As the weather heats up and the season of Bunuru approaches, we see the Jarrah and Marri trees blossom, bursting with fragrant white flowers. The heat of the hottest season of the year is tamed by the afternoon sea breeze and cooled by icy summer treats and nibbles for those with a sweet tooth.
It is the perfect time to treat a loved one to homemade desserts for Valentine's Day. Why not try a special three-course dinner? Or hire a private chef to design a 5-course degustation menu, complete with aphrodisiac seafood and delightful petit fours.
Here's a few recipes that are simple, yet exciting. They introduce unique native ingredients in a light and romantic way, and are bound to impress that special someone. For extra recipes and ideas on growing ingredients for this Valentine's Day, be sure to check out the recent blog post by Tuckerbush.
Rivermint Chocolate Truffles
Makes 20 mini Chocolates
200g good quality dark chocolate
100g White chocolate or milk chocolate
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
Pinch of salt
80g thickened cream depending on thickness
10 sprigs River Mint, leaves removed and chopped
1 x small half dome chocolate mould required
CHOCOLATE MOULD/OUTER SHELL
1. On low heat place dark chocolate in a small-medium bowl over a pot of water (make sure bowl does not touch the water). Melt the chocolate slowly, until liquid. If you want a truly smooth shiny truffle, it is best to temper the chocolate.
2. Coat the chocolate moulds swirling it around (use pastry brush to fill in the empty spots) and then tip it over onto a cooling rack placed over baking paper to empty out the excess chocolate, 5-10 mins. Place mould in the freezer for approximately 10 minutes, remove and coat again with the melted chocolate. This time refrigerate while making the Chocolate River Mint Filling.
CHOCOLATE RIVERMINT FILLING
3. Chop the white/milk chocolate into small pieces, mix together with powdered sugar and salt.
4. In a small saucepan heat to hot but not boiling the cream, then add the chopped River Mint and blitz with a hand blender. Put aside for 20 minutes to infuse the cream.
5. Put cream mix back on heat and bring it back to hot again, then pour over the chocolate pieces and stir until smooth (you may have to place the bowl over a pot of boiling water if it doesn't completely melt). Let sit approximately 20 minutes until cooled and thickened. Remove mould from the fridge, place the chocolate filling in a pastry bag and fill moulds 3/4 full, tap mould down a few times on counter top to remove air bubbles. Top with remaining melted dark chocolate. Tap & remove excess chocolate with a spatula and refrigerate 30 minutes to 1 hour until firm. Turn out and keep in fridge until ready to serve.
Choc Coated Candied Quandongs
200g Quandongs, halved and kernel removed
100g fine castor sugar
100g dark or milk chocolate
Bring water and sugar to boil and simmer until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer until it becomes a syrupy consistency. The quandong halves and coat lightly with the sugar syrup using a pastry or basting brush.
Place quandong halves on a baking sheet and into an oven at 170 degrees to dry out slightly for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Toss in extra castor sugar.
Melt the chocolate carefully over a bain marie. Using toothpicks, dip the quandongs halves in the chocolate to coat, then placem with hollow side down, on a cooling rack to allow excess chocolate to run off.
These lovely choc coated quandong halves can be placed, when cooled and set, in little chocolate boxes alongside squares of honeycomb to impress that special someone.
Macadamia, White chocolate &
Lemon Myrtle Parfait
Makes 8 servings or ‘slices’
700ml thickened cream
5 egg yolks
3 whole eggs
150g white chocolate
100g castor sugar
2 tsp Lemon Myrtle powder
1 cup roasted macadamia nuts, chopped
2 tbsp chopped red back ginger root
2 red back ginger leaves, washed
200g castor sugar
½ tsp vanilla paste
Combine white chocolate and 200ml of the thickened cream in a bain marie over boiling water in a saucepan. Slowly stir over low heat until chocolate is melted and the consistency is smooth.
With a stand mixer, or by hand, beat the egg yolks and whole eggs and castor sugar until thickened and pale in colour. Slowly add the chocolate cream mixture.
Add the lemon myrtle powder and allow mixture to cool, infuse and thicken in the fridge.
Beat the remaining cream until medium peaks form. Slowly fold this through the chilled parfait mixture, taking care to leave the mixture light and airy (don’t over mix). Sprinkle in the macadamia nuts.
Pour the mixture into the loaf tin, cover with piece of baking paper and cling film. Place in coldest part of freezer for 10 hours or until set.
To make a creamier parfait, place in an ice cream churner set to frozen yoghurt, then transfer to loaf tin and freeze.
To make syrup, place sugar and water in pan and heat over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes until slightly thickened. Add more water and sugar if you prefer a thinner syrup. Let syrup cool and sit for two hours to infuse the ginger flavour.
Heat syrup once more once desired ginger flavour has been reached and strain syrup through mesh strainer to remove the ginger root and leaves.
To serve, turn out parfat on to board and slice, like a loaf of bread, into 2 inch slices. Place on tray and back into freezer to set before serving on a plate. Top with ginger syrup and some mango slices to the side.