Ever since I stayed home, I’ve not been away from the kids for more than three hours. Last evening, I broke the record by being away for five!
I had the most splendid evening at Sugar Inc. Studios learning how to bake a dark chocolate raspberry tart with cherry port jelly with MasterChef Australia Season 4’s Finalist, Audra Morrice. If you’ve caught Season 4 of MasterChef Australia, you will remember that her famous dark chocolate raspberry tart was touted by the judges as one of the best desserts they’ve had whole season.
And thanks to Lifetime Asia, a new channel on Starhub Cable (Channel 514), I got to attend a Master Class session and meet Audra Morrice in person, together with other baking enthusiasts!
Audra’s recipe is quite difficult to master, and I personally find it pretty daunting. Making the entire tart from scratch (including watching Audra do a live demo at different stages of the process, and chatting with her in between) took us close to 3 hours – and that didn’t even include the time spent preparing and relaxing the dough, and prepping and measuring ingredients, which was all nicely done for us.
Preparing the shortcrust pastry required a lot of skill, and I mean A LOT. From rolling the dough (start rolling from middle and inside out) to laying the crust and pressing it into the tin all demanded a great deal of patience, gentleness, and tenderness. Audra says pastry can be “forgiving” (you can always do patchwork later) but you “gotta show it lots of love”.
Perfect shortcrust pastry is thin, crusty and firm enough to hold its filling and will be perfect when you press it in firmly, quickly and blind bake it with baking beads or with rice filled to the top – all that ours was not. My group of four (which included my favourite food blogger of Gninethree) took turns to roll and lay the pastry which unfortunately wasn’t pressed in well enough, giving us some really shrunken and broken crust.
We had to scream for help and help came in the form of pint-sized-steady-hands-ever-patient Audra, who came to critically assess our crust and then quickly deciding to help us make a new one.
After the crust was settled and left to bake in the oven, we went on to prepare the ganache, the cherry port jelly, the raspberry puree and whipped cream with icing sugar and vanilla bean seeds. A lot of work for a tart, and no wonder Audra won the praises of the MasterChef judges. I mean, how did this woman do all these in that hour she was given? I hear they had a blast chiller, but still!
The final product was breath-taking to behold and totally heavenly to savour. I can only say you have to try it to believe how awesome it can taste.
Which makes all the hard work worth it.
It was an inspiring baking session learning from the home cook who’s now celebrity chef. Audra, who was born in Singapore (and every bit localised, by the way), is one very humble and genuine person to meet, learn from and talk to. I had myself a very meaningful and enjoyable break from mothering duties last evening (thanks to Fatherkao for babysitting the kids) and am even more inspired now to bake for the family!