I have a rather unhealthy (literally) addiction to making desserts at the moment. Cooking kind of goes in phases where savoury will be a strong point but suddenly a good run of form with sweet will come along. Following the success of the mint choccy chip recipe from Glynn Purnell, I opened up Historic Heston and after scanning my cupboards containing vanilla pod, brandy and 90% of ingredients for a decent brioche, decided on making the tipsy cake.
Reading through the recipe it seems different to your average Blumenthal ball-breaker. In short : Make brioche - rest overnight - roll into balls and freeze - make a cooking cream - caramelise a pineapple - bake and serve. Thankfully devoid of fiddly processes and strangely short on ingredients. Quantities however are another matter....if you were to follow the recipe in its entirety it would amount to over a kilo of butter!
So with butter in mind its on with the brioche. 335 grams of the stuff goes in to enrich the dough before resting in the fridge. One problem I had with the dough was that when mixing the dry ingredients with the initial allocation of egg it became far too dry and didn't mix correctly. I found the solution to this was a splash of milk.
Once the brioche has sat in the fridge overnight in a covered bowl its time to roll into balls. I used an ice cream scoop to get an even amount of dough saving time weighing everything, rolling it out and all the other steps Heston wants to put you through....you're welcome people.
Prepared brioche balls
Place your brioche golf balls in the freezer until firm and then dip in butter and golden caster sugar to create a doughnut glazing effect. By the way Heston lists 750g of both butter and sugar for the dipping process so unless you have grand designs on opening a tipsy cake factory, a smaller scale of the two will do just fine.
Once your balls are covered (tee hee) place them into a cast iron pot and cover with clingfilm. I used terracotta pots and left to prove for four hours.
Tipsy cake construction
Next it was time for some smokin' action. I'd purchased hickory smoking chips online at Creamsupplies.co.uk - an excellent source of ingredients that are hard to come by. Setting this in the base pan of a foil-lined steamer along with the smoking chips all that was needed was the aid of a blowtorch to create a mini bonfire. The syrup is smoked for 5-10 minutes between stirring to ensure full flavour of the smoke, really good stuff.
Ever wondered what it might be like to carve a pineapple? Well wonder no more! Taking knife in hand taking off the outside skin wasn't too tricky. The intricate part comes in the form of diagonal cuts into the pineapple to take out the 'eyes' thus creating a spiral effect, quite cool when you finish, stand back and admire your handiwork.
A caramel consisting of caramelised sugar, butter, salt and apple juice becomes the coating for the pineapple. The caramel is remarkably similar to the apple pie caramel and tafferty tart caramel's. At Dinner they have the good fortune of a rotisserie system that's pineapple-friendly. I had to make do with a blowtorch and a steady hand. Word of warning: Do not point the flame of a blowtorch at the leaves of a pineapple as it will result in fire and brief panic combined with frantic blowing....not that I'd know of course...
The book advises that you use a pizza stone to help cook the tipsy cakes. I previously owned one of these but it got misplaced during a house move. Scouring the cupboards the best I could come up with was a heavy madeleine tray, which seemed to do the trick. After baking the brioches for 15 minutes, the heavily alcoholic blend of sugar, sauternes, vanilla and brandy with cream is added to give the 'tipsy' element, good stuff that tastes like brandy cream you have on Christmas pudding.
After doing the hokey cokey with the tipsy cake and additions of cream its ready to serve. Slice off a wedge of caramelised pineapple and squeeze over a touch of lime juice with the awesome smoked syrup and you're ready to tuck in.
Its a pretty simple dessert to make in advance and not all that costly. Appearance-wise I was happy, the cake still had its definition and the pineapple looked appetising. Taste-wise it was decent...very much like an alcoholic version of pineapple upside-down cake, with the soaked brioche and caramelised pineapple its comfort food of the highest order, especially good around this time of year. Just don't drive after eating this.....
The final plate