Australian Emma van Leest is one of my favorite paper cut artists. In general, I have a soft spot in my heart for anyone that can create something so delicately beautiful out of a sheet of paper, but Emma’s work goes a step beyond the average paper cutter. Inspired by her travels and studies in the East, specifically China, Indonesia, and India, as well as her interests in Medieval saints, fairy tales, and folk art, Emma creates a unique and fascinating world that is simply awe inspiring. Her work is so breathtaking in its intricacies and subject matter that it’s nearly impossible to resist. I can’t even imagine the work that goes into one of her pieces!
For her Mixing Bowl recipe, Emma has chosen a recipe that is as interesting and creative as her work. She first tasted this sweet concoction at the Queenscliff Hotel and, even though she isn’t a huge fan of desserts, she loved this one so much that she asked the chef for the recipe. It seemed so simple, but, like so many of us know, not all desserts come out exactly as we envisioned! But that’s what I love about Emma’s write up. There is so much story to it! I really enjoyed reading about her struggles with this recipe, and, how, in the end, it was still delicious, although maybe not perfect. I hope you find a special occasion, or just a plain ol’ ordinary occasion, to be a bit adventurous like Emma and try this dessert! It sounds amazing!
You can find the complete recipe and story, along with additional photos, after the jump. You can view more of Emma’s lovely work on her Web site, right here. Thanks, Emma!
My husband Hunter and I got married 2 years ago at the beautiful historic Queenscliff Hotel and we recently went back there to celebrate Hunter’s birthday, where I had this gorgeous dessert. I was really surprised how the blueberry and thyme ‘soup’ is such a fresh herby foil to the richness of the chocolate. Even though I’m not a dessert person usually, I gobbled it up and then asked for the recipe. The chef offered this enigmatic couple of paragraphs, which is particularly curious for its use of imperial measurements (Australia has had the metric system for 40 years):
Iced White Chocolate Fondant with Warm Blueberry and Thyme Soup
4 oz castor sugar
8 table spoons of water
......boil together to get sugar syrup.
Put 5 egg yolks and whisk with hot syrup in bain-marie until thick
Add 9 oz of white chocolate, fold in 1/2 pint of cream / lightly whipped/.
Put into moulds and freeze.
For soup : blueberries 3/4 oz (I think this means pounds, otherwise it's like half a berry)
apple juice 10 fl oz
caster sugar 2 oz
2 sprigs of thyme
Boil for 6 minutes, puree it and pass through a sieve.
Looks easy, but I straight away ruined the sugar syrup – the first batch crystallised into a lumpen mess. Also, it’s not actually a great idea to take 5 egg yolks and whisk them with hot sugar syrup - because hot sugar syrup cooks egg yolks. So perhaps let it cool quite a bit before putting it in the ‘bain-marie’ (which googling told me means putting a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. There were little flecks of cooked egg yolks in the finished product, which my family diplomatically ignored. Also ‘put into moulds and freeze’ sounds straightforward but actually, make sure you line the moulds in cling film so you can get the fondants out in one nice shape. As you can see, my silicon muffin pan rendered lumps, rather than solid shapes.
I also ended up serving the fondants a second time without blending the soup and much less apple juice and the general consensus was that it was much nicer - less sugary and more pretty.
AND what is a fondant, anyway? I realized after a whole heap of googling that fondant is generally considered icing, not a frozen dessert. So I don’t know what the chef is driving at, perhaps it’s a fancy semifreddo. But whatever the true identity of this dessert, it will convert even the most hardened pro-bacon people, including my savoury-centric dad, who had three helpings.