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Autumn recipes

Comfort food and fun Easter eats feature in our collection of autumn recipes, featuring everything from an Italian Easter tart to carrot doughnuts with cream cheese glaze and brown sugar crumb and braised lamb with Jerusalem artichokes, carrots and cumin to breakfast curry with roti and poached egg.

Top 10 Sydney Restaurants 2014

Looking for the best restaurants in Sydney? Here are the top ten Sydney restaurants from our 2014 Australian Restaurant Guide.

Easter Baking Recipes

Dust off your mixing spoon, man your oven and have your eggs at the ready as we present some of our all-time favourite Easter baking recipes, from praline bread pudding to those all-important hot cross buns.

Italian Easter tart

"This is a traditional tart eaten in Naples at Easter," says Ingram. "The legend goes that a mermaid called Parthenope in the Gulf of Napoli would sing to celebrate the arrival of spring each year. One year, to say thank you, the Neapolitans offered her gifts of ricotta, flour, eggs, wheat, perfumed orange flowers and spices. She took them to her kingdom under the sea, where the gods made them into a cake. I love to add nibs of chocolate to Parthenope cake because I think it marries nicely with the candied orange and sultanas, but, really, do you need an excuse to add chocolate to anything?" Start this recipe a day ahead to prepare the pastry and soak the sultanas.

Top 10 Melbourne Restaurants 2014

Looking for the best restaurants in Melbourne? Here's our top ten from our 2014 Australian Restaurant Guide.

Momofuku's steamed buns

Apple and cinnamon hot cross buns

The mix of candied apple and dried apple combined with a sticky cinnamon glaze provides a new twist on an old favourite. These buns are equally good served warm on the day of baking, or several days later, toasted, with lashings of butter.

Chocolate and almond millefeuille

This layered dessert is deceptively light, despite the creamy chocolate filling. It would also be beautiful with raspberries scattered over the chocolate creme for a burst of freshness.

Dark chocolate bark


You'll need

50 gm milk chocolate (optional), tempered, such as Lindt Excellence 500 gm dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), tempered, such as Lindt Excellence 150 gm almond slivers, lightly toasted 100 gm pistachios 40 gm dried cranberries 25 gm puffed rice

Method

  • 01
  • Line a 20cm x 20cm shallow square tin with baking paper. Dip a pastry brush in the tempered milk chocolate, then paint base of baking paper-lined tin with chocolate and stand until starting to set. Spread a thin layer of dark chocolate over (about 2 tbsp) and smooth with a palette knife.
  • 02
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine remaining ingredients, then add remaining dark chocolate, stirring until well combined.
  • 03
  • Smooth chocolate mixture onto prepared pan and spread out to 1.5cm thick. Refrigerate for 5 minutes, then stand in a cool place until set. Cut into portions with a bread knife and serve. Chocolate will keep in an airtight container for a week.

Watch our chocolate tempering video with Lindt chocolatier Thomas Schnetzler.

Chocolate that hasn't been tempered can develop a mottled look on its surface, known as fat bloom. This is caused by crystals of cocoa butter rising to the surface of the melted chocolate and setting as a film. It doesn't affect the chocolate's taste, but it looks ugly and melts quickly, making it a messy eating experience.

To temper chocolate, you heat it and cool it, changing its structure. When chocolate is melted beyond 36C - even if it was an already-tempered block to begin with - the cocoa butter can form into six types of crystals. All these crystals have different melting points and variable hardness, and only one boasts all the attributes for tempering. You temper chocolate to achieve a result where only the desirable crystals form, giving you a luscious finished product. While the physics of tempering is complex, the process is quite simple. There are three basic stages: heating, cooling and crystallising, and reheating.

The first stage is to gently melt the chocolate until all cocoa butter crystals are completely melted; this happens at 48C. You can melt chocolate using a water bath or bain-marie, but you must be vigilant in ensuring absolutely no moisture gets in the bowl. The best method is to bring three centimetres of water to a gentle simmer in a medium saucepan. Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl that fits snugly onto the saucepan but ensure the bowl doesn't touch the surface of the water. Direct contact is too hot for the chocolate. Now stir the chocolate frequently until it melts and monitor the temperature with a thermometer. You want to warm it only until it just reaches 48C, then remove the bowl from the saucepan. You can also use a microwave to melt smaller amounts of chocolate in 10- to 15-second increments, stirring well after each burst of heat. Either way, be careful not to overheat the chocolate because once it's heated over 60C it's ruined.

The next step is to cool and crystallise the chocolate. Tabling is the traditional method and a good way to temper large quantities of chocolate. It involves cooling and agitating some of the melted chocolate on a cool surface (like marble) until the desired crystals form, then introducing it back into the remaining chocolate.

An easier way to cool and crystallise chocolate is a process called seeding. You add some perfectly tempered chocolate into your melted chocolate - a quarter of the total chocolate is needed, either finely chopped or grated first. All Lindt chocolate, for instance, is tempered, so you can grate it straight from the block or you can keep some of your own already tempered chocolate on hand for the next time you temper.

After cooling and crystallising, you need to carefully reheat the chocolate to bring it to working temperature. This will melt away some of the unstable cocoa butter crystals that make chocolate set without a gloss. To reheat the chocolate, you have to be exact with the temperature. A hot-air gun - available from hardware stores - is a good way to reheat chocolate, but believe it or not, a hair dryer does the trick just as well.

Warm the chocolate with your hot-air gun or hair dryer, stirring continuously, monitoring with a digital thermometer until it reaches the desired temperature. For dark chocolate, the perfect working temperature is 32C, for milk chocolate it's 30C, and for white it's 29C.

It's a good idea to check a small sample to see if the chocolate is tempered correctly as you go. The easiest way to do this is to dip a small piece of baking paper into the chocolate. If it sets quickly and without streaks, you have perfectly tempered chocolate.


At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people
Easter
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All aboard the cacao express: Easter has arrived and it's a direct ticket to chocolate heaven.

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At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people

Featured in

Apr 2009

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