Dark Chocolate, Tahini, and Halva Brioche Babka


 
Dark Chocolate, Tahini, and Halva Brioche Babka. Fluffy brioche dough is spread with a dark chocolate tahini filling and sprinkled with halva, then rolled up and turned into the most perfect twisty bread. Perfect for a delicious breakfast or a snack with a coffee. #babka #brioche #tahini #halva
Dark Chocolate, Tahini, and Halva Brioche Babka. Fluffy brioche dough is spread with a dark chocolate tahini filling and sprinkled with halva, then rolled up and turned into the most perfect twisty bread. Perfect for a delicious breakfast or a snack with a coffee. #babka #brioche #tahini #halva
Dark Chocolate, Tahini, and Halva Brioche Babka. Fluffy brioche dough is spread with a dark chocolate tahini filling and sprinkled with halva, then rolled up and turned into the most perfect twisty bread. Perfect for a delicious breakfast or a snack with a coffee. #babka #brioche #tahini #halva
Dark Chocolate, Tahini, and Halva Brioche Babka. Fluffy brioche dough is spread with a dark chocolate tahini filling and sprinkled with halva, then rolled up and turned into the most perfect twisty bread. Perfect for a delicious breakfast or a snack with a coffee. #babka #brioche #tahini #halva
Dark Chocolate, Tahini, and Halva Brioche Babka. Fluffy brioche dough is spread with a dark chocolate tahini filling and sprinkled with halva, then rolled up and turned into the most perfect twisty bread. Perfect for a delicious breakfast or a snack with a coffee. #babka #brioche #tahini #halva

Whoopsies - I was just flicking through my drafts and realised that I never shared this with you! Here it is - a Dark Chocolate, Tahini, and Halva Brioche Babka, which was a product of a recent (ish) baking day with my friend Rachel! We made this babka, and these sesame buns, which both have the same filling, but a slightly different dough base and technique.

This particular babka is filled with a dark chocolate and tahini mixture, which is super simple to put together - you essentially just melt it all together, and leave it to sit for a bit. We also filled it with some sea salt halva from Rachel’s amazing wee store in Chelsea Market here in NYC (they ship too if you are outside of the city, get on it!). She has the best tahini and halva I have ever tasted - if you haven’t had halva before it is essentially like a tahini candy. It is sweet, crumbly, and slightly savoury from the tahini. It holds up well in baking, and was insanely delicious rolled up in this babka. It perfectly offset the dark chocolate tahini filing, which isn’t super sweet.

This recipe makes two loaves, but the good news is that they freeze super well, and make insanely good french toast and bread pudding. I often have a loaf of babka stashed in my freezer for when the need strikes - I love it just toasted and served with butter alongside a coffee or as a sneaky delicious breakfast. Just make sure you wrap it tightly in plastic or foil before you freeze.

A few wee tips:

  • Ideally the tahini chocolate filling needs a little bit of time to rest and cool - either overnight, or a few hours. It won’t go super solid like nutella, but it will thicken a little as it sits!

  • You may have a little filling leftover, but it is great served with the babka, on toast, or drizzled over a banana.

  • If I know I am making something ahead of time, I like to do the first rise overnight. Just make the bread dough, shape into a ball, and place into a large bowl (I usually just reuse my mixer bowl), and leave it in the fridge overnight. Then in the morning the dough is risen and will be super easy to work with! I find if I rise overnight I can skip the chilling step once the dough is rolled out.

 

 

Dark Chocolate, Tahini, and Halva Brioche Babka

- Makes two loaves -

Brioche Dough
1 envelope (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
200g (3/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp) whole milk, lukewarm
4 Tbsp (50g) sugar
565g (3 3/4 cups) all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
115g (8 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature

Tahini Chocolate Filling
200g Bittersweet dark chocolate (I used 65%)
200g Tahini (I used Seed and Mill)
1/8 tsp salt

200g halva, crumbled (we used Seed and Mill’s sea salt dark chocolate)
Egg wash - 1 egg whisked with 1 Tbsp water

 

- PROCESS -

BREAD DOUGH

In a small bowl, combine the yeast, milk and 2 Tbsp of the sugar. Mix well, and leave to sit for 10-15 minutes, or until foamy.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, salt, and remaining 2 Tbsp sugar. Mix briefly to combine. Add the eggs, vanilla, and foamy yeast mixture to the bowl. Mix on low for 2-3 minutes, until the dough is starting to come together. It may look slightly dry but do not worry - it will mix together nicely in the next steps. Increase the mixer speed to medium, and mix for another 10 minutes, until the dough is soft and smooth. 

Reduce the mixer speed to low, and add the butter a little at a time, waiting until it is fully incorporated into the dough before adding the next piece. This process should take 3-4 minutes. Once the butter is fully incorporated, increase the mixer speed to medium, and mix for a further 5 minutes, until the dough is very soft and smooth. 

Transfer to an oiled bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place in a warm spot until doubled in size, approximately 1 - 1 1/2 hours. Alternatively, place the bowl in the fridge, and do the first rise overnight.

 

TAHINI DARK CHOCOLATE FILLING

Combine all of the filling ingredients in a heat safe bowl, and place over a pot of simmering water to create a double boiler setup. Ensure that the bowl does not touch the water. Heat, stirring occasionally with a spatula, until the chocolate has melted and the mixture has combined. Do not whisk or you could cause the tahini to seize. Transfer into a jar and allow to sit at room temperature for at least an hour, or overnight. Store at room temperature.

ASSEMBLY

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into a rectangle 16” x 24”, squaring off with a bench scraper as you roll to make sure it is as even as possible. Using an offset spatula, spread the half a cup of the filling mixture over the surface of the dough, then sprinkle with the halva.

Starting from the long side of the dough, roll up the dough into a tight spiral. Measure the length of the sausage of dough, then cut in half so it is in two sausages. Place these pieces side by side on the lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for an hour. You can skip this step if you did an overnight rise.

Line two loaf pans with a parchment paper ‘sling’. Remove the chilled dough sausages from the fridge. Working with one at a time, using a sharp knife, cut the first piece in half, lengthwise, and then cross the pieces over each other, and then cross over two more times to form a twist (this video also explains well). Place into the loaf pan, tucking the ends under slightly if needed. Repeat with the second half of the dough.

Lightly cover the loaf pans in plastic wrap, and place in a warm place to rise for an hour to 90 minutes, or until the dough springs back lightly when pressed. While the loaves are proofing, preheat the oven to 350˚f / 180˚c. 

Brush the loaves lightly with egg wash. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the loaves are golden brown and the internal temperature registers 200˚F / 90˚c. Remove from the oven and cool completely before slicing. Store leftovers in an airtight container, or wrap tightly before freezing.

Dark Chocolate, Tahini, and Halva Brioche Babka. Fluffy brioche dough is spread with a dark chocolate tahini filling and sprinkled with halva, then rolled up and turned into the most perfect twisty bread. Perfect for a delicious breakfast or a snack with a coffee. #babka #brioche #tahini #halva

The Ultimate Easter Macaron Box


 
The ultimate Easter Macaron Box - creme egg macarons, hot cross bun macarons, coconut macarons, chocolate peanut butter macarons and peeps marshmallow macarons make up the most amazing Easter inspired box. This would make an incredible easter gift, and can be customised however you like!
The ultimate Easter Macaron Box - creme egg macarons, hot cross bun macarons, coconut macarons, chocolate peanut butter macarons and peeps marshmallow macarons make up the most amazing Easter inspired box. This would make an incredible easter gift, and can be customised however you like!
The ultimate Easter Macaron Box - creme egg macarons, hot cross bun macarons, coconut macarons, chocolate peanut butter macarons and peeps marshmallow macarons make up the most amazing Easter inspired box. This would make an incredible easter gift, and can be customised however you like!
The ultimate Easter Macaron Box - creme egg macarons, hot cross bun macarons, coconut macarons, chocolate peanut butter macarons and peeps marshmallow macarons make up the most amazing Easter inspired box. This would make an incredible easter gift, and can be customised however you like!
The ultimate Easter Macaron Box - creme egg macarons, hot cross bun macarons, coconut macarons, chocolate peanut butter macarons and peeps marshmallow macarons make up the most amazing Easter inspired box. This would make an incredible easter gift, and can be customised however you like!
The ultimate Easter Macaron Box - creme egg macarons, hot cross bun macarons, coconut macarons, chocolate peanut butter macarons and peeps marshmallow macarons make up the most amazing Easter inspired box. This would make an incredible easter gift, and can be customised however you like!
The ultimate Easter Macaron Box - creme egg macarons, hot cross bun macarons, coconut macarons, chocolate peanut butter macarons and peeps marshmallow macarons make up the most amazing Easter inspired box. This would make an incredible easter gift, and can be customised however you like!

I am so, SO excited for Easter baking season. I think it might be my actual favourite - I spent today making dark chocolate cardamom hot cross buns and a carrot cake sheet cake, but I still have a bunch more recipes lined up that I can’t wait to share with you!

Jase and I couldn’t let the best baking season go by without a macaron box, and I think we really knocked it out of the park this time. We brought back our first mac recipe we shared - the creme egg mac, and then filled the box with a whole bunch of other Easter inspired flavours. I am totally obsessed with how this box came out, and I hope that you give some of the recipes a try! I am particularly excited by how the chocolate peanut butter and peeps macarons came out - this was our first time piping marshmallow into macarons, and I certainly don’t think that it will be our last.

We’ve come full circle with our macaron recipes - this is the 13th that we have shared! It was so fun to see how much we have learnt along the way, and it’s super satisfying to see how consistently we can make macs now. It goes to show that to get good at something, practice is really the best way to master a skill. Trial and error, and working out what works and what doesn’t work for you seems to be the best way. Everyone works out their own wee way of making things. This way works best for us, and has worked for a bunch of others, but it may require some wee tweaks to get it to suit you- don’t be afraid to play around and see what is best! xx

Here’s what we ended up with:

  • Creme Egg Macarons - Speckled shell filled with a Creme Egg chocolate ganache

  • Hot Cross Bun Macaron - Vanilla bean shell filled with a spiced German buttercream

  • Coconut Macaron - Vanilla bean shell filled with a coconut Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • Chocolate Peanut Butter Macaron - Chocolate shell filled with peanut butter Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • Peeps Macaron - Sugared Vanilla bean shell filled with a vanilla bean marshmallow and rolled in sanding sugar

A few wee tips:

  • I have added the base recipe we use for the shells down below, then at the end I have put the variations in food colouring or finishing that we did to make each shell ‘flavour’ (they are all vanilla bean flavour, except for the chocolate, and I have added in a note, or you can just refer to this recipe. The filling recipes and assembly instructions will be underneath the shell recipe.

  • Everything I have learnt along the way about making macarons is in the notes of this post - I update it whenever I have something to add. I suggest giving it a good read through before you start if you are new to macs!

  • We used this box to make this cookie box - Rich cut me little dividers on the laser cutter, but the craft wood is soft enough that you can use a craft knife and a ruler. We then just taped the dividers in.

  • We made all the shells except for the chocolate ones on one day (we could have done them all on the one day, we just got lazy), the mini egg ganache, and the pastry cream for the Hot Cross Bun German buttercream, and then the following day made the remainder of the fillings, filled the macarons, and filled and shot the box. If you break up your workload, and prep your ingredients before you start (having enough sheet pans is important), it isn’t too much work!

  • We worked it so that we could re-use some of the fillings - we made one larger batch of swiss meringue buttercream (double what is listed below, so 4 sticks of butter), then split it, and added the coconut to half and the peanut butter to the remaining half. This made the filling process super easy as we didn’t need to make five fillings from scratch

  • In terms of work flow, we were able to start the next batch of shells soon after piping out the previous ones. Like I mentioned before, this only works if you have lots of sheet pans!

  • If you are colouring one batch of batter two different colours, mix it part of the way, then split the batter into separate bowls (half a batch of batter weighs 420g), then add the gel food colouring and finish the mixing process. For example we split a batch and coloured half for the creme egg macs, and half for the peeps macs, then did the same with the coconut macs and the hot cross bun macs. We made one bigger batch of the chocolate shells as the cocoa powder has to be mixed in with the ground almond mixture.

  • Store all the shells in an airtight container until ready to fill.

 

 

Vanilla Bean Macarons

- Makes about 30 Macarons -

Macaron Shell Recipe from I love Macarons, with adaptations from Fox and Crane 

Note: this is the base recipe for every shell we made in the box, except the chocolate shells. For Chocolate shells, reduce the powdered sugar to 270g, and add in 20g dark dutch process or black cocoa with the powdered sugar mix. There is a recipe here.

Macaron Shells
170g ground almonds
300g powdered sugar
180g egg whites, at room temperature
160g sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste

 

- PROCESS -

Preheat oven to 300˚f / 150˚c, and position the oven rack in the centre of the oven. Using a round cookie cutter or the base of a large piping tip (something about 1.5 inches in diameter), draw a "template" for your macarons on a piece of parchment paper, leaving about 3/4" between each circle. 

Combine the almond meal and powdered sugar together in a large bowl. Sift the mixture twice, to ensure there are no large lumps and that the mixture is properly aerated. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add the sugar, increase the mixer speed, and whip on high until the meringue starts to firm up. Add gel food colouring, if using, a few drops at a time, until the desired colour is reached. Add vanilla and mix until incorporated. Continue to whip until the meringue forms stiff peaks (there is a good example here). 

Remove the bowl from the mixer. Add half of the ground almond and powdered sugar mixture, and fold into the meringue. You want to deflate the meringue just a little at this stage, to combine the meringue and ground almond mixture. 

Add the remaining ground almond mixture, and stir lightly to combine. Now comes the important part - mixing the batter to the correct consistency. Again, this video does a good job of explaining it. Fold the mixture in a series of 'turns', deflating the batter by spreading it against the side of the bowl. Turn the bowl slightly and repeat the movement - scooping the batter from the bottom of the bowl, and spreading it against the side. Continuously check the consistency of the batter - you want it to flow like lava when you lift the spatula from the bowl, and you should be able to 'draw' a figure 8 with it, without the batter breaking (again, watch lots of videos to get an idea! They help so much). This step can take some practice until you know what it should feel and look like. If in doubt you are better to under mix them than over mix them - the process of putting the batter into the bag and piping out will help mix a little too.

Fit a large pastry bag with a medium sized round tip, such as an ateco #805. Place the macaron template on a sheet pan, and place a second piece of parchment over it. Holding the piping bag at a 90˚ angle to the surface, pipe out the batter into blobs the size of the circles drawn on the template. Finish off each piped circle with a little "flick" of your wrist to minimise the batter forming a point (it will still form a small one, but we can get rid of this with banging). Remove the template from under the macarons.

Hold the baking sheet in two hands, and carefully but firmly, evenly bang it against the bench. Repeat this a few more times - this will get rid of any air bubbles, remove points on the top, and help them to spread out slightly. 

Repeat the piping and banging process until you have used up all of the batter - I usually make three sheet pans worth.

Allow the macarons to dry at room temperature for approximately 30 minutes, or until they form a skin that you can touch without your finger sticking to them. This time will drastically vary depending on the humidity. 

About fifteen minutes before you are going to bake the macarons, place a spare sheet pan in the oven to preheat - this is going to be used to place under the pan with the macarons on it, to double up, which should help with even baking. Bake the macarons one sheet at a time - place the sheet with the macarons on the preheated sheet, and place in the oven. 

Bake for approximately 18 minutes, rotating the pan once during the cooking process, and checking for doneness after 15 minutes. The macarons should develop a foot (the ruffled part on the bottom of the macaron), and bake without browning. To see if they are done - press down lightly on a shell. If the foot gives way, it needs a little longer, if it is stable, then it is close to being done. Test a macaron shell - if you can peel it away cleanly from the paper, they are done. If they are stable but cannot yet peel away cleanly, give them another minute or so. Again, this part takes a little trial and error depending on your oven. If they seem done but do not peel away cleanly, do not worry - there is a little trick for that! 

Remove from the oven, and allow to cool on the sheet pan for 10 minutes before peeling off the parchment paper and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack. Repeat the baking with the remaining trays, using the same spare sheet pan to double up.

If your macs do not peel away cleanly, place them, on the parchment paper, into the freezer for 5-10 minutes, then peel away from the paper. 

Store cooled macarons in an airtight container until ready to use. 

-FLAVOUR / COLOUR VARIATIONS -

  • For Creme egg shells, tint the shells with grey/blue gel colouring (we used ‘ash’ by americolor and a tiny drop of black), then splatter with watered down black gel food colouring using a paintbrush after the shells have baked. Fill with Creme egg ganache (recipe follows)

  • For Hot Cross Bun shells, tint the shells with brown food colouring (we used ‘chocolate brown' by americolor), then fill with spiced German Buttercream (recipe follows)

  • For the Coconut shells, tint the shells with yellow food colouring (we used ‘lemon yellow’ by americolor), then fill with coconut Swiss Meringue Buttercream (recipe follows)

  • For the Chocolate shells, add 20g dark dutch process or black cocoa to the powdered sugar mix - see the note above, or there is a recipe here. Fill with peanut butter Swiss Meringue Buttercream (recipe follows)

  • For the Peeps shells, tint the shells bright pink (we used ‘deep pink’ by americolor), and dust with pink sanding sugar once piped. Fill with vanilla bean marshmallow (recipe follows)

  • If you would like to add a cross to the hot cross bun macarons, you can make one out of powdered sugar and milk. Sift 100g powdered sugar into a bowl, then add milk until you form a thick paste. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a small round tip, and pipe crosses on half the shells (do this before you fill them).

 

 

Creme egg ganache

- Makes enough to fill 30 Macarons -

12 regular sized cadbury creme eggs (35g each, 420g total), chopped
90g (6 Tbsp) Heavy Cream
30g (2 Tbsp) unsalted butter
100g milk chocolate

- PROCESS -

Place all of the ingredients in a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water, ensuring that the bowl does not touch the water. Stir with a whisk or spatula until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Transfer to a container, and press a piece of plastic wrap directly against the surface of the filling. Refrigerate for about an hour, stirring occasionally, until the ganache has firmed up to a piping consistency. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip.

Pair each macaron shell with another of a similar size. Pipe a circle of buttercream on one half, and then sandwich with the second shell. Macarons taste best if you 'mature' them in the fridge overnight to let the flavours meld, but they are perfect eaten immediately too! Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

 

 

Spiced German Buttercream

- Makes enough to fill 30 Macarons -

110g dark brown sugar
12g (1 1/2 Tbsp) cornstarch
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp salt
190g whole milk
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin spice or mixed spice
340g (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

- PROCESS -

In a bowl, whisk together the sugar and corn starch, then whisk in the egg, egg yolk and salt. In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and pumpkin spice / mixed spice. Heat to to just shy of a simmer.  Remove from the heat.

Using one hand to whisk constantly, pour half of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture. This helps to temper the eggs and stop them from scrambling. Whisk until incorporated, and then pour the whole lot back into the saucepan.

Heat the milk and egg mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it begins to bubble. It will thicken quickly. Once it has thickened, cook for one minute, then remove from the heat. Pour into a shallow container or bowl of a stand mixer and press some plastic wrap over the surface to avoid a skin from forming. Refrigerate until cold - at least four hours, preferably overnight. If you need to speed this process up, you can place the pastry cream in a bowl, then place the bowl in an ice bath. Stir frequently.

Fit your mixer with the whisk attachment, and place the pastry cream in the bowl. Whip the mixture on medium until creamy and lump-free. Begin adding the butter, a few cubes at a time, until fully incorporated. It may look curdled at some point but just keep whipping - it will come together! Store in an airtight container until ready to use, or if using immediately, transfer to a piping bag fitted with large french star tip.

Pair up the macaron shells, and a round of buttercream on one half. Top with the second shell. Macarons taste best if you 'mature' them in the fridge overnight to let the flavours meld, but they are perfect eaten immediately too! Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

 

 

Coconut Swiss Meringue buttercream

- Makes enough to fill 30 Macarons -

60g egg whites
100g granulated sugar
pinch of salt
225g (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes
½ tsp vanilla bean paste
100g coconut threads or flakes, blitzed in a food processor until finely chopped
Sprinkles to finish (we used ‘hangin’ with my peeps’ by sprinkle pop)

- PROCESS -

Place the egg whites, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer or a heat proof bowl. Place over a pot of simmering water, ensuring that the water does not touch the bowl. Heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture registers 160˚f / 70˚c on a thermometer and the sugar has dissolved. Carefully transfer the bowl to the mixer, and fit with the whisk attachment. Whip the egg whites on high until they are snowy white and fluffy, 8-10 minutes. Add the butter one chunk at a time. The mixture may look curdled - but just keep mixing! Once all the butter is incorporated, mix on high for a further 10 minutes.

Once the buttercream has finished mixing, and is smooth and silky, add in the vanilla bean paste. Mix for a further 2-3 minutes, then switch to the paddle attachment and mix on low for one minute to remove any air. Add the blitzed coconut and mix to combine. Fit a piping bag with a large round tip, and fill the bag with the buttercream.

Pair up the macaron shells, and pipe a round of buttercream on one half of each pair. Top with the second shell. Smooth any buttercream that is sticking over the edges with your finger, then roll the macarons in sprinkles so that the sprinkles stick to the buttercream. Macarons taste best if you 'mature' them in the fridge overnight to let the flavours meld, but they are perfect eaten immediately too! Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

 

 

Peanut Butter Swiss Meringue buttercream

- Makes enough to fill 30 Macarons -

60g egg whites
100g granulated sugar
pinch of salt
225g (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes
½ tsp vanilla bean paste
150g smooth/creamy peanut butter (processed peanut butter is best, natural may seize your buttercream)

- PROCESS -

Place the egg whites, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer or a heat proof bowl. Place over a pot of simmering water, ensuring that the water does not touch the bowl. Heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture registers 160˚f / 70˚c on a thermometer and the sugar has dissolved. Carefully transfer the bowl to the mixer, and fit with the whisk attachment. Whip the egg whites on high until they are snowy white and fluffy, 8-10 minutes. Add the butter one chunk at a time. The mixture may look curdled - but just keep mixing! Once all the butter is incorporated, mix on high for a further 10 minutes.

Once the buttercream has finished mixing, and is smooth and silky, add in the vanilla bean paste and peanut butter. Mix for a further 2-3 minutes, then switch to the paddle attachment and mix on low for one minute to remove any air. Fit a piping bag with a small french star tip, and fill the bag with the buttercream.

Pair up the macaron shells, and pipe a round of buttercream blobs on one half of each pair. Top with the second shell. Smooth any buttercream that is sticking over the edges with your finger, then roll the macarons in sprinkles so that the sprinkles stick to the buttercream. Macarons taste best if you 'mature' them in the fridge overnight to let the flavours meld, but they are perfect eaten immediately too! Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

 

 

Vanilla Bean Marshmallow

- Makes enough to fill 30 Macarons -

Note - make sure you have everything ready to go before you make the marshmallow, as you will have to work quite quickly once it is whipped. Pair up the shells and have the piping bag ready. Extra marshmallow can be cured in a greased loaf pan.

14g (2 packets) powdered gelatine
76g cold water
103g liquid honey
76g water
265g sugar
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
Bright Pink gel food colour (we used ‘deep pink’ by americolor)
Pink Sanding sugar to finish (optional)

- PROCESS -

Fit a large piping bag with a round tip. Fit the stand mixer with the whisk attachment. In the mixing bowl, combine the cold water and gelatin and mix well with a fork, and leave to bloom while you prepare the sugar syrup.

In a medium pot, combine the water, honey, vanilla, and sugar. Heat over medium to high heat, stirring occasionally. Heat until the syrup reaches 240˚f /120˚c, then remove from the heat and leave to cool to 210˚f /100˚c.

Turn the mixer on to medium, and mix for a few seconds to help break up the bloomed gelatin. With the mixer running, VERY carefully pour the hot sugar syrup into the mixer. Turn the speed up to high, and whip for 5-7 minutes, until the marshmallow has doubled in volume, has turned white, and holds somewhat of a peak when you stop the mixer and lift out the whisk. While the marshmallow is mixing, add pink gel food colouring as desired. Transfer to the piping bag.

Pair up the macaron shells, and pipe a round of marshmallow on one half of each pair. Top with the second shell. Press down lightly, then carefully sprinkle the exposed marshmallow with pink sanding sugar. Macarons taste best if you 'mature' them in the fridge overnight to let the flavours meld, but they are perfect eaten immediately too! Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

The ultimate Easter Macaron Box - creme egg macarons, hot cross bun macarons, coconut macarons, chocolate peanut butter macarons and peeps marshmallow macarons make up the most amazing Easter inspired box. This would make an incredible easter gift, and can be customised however you like!

Malted Dark Chocolate Cream Pie with Cream Cheese Whip


 
Malted Dark Chocolate Cream Pie with Cream Cheese Whip. A flaky pie crust is topped with a silky malted dark chocolate pudding, and topped with a chocolate and vanilla bean piped cream cheese whipped cream. #creamcheese #chocolatepie #maltedmilk
Malted Dark Chocolate Cream Pie with Cream Cheese Whip. A flaky pie crust is topped with a silky malted dark chocolate pudding, and topped with a chocolate and vanilla bean piped cream cheese whipped cream. #creamcheese #chocolatepie #maltedmilk
Malted Dark Chocolate Cream Pie with Cream Cheese Whip. A flaky pie crust is topped with a silky malted dark chocolate pudding, and topped with a chocolate and vanilla bean piped cream cheese whipped cream. #creamcheese #chocolatepie #maltedmilk
Malted Dark Chocolate Cream Pie with Cream Cheese Whip. A flaky pie crust is topped with a silky malted dark chocolate pudding, and topped with a chocolate and vanilla bean piped cream cheese whipped cream. #creamcheese #chocolatepie #maltedmilk
Malted Dark Chocolate Cream Pie with Cream Cheese Whip. A flaky pie crust is topped with a silky malted dark chocolate pudding, and topped with a chocolate and vanilla bean piped cream cheese whipped cream. #creamcheese #chocolatepie #maltedmilk
Malted Dark Chocolate Cream Pie with Cream Cheese Whip. A flaky pie crust is topped with a silky malted dark chocolate pudding, and topped with a chocolate and vanilla bean piped cream cheese whipped cream. #creamcheese #chocolatepie #maltedmilk
Malted Dark Chocolate Cream Pie with Cream Cheese Whip. A flaky pie crust is topped with a silky malted dark chocolate pudding, and topped with a chocolate and vanilla bean piped cream cheese whipped cream. #creamcheese #chocolatepie #maltedmilk

Ahhhh happy Pi(e) day! If there’s a week that it’s ok to share three pies in a row, I’m going to go ahead and say that it’s this one! Pie week is waaaay better than birthday week IMO, which is really saying something because damn I love birthday week.

I’ve had this one floating round in my head for a while now - I bought a big jar of malted milk powder to use in a recipe a few months ago and never got around to it, so I’ve been so excited to use it! Since I overcame my fear of crimping pie crust (weirdest fear ever), I have so many fun new recipes in the works I can’t wait to share!

I went with a classic twist on the chocolate cream pie for this recipe - a blind baked pie crust, filled with a dark chocolate pudding, which I spiked with some malted milk powder. I then finished it off with a quick cream cheese whipped cream - I added a teeny bit of cocoa powder to half in order to give some variation in the decoration on the top. And oh my. It is such a winning combo - flaky pie crust, silky chocolate pudding, and then a slightly tangy whipped cream on the top. I took it to friends for dessert and someone told me it was ‘the best chocolate pie they had ever had, but in a pie’. I’ll take that. This pie would be perfect for any occasion - it can easily be made ahead of time and finished off quickly just before you serve. You absolutely do not have to pipe the topping on like I did - a big pile of cream cheese whipped cream on top would be just as amazing.

A few wee tips:

  • Ideally, you want to give your pie dough an overnight rest, but if you’re in a pinch, 2-3 hours in the fridge should be ok.

  • The pudding does need a few hours to cool up and set, so make sure you account for this.

  • If you are making this ahead of time, make sure that you only add the cream cheese whipped cream close-ish to serving so that it is nice and fresh.

  • I like to do this wee trick with my pie dough: After you mix the dough and shape it into discs, rest it in the fridge for about an hour, and then roll it out on a floured surface into a rectangle, fold it in thirds like a letter, then roll again and repeat the folding. Then you shape it into a disc by folding the edges under, rewrap tightly in plastic, and rest for at least two hours before using. What this step does is make the dough homogenous and therefore easy to work with, but also adds layers through the rolling and folding - the same way puff pastry is laminated. It is definitely an optional step but from my experience it makes the world of difference when it comes to rolling out the dough, and makes the dough really easy to crimp.

  • The pie dough recipe makes a double crust - so enough for two pies. You might as well make the extra while you are at it in my opinion - pie dough freezes well, tightly wrapped, for at least a few months, or lasts a few days in the fridge. Defrost overnight if using from frozen.

 

 

Malted Dark Chocolate Cream Pie with Cream Cheese Whip

- Makes one 9” pie -

Filling recipe adapted from Erin Mcdowell

Pie Dough
2 1/2 cups (310g) Flour
Pinch of Salt
2 tsp (8g) sugar
225g (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 cup (240ml) cold water
1 cup ice
1/4 cup (60ml) Apple cider vinegar
Egg wash - 1 egg whisked with 1 Tbsp water

Malted Dark Chocolate Filling
650g whole milk
120g heavy cream
250g bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used 60%)
150g sugar
30g Corn starch
150g malted milk powder
3/4 tsp salt
135g yolks (5 large egg yolks)
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
40g unsalted butter, at room temperature

Cream Cheese Whipped Cream Topping
400g Heavy cream, cold
225g Cream cheese, at room temperature
70g powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
pinch salt
10g dutch process cocoa, sifted



 

- PROCESS -

PIE DOUGH

Place flour, sugar and salt into a large bowl. Cut butter into chunks, and add to the flour. Toss lightly to coat. Working quickly, using a pastry blender or  your fingers,  cut the butter into the flour mixture until there are only large pea-sized chunks left. You want a few lumps of butter remaining to keep the pastry nice and tender.

Combine ice, water and cider vinegar in a bowl. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of the ice water into the flour and butter mixture, and using a stiff spatula or your hands, mix in well. Continue adding water a tablespoon at a time ( I normally need about 8-10 tbsp) until you have a dough that holds together well, but is not too wet. Squeeze together with your fingertips to make a homogenous dough. Shape into two discs, and wrap in plastic wrap. Rest in the fridge for at least two hours, or preferably overnight.  (See notes for rolling out dough during resting period)

Once the dough has rested, unwrap one disc and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll out to 1/4” (6mm) in thickness, turning the dough 45˚ often as you are rolling to keep it even. You want the circle to be slightly larger than your pie tin. Transfer to a 9” pie tin, and arrange to ensure that the dough is well settled.

Trim the dough using scissors or a sharp knife, leaving about one inch excess around the edges. Gently tuck the dough under and onto itself, to give you a neat folded edge. Chill in the fridge for 15-20 minutes, then remove from the fridge and crimp as desired. Dock all over with the tines of a fork, then chill for a further 30 minutes, or freeze for 20 minutes or until solid.

While the crust is in the fridge, preheat the oven to 425˚f / 220˚c. Cut a piece of parchment slightly larger than the pie dish. Line with the parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans, filling right to the bottom of the crimps.

Place the pie tin on a baking sheet, and place in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the edges are slightly golden brown. Remove from the oven, remove the parchment paper and beans, and brush the edges and crust with egg wash. Return to the oven and bake for a further 15 to 20 minutes, until evenly golden.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

DARK CHOCOLATE MALTED MILK CREAM FILLING

Place the milk, cream, and chocolate in a medium saucepan. Place over medium low heat, and whisk until combined and the chocolate has melted. Bring it to a very gentle simmer.

While the chocolate is melting, in a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, corn starch, malted milk powder, and salt. Add the egg yolks and vanilla bean paste and whisk until well combined - it will look like it is not going to come together, but keep whisking!

Remove the chocolate milk mixture from the heat, and, whisking the egg mixture constantly, pour about half of the chocolate mixture over the egg mixture. Whisk until well combined, then return to the saucepan with the remainder of the chocolate mixture. Return to a medium low heat, and, stirring constantly with a silicone spatula, heat until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil, approximately 4 minutes. You want to see a few large bubbles in the centre of the saucepan. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, mixing until well combined.

Strain the pudding mixture directly into the cooled pie shell, and smooth with an offset spatula. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly against the surface of the filling to prevent a skin forming. Leave to stand at room temperature for about 45 minutes, then transfer to the fridge to completely chill - 4 hours or overnight.

CREAM CHEESE WHIPPED CREAM

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the heavy cream, powdered sugar, vanilla bean, and salt, and whip until stiff peaks form. Transfer half of the cream cheese whipped cream to a piping bag fitted with a french star tip. Sift in the cocoa powder, and mix to combine. Transfer to a second piping bag fitted with a french star tip.

Pipe blobs of the chocolate and plain cream cheese whipped cream over the surface fo the pie.

Refrigerate until serving. Store leftovers in the fridge.

Malted Dark Chocolate Cream Pie with Cream Cheese Whip. A flaky pie crust is topped with a silky malted dark chocolate pudding, and topped with a chocolate and vanilla bean piped cream cheese whipped cream. #creamcheese #chocolatepie #maltedmilk