Does that remind you…Of Autumn?
I almost thought I could write poetry when I recently connected with Mother Nature. In fact, the more I explore in and around Sydney, the deeper I fall in love with the place. I often think if its time I should have a travel blog to record my experiences. But then everything I see inspires me to create with food…somehow its all related. Isn’t it? Beauty inspires art and art inspires beauty!
Our visit to Mount Wilson and Mount Irvine during the Easter weekend was one which I will always remember. The 3 hour drive from Sydney was so scenic with rapidly changing landscapes and beautiful views that at one point I wondered if we would be able to make it to our destination, for the number of times we pulled over to take pictures. The trees were a riot of colors, a spectrum of shades. Crimson,fiery reds,browns, yellows, gold. And the ground was covered with the fallen leaves as if setting the road ablaze. Occasionally a puffing wind came by and made them dance around and fall back to the ground.
We stopped at the Cathedral of Ferns, a large picnic spot which we was crowded as expected considering the season and the long weekend. We had lunch (prepacked) on a rustic wooden table under a bright red tree. I could eat there all my life.
After an hour or so when I thought I had enough pictures to record every little detail of the journey we drove on to the next intended spot …the Kookootonga Nut farms. This my friends, I shall write about in my next post. There’s too much to share . And then when you bring back ‘PYO’ , you make something out of it which deserves a post by itself.
Persimmons were unfamiliar to me until recently. But now I can never have enough of them. I generally add them to salad or eat them by themselves but this time the temptation to add them to dessert was too all too powerful.
Mousse was the first thought that came to my mind. And then my eyes fell on my favourite little gadget sitting in one corner of the kitchen -the blowtorch. So, Creme Brule it is! I have to admit however, things didn’t go how I planned the first time around. The pureed version of the fruit resulted in a curdled custard. For a person who has made creme brulee over a hundred times, this was the first of such a disaster. I made a second batch and this time I placed small pieces of fruit in the ramekins instead of adding Persimmon puree to the custard. The second time it was great!
Persimmon Creme Brulee
13/4 cups heavy cream
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup plus 3 tsp castor sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
pinch of salt
1 Persimmon chopped into small cubes
Preheat the oven to 150 degrees C.
Divide the chopped Persimmons between 4 ramekins/oven proof serving bowls and place them on the base of the ramekin.
Pour the cream in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over low-medium heat. Remove from heat, cover and let sit for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, lightly whisk egg yolks, 1/4 cup sugar and salt. Pour 2 tsps of the cream into the egg yolk mixture to temper the yolks and then the remaining cream, whisking gently but constantly (do not whisk too hard or it will result in a frothy texture). Add the vanilla extract and stir.
Strain the egg-cream mixture equally into the ramekins and place them on a rimmed baking tray.
Pour boiling water carefully in the tray so that it comes up to 2/3rd the level of the custard in the ramekin. Transfer the tray into the centre of the oven.
Bake till the edges of the custard are set but the centre is still jiggly. This could take anywhere between 30-45 mins depending on the bakeware. To check for doneness, insert a pair of tongs into the oven and give the ramekins a genle shake. (The custard should not brown or rise).
Once done, carefully remove the tray from the oven and take out the ramekins using a slotted spoon. Let them cool to room temparature on a wire rack and then refrigerate to cool completely. (They can be stored upto 3 days in the refrigerator)
Just before serving, sprinkle with the remaining castor sugar and caramelise the top with a blowtorch, moving it back and forth till a crust forms ( more the sugar, thicker will be the crust). Allow the sugar to cool and harden. Serve immediately.