Friday, October 24, 2008

Holiday Baked Treats - Classes at Shermay's Cooking School

Aside from this, the only other seasonal class I'll be teaching is Holiday Baked Treats, a demo class, at Shermay's Cooking School on 8 November 2008 (Saturday), 9 November 2008 (Sunday), 22 November 2008 (Saturday) and 23 November 2008 (Sunday) - the November schedule has all the necessary details. For all inquiries, please call the school at +65 6479 8442 or email

If the candy class is geared towards gifting, this baked treats class is all about the joys of the bountiful holiday table. Many of the recipes are designed for entertaining, and make for a magnificent grand finale to a festive meal.

Valrhona Equatoriale Noire 55% Chocolate Pudding is a super easy and versatile recipe that's equally good served hot or cold. Served hot, it has a light texture, not unlike soufflé, and is delicious simply accompanied by pouring cream.

Served cold - topped with whipped cream and a shower of chocolate shavings - it becomes denser and richer in texture, not unlike a chocolate mousse.

Moist and moreish Sticky Date & Toffee Bundt, served with Brown Sugar Whipped Cream and a generous dose of yet more Sticky Toffee Sauce on the side, is a surefire crowd-pleaser.

The recipe can also be baked as individual Sticky Date & Toffee Mini Puds - you may find this a more practical solution if you are hosting a large party. The mini puds also make a wonderful addition to a dessert buffet table, allowing guests to help themselves easily.

In Chocolate Gingerbread Cupcakes with Valrhona Perles, cocoa is used subtly, as if it were a spice, adding nuance and complexity to the flavour of the gingerbread. The chocolatey kick comes from the extravagant addition of Valrhona chocolate pearls.

I personally find the cupcakes lovely as they are, and prefer to skip the frosting entirely - all that's required to finish them is a dusting of icing sugar. While very fine served at room temperature, if you do get the opportunity, try them warm - I'll sheepishly admit that when a tray of these emerge from the oven, I'm quite capable of demolishing half the batch at one go.

Valrhona Cocoa Meringue Kisses - light, airy, crisp and a snap to make - round out the recipe lineup.

Mastering the meringue technique alone opens up many other possibilities, including the ultimate Bûche de Noël decorations, these Meringue Mushrooms. Of course, you could simply enjoy them as cookies!

I'll have more details up in a separate post on the Bonus Section - The Art of Meringue: A Guide to Fabulous Holiday Ideas. These include:

Meringue Cookie Shapes Techniques for shaping/piping Poinsettias, Shells, Porcupines etc

Recipes for filling Meringue Cookie Sandwiches Salted Caramel Filling; Peppermint Chocolate Filling

Meringue Tartlet Shells How to shape and fill with preserves, curds etc of your choice

Mini Pavlovas How to shape and fill with flavoured whipped cream and fresh fruit of your choice

Meringue Boxes How to construct a beautiful edible container for holding scoops of sorbet, ice cream etc

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sweets For Your Sweet

As mentioned here, I'll be teaching Holiday Candy Shop, a demo class, at Shermay's Cooking School. Only 2 more sessions of this class will be held, on 1 November 2008 (Saturday) and 2 November 2008 (Sunday) - the November schedule has all the necessary details. For all inquiries, please call the school at +65 6479 8442 or email

It was with mileage in mind that the recipe pack for this class was designed - grasping one set of techniques/recipes thus leads to other possibilities. So in addition to the key recipes demonstrated at class, I've included a bonus section with extra recipes, ideas and serving suggestions.

With the season of gifting round the corner, my personal favourite in the lineup of ideas is a S'mores Kit (pictured above) - the difference being that both the Graham Crackers (made from nutty wholemeal flour, brown sugar, honey and cinnamon) and Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Bean Marshmallows have been crafted from scratch. Packaged together with tablets of Valrhona Equatoriale Noire 55% Dark Chocolate, I can't think of a more fun and delicious DIY gift.A thoughtful touch is including in your gift tag instructions for assembling and toasting the S’mores – these nostalgic snacks are the perfect marriage of crisp and gooey, molten chocolate and vanilla perfume...the ultimate luxurious spin on a comforting and familiar treat.

A proper cup of Hot Chocolate, rich, thick and smooth with Valrhona Araguani 72% Dark Chocolate, deserves nothing less than to be topped by a Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Bean Marshmallow.

Rocky Road Fudge (Valrhona Equatoriale Noire 55% Dark Chocolate Fudge studded with Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Bean Marshmallows & Pecans) combines the best of 2 recipes – the ease of the “instant fudge” method as illustrated by the Mocha Walnut Fudge, and the scrumptiousness of homemade marshmallows.

Homemade Graham Crackers are yummy all on their own, as the bases for S'mores, or given a dressier finish by being dipped in a Valrhona Equatoriale Noire 55% Dark Chocolate Glaze.

Likewise, the Valrhona Equatoriale Noire 55% Dark Chocolate Glaze smartens up shards of Honeycomb Crunch – think of it as the uptown cousin of that supermarket candy aisle guilty pleasure.

Honeycomb Crunch Sundaes are yet another fabulous use of this addictive candy. The Valrhona Araguani 72% Dark Chocolate Sorbet is intense and potent - made without dairy products (which can obscure the complex savours of an excellent dark chocolate), it is a chocolate purist's frozen dessert dream. To cut the bittersweetness, I like it served with Butterscotch Sauce and Honeycomb Crunch.