then add in the butter and crème fraiche and whisk to combine. Take caution with this step –the mixture will sputter, steam and foam when the dairy is added but will subside as it continues to cook, so be careful. Let the mixture continue to cook out for a further two minutes undisturbed then remove it from the heat and stir in the vanilla, violet and salt. It should be dark amber in color, thick, and slightly reduced. Immediately pour the caramel over the cooled crust, making sure that it reaches the edges and into an even layer. Set aside at room temperature to cool until the caramel is firm, about an hour.
For the topping:
200 g dark chocolate, finely chopped
Fleur de sel or flaked salt, for finishing
Now, make the topping. Place the chocolate into a medium-sized heatproof bowl set over a saucepan filled with a few inches of barely simmering water. Do not let the bowl touch the water below. Heat, stirring often with a rubber spatula, until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and use an offset spatula to spread the chocolate into an even layer over the caramel. Place the pan in the refrigerator to chill until the slice is well set, about 2 hours, or overnight. When you’re ready to serve, sprinkle over a little fleur de sel or flaked salt, then use a warm and sharp knife to slice it into even sized bars or squares.
“You have broken down the veils of flesh and all the cushions that protect the nerves – you have played on the raw nerves, the very tenderest filaments of our sense organs. The effect is delirium, ecstasy which becomes unsupportable.” – Henry Miller, an excerpt from ‘A Literate Passion: Letters of Anaïs Nin & Henry Miller: 1932-1953.’
I don’t claim to know very much. The few things I do, sleeplessness, thirst, and unfolding to the wild of your own skin. And cookies. I claim to know cookies. They’re the vice that’s forever served me best. Of all the variations that frequent this space, this rendition is by far my favourite. Filled with rich pools of bitter dark chocolate, molten chunks of vanilla bean-studded halvah, deep burnt butter undertones, toasted walnut flecks, and slight hints of salt, they’re heavenly. A little richer than the usual, but all the more delicious.
– Here, the butter is melted down until it reaches burnt perfection and then re-chilled to form a consistency ideal for beating, and then re-weighed. It’s important to make sure that it has a malleable, soft, and supple feel to it, similar to that of room temperature butter, before use. It usually takes a total of 30 minutes chilling time to reach this stage but it all depends on your refrigerator and its temperature. It’s best to check on the butter every so often, giving it a gentle stir, as time goes on. You could also burn off the butter a few days in advance, re-chill it until solid, then let it come to room temperature the day of making.
– Halvah can be sourced in a variety of different flavors but I prefer to use plain or vanilla bean halvah in this recipe. The more neutral the halvah, the more the other flavors within the cookie will compliment and shine. In saying that though, there have been times when all I’ve had on hand was chocolate halvah, and on one occasion, coffee halvah, and both have worked out well. So whilst I recommend something neutral, the beauty of this recipe is that it’s open to your experimentation and personal preference.
– These cookies are perfect for times of craving. You can easily keep the dough balls sealed and stashed in the freezer for a few months and bake them off in moments of sweet whim and weakness. That’s hot cookies in a matter of minutes, no action time required.
HALVAH, BURNT BUTTER AND WALNUT CHOCOLATE CHUNK COOKIES
225 g unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature (plus a little more for the re-weigh)
250 g light brown sugar
110 g granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vanilla bean extract
350 g all-purpose flour
1 ¼ tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
220 g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
50 g toasted walnuts, finely chopped
100 g plain halvah, broken into rough chunks
Flaked salt, for finishing
Begin by making the burnt butter. Place 150 g’s of the butter into a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Set the remainder of the butter aside. Heat, stirring often, until the butter is golden and melted. Increase the heat to medium-high and continue to cook, swirling the pan often but not stirring, until the butter is beginning to turn amber in color and nutty in fragrance. The butter will begin to foam but will subside as it continues to cook. Some burnt solids should have formed at the base of the saucepan. Remove from the heat and pour the butter into a bowl or pouring jug. Set it in the refrigerator to set until malleable and soft, similar in texture to room temperature butter, about half an hour. Make sure to give it a gentle stir every so often.
Once set, remove the burnt butter from the refrigerator and re-weigh it. Add the remainder of the plain butter set aside above. Re-weigh to reach a combined total of 225 g’s. You may need to add a little more plain butter depending on how much evaporated during the burning process.
Set the butter into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the beater attachment and add the light brown sugar and granulated sugar. Beat, on medium speed, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Pause mixing to scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl. Add in the egg and beat well until incorporated. Add in the vanilla bean extract and beat for a further minute. The dough should be considerably lighter in color and more aerated.
Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, soda, powder, and salt, in a medium-sized mixing bowl until combined.
Set the mixer speed to medium-low. Add in half of the dry ingredients. Beat until just combined, some floury pockets should remain, then add in the remainder of the dry ingredients. Again, beat until just combined. Add in the dark chocolate and walnuts and beat until evenly distributed throughout the dough, about 15 more seconds. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and use a large wooden spoon to carefully fold in the halvah chunks. Take care with this step. You want the halvah to remain intact and not disintegrate within the dough – so be gentle with your folding. Cover the bowl with a layer of plastic wrap and set it in the refrigerator to chill until just firm, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 180 Celsius. Set an oven rack in the middle of the oven and line three large baking sheets with non-stick parchment paper.
When just firm, remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator. Using a small cookie scoop (1” or 2.5 cm in diameter) or a generous tablespoon as a measure, scoop out as many dough balls as possible from the dough. Divide them evenly between the sheets, making sure to allow room for spreading, and sprinkle over a little flaked salt over their tops. You should be able to fit 8 balls per sheet. If you have some dough balls left over, either set them in the refrigerator to chill whilst the other cookies bake, or seal and store them in the freezer, to bake off another time.
Bake for 10-12 minutes. Three quarters of the way into baking, about 8 minutes, open the oven door and raise the cookie sheet by a few inches. The cookies should just be beginning to puff in the middle. Use a little force to tap the sheet against the oven rack, so that the cookies deflate slightly. You should see the chocolate begin to spread. Close the oven door and let the cookies bake and inflate again for a further minute to a minute and a half. Repeat this raise and tap process for a total of 3 more times. The cookies when done should be golden, crisp around the edges, and the middles just set with chocolate puddles throughout. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool on their sheet for 5 minutes, before carefully transferring them to a wire rack to cool further before serving warm or at room temperature.
“What shall I tell you about? I shall tell you about the instants. I exceed my limits and only then do I exist and then in a feverish way. I’m very feverish… will I ever be able to stop living? God help me, I die so much. I follow the tortuous path of roots and breaking through the earth, for passion is my talent, in the burning of a dry tree I twist in the flames. To the duration of my existence I give a hidden meaning which surpasses me. I’m a concomitant being: I unite myself past, present, and future time, the time that throbs in the tick-tick of clocks.” – Clarice Lispector, an excerpt from ‘Agua Viva.’
I’m leaving again soon. Not for long but long enough for me to forget the place from which I came. It’s never taken great lengths to do that. The mornings I wake in a different bed deliver me unable to remember who I once was. The days that came before cease to exist and so do I. Then the sun rises. I wish I could tell you of all the ways I tremble at the thought of stagnation. The hungering ache for life’s blood that mirrors the eternal ebb and flow of the ocean. But I won’t. I’m desiring to end with Lilith here. She’s the sole thing that’s been of consummation lately.
“Do you think they can cure her? Do you know what she wants? Do you think they can cure this fire? She wants to leave the mark of desire on every creature in the word. If she were Caesar, she’d do it with a sword. If she were a poet, she’d do it with words. But she’s Lilith. She has to do it with her body.”
– Lilith, Robert Rossen (dir.) (1964)
– This Sugared Dark Chocolate Tahini Banana Bread is one for remembering. It’s full of sweet character, deep nutty undertones, molten flecks of dark chocolate, and a crisply caramelised sugared top. It’s ultra-moist too. Always make sure to use over-ripe bananas in this recipe which yields a loaf with the most delicious textural character and flavor. Alternatively, if your bananas aren’t over-ripe yet, you could set them in the oven to roast in their skins until blackened, then peel and leave to cool before using.
– Be cautious of not over-mixing! A perfect banana bread is one that’s tender, soft and moist not dense and rubbery. Here, make sure to beat the batter until the flour has just begun to incorporate, some dry floury pockets should remain, then, remove the bowl and finish mixing by hand with a large wooden spoon whilst folding in the dark chocolate chunks.
SUGARED DARK CHOCOLATE TAHINI BANANA BREAD
240 g all-purpose flour
1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
350 g bananas, plus 1/2 a length-wise sliced banana reserved for the top
200 g light brown sugar
100 ml neutral vegetable oil
70 g tahini
1 teaspoon vanilla bean extract
½ teaspoon sesame oil
2 large eggs, at room temperature
190 ml buttermilk, at room temperature
125 g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Pre-heat the oven to 180 c (350 f). Grease and line a 23 x 13 cm (9 x 5 1/2 inch) loaf tin with non-stick parchment paper. Let the paper slightly over-hang the sides.
In a medium-size mixing bowl, sift together the flour, powder, soda, and salt. Set aside until needed.
Add 350 g of the bananas into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the beater attachment. Beat until roughly mashed, about 30 seconds. Pause mixing and add in the light brown sugar and vegetable oil. Beat, on medium speed, until light in color and well combined, 3 more minutes. Add in the tahini, vanilla bean extract and sesame oil until incorporated. Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Set the mixer speed to low and slowly stream in the buttermilk. Add in the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated, no more than 15 seconds. Some dry flour pockets should remain throughout the batter. Stop mixing and remove the bowl from the stand mixer. Add in the dark chocolate chunks, then, using a large wooden spoon, gently fold them throughout the batter until evenly incorporated.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin until it is about ¾’s of the way full. Lay the reserved sliced banana half over the top then scatter over the granulated sugar.
Bake for 50 minutes, or until risen, golden brown, and fragrant. A skewer inserted into the middle should come out with a few moist crumbs attached. Remove from the oven and leave the bread to cool in its tin for 15 minutes before transferring it out and onto a wire rack to cool further before slicing and serving.
“It is June. I am tired of being brave.” – Anne Sexton, an excerpt from ‘The Truth the Dead Know.’
There isn’t a week that goes by where I don’t make some rendition of a frangipane tart. My freezer is full of left-over pastry dough and surpluses of streusel that always end up in tart form. It’s become a new kind of ritual. And one, that for me, signifies the strength of the season. There’s thinly sliced pears, quince, and apples for the cool slowing’s of Winter and Fall. And blistering over-ripe stone fruits and berries for the warming creep of Spring and Summer. And this Raspberry Almond Streusel Tart is among my current seasonal favourite.
It’s a tart that’s easy, good, and possesses just the right amount of sweetness to sate. Simple yet refined enough too. The pâte sablée crust is perfectly buttered, tender and short. And is the best kind of vehicle to devour a wealth of rich filling. The almond frangipane is the star and staple. It’s velvety, nutty, and elevated with an enlivened undertone of citric zest and warm liquor. There’s jammy-tart raspberries studded throughout. And a final flourish of textured streusel and powdered sugar. It’s a tart best served under the sun with lashings of cream to round out the afternoon.
– This tart serves as the perfect base recipe to highlight whatever is in season. You can easily switch out the raspberries for a plethora of different fruits, depending what you have on hand. My personal favourites are blackberries, strawberries, and thin slices of rhubarb and pear. I’ve done it up once before with figs too. The options are endless. You could alter the character of the frangipane too. I often end up using hazelnuts instead of almonds for the cooler months, which results in a little more deep and intense flavour.
– I prefer to make the pâte sablée in a food processor purely because it allows me to control the temperature of the dough more effectively as it isn’t exposed to bodily heat. If you don’t have a food processor, you could make it by hand with similar results. Just make sure to chill and let the dough rest for a little while longer before rolling it out and placing it in the tart shell.
RASPBERRY ALMOND STREUSEL TART
For the pâte sablée:
250 g all-purpose flour
100 g confectioners’ sugar
½ teaspoon salt
165 unsalted butter, cold
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons iced water
To make the pastry, place the flour, sugar, salt, and butter into the bowl of a food processor. Process until the mixture forms that of a coarse meal like texture with some pea-sized pieces of butter running throughout it, about 20 to 30 seconds. Add in the egg yolk and water. Pulse, until the mixture is just beginning to come together and form a soft dough ball around the base of the blade, no more than 30 seconds. Tip the dough ball out and onto a sheet of plastic wrap, then, flatten the ball into a rough disc shape. Cover and chill for at least an hour.
For the streusel:
50 g all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
30 g unsalted butter, cold and cubed
20 g flaked almonds
In a small bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, and salt until combined. Add in the butter. Use your fingers to rub the butter into the dry ingredients until fine crumbs form, then, using a slightly greater amount of pressure, squeeze the mixture together until large clumps have formed. Toss through the flaked almonds. Set the bowl in the refrigerator to keep cool until needed.
For the frangipane:
125 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125 g granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon brandy
Zest from ½ small orange
165 g almond meal
35 g all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
To make the frangipane, place the butter and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the beater attachment. Beat, on medium speed, until light and fluffy, 4 minutes. Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add in the brandy and orange zest. Set the mixer speed to medium-low. Add in the almond meal, flour, and salt. Beat until just combined, about a minute. Increase the mixer speed back to medium and beat for a further 3 minutes, or until the frangipane is pale and fluffy. Set aside for assembly.
150 g raspberries, fresh or frozen
Confectioners’ sugar, for finishing
Pre-heat the oven to 180 c (350 f). Lightly butter and flour a 22 cm (9-inch) fluted tart tin with a removable base. Put the tart tin on a large baking sheet and set aside.
Set the chilled pastry out and onto a floured work surface and lightly flour the top. Using a wooden rolling pin, begin to roll the dough out and into a rough circular shape, a few centimeters larger than the tin you’re using. It should be about 4 mm (.15 inch) in thickness. Carefully transfer the dough into the tart tin. Using your fingers, gently adjust the dough into the tin making sure to press it into the base and edges. Trim off any excess overhang.
Using a spatula or the back of a metal spoon, spread the frangipane evenly over the tart base. Stud over the raspberries making sure not to press them in all the way but instead just indenting them into the filling. Evenly sprinkle over the streusel.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until the frangipane is set, the tart is golden-brown all-over, and fragrant. Remove from the oven and set the tart onto a wire rack to cool completely before carefully removing it from its tin. Sift over a little confectioners’ sugar before slicing and serving.
“I will touch a hundred flowers and not pick one.” – Edna St. Vincent Millay, an excerpt from ‘Afternoon on a Hill’
An end to ardour. When the dying death of last light was beautiful and all things fade like the sun. The roses are in their swollen bloom, the color of dusk. There’s a heat to it. A heat that comes with the end of things. I pluck a rose and feel it. Feel the bloom, know the bloom, I am the bloom. And then it withers and I feel that too. The rose and I know much of withering. For I withered once, once in December. I’ve always thought there are certain blossoming’s that wild things must know, just as there are certain burnings the body must endure. How flowers understand their fated end. The end that comes from being plucked, loved, and cherished. I wonder how true that is for us too. But blossoming, blossoming is the sole thing for which we were built.
This Rhubarb, Rose and Almond Cake with White Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream has been on the back-burner for months. For lack of a better reason, I got consumed. Again. But, I wanted to bring it to the blog before rhubarb season was well and truly over. Rhubarb has always been one of my favorite ingredients to work with. Its distinct tartness when paired with sweetness from white chocolate and floral notes from rose is a combination that’s forever entrenched within my heart. And when paired with the earthen undertone of almond, it’s heaven. A slice of cake that’s not easily forgotten.
– The cake is made using the reverse creaming method, which uses the technique of incorporating the butter into the dry ingredients instead of creaming together the butter and sugar. The result is a cake that is kept moist for longer, with a finer crumb and bakes up almost always flat.
– If you don’t care for gin, you could replace it with another alcohol of choice. Amaretto would be a perfect substitute. Or, if you prefer not to use alcohol at all, simply replace the gin with an equal amount of water.
– The recipe for the white chocolate swiss meringue buttercream makes a lot, enough to thickly frost the cake however way you desire. I decorated the cake in generous swoops and swirls of buttercream but you could frost it thinner for a more naked cake effect. The recipe will also yield more than enough for piped detailing if you so desire. I’ve left it up to your discretion.
– I used a little pink food coloring to dye the buttercream. A few drops was all it took for a beautiful pastel pink shade but you can add as many drops as you feel necessary to achieve your desired aesthetic.
RHUBARB, ROSE AND ALMOND CAKE WITH WHITE CHOCOLATE SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM
For the cake:
315 g cake flour
90 g almond meal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
290 g granulated sugar
200 g unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature
200 g egg whites, at room temperature
275 ml whole milk, at room temperature
2 teaspoons rose water
1 teaspoon vanilla bean extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
Pre-heat the oven to 180 c (350 f). Grease and line 4 x 18 cm cake pans with non-stick parchment paper. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the beater attachment, beat the cake flour, almond meal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar, until the dry ingredients are evenly distributed. Set the mixer speed to medium. Add in the butter, a tablespoon at a time, until it is all used up. Continue to beat for a further 3 to 5 minutes, or until the mixture forms a well combined sandy meal-like texture.
Meanwhile, in a separate large pouring jug or mixing bowl, whisk together the egg whites, whole milk, rose water, vanilla bean extract, and almond extract.
Set the mixer speed to medium-low. Pour in half the liquid ingredients. Beat until just combined then pour in the remaining half. Pause mixing to scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl as needed. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat the batter is light and fluffy, 3 more minutes.
Divide the batter between the prepared cake pans and use a rubber spatula to help smooth out the tops. Bake, for 25 to 35 minutes, or until the cakes are risen, lightly brown, and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let the cakes cool in their pans for 15 minutes before carefully turning out and onto a wire rack to cool completely before frosting. Once cool, level off any domed tops.
For the rhubarb compote:
350 g rhubarb, trimmed, cleaned, thinly sliced
130 g granulated sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon rose water
Seeds from 1 vanilla bean pod
To make the rhubarb compote, place the rhubarb, sugar, lemon juice, rose water, and vanilla bean seeds into a medium-sized saucepan set over medium-low heat. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the fruit has softened, is beginning to break down and the sugar has dissolved, about 8 minutes. Increase the heat to medium. Continue to cook, stirring often, until the mixture reaches a light rolling boil. Reduce the heat back to medium-low. Allow the mixture to slowly simmer for a further 6 to 8 minutes, or until reduced by a quarter. Remove from the heat and place it into a medium-sized bowl. Allow the mixture to come to room temperature, then, place it in the refrigerator to chill until further needed. It should have thickened up and must be completely cool before use.
For the gin sugar syrup:
50 g granulated sugar
50 ml water
30 ml gin
Combine the sugar, water, and gin in a medium sized saucepan set over medium heat. Heat, stirring often, until the sugar is dissolved. Bring the mixture to a light rolling boil, then, remove it from the heat. Immediately use a pastry brush to evenly glaze the cut tops of the cakes with the sugar syrup.
For the white chocolate swiss meringue buttercream:
150 g white chocolate, roughly chopped
260 g egg whites
300 g granulated sugar
500 g unsalted butter, very soft at room temperature
1 teaspoon rose water
¼ teaspoon salt
A few drops of pink food coloring
Put the white chocolate into a medium-sized heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water on low heat. Do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water. Heat, stirring often with a rubber spatula, until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove the bowl from the heat and set it aside to cool.
Next, place the egg whites and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk by hand to combine. Place the bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water set on medium-low heat. Do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water. Heat, whisking often, until the mixture reaches a temperature of 70 c (160 f) on a candy thermometer. The sugar should be completely dissolved and the mixture hot to the touch. Once at temperature, remove the bowl from the heat and set it on the base of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
Whisk, on medium-high speed, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the mixture holds stiff peaks. The bowl should no longer be hot to the touch and the meringue should be glossy and cool. Pause mixing and swap the whisk attachment for the beater attachment.
Add in the butter, a tablespoon at a time, until it is all incorporated. Add in the melted and cooled white chocolate, rose water, salt, and a few drops of pink food color. Increase the mixer speed to high and continue to beat until the buttercream is thick, evenly dyed, and silky smooth, 5 more minutes. Set aside for assembly.
Place the first cake layer cut side facing up onto a serving plate or cake stand. Using an offset spatula, spread about 4 generous tablespoons of the buttercream over the top and sides of the cake. Slightly hollow out the center of the buttercream with a metal spoon to form a “dam” which will create a little edge that makes sure your rhubarb compote doesn’t overflow the sides of the cake when filling and layering. Gently add on the second cake layer, cut side facing down. Again, repeat this frosting and filling process. Repeat again for the third cake layer. Gently press on the final cake layer, cut side facing down. Cover the top and sides of the cake with a thin layer of the buttercream then set the cake in the refrigerator to chill the crumb coat until firm, about 30 minutes. Remove the cake from the refrigerator and use a large offset spatula to thickly spread on a final layer of the buttercream, or however you wish. Place the cake back in the refrigerator to set for a further 30 minutes, before slicing and serving.
“I meet you. I remember you. Who are you? You’re destroying me. You’re good for me. How could I know this city was tailor-made for love? How could I know you fit my body like a glove? I like you. How unlikely. I like you. How slow all of a sudden. How sweet. You cannot know. You’re destroying me. You’re good for me. You’re destroying me. You’re good for me. I have time. Please, devour me. Deform me to the point of ugliness. Why not you? Why not you in this city and in this night, so like other cities and other nights you can hardly tell the difference? I beg of you.” – Marguerite Duras, from Hiroshima Mon Amour.
Lemon, Pink Peppercorn and White Chocolate Shortbread and fragmentations of thought from this weekend. June so far has been a thousand sleepless nights of chill and fever. The dreams that come, in awakening and silence. I find I am without myself once more. And so I fall into the dreams of Winter to remember. I see you, I see the sun, I see the cold, I am the cold, I am the last of the golden light, the leaves that fall. I’ll trade a handful of blossoms for a handful of memories in the hope of eternal beauty. And I’ll steal a handful more to remember it forever. Either an oasis or an oblivion. Things end.
I’ll let you in on something. I’m enamoured by shortbread. There’s something about the nature of a crumbled morsel that I can’t help but love. It’s honest, familiar, comforting, and full of warmth. And this Lemon, Pink Peppercorn and White Chocolate Shortbread is my best rendition yet. With rounded notes of floral spice, brightness from overly zested lemon, and sugared pockets of an almost deeply caramelised white chocolate, they’re everything. For you, for me, for us, for the season, everything.
– Make sure to avoid over-mixing the shortbread dough. Over-mixed dough results in tough and not tender shortbread due to the increased gluten development. It’s better to have a dough with a few floury pockets then one without. So, watch the mixture carefully when adding the flour. It shouldn’t take more than 30 seconds for it to become just incorporated. Then, finish mixing by hand by folding in the white chocolate chunks.
– You can play around with the flavor combinations in this recipe with great results. For instance, the pink peppercorns can be substituted and replaced with another herbaceous and spiced note like lavender, mint, or thyme. The white chocolate can also be substituted. Another favorite combination I’ve tried is rosemary, dark chocolate and orange. This shortbread is the perfect blank canvas.
– Remember to slice the shortbread with a sharp knife while it is still warm for even and neat squares.
LEMON, PINK PEPPERCORN AND WHITE CHOCOLATE SHORTBREAD
240 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125 g granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean extract
Zest from 1 small lemon
1 teaspoon pink peppercorns
½ teaspoon salt
275 g all-purpose flour, sifted
140 g white chocolate, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon granulated sugar, for sprinkling
Pre-heat the oven to 180 c (350 f). Grease and line a 20 cm (8 inch) square baking tin with non-stick parchment paper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the beater attachment, beat together the butter and sugar on medium-speed until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Pause mixing to scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl. Beat in the vanilla bean extract, lemon zest, half the pink peppercorns, and salt. Add in the flour and beat until just combined, about 30 seconds. Stop mixing and use a large rubber spatula or wooden spoon to mix in the white chocolate chunks until evenly incorporated throughout the dough.
Press the dough into the prepared baking tin, making sure to spread it into an even layer and to the edges of the tin. Sprinkle the teaspoon of granulated sugar and the remaining half of the pink peppercorns over the shortbread, then, use a sharp knife to score the top into evenly sized squares.
Bake, for 30 to 35 minutes, or until puffed, just firm, and lightly golden. Remove from the oven let the shortbread cool for 15 minutes in its tin before carefully transferring it out and onto a wire rack. Slice the shortbread into even squares, similar in size to how you scored it before baking, while it is still warm. Let cool before serving.
“Today is made of yesterday, each time I steal toward rites I do not know, waiting for the lost ingredient, as if salt or money or even lust would keep us calm and prove us whole at last.” – Anne Sexton, from ‘The Lost Ingredient.’
Late in the afternoon, dreaming. There’s warmth on everything. Yesterday I made this cheesecake. I’ve made it again and again over the course of the week. Part because I craved it and part because I came home to place of dessert tables and long Wintered dinners that turn into never-ending evenings. And then I think about this cheesecake and become light-headed again. Hungering sets in. Afternoon shadows devour. It’s all over.
Lemon Meringue Mascarpone Cheesecake. With its thick swirls of gently torched meringue, toasted almond base, and ultra-smooth, zested, and tart interior that’s both curd and cake, it’s heaven. A soft, supple, and cloudlike mouthful kind of heaven. The one of blossoming, stillness, and silence, of knowing slices end but memories remain. If I close my eyes I can still feel it all as heavily as I did the first time. And so I learn to live with my eyes shut.
For this recipe, please use cream cheese that comes in block form and not tub form. I’ve found that tub form cream cheese never results in a perfectly textured cheesecake due to the air that’s pre-whipped into it. And also make sure that your cream cheese and mascarpone are both full-fat.
Let your ingredients come to room temperature before baking, as room temperature ingredients are easier to blend together and handle which always results in a smoother texture. I like to do this about two hours before I begin baking, but, it depends on the season you’re in and the temperature in your kitchen. So, adjust accordingly.
I like to bake the cheesecake at a very low temperature, slowly. I find it gives a softer, smoother and more supple texture. It should take about an hour and a half. Once it’s done baking, make sure to slightly pry open the oven door and let the cheesecake cool to room temperature before placing it, still in its tin, in the refrigerator to chill until firm.
I use a kitchen blow torch to toast the meringue, but, on some occasions, I’ve also used a broiler. If you’re using the latter, make sure to watch the cheesecake carefully. You don’t want it to be placed under strong heat for too long. A couple of minutes maximum is all it should take to gently toast the top.
LEMON MERINGUE MASCARPONE CHEESECAKE
For the base:
115 g digestive biscuits, finely crushed
40 g almond meal
¼ teaspoon salt
55 g unsalted butter, melted
Pre-heat the oven to 180 c (350 f). Grease and line a 20 cm (8 inch) springform cake pan with non-stick parchment paper. Cover the sides of the pan with a layer of aluminum foil. Set aside.
In a medium sized mixing bowl, stir together the digestive biscuits, almond meal and salt. Add in the melted butter and stir until everything is evenly moistened. Tip the mixture into the base of the prepared cake pan and gently press it into a thin and even layer. Bake for 10 minutes, or until fragrant and just beginning to turn golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
Immediately lower the oven temperature to 120 c (250 f). Fill a deep-dish roasting pan with a few inches of water. Place it in the bottom or the lowest shelf of the oven.
For the filling:
500 g cream cheese, at room temperature
250 g mascarpone, at room temperature
160 g granulated sugar
3 large eggs
100 ml lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 teaspoon vanilla bean extract
zest from ½ small lemon
¼ teaspoon salt
To make the filling, add the cream cheese to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the beater attachment. Beat on medium speed, until smooth and malleable, about 3 minutes. Pause mixing and scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl. Add in the mascarpone and sugar. Beat until well incorporated and fluffy, 2 more minutes. Add in the eggs, one at a time, making sure to beat well after each addition. Beat in the lemon juice, vanilla bean extract, zest and salt until very smooth, light, and well combined, 4 more minutes. Pour the filling over the cooled crust and use an offset spatula or the back of a metal spoon to smooth out the top.
Bake the cheesecake for about 1 ½ hours. The cheesecake is ready when it is firm around the edges and just firm in the middle but with a slight jiggle to it. Turn off the heat and pry open the oven door. Let the cheesecake cool in the partially opened oven until it reaches room temperature, about an hour. Do not unmold the cheesecake from its pan. When it’s at room temperature, place it in the refrigerator to chill for at least 6 hours, or preferably, overnight, before topping with the meringue and serving.
For the meringue:
80 g egg whites, at room temperature
180 g granulated sugar
Zest from ½ small lemon
To make the meringue, put the egg whites and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer set over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Do not let the base of the bowl touch the water. Heat the mixture, stirring often, until it reaches 70 c (160 f) on a candy thermometer.
Once at temperature, remove the bowl from the heat and place it onto a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk, on medium-high speed, until the mixture forms that of stiff and glossy peaks, about 6 to 8 minutes. The bowl should be cool to the touch and all the steam will have escaped the meringue. Pause mixing and add in the lemon zest. Whisk for a further 30 seconds until combined. Set the bowl aside.
Unmold the cheesecake from the pan and set it out and onto a serving plate. Spread the meringue over the top of the cheesecake in a swoop and swirl motion using the back of a metal spoon or an offset palette knife. Then, using a kitchen blow torch, carefully toast the top of the meringue. If you’re using a broiler, place it under the broiler until the meringue is evenly browned, about 2 minutes. Keep the cheesecake chilled until you’re ready to slice and serve.
“Strengthened by the goodness of winter fruit, I brought the fire into the house. The civilization of storms dripped from the overhanging tiles. I’ll now be free to detest tradition, to dream of the frost of those that passed on the scarcely captious pathways. But to whom will I entrust my unborn children? Solitude was without its spaces; the white flame sank and its warmth only offered an expiring gesture.”- René Char, from End of Solemnities.
The winter has arrived ahead of itself. It’s been cold here, bitter. You could almost taste it, the bitterness. We don’t go coatless anymore. And how it eats. The rise of sudden chill that surges and floods. In my heart I become the winter, as skinless as the weather that threatens to consume. The harshness, the bitterness, the numbness. Possession is all I ask for. I’ve always thought we grow greatest from cold places. And I’d gladly become coated in the winter of you. I wanted to sing for the winter, sing for you, but singing only ever comes with the promise of screaming and the cold has left me throatless.
White Chocolate and Ras el Hanout Ice Cream. It’s an ice cream that far exceeds delicious. With a supple, creamy, and smooth-as-anything texture, it’s heavenly. The base is a custard deeply enriched with sweetness and spice. I discovered ras el hanout when I was in the Middle East and I haven’t been without it since. The spice provides an earthen undertone like nothing else. And when paired with ultra-sweet white chocolate in ice cream? It’s perfect. A wintered mouthful of richness and flames.
The warmth from ras el hanout is what makes this ice cream. It contains all the good things like saffron, cardamom, nutmeg, pepper and cinnamon. The spice isn’t commonly found in most places, though, I have seen it carried in some specialty stores. If you can’t find it in stores, it can easily be sourced online. I wouldn’t recommend doing the ice cream up without it.
You will need an ice cream machine for this recipe. Make sure to freeze your bowl overnight before use and also make sure that the custard base is completely cold before churning, too. I prefer to make the custard in the afternoon then let it chill overnight before churning the next morning.
I use smoked fleur de sel in this recipe for a deep and intense undertone. You can easily substitute it for regular salt or standard fleur de sel.
WHITE CHOCOLATE AND RAS EL HANOUT ICE CREAM
6 large egg yolks
170 grams granulated sugar
320 milliliters heavy cream
500 milliliters whole milk
Seeds from 1 vanilla bean pod
¾ teaspoon ras el hanout
200 grams white chocolate, finely chopped
½ teaspoon smoked fleur de sel
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the eggs and sugar on medium-high speed until pale and doubled in volume, about 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, put the cream, milk, vanilla bean seeds, and ras el hanout into a large saucepan. Set the pan over medium-low heat and whisk often until the mixture reaches a gentle simmer. Once simmering, ladle a little of the hot cream mixture into the bowl with the egg yolks and whisk vigorously until combined. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Continue to cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Do not let it come to a boil. Remove the saucepan from the heat and immediately whisk in the white chocolate and salt until melted and evenly combined.
Strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve and into a large mixing bowl then cover it with a layer of plastic wrap. Place the bowl in the refrigerator to chill the custard overnight until completely cool.
The next morning, remove the bowl from the refrigerator. Pour the chilled custard into the bowl of an ice cream churner. Churn according to the manufacturers instructions of your ice cream machine. The ice cream will be very thick and almost doubled in volume when it is done churning.
Scrape the ice cream into a large size loaf pan and cover it with a layer of aluminum foil. Freezer for at least four hours before serving.
“In the unaltered parts she said the wounds inflicted on us by these swords of the sun were dealt by heaven. They left no visible trace, no scar either on our flesh or in our thoughts. They neither wounded nor consoled. It was a matter of something else. Somewhere else. Far away from where we might have thought. The wounds did not herald or confirm anything that could be taught. What they did was produce a new perception, an inner difference at the heart of meaning.” – Marguerite Duras, an excerpt from Emily L.
This was an impromptu galette, made in the late afternoon when the last of the light was dying. I wasn’t planning on making it. But the raspberries were there and calling out for a buttered vehicle to carry them. And so it happened. I’ve forever thought that the rustic nature of galettes are the ultimate way to use up an abundance of fruit. And this Raspberry, Rose, and Rye Galette is my favourite rendition. It has the flakiest crust imaginable. All-buttered, golden, and sugar-studded. With a hint of rye that provides an undertone of wholesome depth and a fine crumb that melts in a mouthful. Within? A wealth of blistering rose sugared raspberries. I’ve always had a compulsive desire to add florals to everything. And roses are my current thirst. The fragrant notes complement all the just-tart berries perfectly. There’s a thick layer of preserves beneath it all too. I used rhubarb from last year’s season. And a final sprinkling of sugar to sweetly round out all the flavor within. It’s delicious to no end.
This galette is rustic, free-form, and forgiving. It can easily be customised to whatever fruit is in season. We’ve got the last of summer’s raspberries here now. I know for most of you across the globe, the season might not happen for a while. And that’s okay. Use whatever you have on hand. Strawberries are incredibly suited for this recipe. As too is rhubarb. Just make sure to adjust the amount of sugar according to the natural sweetness of whatever you are using.
I used rhubarb preserves for the bottom layer of this galette. Again, use whatever you have on hand. Anything that’s sweet, jammy, and berry-filled will always work wonders; like raspberry, strawberry, and sometimes red currant (depending on tartness). If you can source it, I imagine that rose petal preserves would be incredible too.
The rye flour within this crust truly makes it special. It adds an earthen, deep, and robust flavor like nothing else. If you don’t have rye on hand, you can easily substitute it for an equal amount of all-purpose flour which will yield great results. The butter used for the crust should be very cold, too. You don’t want it to disintegrate within the dough, rather, you want pea-sized chunks of it marbled throughout. So, when working the dough, make sure to watch it carefully. The chunks of butter are key to a perfectly flaky crust.
RASPBERRY, ROSE, AND RYE GALETTE
For the all-butter rye crust:
90 g all-purpose flour
90 g rye flour
30 g granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
130 g unsalted butter, cubed and very cold
80 ml iced water
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Place the all-purpose flour, rye flour, granulated sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add in the cold butter and toss to coat it in the dry ingredients. Using a pastry cutter or metal spatula, begin to cut the butter into the flour until it resembles a coarse meal-like texture with some pea-sized pieces of butter running throughout it.
In a large measuring jug, combine the iced water and apple cider vinegar. Drizzle a few tablespoons of this mixture over the bowl with the flour, then, use a spatula or your hands to gently mix it in until incorporated. Keep incorporating the iced water mixture, adding a few tablespoons at a time, until the mixture comes together to form a rough dough ball. Some dry and flaky bits should remain. Shape the dough into a disc then cover it with a thin layer of plastic wrap and set it in the refrigerator to chill for at least 1 hour before use.
For the filling:
400 g raspberries
135 g granulated sugar
1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons rose water
Juice and zest from ½ a lemon
Meanwhile, make the filling. Combine the raspberries, granulated sugar, cornstarch, rose water, lemon juice, and zest in a medium sized mixing bowl until incorporated. Set the bowl aside until needed.
100 g rhubarb or raspberry preserves
1 egg, lightly beaten for the egg wash
2 tablespoons raw sugar, for sprinkling
Powdered sugar, for final sifting (optional)
Pre-heat the oven to 200 c (400 f). Line a large baking sheet with non-stick parchment paper.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and transfer it out and onto a floured work surface. Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough out and into a rough rectangle shape about .6 cm (1/2 inch) in thickness. Carefully transfer the circle onto the lined baking sheet.
Using an offset spatula, generously spread the preserves over the face of the dough, making sure to leave a rough 4 cm (1 ½ inch) border from the edges. Arrange over the raspberry filling, again, leaving a small border from the edges. Fold the dough over the filling to enclose it, using a little of the egg wash to help seal the folds. Freeze until firm, about 15 minutes.
When you’re ready to bake, remove the galette from the freezer. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the dough with a thin layer of the egg wash. Sprinkle over the raw sugar. Bake, until golden brown and the juices are bubbling, about 35 minutes. Remove the galette from the oven and let it cool slightly before sifting over a little powdered sugar. The galette is best served warm, straight after making, with a generous scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, if desired.
“I am not sure at all if love is salve or just a deeper kind of wound. I do not think it matters.” Erica Jong, from ‘The Evidence.’
Tonight I am missing something I do not know. I do not know what I am missing and yet I’m missing it. I know I’m missing something and that something I cannot grasp. I feel the unknown clutch of an unknown hand pressed against my throat. And I’m searching myself to discover what it is I’m without. Also to whom the hand belongs. But that I don’t know either. And yet, the missing isn’t really a missing at all. The something has created a void. And the missing fills it. Maybe that’s the greatest paradox of all. There’s nothing missing in me because there’s nothing to be missed.
These Grey Sea Salt Caramel Brioche Doughnuts have been on rotation for the last few weeks. If you follow me on Instagram, you would’ve seen the evidence, the spills, and spatters. I wanted them desperately for the blog. Because they’re good. Not just good, better than good. They’re great doughnuts; with the most aerated, soft, and pillowed brioche interior, and an ultra-dulcet grey sea salt caramel crème patissiere filling. The greyness of the salt provides a brinier, volcanic, and better-riff on a traditional salted caramel. The salt is from my good friend, Grace, sent all the way from Los Angeles to Australia in the best care package I could ever hope to receive; filled with salts, sugars, and stellar oats from the launch of her new company, Mylk Labs. Not sponsored, I just love her. Here’s to great doughnuts and even greater friends.
This recipe requires a few time-crucial processes. To make it easier, you can begin the crème patissiere the day before and let it chill in the refrigerator overnight until completely cool before folding in the whipped cream. The brioche dough too can also be started the day before. After its first rise, simply re-cover the dough and place it in the refrigerator to chill overnight until the day of making.
I used Icelandic grey sea salt sent my good friend, Grace, in this recipe. It adds an additional level of flavor complexity, brininess, and depth than usual salt. If you can’t source it, you could use regular salt for a true salted caramel, or even use fleur de sel, for something a little more exotic. Pink salt or smoked salt would also work wonders.
This recipe will yield about 15-17 doughnuts using a 6-cm (2.4-inch) circular doughnut cutter. You could use a smaller cutter for doughnut holes, which would require slightly less in frying time. I would not recommend using a larger-sized cutter.
The doughnuts when cut out need a second proof of 20 minutes. Make sure that they do not exceed this time. You don’t want them over-proofed and you definitely don’t want them under-proofed. 20 minutes is a good amount of time. Also make sure that you begin to slowly bring the frying oil to temperature as soon as the doughnuts have been cut out and left to rest. A well-proofed doughnut when fried will have a ‘tan line’ running through its middle.
When frying, you want to make sure that the oil sits consistently around 180 – 190 c (350 – 375 f). Make sure to adjust the stove heat as necessary to ensure this, even if it means removing the pot of oil from the heat to cool off before frying again. You can use a deep-fryer for this recipe too. I don’t own one so I didn’t leave instructions for it. If you are using one, follow the steps as specified and make sure to keep the oil at the temperature specified.
GREY SEA SALT CARAMEL BRIOCHE DOUGHNUTS
For the crème patissiere:
220 g granulated sugar
6 large egg yolks
40 g cornstarch
500 ml whole milk
Seeds from 1 vanilla bean pod
1 teaspoon grey sea salt or other salt
230 ml heavy cream
Begin by caramelizing the sugar. Place three quarters of the sugar into a large-sized saucepan set over medium-low heat. Heat, swirling the pan occasionally but not stirring, until the sugar has evenly turned a deep amber color, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the remaining quarter of the sugar, egg yolks, and cornstarch, into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk, on medium-high speed, until the mixture is thick, pale, and almost doubled in volume, about 3 minutes.
Next, put the milk and vanilla bean seeds into a medium sized saucepan set over medium-low heat. Bring the milk to a light simmer. Once the sugar has caramelised, pour it into the warm milk. Be careful, it will rise and sputter but will subside as soon as it acclimatizes. Whisk gently until the sugar and milk have incorporated. The mixture won’t come together at first, but, as you continue to cook it, it will dissolve together beautifully.
Ladle a little of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture. Whisk constantly until combined and the eggs have acclimatized to the heat. Pour this mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining milk. Continue to cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture is very thick and leaves a trail, a few more minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the salt.
Strain the crème patissiere through a fine-mesh sieve and into a medium sized mixing bowl. Immediately cover the surface of it with a thin layer of plastic wrap. Set the bowl in the refrigerator to chill completely, at least six hours or overnight.
Just before you’re ready to fill the doughnuts, place the cream into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk, until medium-firm peaks have formed. Fold half of the whipped cream into the chilled crème patissiere to loosen, then, gently fold in the remainder of the cream. Place the mixture into a large-sized piping bag fitted with a medium-sized round tip then set it in the refrigerator to keep cool until assembly.
For the brioche dough:
200 ml whole milk
14 g instant dried yeast
515 g all-purpose flour
60 g granulated sugar
1 ¼ teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
100 g unsalted butter, soft at room temperature
Place the milk in a small saucepan set over medium-low heat. Heat, stirring often, until it is lukewarm in temperature.Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the yeast until dissolved. Set aside to proof for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine the flour, sugar, and salt, until combined. Pour the milk mixture into the dry flour ingredients. Mix, on medium-low, until a rough and shaggy mixture has formed, about 1 minute. Add in the eggs, one at a time, until well incorporated. Set the mixer speed to medium and let the dough knead for 5 minutes, until a firm and smooth ball has formed around the base of the dough hook. Add in the butter, a tablespoon at a time, until all incorporated. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and let the dough knead for a further 6 minutes, or until elastic, velvety, and smooth.
Place the dough into a large-sized lightly greased bowl and cover it with a layer of plastic wrap. Let it rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about an hour to an hour and a half (depending on the temperature of your kitchen and the climate you’re in). Once risen, knock the dough back to deflate it. At this point, you can choose to re-cover the bowl and set the dough in the refrigerator to chill overnight and make the doughnuts in the morning or proceed with making them now.
1 L vegetable oil, for frying
200 g granulated sugar
Turn the brioche dough out and onto a floured surface. Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a rough circle that’s about 2.5 cm (1 inch) in thickness. Using a circular cutter, cut out as many doughnuts as possible from the dough. Re-roll the scraps to the same thickness as before, and repeat. You should get about 15 – 17 doughnuts from the dough. Place them onto a baking tray lined with non-stick parchment paper. Cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel and set aside to proof, for a further 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the oil into a large heavy-bottomed pot set over medium-low heat. Slowly bring it to 180 c (350 f) in temperature. Put the sugar into a medium sized mixing bowl and place a wire cooling rack over a baking sheet lined with non-stick parchment paper.
Once at temperature, fry off the doughnuts. Using a mesh spoon, carefully lower the doughnuts, two to three at a time, into the hot oil. Fry for 1 ½ to 2 minutes on each side, or until inflated and golden brown. Remove from the oil and put the doughnuts onto the cooling rack. Let them sit for a minute then carefully coat each in the sugar. Repeat with the remaining doughnuts, adjusting the heat as necessary to ensure that the oil remains around 180 c (350 f) each time.
Once all the doughnuts have been fried, use a sharp knife to cut a small indent into their sides. Remove the crème patissiere from the refrigerator. Pipe the filling into the doughnut hole as much as the doughnut will allow, making sure that a little of the crème patissiere oozes out the top of the hole. Carefully set aside and repeat with the remaining doughnuts. The doughnuts are best eaten warm straight after making.