the hinata diaries

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Dark chocolate slice with masala figs

Every now and then, a little milestone passes that makes me feel a wee bit more grown up in the kitchen.

First meal where no-one got sick. (Fortunately I think I managed to get pass this quite a few years ago. The human stomach is an amazingly strong organ.)

First meal where I actually received a compliment. (Accomplished this in college. I guess between lousy Philly food truck food for the 259th night in a row, or my roommate and my kitchen experiments, occasionally the latter became a fairly attractive option for starved freshmen. Yesss!)

First meal prepared and served on time. (I'm still working on this one)

Developing the discipline to wash up as I cook, thereby not leaving a mountain of mess in the sink.

Learning how to cook the right proportion so we're not stuck with heaps of leftovers.

And, most recently (this is what we're celebrating today), combining all the remaining bits of food in the fridge into something palatable.

In this case, figs, chocolate cream and half a bottle of masala.

It seems like the culinary deities were smiling on me that day though, cos as I absentmindedly flipped through the Pierre Herme book, I chanced upon a recipe that was perfect: Port-Steeped Fig and Chocolate Tart.

Monsieur Herme's recipe looks like a little meal in itself - you need to cook the figs, bake the tart base, make the chocolate filling and prepare a raspberry sauce. In the slapdash spirit of using up leftovers, I decided to compromise a fair bit:

  • Instead of a tart base, I went back to lazy first principles and make an easy crumbly base by pounding digestive biscuits and binding them together in the baking pan using melted butter
  • Out of concern that the chocolate may be too cloyingly rich, decided to up the biscuit base amount, thereby changing the fundamental nature of the dish from 'tart' to 'slice' (I'm still shivering from the power rush, it's like playing God!)
  • Figs were done per the recipe, the only change being the substitution of masala for port (the masala was from fig and zucchini night a while back). The figs were simmered in masala, sugar, cinammon and lemon and orange peel, then left to steep overnight
  • The chocolate filling was a combination of the leftover chocolate patisserie cream and classic chocolate sauce from eclair day
  • Skip the raspberry sauce (Pierre, the practical man that he is, did say it was optional)

Here are the figs sitting on the biscuit base, peacefully awaiting their chocolate baptism... a good way to go if you ask me:

The finished product was surprisingly easy to eat - the richness of the chocolate was well balanced with the rusticity of the biscuit base, while the masala-spice syrup really brought out the hidden sweetness of the figs. The addition of a raspberry sauce would definitely have upped the ooh factor to something worthy of a fancy restaurant's dessert menu, but the slice alone had sufficiently risen from the humble origins of its individual ingredients to make me pretty proud.

Now if I can just figure out a way to combine the leftover emmenthal, beer and cereal...

Update: I was just going through the Is My Blog Burning site, and it turns out that Slashfood was hosting a One Off MeMe event themed 'Spring Clean', i.e. recipes that make use of whatever is currently sitting in the fridge. Am still not sure how to add myself to the event (or whether it is even still ongoing - it was dated March 30 but is that the posting date or the deadline?) but still rather chuffed to be in tune, even if by coincidence, with the collective food blogging consciousness :)

2 Comments:

  • Lord, the entire menu made me drool. Can I ask a really stupid question? I'm still trying to find stuff in Singapore and honestly, I have not seen zucchini flowers, fresh figs or even blood oranges here. Where do you get them??? Surely not the Cold Storages? I've tried Carrefour thinking since it's European, they might have these .. but nada!

    By Blogger MM, At 6:29 PM  

  • Hi MM, no worries, stuff in Singapore can sometimes be pretty hard to find. The zucchini flowers and figs were actually courtesy of my mom's recent trip to Sydney - although Joone of Nibble & Scribble swears you can occasionally find fresh figs at Cold Storage, I haven't come across them yet. Happy to share next time I get some :) As for the blood oranges, I usually end up substituting with grapefruits, much easier!

    Yeah, Carrefour's not too much help. They've got affordable fleur de sel and decent cooking chocolate, but that's all I think!

    I'm planning a ramble down to Culina's Orchard outlet sometime soon, have high hopes so will report if I find anything special!

    By Blogger hinata, At 9:39 AM  

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