The Christmas issue

Our December issue is out now, featuring Paul Carmichael's recipes for a Caribbean Christmas, silly season cocktails and more.

Subscribe to Gourmet

Subscribe to Australian Gourmet Traveller before 28th December, 2016 for your chance to win a share of $50,000!

Gourmet digital

Subscribe to Gourmet Traveller for your iPad or Android tablet.

Chilled recipes for summer

When the mercury is rising, step away from the oven. These recipes are either raw, chilled or frozen and will cool you down in a snap.

Shark Bay Wild Scampi Caviar

Bright blue scampi roe is popping up on menus across Australia. Here's why it's so special.

Decadent chocolate dessert recipes for Christmas

13 of our most decadent chocolate recipes to indulge guests with this Christmas.

What the GT team is cooking on Christmas Day

We don't do things by halves in the Gourmet office. These are the recipes we'll be cooking on the big day.

Sydney's best dishes 2016

For our 50th anniversary issue in 2016, we scoured Australia asking two questions: What dishes are making waves right now? What flavours will take us into the next half-century? Sydney provided 16 answers.

Mango recipes

Nothing says summer like mangoes. Go beyond the criss-cross cuts - bake a mango-filled meringue loaf with lime mascarpone, start off the day with a sweet coconut quinoa pudding with sticky mango, or toss it through a spicy warm weather Thai salad.

Paul Carmichael's great cake

"Great cake, also known in Barbados as black cake or rum cake, is a variation of British Christmas cake that's smashed with rum and falernum syrup," says Momofuku Seiobo chef Paul Carmichael. "This festive cake varies from household to household but they all have two things in common: tons of dried fruit and rum. It's a cake that should be started at least a month out so the fruit can marinate in the booze. Start this recipe up to five weeks ahead to macerate the fruit and baste the cake."

Summer feta recipes

Whether in a fresh salad or seasonal seafood dish, feta's creamy tang can be used to add interest to a variety of summer dishes.

Poires Belle Hélène


You'll need

400 gm caster sugar 200 ml dessert wine 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped 1 piece of thinly peeled lemon rind, plus juice of 1 lemon 8 pears, such as beurre Bosc or William Bartlett To serve: crystallised violets (optional) To serve: vanilla ice-cream   Chocolate sauce 200 gm dark chocolate (55% cocoa solids) 150 ml pouring cream

Method

  • 01
  • Stir sugar, dessert wine, vanilla bean, vanilla seeds, lemon peel and lemon juice in a saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves, then bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, add pears, cover with a round of baking paper and poach until tender (25-35 minutes). Turn off heat, cool pears in liquid, strain (discard liquid) and set aside.
  • 02
  • Meanwhile, for chocolate sauce, stir chocolate and cream in a bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water until melted and smooth (2-5 minutes). Pour warm chocolate sauce over poached pears, scatter with crystallised violets and serve with ice-cream.

What is it about the French language? Translate even the simplest thing into French and suddenly it's imbued with an air of sophistication, a certain je ne sais quoi, if you will. Take poires Belle Hélène. A delightful dish, yes, but ultimately a simple one. Described in English - pears with chocolate sauce - it brings to mind a bastardised version of the dish served at many a '70s function centre (canned pears with supermarket chocolate topping, anyone?). But it is indeed a classic, having withstood the test of time since its invention in 1864 by the esteemed chef Auguste Escoffier, who named the dish to mark the premiere of the operetta La Belle Hélène, composed by Jacques Offenbach, and based on the story of Helen of Troy but also a satirical skewering of high society in the time of Napoleon III.

The success of the dish relies on perfectly poached pears, which in turn depend on selecting the perfect pears for poaching - ripe, yet firm, with no tinge of green in the skin, nor any bumps or bruises. The choice is yours when it comes to variety, but the gloriously golden beurre Bosc has an appropriately elegant shape and a beautiful texture when poached. Poach the pears gently, only just simmering them, for best results, and turn off the heat just before the pears reach the perfect degree of done-ness, because they'll continue to cook slightly as they cool in the syrup.

Equally important is a glossily decadent chocolate sauce, made with the best quality chocolate - there's nowhere to hide here. Vanilla ice-cream is the classical accompaniment, and it makes sense to continue the quality theme and make your own or find a great one flecked with real vanilla seeds. Escoffier scattered his dessert with crystallised violets (available at many specialist cooking and baking shops), although flaked almonds quickly became the more common garnish, and we also like the pears unadorned.

This dish illustrates the beauty of simplicity - no toffee cages, no foams, no crazy out-there flavour combinations. Parfait, non?


At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people
GT
Signature Collection

Find out more about the Gourmet Traveller Signature Collection by Robert Gordon Australia, including where to buy it in store and online.

Read More
The GT x STILY
Christmas Boutique is now open

The smallgoods, homewares, art and more from the pages of GT are now all under one roof, ready to take their place under the tree.

Read More
Gourmet TV

Check out our YouTube channel for our latest cover recipes, chef cooking demos, interviews and more.

Watch Now

At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people

Featured in

Mar 2012

You might also like...

Autumn recipes

recipes

Tempered chocolate

Braising recipes

recipes

Panettone, ricotta and peach cake

Italian recipes

recipes

Saltimbocca alla Romana

Fast autumn recipes

recipes

Roast lamb loin with couscous and pumpkin

Chocolate recipes

recipes

Ditali with broccolini and bread

Apple recipes

recipes

Chicken rolled with fontina, prosciutto and sage

Autumn vegetarian recipes

recipes

Fried provolone with red wine vinegar

Almond recipes

recipes

conversion tool

 
get the latest news

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

×