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Prepare to enter a picture of the countryside framed by note-perfect Australiana but painted in bold, elegant and unsentimental strokes. Over 10 or more courses, Dan Hunter celebrates his region with dishes that are formally daring (Crunchy prawn heads! Creamy oyster soft-serve! Sea urchin and chicory bread pudding!), yet rich in flavour and substance. The menu could benefit from an edit, but the plates are tightly composed - and what could you cut? Certainly not the limpid broth bathing fronds of abalone and calamari, nor the clever arrangement of lobster played off against charred waxy fingerlings under a swatch of milk skin. The adventure is significantly the richer for the cool gloss of the dining room, some of the most engaging service in the nation and wine pairings that roam with an easy-going confidence. Maturing and relaxing without surrendering a drop of its ambition, Brae is more compelling than ever.

Espresso zeppole with Marsala mascarpone


Thomas Keller has a witty take on coffee and doughnuts at his restaurant, The French Laundry. This is similarly inspired. Store the espresso sugar in a dry environment or it will solidify.

You'll need

125 ml (½ cup) pouring cream 60 ml (¼ cup) milk Scraped seeds of 1 vanilla bean 225 gm (1½ cups) plain flour, plus extra for dusting 1 tbsp dried yeast 30 gm caster sugar For deep-frying/greasing: vegetable oil   Espresso sugar 200 gm caster sugar 2 tbsp espresso   Marsala mascarpone 375 gm mascarpone 60 ml Marsala 40 gm (¼ cup) pure icing sugar, sieved Scraped seeds of 1 vanilla bean

Method

  • 01
  • For espresso sugar, combine 80gm caster sugar and espresso in a saucepan and stir over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, cook until syrup reaches 160C on a sugar thermometer (5-6 minutes), then remove from heat. Pour onto a lightly oiled baking tray and stand until set (20-30 minutes). Break into large pieces, then process in a food processor until finely ground. Transfer to an airtight container until required. Just before cooking zeppole, combine in a bowl with remaining sugar, spread on a tray and set aside.
  • 02
  • Combine cream, milk and vanilla seeds in a small saucepan and warm over low heat until lukewarm (30 seconds-1 minute). Meanwhile, combine flour, yeast, sugar and a pinch of fine salt in the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with a dough hook, and stir to combine. Add cream mixture, knead until soft and smooth (2-3 minutes), transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover and stand in a warm place until doubled in size (35-40 minutes).
  • 03
  • Knock back dough, divide into walnut-sized pieces and roll into smooth balls, then place on a lightly floured tray, cover with a tea towel and stand until risen (30 minutes).
  • 04
  • Meanwhile, for Marsala mascarpone, whisk ingredients in a bowl until smooth and combined, refrigerate until required.
  • 05
  • Preheat oil in a deep-fryer or deep-sided saucepan to 180C. Deep-fry zeppole in batches, turning occasionally, until golden and cooked through (3-4 minutes; be careful as hot oil may spit). Drain with a metal sieve, toss in espresso sugar and serve hot with Marsala mascarpone.

At A Glance

  • Serves 24 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 24 people

Featured in

Jun 2010

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