Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Copycat cook: Raspberry, mango & macadamia vacherin

I love birthdays and I love to cook for people, especially when I think they are going to love what they are eating.  Hence my love of a tradition near to my heart, the all important selection of the birthday dinner.  For as long as I can remember we have always been allowed to choose what ever we wanted for our birthday dinner.  Whatever we wanted!!!  When we were little we rarely ate out or had takeaway so birthday picks often consisted of fish and chips and then as my tastes matured I graduated to Chinese takeaway!!  Then my pick became lasagna and apple pie and now I love to eat out somewhere different.  Somewhere we wouldn't necessarily pick as family friendly and somewhere I can try something different that I don't cook well or often myself.  Last year I went to The Moroccan Soup Bar in Fitzroy and loved it.  But bless his heart, when it's my husband's birthday he always prefers me to cook his favourites and this dessert has been his birthday choice for the past 3 years. 

This vacherin (I've never heard of it before either - I guess it's a fancy word for meringue!) was the cover image for the Masterchef magazine in Dec 2011 and I made it as our Christmas dessert and the hubby has requested it for each birthday ever since.  It is delicious and as I use a few cheats not too hard to re-create either.  So here is my review of the Raspberry, mango and macadamia vacherin.

Serves:  I agree that it could easily serve 10, that's saying soomething considering our serve sizes.

Prep & cooking:  It takes me longer than 45 minutes, but I like to complete it in stages.  I make the mango cream the night before and then make the meringues the next day.  I allow at least 30 minutes for each component and then the assembly on top of that. 
Ingredient list:  A special occassion recipe as I have to buy mangos, marscapone and raspberry sorbet and ensure we have macadamias.  Not a budget dessert with these ingredients.

Ease of use:  It has quite a few steps but they are clear and sequential.  It takes my mixer longer than 4 minutes for the sugar to dissolve (tested by rubbing between my fingers until it feels smooth). I always find that marcapone is already close to 'soft peak' consistency so I'm never quite sure how long to beat this - usually just until it looks combined and creamy.

Substitutions:  I buy raspberry sorbet instead of making my own due to my phobia of gelatin.  You can see I used strawberries to garnish as fresh raspberries are $6 a punnet at them momemt.  I love my husband but not that much!
Taste:  Amazing - a beautiful combination of textures and flavours.  Fresh and creamy and sweet and crunchy all in one bite 

Pre-schooler rating:  We don't encourage him to eat it as then we'd have to share it with him!

Would I cook it again:  Clearly a big yes, we love it in this household.

Overall rating:  4/5  I'd love to give it 5/5 but I always find meringue a little tricky so I don't completely nail it.

Raspberry, mango & macadamia vacherin
originally from The Masterchef magazine Dec 2011 and now availabe on Taste.com.au.
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour
  •  270g (2 cups) macadamias
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 220g (1 cup) caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
  • 2 tablespoons icing sugar, plus extra, to dust
  • 150g fresh raspberries
  • Pouring cream, to serve

  • Mango cream

    • 2 small mangoes
    • 4 egg yolks
    • 110g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
    • 250g mascarpone
    • 1/2 lime, juiced

    Raspberry sorbet

    • 2 x 5g leaves titanium-strength gelatine (see top tips)
    • 600g frozen raspberries
    • 120g (3/4 cup) icing sugar

    Step 1
    Preheat oven to 130°C fan-forced. Line 2 x 30cm x 36cm oven trays with baking paper. Using a pencil, mark 2 x 12cm x 30cm rectangles on 1 tray and 1 on the second tray. Turn paper over. Alternatively, mark 3 x 22cm rounds on each of 3 oven trays.

    Step 2
    To make meringue, process 180g (1 1/3 cups) macadamias and cornflour in a food processor until finely chopped. Transfer mixture to a small frying pan and stir over medium heat for 5 minutes or until light golden. Set aside to cool.

    Step 3
    Using an electric mixer, whisk egg whites, vinegar and a pinch of salt to soft peaks, then, with motor running, gradually add caster sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Beat for 4 minutes or until sugar dissolves and mixture is thick and glossy. Gently fold in macadamia mixture and vanilla. Spread marked rectangles or rounds evenly with meringue, then sift over 2 tablespoons icing sugar. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden and dry to the touch. Turn off oven and leave meringues in oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.

    Step 4
    Meanwhile, to make mango cream, cut cheeks from mangoes, then scoop out flesh with a spoon and puree in a food processor. Using an electric mixer, whisk egg yolks, sugar and half the mango purée for 5 minutes or until very thick. In another bowl, whisk mascarpone, lime juice and remaining mango puree to soft peaks, then fold into egg-yolk mixture. Transfer mango cream to a metal tray and freeze for 2 hours or until frozen but still a spreadable consistency.
    Step 5
    Meanwhile, to make raspberry sorbet, soak gelatine in cold water. for 3 minutes until soft, then squeeze
    Step 6
    to remove excess water. Place 125ml (1/2 cup) water in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from heat, add gelatine and stir until dissolved. Process frozen raspberries, icing sugar and gelatine mixture in a food processor until smooth. Working quickly and using a spatula, push raspberry mixture through a fine sieve onto a metal tray, scraping back of sieve occasionally until only seeds remain. Discard seeds. Place in the freezer for 1 1/2 hours or until a sorbet consistency.
    Step 7
    To assemble, place a meringue layer on a tray. Quickly spread with raspberry sorbet, then place in the freezer for 15 minutes to firm slightly. Top with a second meringue layer and spread with mango cream. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes to firm, then top with final meringue layer. Freeze for 2 hours or overnight to firm.
    Step 8
    When ready to serve, remove vacherin from freezer and place on a platter. Top with fresh raspberries and remaining 90g (2/3 cup) macadamias. Dust with icing sugar. Serve with pouring cream.
    Happy baking!
    Keep smiling
    Dani xx

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