You might remember that I admitted to being a shoe whore… I adore shoes – flats, boots, heels, point- toed, open-toed… any type of shoe can catch my eye at any time. It can be slightly dangerous (trip to San Francisco… I came home with 5 new pairs of shoes… seriously)… but oh so much fun!
Which could explain why I LOVED participating in this week’s Top Chef Just Desserts online elimination challenge – it all started with a pair of shoes.
On last week’s episode, the cheftestants selected a pair of shoes each, and then were asked to do the following:
1. design an edible dress. Yes that’s right an edible dress.
2. create 2 different petit fours that would become the “accessories” to the dress and shoes.
Awesome eh? Super creative and super fun (I’m actually re-watching the episode as I write this entry).
The online challenge requires us only to create the petit fours – no edible dress for me (thank goodness… holy heck that would have been insane)… and I decided to try two new recipes.
I was inspired by my new Michael Kors: I bought them in San Francisco… they have 4 inch heels. Oh how I heart these shoes.
Pretty slammin’ eh? (Marianne… thanks for convincing me to buy them!)
They deserved good accessories. Done and Done!
I started with turnovers. Not just any turnover… apple peach rum turnover. Yes… puff pastry, apples, peaches and a nice hit of Sailor Jerrys rum. Delish!
I was hemming and hawing over what I should make next… and became inspired by the thought of truffles: dark chocolate espresso truffles. My little yin and yang of baking – the freshness of the turnovers – light and airy vs. the rich, decadent truffles… soooo goooood.
apple peach rum turnovers
quick puff pastry (thawed in the fridge overnight)
2 tbsp white sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
1/4 c. water
1/4 c. sailor jerrys rum
1 egg and pinch of salt, creates an egg wash
coarse white sugar, to sprinkle
Peel, core and dice your apples and peaches (FYI - you end up with too much compote – but it’s so good… I just ate spoonfuls of it the following day – it’s already all gone!).
In a medium saucepan, combine the diced apples and peaches, water, sugar, cinnamon and salt; bring to a boil, cover and allow to simmer for about 4 minutes.
Remove the lid and continue to cook the fruit for about 15 minutes – adding the rum as the mixture thickens. Stir (not continuously, but often enough) in order to prevent the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the saucepan and burning. Once thick and the liquid has evaporated, remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the filling to cool. Refrigerate until cold.
Remove your puff pastry from the fridge, and roll it out on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. You want the pastry to be slightly thicker than 1/8-inch. Place the cookie sheet in your freezer and allow the pastry to get firm, but not hard (not frozen). AtOnce firm, use a round cookie cutter and cut out disks – I was able to get 9 disks out of my sheet of puff pastry. Pull away the trimmings and return the puff pastry to the fridge.
At this point, your filling should be cold. Preheat your oven to 425 F.
Make your egg wash by beating your egg and adding a pinch of salt. That’s it. Super easy eh?
Place 1 tsp of the cold apple peach filling slightly off centre on each of the puff pastry disks.
Brush the opposite half of the disk with egg wash, fold the puff pastry over and seal – gently press on the edges and then grab a fork and press again, making it all pretty :0)
Brush the turnovers with egg wash, sprinkle each turnover with your coarse sugar.
Place your cookie sheet in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes – until golden brown (it seems my oven cooks slightly faster than I thought… so really watch your oven).
These are actually best served at room temperature, the following day – it allows the flavours to really come through in the filling.
In terms of the challenge; these turnovers are considered a cute little clutch (purse). Adorable non?
dark chocolate espresso truffles
9 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 c. heavy cream
1/4 c. honey
1 tsp espresso powder
cocoa powder, to roll in
Place the coarsely chopped chocolate in a large heat-proof bowl. Grab a fine-mesh strainer, set both aside.
In a medium saucepan, stir together the cream, honey and espresso powder: allow the mixture to just get to a boil. That’ll take no time :0)
Remove the saucepan from heat, and pour the cream through the strainer right on top of the chocolate. Let all of that just sit together for 2 minutes; that’s right… don’t stir anything … yet.
Now… gently stir the mixture (centre outward) until it is smooth and shiny.
Cover the entire bowl in plastic wrap – ensuring that the plastic touches the surface of the chocolate mixture. Refrigerate for 5 hours or until firm. (I made mine the night before).
When you’re ready to shape the truffles, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Scoop out the ganache with a small teaspoon, drop onto the parchment paper in balls (well… almost balls, they aren’t perfect). Once completed, place the cookie sheet in the freezer for at least 1 hour.
Time to roll the truffles!
Ok, grab some cocoa powder, sift it nicely and place it in a bowl. Roll the truffle around in the cocoa powder, gently tap any excess powder off the ball and place back on your cookie sheet. I had to do this in batches – since my little ganache balls got pretty soft at one point; I threw the cookie sheet with the un-rolled truffles back into the freezer and allowed them to “harden” again.
I seem to have done something wrong… or maybe this has happened to you too? You see… my truffles look good, taste gobsmacking amazing (rich dark chocolate + honey + espresso = deliciousness), but they umm…. aren’t hard. They are still soft and gooey – even after spending the night in the freezer (airtight tupperware, pieces of wax paper between the layers). I wonder what happened there… ???
That’s ok… they still look good… and go well with my shoes :0)