JACKIE CAMERON satisfies your sweet tooth this weekend with some delightfully indulgent treats.
I DON’T advocate eating too many sweet treats. But when you do, I recommend you choose quality.
To round off dinner at Hartford House, our well-loved and talented pastry chef, Delli Nene, takes her handmade delights to each table. There is nothing better than popping one of these authentic indulgences into the mouth to satisfy a sweet craving.
A digital thermometer is essential to ensure perfection when making these delectable delicacies. This leads me to panforte, the sienna (Italian) round Christmas cake, which is very different from the familiar English fruit cake. It has the sweet-spiciness and nuttiness of the traditional cake we all know so well, but it is nougat-like, with deep cocoa and citrus flavouring. It can be eaten on its own to keep things simple. Alternatively, home-made ice cream or vanilla bean frozen yogurt make delicious accompaniments.
For some strange reason, fudge always seems to be difficult to perfect. There is a shop-bought variety that, with all the will in the world, I cannot resist. It is vanilla flavoured and memorable. It is smooth and butter rich, and has the decadence all fudge should have. I get mad when fudge is made up of sugar crystals. I have stopped buying the product from home industry shops because I’m tired of the disappointment it carries.
The recipe I have included comprises white or dark Belgian choco- late, which for a reason I cannot explain makes this fudge a lot easier to make. Foolproof? Well almost. Try it. It promises to please.
I have seen every variation of meringue over the years used as dessert decorations. And do not forget the lively turquoise or perky pink bought meringues. Trying out a “fresh” option, I added berry coulis to the mixture in the piping bag and it worked. Nothing beats berry freshness. The joy of the true flavour is in the crispy crunch of a perfectly dried-out meringue finished with rounded berry flavour.
Lady finger biscuits, cat tongues or — as we South Africans know them — Boudoir biscuits are always a hit with the young people. Actually, come to think of it, all ages are pretty fond of them. This recipe demonstrates how easy it is to make them at home. There is no need to rush out to the shop when a craving arises — just step into your kitchen and whip up a few.
We recently started making baskets filled with sweet and savoury macaroons. Jessica Meyerowicz, one of my trainees, made the best I have tasted. It was a blood-orange macaroon that tickled my taste buds, with flavours I shall always remember.
I like to roll salted caramel in rice paper to make little bonbons. We use black lava salt, but this is not essential. These are delicious little treasures that will play around in your mouth and take you on a journey of discovery. Like the Hartford House guests, you too will find yourself dreaming about the delicate little creations.
Here’s to quality-rather-thanquantity recipes that work.
Keep an eye open for Jackie Cameron Cooks at Home hitting the shelves in April.
Send comments and food-related questions to email@example.com. I always look forward to hearing from you. — Jackie Cameron , head chef: Hartford House, at 033 263 2713. For the latest on local foodie news, add me as a friend on Facebook. Find me on Twitter at @jackie_cameron. • All photos taken by Karen Edwards Photography: www.karenephotographysa.com