Darren Purchese has a cutting-edge approach to all things sweet – his new book is best for those who are looking to take their baking skills to the next level. These Wagon Wheels can be made with a number of flavour combinations and would make a beautiful foodie gift or seriously impressive afternoon tea.
Chocolate Sablé Pastry
1⅔ cups plain flour, sifted
¼ cup Dutch cocoa powder, sifted
¾ cup icing sugar, sifted
pinch of salt
135 grams cold unsalted butter, diced
1 egg yolk
4 egg whites
1¾ cups caster sugar
1 tablespoon liquid glucose
10 gold-strength gelatine leaves (20 grams), soaked and drained
2 teaspoons freeze-dried raspberry powder (optional)
60 grams raspberry jam
melted milk chocolate, for dipping
chocolate-coated popping candy and freeze-dried raspberries to sprinkle
free-standing electric mixer
2 x baking trays
7cm round pastry cutter
digital or sugar thermometer
piping bag fitted with a large plain nozzle
These are like little individual milk chocolate time machines that can transport you instantly back to your childhood.
Chocolate Sablé Pastry: Place the flour, cocoa powder, icing sugar and salt in a free-standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Turn the machine to low speed, add the butter and mix until you have a fine sandy texture.
Add the egg and egg yolk and mix again until the dough starts to come together. Turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead it together briefly with your hands. Form a square shape with the dough and flatten it onto a large piece of plastic wrap. Cover the dough completely with the wrap then chill and rest it in the refrigerator for 45 minutes.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and cut it into two equal pieces.
Roll the first piece of dough out, in between two sheets of baking paper, to achieve a thickness of 1–2mm. Repeat with the second piece of dough then chill and rest the rolled pastry in the refrigerator, still between the sheets of baking paper, for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 170°C and line two baking trays with baking paper.
Remove the sheets of pastry from the refrigerator and pull off the top sheet of baking paper. Using a 7cm round pastry cutter, cut out 24 discs from the two sheets of pastry. Place the discs on the prepared baking trays and bake them in the oven for 10–12 minutes or until crisp to touch and cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow the discs to cool on the trays.
Marshmallow: Place the egg whites in a freestanding electric mixer on low speed and start to whisk slowly. Place 150ml water, the caster sugar and glucose in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir gently to dissolve the sugar and bring it to the boil. Once the syrup comes to the boil, turn the mixer with the egg whites to medium speed.
Cook the syrup to 125°C, using a digital or sugar thermometer to check the temperature accurately. Slowly trickle the syrup down one side of the bowl with the whisking egg whites, in a constant stream, ensuring the syrup doesn’t touchthe whisk.
Melt the gelatine in the still-hot saucepan and add it to the bowl. Whisk well until the mixture starts to cool and thicken then add the freeze-dried raspberry powder, if using. Transfer the mixture to a piping (icing) bag fitted with a large plain nozzle.
Leftover marshmallow can be piped into bulbs on a lightly greased baking tray for use as a garnish or extra component for any number of other desserts.
Place 12 cooked chocolate sablé bases on a tray or work surface, evenly spaced apart. Reserve another 12 cooked chocolate sablé discs to the side.
Place a teaspoon of raspberry jam in the centre of each of the 12 discs. Pipe about 60 grams of marshmallow into the centre of each disc over the jam and to the edge of each disc. Top the marshmallow with a reserved cooked chocolate sablé disc and gently push down to level. Finish the 12 wheels and reserve for 4 hours, uncovered, at room temperature.
Line a tray with baking paper and prepare the milk chocolate. Dip a wheel in the melted milk chocolate and lift it out with a spatula. Shake off the excess chocolate and gently place the wheel back on the prepared baking tray. Sprinkle some chocolate-coated popping candy and freeze-dried raspberries onto the tacky chocolate.
Complete all 12 wagon wheels and leave them to set at room temperature for 30 minutes. Place the wheels in the refrigerator for 5 minutes to set the chocolate well.
The wheels are ready to be served immediately or boxed for gifts. They are good for a few weeks if stored in a sealed container, in or out of the refrigerator.
You’re not limited to this flavour combination – try different chocolates, marshmallows or jams. You could switch the jam for orange marmalade, make an orange marshmallow (flavouring with orange zest instead of raspberry powder) or dip them in dark chocolate with edible orange oil for a jaffa orange wagon wheel.