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Burch and Purchese had been high on my to do list (or to taste list) for quite sometime. Darren Purchese had previously been featured in Masterchef Australia and B&P’s dessert combinations are one of most enticing and creative desserts in Australia.

Finally I found time to travel to South Yarra to take a look-see, and was surprised at how close it was (near the Como Building) and was so closeby to my old high school.

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Being someone who just has to try a bit of everything, and especially if there is nuts involved. We had to pick up this Peanut, Raspberry, Caramel and Chocolate dessert.  Layered with peanut chocolate brownie, chocolate wafer, roasted peanut cream, raspberry compote, salted caramel, peanut
butter mousse and raspberry jelly. Raspberry and peanuts isn’t a combination I’ve tried before, and let me tell you it’s amazing. I love the nuttiness, with the tart raspberries and that rich and delectable salted caramel. Yum! This dessert also comes in a cake which will be my next purchese purchase.

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B&P’s Explosive Raspberry Milk Chocolate cake is one of their more popular desserts, and who wouldn’t love popping candies in a dessert. It’s like being a kid all over again.

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Layered with raspberry cream, raspberry marshmallows, raspberry compote, choc chip cookie crumb base, raspberry & milk chocolate mousse and chocolate popping candy. It has become one of my favourites. That choc chip cookie crumb base is incredibly delicious and again the light chocolate mousse with the tart raspberry flavour works well together and then you get this little popping on your tongue. Memorable for sure.

Impressions

Now I see why B&P is held in such high regard. You can also definitely see the amount of work that goes into making one of these desserts with so many layers and I would assume a plentiful of processes before it’s complete. B&P was well worth the trip down, and my only regret was not trying it sooner!

Burch and Purchese

Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio on Urbanspoon

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My first sighting of Beef Wellington was on Masterchef Australia. It looked so golden and delicious but not too scarily difficult to actually make yourself. I love anything with pastry so meat plus puff pastry is my ideal meal. One thing to note is if you love a more generous serving of the mushroom mixture to go around the beef, I’d say double the mushroom mixture ingredients and you may also need a few more slices of the prosciutto to cover it as well. The shallot and red wine sauce from the BBC Good Food with the Beef Wellington is an amazing combination. I highly recommend it. Check out Gordon Ramsay’s BBC Good Food recipe below!

Beef Wellington with Red wine & Shallot sauce (Gordon Ramsay)

Cooking and Prep Time 1 hr – 2 hrs / 20 minutes (Sauce)
Serves 6 / 4 (Sauce)

Ingredients (Beef Wellington)
1kg/2lb 4 oz a good beef fillet
3 tbsp olive oil
250g/9oz chestnut mushroom, include some wild ones if you like (I used Portobello mushrooms)
50g/2oz butter
1 large sprig fresh thyme
100ml/3.5 fl oz dry white wine
12 slices prosciutto
500g/1lb 2oz pack puff pastry, thawed if frozen
a little flour, for dusting
2 egg yolks beaten with 1 tsp water

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Ingredients (Shallot & Red Wine Sauce)
250g shallots, sliced
4 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, lightly crushed
sprig rosemary
5 tbsp balsamic vinegar
400ml red wine
400ml beef stock or brown chicken stock, preferably homemade
knob of butter

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Method (Beef Wellington)
1. Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Sit the 1kg beef fillet on a roasting tray, brush with 1 tbsp olive oil and season with pepper.

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2. Roast for 15 mins for medium-rare or 20 mins for medium. When the beef is cooked to your liking, remove from the oven to cool, then chill in the fridge for about 20 mins.

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3. While the beef is cooling, chop 250g mushrooms as finely as possible so they have the texture of coarse breadcrumbs. You can use a food processor to do this, but make sure you pulse-chop the mushrooms so they don’t become a slurry.

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4. Heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil and 50g butter in a large pan and fry the mushrooms on a medium heat, with 1 large sprig fresh thyme, for about 10 mins stirring often, until you have a softened mixture.

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5. Season the mushroom mixture, pour over 100ml dry white wine and cook for about 10 mins until all the wine has been absorbed. The mixture should hold its shape when stirred. Remove the mushroom duxelle from the pan to cool and discard the thyme.

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7. Overlap two pieces of cling film over a large chopping board. Lay 12 slices prosciutto on the cling film, slightly overlapping, in a double row. Spread half the duxelles over the prosciutto, then sit the fillet on it and spread the remaining duxelles over. Use the cling film’s edges to draw the prosciutto around the fillet, then roll it into a sausage shape, twisting the ends of cling film to tighten it as you go. Chill the fillet while you roll out the pastry.

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8. Dust your work surface with a little flour. Roll out a third of the 500g pack of puff pastry to a 18 x 30cm strip and place on a non-stick baking sheet. Roll out the remainder of the 500g pack of puff pastry to about 28 x 36cm. Unravel the fillet from the cling film and sit it in the centre of the smaller strip of pastry. Beat the 2 egg yolks with 1 tsp water and brush the pastry’s edges, and the top and sides of the wrapped fillet.

9. Using a rolling pin, carefully lift and drape the larger piece of pastry over the fillet, pressing well into the sides. Trim the joins to about a 4cm rim. Seal the rim with the edge of a fork or spoon handle. Glaze all over with more egg yolk and, using the back of a knife, mark the beef Wellington with long diagonal lines taking care not to cut into the pastry. Chill for at least 30 mins and up to 24 hrs.

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10. Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Brush the Wellington with a little more egg yolk and cook until golden and crisp – 20-25 mins for medium-rare beef, 30 mins for medium. Allow to stand for 10 mins before serving in thick slices.

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Method (Sauce)

1. Sauté the shallots in a medium saucepan with the oil over a high heat for about 3 mins until lightly browned, stirring often. Season with ground black pepper and add the garlic and rosemary. Continue cooking for a further 3 mins, stirring often to prevent the shallots burning.

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2. Pour in the vinegar and cook until evaporated away to a syrup, then pour in the wine and cook until reduced by two thirds or until it thickens.

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3. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer until reduced by two-thirds again, to around 250ml. Remove the garlic and rosemary. Add a little salt to taste and finally ‘monte’ (whisk) in a knob of butter. Add any juices from the steaks just before serving.

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Notes

  • Please allot enough time for chilling. It helps with the rolling of the beef and so you don’t have a very wet base when you bake the pastry in the oven
  • The mushroom mixture can be doubled as it’s a very thin layer around the beef
  • I recommend finding less salty prosciutto as it can be quite overpowering with the seasoning of the beef and mushroom mix.

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Making your own dumplings is pretty simple. I’m the type of person that likes to make things from scratch to see if it tastes any better than those manufactured/processed ingredients. At least once anyway.

After watching Poh from Poh’s Kitchen/Masterchef Australia Season 1 make dumplings I thought what they hey, let’s do it. We made the dumpling skins, filling and sauce and it wasn’t too much of a challenge!

Pork and Cabbage Dumplings (Poh’s Kitchen)

Ingredients
Dumpling Skins
½ cup plain flour
½ cup wheat starch (wheat cornflour)
Boiled hot water

Dumpling Filling
2 ½ cups Chinese cabbage, finely shredded
½ tsp salt
250g pork mince
3 tsp ginger, chopped finely
1/3 cup spring onions or Chinese chives, chopped
1/8 tsp ground white pepper
¼ cup chicken stock or water
4 ½ tsp light soy sauce
3 tsp Shaoxing wine
1 tbs vegetable oil
4 ½ tsp sesame oil
½ cup shitake dried mushrooms, soaked and chopped

Spicy Dipping Sauce 
¼ cup light soy sauce (1/8 tsp of soy)
6 tsp Chinkiang vinegar (1/4 cup of vinegar)
1/8 cup sugar
2-3 tsp chilli oil
3 tsp ginger, finely shredded
2 tsp garlic, chopped finely
A sprinkling of fresh diced chilli (Optional)

Method
Dumpling Skins
1. Place flour and wheat starch in a bowl.
2. Pour a small amount of hot water into the flour and starch mix and stir with a fork until you can tip it onto the bench top and knead into a firmish, smooth ball. Poh’s recipe doesn’t specify how much water to add, so add maybe a tablespoon at a time because I accidentally added too much and had to re-add the flour and wheat starch to balance everything out.
If it feels a little sticky, add a small amount of equal plain flour and wheat starch and mix to the dough.
3. Wrap in cling wrap and rest for an hour.
Note: If you don’t have wheat starch the traditional way is to use one cup plain flour but follow the same method.

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Dumpling Filling
1. Mix salt with cabbage and allow to sit for 15 minutes so salt can draw liquid out of the cabbage. Wash cabbage briefly before squeezing to remove as much liquid as possible. You should end up with a heaped half cup of cabbage.
2. Mix together with remaining ingredients until everything is incorporated.
3. To make dumplings, sprinkle dough with some plain flour and roll into cylinders with a diameter the size of a 20 cent coin.
3. Cut into one centimetre thick disks and flatten with the palm of your hand. Tuck the disks under an overturned plastic container so they stay moist. With a dumpling rolling pin or 20 centimetre piece of dowel, roll ONLY inwards from the outer edge of each circle, so you maintain a regular circle. If you roll outwards, you will find the circle will become misshapen very quickly.
4. Once the dough has been rolled out to about one millimetre thick, spoon a teaspoonful of the filling onto the centre of the wrapper. When crimping, only pleat one side of the dumpling leaving the other edge straight. This will give the dumpling an attractive crescent shape and let it sit nicely.
5. There are two ways you can cook these. Firstly, you can just boil them in plenty of salt water. When they float, allow them to cook for a further ten seconds, then scoop out with a slotted spoon into a colander.
6. If you want a crispy bottomed finish, position the dumplings neatly in a frypan filled with about one centimetre of water and a dash of peanut oil.
7. Cover and allow the dumplings to steam for about eight to ten minutes. When all the water evaporates, the little bit of oil that remains will help crisp up the bottom. Serve immediately with spice dipping sauce.

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Spicy Dipping Sauce
1. Mix all the ingredients together and serve with dumplings. In brackets I’ve mentioned using minimal soy and more vinegar, I found it was much more reminiscent of the sauces you’d find in any dumpling house. Poh’s recipe uses way too much soy sauce that you can’t even taste the slightly sour/salty Chinkiang vinegar.

We also added diced fresh chilli that really gave it a kick.

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Impressions

The actual process of making the skins was extremely straight forward, and fun to make so that’s a definite plus!

The skin when cooked didn’t have the same bite to it as dumplings at a restaurant. Usually there is this slight chewiness   but nonetheless I found the dumplings to be pretty darn good.

With the changes I made to the sauce, it just made a good dish to a great dish. Loved the Chinkiang vinegar with chilli.

The filling was pretty much what you’d get elsewhere so I’d say that’s a good achievement.  What I liked about these dumplings is that it wasn’t drenched in oil. We used minimal oil or only as much as required so it didn’t stick to the pan and they came out well so I was very happy with the end result.

I might try a different skin recipe but I’d keep the filling and sauce (with changes) recipe for the next time I make it.

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