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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."

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Ricotta, almond and chocolate tarts with poached pears


You'll need

1.5 kg firm ricotta 300 gm raw caster sugar 2 eggs, beaten 200 gm almond meal Finely grated rind of 1 lemon For dusting: pure icing sugar   Pastry 555 gm plain flour 170 gm caster sugar 380 gm cold butter, diced 3 egg yolks   White wine-poached pears 8 honey or corella pears, peeled, halved 750 ml pinot grigio, or other Italian white wine 500 gm caster sugar 2 cinnamon quills 4 thyme sprigs Juice and thinly peeled rind of 1 lemon   Bitter chocolate sauce 200 gm bitter chocolate (70% cocoa solids), finely chopped 200 ml pouring cream 200 gm softened butter

Method

  • 01
  • For pastry, pulse flour, sugar and butter in a food processor until fine crumbs form, then add yolks, 1 tbsp chilled water and a pinch of salt and process until mixture just comes together. Turn onto a work surface and knead until smooth, then roll three-quarters of pastry between two sheets of baking paper into a 28cm x 30cm rectangle. Transfer to a 30cm x 32cm x 1cm baking tray lined with baking paper and refrigerate to rest for 1 hour. Meanwhile, roll remaining pastry between two sheets of baking paper into a 3mm-thick rectangle. Remove top layer of paper and refrigerate until pastry is firm (10-15 minutes).
  • 02
  • Preheat oven to 190C. Whisk ricotta, sugar and eggs in a large bowl until smooth, then fold in almond meal and lemon rind. Spoon ricotta mixture into pastry base and smooth top. Cut chilled pastry into long 5mm-wide strips and arrange in a lattice pattern on top of ricotta mixture. Bake until base is cooked, tart is golden and filling is set (40-50 minutes). Cool to room temperature.
  • 03
  • Meanwhile, for white wine-poached pears, combine ingredients in a wide shallow saucepan, bring to the simmer over medium heat, cover closely with a piece of baking paper and a lid, reduce heat to low and cook until pears are tender (10-20 minutes). Set aside to cool in poaching liquid.
  • 04
  • For bitter chocolate sauce, combine chocolate, cream and butter in a heatproof bowl placed over simmering water and stir occasionally until melted and glossy (3-5 minutes), then gradually add 150ml boiling water, stirring until smooth and glossy.
  • 05
  • Dust tart with icing sugar, cut into squares, drizzle with warm bitter chocolate sauce and serve with white wine-poached pears.

Tarts equal stress-free entertaining, especially if you have a crowd; they can be made well in advance and are easy to serve. If berries are in season, you can use them as an alternative to the pears: simply toss them in a little lemon juice and icing sugar.


At A Glance

  • Serves 18 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 18 people

Drink Suggestion

Italian-style passito (dried grape) sweetie.

Featured in

Nov 2011

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