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Sunday, November 21, 2010
During my previous trip to Sydney, I had lugged back the very hefty but highly raved baking cookbook, Bourke Street Bakery- The Ultimate Baking Companion. Authored by chefs Paul Allam and David Mcguinness, this is possibly one of the most generous and truthful cookbook I have come across in a long time - a true baking bible. The forward by Paul Allam had me totally sold : " Baking is part science, part stoneground milling and part river-running romance. But it's not the romance that will keep your baking consistently good, it's the science." Inspiring, is also the story about how the 2 friends had come together to set up the landmark bakery in Sydney's Surry Hills. I have great admiration and respect for people who have a strong sense of vision and conviction in what they set out to do. Amidst all the craze for intricate, aesthetically appealing multiple component French pastries, Bourke Street Bakery stayed committed to their vision that a bakery should be small, rustic, homely and comforting. Intrigued by the book itself, I made sure that Bourke Street Bakery would be my die-die-must-go destination when I returned to Sydney again last week. What I found was literally a hole in the wall. There were only a couple of seats in the bakery with hardly enough standing space to spare - as such, a queue is almost consistently spilling out onto the streets. Everything in the shop, from the furniture to the serveware screamed distressed and rustic. As I stared down at my breakfast on the tattered distressed table, I had a strange sense of satisfaction - I felt...almost local. And damn the camera for making me feel like an intruder in the warm and inviting neighbourhood store!
Both selection of my breakfast spread are firm favourites at the store. The pork & fennel sausage roll was substantial and delicious but the portion was too big for me. The ginger brulee tart, on the other hand was a well balanced and lovely blend of exotic spicy flavours - I could eat this again and again. I bought 2 more pastries to take away - the rhubarb almond tart and the passion fruit meringue tart. Unfortunately, I had foolishly walked around with the pastries for 5 hours and by the time, I got to them again, the meringue on the meringue tart had vanished totally into a small puddle of transparent syrup.
So here I am, picking the passion fruit meringue tart as my first recipe from Bourke Street Bakery. What I find most intriguing about this tart is the short crust pastry recipe. An interesting recipe that calls for the use of vinegar, it actually yields a somewhat stretchy dough. The dough will shrink a little as you line the tart case, leaving you with a slightly uneven edge around the rim resulting in a tart that looks rustic. I love it and am already planning to make another batch.
I am excited and am even feeling ambitious enough to want to bake through the whole book... well, we'll see.
And now to my most dreaded part of the blog - typing out recipes and this one's a killer!
Recipe : (Adapted from Bourke Street Bakery - please get the book as it is very detailed)
200g castor sugar
20g extra castor sugar
4 egg whites
Passion Fruit Bavarois
2 tsp gelatine powder
6 egg yolks
175g caster sugar
250ml passionfruit juice (I used passion fruit puree)
350ml whipping cream
Sweet Crust Pastry
400g unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1.5cm cubes
20ml vinegar, chilled
100g caster sugar, chilled
170ml water, chilled
665g plain flour, chilled
Sweet Crust Pastry
1. Mix vinegar and sugar in a bowl. Add water stirring well until sugar dissolves.
2. Mix salt with flour. Toss butter through flour. Use fingertips to rub the butter into the flour to partly combine.
3. Turn out floury mix onto a a clean work surface. Sprinkle vinegar/sugar/water mixture over the dough. Use the palm of your hand to smear this mixture away from you across the work surface. Gather into a ball again and repeat the smearing process 2 more times.
4. Divide dough into 2 and flatten into a thick disc and chill in refrigerator for at least 1 hour. (I left it overnight)
5. Remove dough from fridge and on a lightly floured board, roll out dough to about 3mm thick. Using a 11cm round cutter, cut rolled dough into individual circles to fit over a 8cm tart case.
6. Line (5) onto a buttered 8 cam tart case and chill in the fridge for about 20mins.
7. Blind bake (6) at 200C for 25mins.
Passion Fruit Bavarois
1. Mix gelatine powder with 2 tbsp milk and set aside.
2. Put rest of the milk in a saucepan and heat to almost boiling.
3. In a stainless steel bowl add egg yolks, sugar and passion fruit puree. Mix this over a simmering water bath, making sure that the bowl does not touch the water.
4. Pour in hot milk in (2) and whisk mixture over the simmering water bath for about 5 mins until mixture becomes quite thick. Add in (1). Stirring well to dissolve all gelatine.
5. Remove from heat and strain. Cool down mixture in the fridge for about an hour just beginning to set.
6. Whisk whipping cream until soft peaks are formed.
7. Fold in (6) into (5) to combine.
8. Pour (7) into tart cases and refrigerate to set.
1. Add sugar in a heavy saucepan. Carefully add water over sugar without stirring.
2. Heat (1) until sugar syrup boils and temperature reaches 118C.
3. When the syrup temperature is about 95C, start to beat egg whites in a clean bowl until foamy. Add extra sugar and continue to whisk until soft peaks are formed.
4. Add (2) into (3) - taking care not to pour syrup directly over the whisk to avoid splatter.
5. Continue whisking until meringue cools down.
To assemble : Pipe Italian Meringue over filled tarts. Using a palette knife to create a more rustic, natural look. Using a blow torch, brown the meringue.