Archive for the ‘Dare’ Category

72 Hour Sous Vide Beef Ribs

72 Hour Sous Vide Beef Ribs

I must have mentioned this several times, that I am normally not a very patient person.  I think however, over time I have managed to hide this pretty well from most people.  Years ago though, concealing my temper wasn’t something I did very well.  On my recent holiday, we passed by California for the weekend to see my cousins and friends whom I hadn’t seen in over 10 years.  As long lost friends always do, we spent a good chunk of time reminiscing over “the good old days”.

One of the stories I couldn’t live down was the time my ex-boyfriend had broken up with me.  I spent months (okay, maybe it was more like a year… and a bit…) agonizing and crying over one of my best friend’s shoulders.  We would always chat long into the night and the funny thing is, I don’t think the essence of our conversations ever changed – it was either me asking him what had I done wrong, what I could have done different and him constantly reassuring me that “it was his loss”.  Other times, I asked him to “analyze” for me  the latest “ex-encounter” and whether his actions “meant anything”… reincarnations of these two topics came up over and over again… for a year… and a bit.

During the trip, as we looked back on our University years, we laughed at how trivial everything seemed to us now, but at that time, I don’t know how I would have survived without his support.  He always knew what to say when things were bleak, how to make me feel better, and how to make me laugh despite everything.

So when a year or so after he and his own girlfriend broke up, of course I was there for him.  I knew it was my turn to console him and do all the nice and altruistic things he had done for me.  I lavished him with praises and told him that he was a sure ten and she was most likely a four (at best), I told him that for sure “he could do better”.  The consoling continued well into the nights, just as he had done for me.

That is, until one day, I had enough.  I was frankly tired of iterations of similar conversations and so when he called me one night to tell me about her (again), I cracked it.  I told him that I was tired of hearing about their break-up and “NO!” they were probably not going to get back together and “NO!” just because she said “Hi!” it didn’t mean that she liked him all over again.  I said that he should forget about her and move on.  I mean, seriously, enough was enough!

My outburst was met with silence.

“Hello?”  I asked.  “Are you still on the phone?”

“Trissa,” he said.  “For ONE YEAR, I was there for you when your relationship ended.  I listened to you talk about your ex, I was there to give you advice, be there for you, keep you company and just be a really good friend!”  he declared.

“And you can’t even give me two weeks?!?” he asked.

I must have also mentioned many times that my impatience does NOT extend to food.  With food I am willing to wait.  Take these beef ribs I cooked using the latest addition to my kitchen gadgets, a sous vide machine.  I cooked them for three straight days.  I would come home after each day and take a sneak peak at the ribs bathing in the machine, smiling at myself knowing that there was something amazing waiting for me at the end.  Sous vide is a technique wherein food is first vacuum sealed and then submerged into a water bath and cooked over a low, precise temperature.  The machine, made popular by the likes of Heston Blumenthal,  is hands down one of the best kitchen investments I have made.  I have tried cooking rack of lamb, chicken, slow poached eggs and most recently, these 72 hour beef ribs which was inspired by a meal I had at Izakaya Fujiyama.  I tried asking Chef Kenji for the beef ribs recipe but he said it was a secret but I think my recipe comes dangerously close to it.   The beef is so tender but still beautifully pink in the middle.  It is unlike anything I’ve ever tasted.  Restaurant quality food at home, and anyone can make it.  Unbelievable!

And whatever happened to my confidant, I am truly lucky that despite my being so horribly impatient and a lousy friend, he still remains one of my best friends today.  He will, however, never, even up to this day, let me forget the time I told him “to get over it!”

Teriyaki Glazed 72 Hour Sous Vide Beef Ribs

  • 1.5 kilos of beef ribs, portioned into 500 grams each
  • half a cup of salt
  • half a cup of sugar
  1. Prepare the brine by dissolving the salt and sugar in 3 liters of water. Add the beef ribs and leave for one to two hours. Remove and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Prepare the water bath, fill it with water and bring the temperature to 56c.
  3. Place each portion into the sous vide bag and vacuum seal.
  4. Place the beef ribs in the water bath and cook for 72 hours.
  5. When done, remove the beef ribs. If not using immediately, place the beef ribs in a container filled with 50% ice and 50% water. Cool the ribs then store in the refrigerator until required (if using from the refrigerator, heat at 56c for 15 minutes before using.
  6. Heat a few tablespoons of vegetable oil in a pan until almost smoking (the pan should be very hot), quickly sear the beef on all sides, around 30 seconds to 1 minute each side until golden brown.
  7. Coat the beef in the teriyaki glaze (recipe follows). Slice and serve with green onions (optional).
72 Hour Sous Vide Beef Ribs

72 Hour Sous Vide Beef Ribs

Teriyaki Glaze

adapted from Practical Japanese Cooking by Shizuo Tsuji and Koichiro Hata

  • 240 ml (1 cup) mirin
  • 160 ml (2/3 cup) sake
  • 120 ml (1/2 cup) dark soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp grated ginger
  • 4 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 green chili, finely diced
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  1. Mix the mirin, sake and dark soy sauce in a sauce pan. Bring the ingredients to a boil and then turn down to a simmer until the sauce thickens, around 10 minutes.
  2. In another sauce pan, combine the ginger, garlic, and chili and oil and cook over a low heat until fragrant.
  3. Use the glaze over the beef ribs and spoon over the ginger garlic oil before serving (optional)

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Etch Caramel Date Tart

Etch Restaurant's Caramel Date Tart


The first time I ate at Etch restaurant –  we had some good friends visiting from Perth and we wanted to go somewhere memorable for our last lunch.  Etch did not disappoint.  It’s been years since that first lunch but when a restaurant leaves an impression on you, you remember what you ate  -I had the sweet corn soup with blue swimmer crab and wagyu beef served two ways (a slow cooked braised beef and a grilled sirloin steak served with cafe de Paris butter) and their Caramel Date Tart.  Since then we’ve been back many times and I’ve seen the menu change a number of times as Chef Justin North has a philosophy of using hand selected ingredients from local growers and producers.

However, one thing that stays constant on their menu is their Caramel Date Tart.


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Basmati Risotto with Grilled Prawns

Basmati Risotto with Grilled Prawns (Tomislav Restaurant)

Is it persistence or stubbornness? Maybe both?

When I have an idea in my head, I’ll do whatever it takes to get it (all within legal means of course!) and I never back down from a dare.  Ever.

Every now and again these two traits can get me into trouble.  Like the time I confidently told my sister that I could get ourselves into the Qantas First Class lounge only to be evicted twenty minutes later as we were about to take a sip of our coffees (she never has forgiven me for that).

But more often than not, I try to channel these traits more noble pursuits.  Like finding a way to get a recipe for a dish I really enjoy, or getting a seat at a restaurant that is booked months in advance or experimenting with food or gadgets I’ve never used.

Introducing: Dare me…

This idea was born out of a conversation between me and my husband.   We were having dinner at Tomislav Restaurant the other night and I was blown away with the Basmati Risotto with Yamba Prawns.  “I wish there was a way to get my hands on this recipe.”  I told him.

“I dare you ask the chef for it.”  He said.  “You seem to get your hands on many of the recipes you like.” he added.  I wasn’t able to ask Chef Tomislav for the recipe that night (he had not yet arrived) but I managed to find the recipe anyway.  I made this dish twice in two days.  Yes, it was that good.  The first time I made it over the stove top, adding the chicken stock gradually as you would a regular risotto.  The next day I made the basmati risotto using the thermomix.  I’m pleased to report both techniques work as well as each other.

So here’s the first of hopefully a series of posts called : Dare me.

If you’re looking for a recipe that you really love – then dare me to find it for you. Just drop me an email or a comment at the end of this post and I’ll turn your craving into a fun challenge and get you that coveted recipe!

Tomislav’s Basmati Risotto with Prawns

  • 250 grams good quality Basmati Rice
  • 1000 to 1500 ml good quality hot chicken stock (homemade is best)
  • 125 grams unsalted butter
  • 10 ml soy sauce
  • 40 grams acidulated butter (see below)
  • 2 tablespoons mascarpone
  • Lemon Juice
  • Chopped Nori roll (1 sheet)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • 200 grams prawns, chopped

Regular Method

  1. Place the butter in a wide surfaced pan and melt. Add the rice and toast for around 3 minutes until the butter is slightly browned and nutty. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Add the chicken stock (I only used 1000 ml but the recipe calls for 1500 ml) a little at a time and stir continuously for around 15 minutes. The rice will still have a little bite and remember that the dish will not be as creamy as a risotto using regular risotto rice.
  3. Once the rice is cooked, finish the dish by stirring in the soy sauce, acidulated butter, mascarpone, lemon juice, chopped nori roll and chives. Season with more salt and pepper if needed
  4. Grill the prawns and top the risotto with grilled prawns and grated lemon zest.

Using the Thermomix
FYI: I halved the recipe on the Thermomix

  1. Heat the butter at 100c on speed 3 for 2 minutes.
  2. Add the rice and heat for 5 minutes using the butterfly attachment on reverse and speed soft.
  3. Add the stock (I added 500 ml for 125 grams rice but feel free to add more stock if necessary towards the end of the cooking time) and continue to cook (butterfly attachment, reverse, speed soft) for 15 minutes.
  4. Add the soy, acidulated butter, mascarpone, lemon juice, nori and chives and give it another stir for 5 or so seconds on reverse, speed soft.
  5. Top with grilled prawns and lemon zest and serve immediately.

Acidulated Butter

  • 100 grams unsalted butter
  • 50 grams basmati rice

In a pan, melt the butter and add the rice and cook until nutty brown flavour is released. Pass this through a sieve. Set aside.

  • 90 ml white wine
  • 90 ml white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 finely chopped onion
  • 100 grams butter

Combine the onion, white wine and white wine vinegar and heat in a pan and reduce until the pan is almost dry. Take this off the heat and whisk in the butter until the butter is emulsified. Pass through a sieve.

Mix both butters and leave to set in the fridge for around 8 hours. You will have enough for several batches and this lasts a few days in the fridge.

Stumble It!

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Croquembouche Mountain

“I made it! Did you hear me?  I made it!!!” I shouted out loud.

My husband, who was in the study, came down to see what the commotion was about.

“I made it! I climbed the croquembouche mountain.” I declared.

“The croquem-what?”  He asked.

“The croquembouche mountain!  I finished did my Daring Baker’s challenge. I made my creme patisserie, choux pastry, and caramel glaze all in one day… so tired!” I told him.

“So are you telling me you are the little angel on top of that cake?”  he asked.

I hadn’t quite looked at it that way before… but…

“You betcha!” I told him.


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The Trissamisu... err... I mean Tiramisu

I must have been very ambitious as a child.  I remember one of my goals in life was to have a doll named after me.  One day, I would own my very own factory producing Trissa Dolls.  They would look exactly like me but in order to increase sales, I would sell Trissa Doll dresses as well – including of course a gymnastic costume, wedding gown, cooking outfit and so on.  Then I would branch out in to producing dolls to resemble my  sisters, brother,  Mum and Dad – and maybe even  our dog as well.  I guess it was my way of putting my mark on the world! 🙂 As I got older, my passion for dolls died down and my great ambition of a Trissa Dolls empire was forgotten…


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There are many great quotes referring to the delicious cannoli.  The two below are my favourites.

“Leave the gun, take the cannoli”… Clemenza from The Godfather.

“I’ve never had cannoli before.  But if they are supposed to taste this good, I should have had them much sooner.” – My husband’s exact words when he tried the cannoli I made for this month’s Daring Bakers Challenge…

The November 2009 Daring Bakers Challenge was chosen and hosted by Lisa Michele of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives. She chose the Italian Pastry, Cannolo (Cannoli is plural), using the cookbooks Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and The Sopranos Family Cookbook by Allen Rucker; recipes by Michelle Scicolone, as ingredient/direction guides. She added her own modifications/changes, so the recipe is not 100% verbatim from either book.

Leave the gun... take the cannoli - Clemenza from The Godfather

Lisa has also been kind enough to put in PDF the  Cannoli recipe.  The only change I made was to increase the amount of marsala wine (I added another 1/4 cup) and an egg until the dough was wet enough to knead.  Unfortunately my first batch was too dry so I had to start over – but it was worth it!

As for the filling, I used a combination of candied oranges and dark chocolate.

Daring Bakers Challenge: Cannoli

Grazie Lisa for a great challenge!  Your detailed instructions made a world of difference – it gave me so much confidence to tackle the challenge.

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Introducing:  The Lemon Lime Macaron.  My contribution to the Daring Bakers’ October Challenge… macarons.  I think this was one of the most widely anticipated challenges.  I had a lot of fun trying to come up with my own version.  I also made a Chocolate Mousse Macaron Cake for my husband’s birthday and that can be found here.

These macarons are very easy to make.  All you need is to make one batch of macarons and then divide the batch into two – colour one with yellow and the other one with green.  Make sure to be generous as the colour fades when placed in the oven.  You will also need two piping tips, a small one and a slightly larger one.

To make the shapes, simply get a round coin and draw patterns on your baking paper.  I used a 2 cm coin for mine.  Once you have separated the batter in two and coloured them, place the green batter in a piping bag fitted with the small piping tip.  Place the yellow batter in a piping bag fitted with the larger piping tip.

Use the green batter to make an outline around the circumference of the pattern and when done, use the yellow batter to fill the area inside the green batter.  Let dry around 30 minutes before baking.

Lemon Lime Macarons With Lemon Lime Curd Of Course!

Lemon Lime Macarons With Lemon Lime Curd Of Course!


Macaron Shell recipe can be found here.

Lemon-Lime Filling

  • 75 ml of lemon juice
  • 75 ml of lime juice
  • Zest of lemon and lime used for juice
  • 2 egg yolks (perfect way to use those of the macaron shells)
  • 80 grams caster sugar
  • 10 grams corn flour
  • 60 grams cold butter, diced
  1. Bring the lemon and lime juice to a boil along with the zest.
  2. Beat the egg yolk and add the sugar and corn flour in a bowl.
  3. Once the juice is boiling, pour this in the bowl with the egg, sugar and corn flour.  Mix thoroughly.
  4. Transfer the mixture into a heavy based sauce pan and cook over low heat until the mixture thickens, whisk constantly
  5. Strain the mixture and let cool slightly.
  6. Using a whisk blender (or just a whisk if you can manage), add the butter a little at a time.
  7. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.


The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.  Please check her website:  Baking Without Fear.


Thanks to Tartelette who provided so much online support to everyone.  I am pretty sure that many decided to use her recipe instead of the original one.  Other blogs that I drew inspiration from are :  Veron of Kitchen Musings, Clement from Ala Cuisine (he was the first person I emailed for a recipe more than 5 years ago!), David Lebovitz, Canelle et Vanille, and The Savour Chocolate School.

Lastly, a big thank you to the ladies of Citi Corporate Affairs – these macarons are for you!  A big thank you for the World Chef Showcase tickets!

Note:  Piping tips used

Piping Tips Used

Piping Tips Used

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Happy Birthday to you!

Happy Birthday to you!

What do you get someone who doesn’t want anything for his birthday?

For those who have been following my posts (YES!  I do have some regular readers – that is, Mom, Dad, husband, and occasionally one sister when I force her to), you will recall the nightmare I had with my two labradors of which I chronicled here.  Well,  they aren’t always that bad.  Sometimes, they provide inspiration for the best ideas.

Let me tell you about it.

A few weeks ago I was down with the flu and I asked my husband to walk the dogs for me, which he did.  Coming home around 30 minutes later, I asked him (as I always do) “how was the walk?” and he replied “there was an accident”.  Take note, this was a few days after the infamous and expensive chocolate mousse incident!  My heart dropped.  I thought they must have gotten hurt or ate more chocolate.  I asked him what happened.

He said,  “go downstairs”.  Oh no.  I thought to myself.  I rushed down to find the lounge area covered in flour.  My dogs had decided to get a bag of flour on the kitchen counter (I know I should stop leaving food there and it has since been rectified) and have some fun.  They took the bag from the kitchen and brought it to the lounge and decided it would look great on the rug.

Special thanks to Baci & Bizou for deciding on the birthday cake to make!

Special thanks to Baci & Bizou for deciding on the birthday cake to make!

Now that I look back, it was a pretty funny sight but it wasn’t so funny that morning when I had to clean up the mess!

Anyway, that evening I told my husband,  that I needed a new bag of flour because I was going to practice on a chocolate cake I had never made for his birthday (yes, a bit OC but I thought I should have one go at the cake before serving it on his birthday).  He said “why don’t you just make a flourless chocolate cake”.  Brilliant!

What a great idea.  And then, I added my own twist and decided I was going to make it a macaron cake – they are flourless too!

Chocolate Mousse Macaron Cake

Chocolate Mousse Macaron Cake

So here it is:  The FLOURLESS Chocolate Mousse Macaron Birthday Cake inspired by those two crazy labradors.  It is also the first of my Daring Bakers’ Challenge for October.  My second post – lemon lime macarons can be found here.

The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.  Please do check out her website:  Baking Without Fear.


  • 125 grams almond meal
  • 125 grams icing sugar (not icing mixture)
  • 30 grams dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 100 grams caster sugar
  • 100 grams egg whites (from around 3 eggs)


  1. Before you begin with the macs, find a 20 cm plate and draw the pattern on some baking paper.
  2. In a food processor grind the almond meal and icing sugar for around 5 minutes until very finely ground.
  3. Place the egg whites in an electric mixer and whip the whites until soft peaks
  4. Add the sugar, 50 grams at a time while the egg whites are being beaten.
  5. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks.
  6. Fold the ground almond meal mixture into the egg white mixture in three additions until fully amalgamated.
  7. Pipe on to baking trays which have been lined with baking paper.  Start from the center of the circle and go around until you end on the edge of the circle.
  8. Let the macarons dry for around 30 minutes until the “shells” are dry. Bake in a pre heated fan forced oven (150c) for 20 minutes.

Chocolate Mousse

  • 80 grams caster sugar
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 200 grams dark coveture chocolate
  • 300 ml cream
  • Cocoa Powder for dusting
  1. Beat the egg yolks in a stand or electric mixer.
  2. In a sauce pan, heat 30 ml water and the caster sugar.  Bring to a boil.
  3. Add the sugar syrup to the egg yolks in a steady stream.   Whisk until the mixture is at room temperature and is light.
  4. Melt the chocolate in a microwave until melted and cool slightly until lukewarm
  5. Fold the chocolate into the egg mixture.
  6. In another bowl, whisk the cream until semi stiff peaks.
  7. Fold the cream into the chocolate/egg mixture.
  8. With a pastry bag, fill half a shell and cover with the other half
  9. Store in the refrigerator
  10. Dust with cocoa powder before serving.


To Dan:  Wishing you a very happy birthday!  Sorry I don’t have a gift for you except this macaron cake (even if I did buy you something I would probably use your credit card anyway!) …  Love lots!  Kiss kiss… Baci, Bizou and Trissa

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Masala Dosai

Masala Dosai

Masala Dosai

Masala Dosai

There are certain cuisines that intimidate me – Indian is definitely one of them.  I am a big fan of Indian food but have always been terrified every time I read through a recipe because of the number of ingredients and seemingly endless procedures needed to complete a dish.  This month’s Daring Cooks’ Challenge really took me out of my comfort zone… not only because it was of Indian origin but also because it was one of the first savoury dishes that I’ve made that was free of any animal products (no milk, cheese, butter etc).

September’s challenge was hosted by Debyi from The Healthy Vegan Kitchen.   I did however take some liberties and found a recipe for Masala Dosais on this website (From The Cook & The Chef).  I’ve adapted the Dosais and cut down the process.


  • 1 1/2 cups long grain rice
  • 1/2 cup urad dal (from Indian Grocer)
  • Water for the batter
  • Salt
  • Vegetable oil to pan fry the dosai
  1. Soak in water the rice and the urad dal separately overnight.
  2. Grind the rice and urad dal separately to a paste using the food processor, around 5 minutes.
  3. Mix the rice and the urad dal and add salt and cover with water.
  4. Leave overnight at room temperature.
  5. To use:  Heat a crepe maker on high and drizzle with some vegetable oil.
  6. Laddle about 1/4 cup of the mixture onto the crepe maker and spread out in a circular motion.
  7. When bubbles appear on the surface, remove from the heat and flip over for a few seconds.
  8. Remove from the heat and repeat with the rest of the batter.

Masala Ingredients


  • 2 large potatoes in small 2 cm cubes
  • 1 tablespoon yellow split peas
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, grated
  • 2 green chillies, chopped
  • 10 Curry leaves
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • salt to taste

Pre-cook the potatoes and split peas in water.

Heat peanut oil, add mustard seeds and heat till they to start popping then add the onion to stop them getting too hot and going bitter. Add ginger, green chilli, curry leaves, and turmeric. Add the cooked potatoes and split peas. Fry for about 15 minutes adding a little water. Reduce, making sure that the potatoes and split peas are soft. Season with garam masala and salt.

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Dobos Torta

Dobos Torta


SINCE when does DO NOT TOUCH mean YES, GO AHEAD, EAT IT ALL!?!?  Well, apparently, if it is 1:00 am in the morning and you come home craving for something sweet!  This is exactly what happened this evening (or early morning).  My worst worst nightmare.  Last night I rushed home to bake this month’s Daring Bakers’ challenge (already a day late!) and had assembled a little cake  to photograph the next day.

Husband comes home at 1:00 am from a very late night at work and decides to raid the refrigerator for something sweet.  And although I had placed a post-it note on top of the cake saying DO NOT TOUCH… well, you know what happens.  I get up this morning to shoot the cake and I find it GONE.  Well, not entirely true, there is a little buttercream left on the plate… but no more cake.

Where did the cake go?!!?

Where did the cake go?!!?

LUCKILY… I still have a few scraps of the cake left over and have some left over butter I have forgotten to bring back into the refrigerator last night and I decide to make another batch of buttercream and use whatever leftover cake I have.  This is at 6:00 AM!

So here it is, this month’s Daring Bakers’  Challenge – the almost “re-incarnation” of the first Dobos Torte I made.

The August 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Angela of A Spoonful
of Sugar
and Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella. They chose the spectacular Dobos
Torte based on a recipe from Rick Rodgers’ cookbook Kaffeehaus:  Exquisite
Desserts from the Classic Caffés of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.

Dobos Torta

Recipe adapted from Kaffehauss by Rick Rodgers and Cafe Chocolada.

Sponge cake layers

  • 6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups (162g) confectioner’s (icing) sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (112g) sifted cake flour (SUBSTITUTE 95g plain flour + 17g cornflour (cornstarch) sifted together)
  • pinch of salt

Chocolate Buttercream

  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) caster (ultrafine or superfine white) sugar
  • 4oz (110g) bakers chocolate or your favourite dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons (250g) unsalted butter, at room temperature.

Caramel topping

  • 1 cup (200g) caster (superfine or ultrafine white) sugar
  • 12 tablespoons (180 ml) water
  • 8 teaspoons (40 ml) lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil (e.g. grapeseed, rice bran, sunflower)

Finishing touches

  • a 7” cardboard round
  • 12 whole hazelnuts, peeled and toasted
  • ½ cup (50g) peeled and finely chopped hazelnuts

Directions for the sponge layers:

NB. The sponge layers can be prepared in advance and stored interleaved with parchment and well-wrapped in the fridge overnight.

1.Position the racks in the top and centre thirds of the oven and heat to 400F (200C).
2.Cut six pieces of parchment paper to fit the baking sheets. Using the bottom of a 9″ (23cm) springform tin as a template and a dark pencil or a pen, trace a circle on each of the papers, and turn them over (the circle should be visible from the other side, so that the graphite or ink doesn’t touch the cake batter.)
3.Beat the egg yolks, 2/3 cup (81g) of the confectioner’s (icing) sugar, and the vanilla in a medium bowl with a mixer on high speed until the mixture is thick, pale yellow and forms a thick ribbon when the beaters are lifted a few inches above the batter, about 3 minutes. (You can do this step with a balloon whisk if you don’t have a mixer.)

4.In another bowl, using clean beaters, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the remaining 2/3 cup (81g) of confectioner’s (icing)sugar until the whites form stiff, shiny peaks. Using a large rubber spatula, stir about 1/4 of the beaten whites into the egg yolk mixture, then fold in the remainder, leaving a few wisps of white visible. Combine the flour and salt. Sift half the flour over the eggs, and fold in; repeat with the remaining flour.002
5.Line one of the baking sheets with a circle-marked paper. Using a small offset spatula, spread about 3/4cup of the batter in an even layer, filling in the traced circle on one baking sheet. Bake on the top rack for 5 minutes, until the cake springs back when pressed gently in the centre and the edges are lightly browned. While this cake bakes, repeat the process on the other baking sheet, placing it on the centre rack. When the first cake is done, move the second cake to the top rack. Invert the first cake onto a flat surface and carefully peel off the paper. Slide the cake layer back onto the paper and let stand until cool. Rinse the baking sheet under cold running water to cool, and dry it before lining with another parchment. Continue with the remaining papers and batter to make a total of six layers. Completely cool the layers. Using an 8″ springform pan bottom or plate as a template, trim each cake layer into a neat round. (A small serrated knife is best for this task.)

Directions for the chocolate buttercream:

NB. This can be prepared in advance and kept chilled until required.

1.Prepare a double-boiler: quarter-fill a large saucepan with water and bring it to a boil.
2.Meanwhile, whisk the eggs with the sugar until pale and thickened, about five minutes. You can use a balloon whisk or electric hand mixer for this.005
3.Fit bowl over the boiling water in the saucepan (water should not touch bowl) and lower the heat to a brisk simmer. Cook the egg mixture, whisking constantly, for 2-3 minutes until you see it starting to thicken a bit. Whisk in the finely chopped chocolate and cook, stirring, for a further 2-3 minutes.006
4.Scrape the chocolate mixture into a medium bowl and leave to cool to room temperature. It should be quite thick and sticky in consistency.
5.When cool, beat in the soft butter, a small piece (about 2 tablespoons/30g) at a time. An electric hand mixer is great here, but it is possible to beat the butter in with a spatula if it is soft enough. You should end up with a thick, velvety chocolate buttercream. Chill while you make the caramel topping.

Lorraine’s note: If you’re in Winter just now your butter might not soften enough at room temperature, which leads to lumps forming in the buttercream. Male sure the butter is of a very soft texture I.e. running a knife through it will provide little resistance, before you try to beat it into the chocolate mixture. Also, if you beat the butter in while the chocolate mixture is hot you’ll end up with more of a ganache than a buttercream!

Directions for the caramel topping:

1.Choose the best-looking cake layer for the caramel top. To make the caramel topping: Line a jellyroll pan with parchment paper and butter the paper. Place the reserved cake layer on the paper. Score the cake into 12 equal wedges. Lightly oil a thin, sharp knife and an offset metal spatula.
2.Stir the sugar, water and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over a medium heat, stirring often to dissolve the sugar. Once dissolved into a smooth syrup, turn the heat up to high and boil without stirring, swirling the pan by the handle occasionally and washing down any sugar crystals on the sides of the pan with a wet brush until the syrup has turned into an amber-coloured caramel.
3.The top layer is perhaps the hardest part of the whole cake so make sure you have a oiled, hot offset spatula ready. I also find it helps if the cake layer hasn’t just been taken out of the refrigerator. I made mine ahead of time and the cake layer was cold and the toffee set very, very quickly—too quickly for me to spread it. Immediately pour all of the hot caramel over the cake layer. You will have some leftover most probably but more is better than less and you can always make nice toffee pattern using the extra to decorate. Using the offset spatula, quickly spread the caramel evenly to the edge of the cake layer. Let cool until beginning to set, about 30 seconds. Using the tip of the hot oiled knife (keep re-oiling this with a pastry brush between cutting), cut through the scored marks to divide the caramel layer into 12 equal wedges. Cool another minute or so, then use the edge of the knife to completely cut and separate the wedges using one firm slice movement (rather than rocking back and forth which may produce toffee strands). Cool completely.

Angela’s note: I recommend cutting, rather than scoring, the cake layer into wedges before covering in caramel (reform them into a round). If you have an 8” silicon round form, then I highly recommend placing the wedges in that for easy removal later and it also ensures that the caramel stays on the cake layer. Once set, use a very sharp knife to separate the wedges.

Assembling the Dobos

1.Divide the buttercream into six equal parts.
2.Place a dab of chocolate buttercream on the middle of a 7 1/2” cardboard round and top with one cake layer. Spread the layer with one part of the chocolate icing. Repeat with 4 more cake layers. Spread the remaining icing on the sides of the cake. 009
3.Optional: press the finely chopped hazelnuts onto the sides of the cake.
4.Propping a hazelnut under each wedge so that it sits at an angle, arrange the wedges on top of the cake in a spoke pattern. If you have any leftover buttercream, you can pipe rosettes under each hazelnut or a large rosette in the centre of the cake. Refrigerate the cake under a cake dome until the icing is set, about 2 hours. Let slices come to room temperature for the best possible flavour.

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