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Apfel kuchen

"This is my mother's famous apple cake. The apples are macerated with sugar, cinnamon and lemon, and this lovely juice produces the icing," says Brigitte Hafner. The apples can be prepared the night before and kept in the fridge. This cake keeps well for four days and is at its best served the day after it's made."

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Nougat, salted peanut caramel and milk chocolate tart

What's not to love about a Snickers bar? All the elements are here, but if you don't feel like making your own nougat, you could always scatter some diced nougat in the base of the tart instead. The caramel is dark, verging on bitter, while a good whack of salt cuts through some of the sweetness - extra roasted salted peanuts on top can only be a good thing.

Perfect match: baked chocolate cream and tokay


You'll need

170 gm unsalted butter, coarsely chopped 230 gm dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), coarsely chopped 80 ml (1/3 cup) thickened cream 2 eggs, lightly beaten 60 gm caster sugar 15 gm (2 tbsp) crystallised ginger, finely chopped To serve: crème fraîche   Ginger-poached pears 500 gm caster sugar 250 ml Stone’s green ginger wine 4 ripe corella pears, halved, cores removed with a melon baller

Method

  • 01
  • For ginger-poached pears, combine sugar, wine and 750ml water in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to very low, add pears, cover closely with baking paper and turn occasionally until tender and translucent (1-1½ hours). Cool in syrup and reserve.
  • 02
  • Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180C. Combine 120gm butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir occasionally until melted and smooth (3-5 minutes), remove from heat and cool slightly. Whisk cream, eggs and 20gm caster sugar in a separate bowl until just combined, stir in chocolate mixture, then add crystallised ginger. Pour mixture into four 150ml-capacity ovenproof dishes and bake until just set with a slight wobble in centre (10-12 minutes). Cool to room temperature.
  • 03
  • Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat, scatter remaining sugar in an even layer in base of pan and cook until starting to caramelise (3-4 minutes). Carefully add pears, cut-side down, and cook until golden (5-6 minutes). Add remaining butter and cook until melted (3-5 minutes). Remove pears with a slotted spoon and keep warm. Add 80ml poaching liquid to pan, stir to combine and simmer over medium heat until syrupy (3-5 minutes). Cool to room temperature. Serve baked chocolate cream with pears, caramel and crème fraîche.

Note This dessert is great served at room temperature, when it has a really fudgy texture. However, it's also good warm.


Chocolate desserts need really sweet, intensely flavoured wines that are able to cut through the tongue-coating qualities and bitterness of cocoa. Dense, molasses-like fortified sweet wines such as Pedro Ximénez and Australian tokay are perfect: they have just the right strength, weight and concentration. As any sweet tooth will tell you, too, chocolate goes wonderfully well with raisins, which is pretty much what the ultra-ripe pedro or tokay grapes look like before they're harvested. I have also discovered, after years of research, that tokay has a particular affinity for cooked pears. Unlike muscat, which can be almost raisin-like in its fruit sweetness, tokay wines tend to have a little more of a savoury edge that complements the graininess you find in the texture of pear. Incidentally, as a result of a trade agreement with Europe, Australian winemakers have agreed to stop using the name "tokay" and have dreamt up a very similar alternative: expect to see bottles of "topaque" appearing on your wine shop shelf during the next few years.


At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

Featured in

Apr 2009

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