Diggin’ in the dirt

Diggin’ in the dirt

By
From
Dig In!
Serves
6
Photographer
Mark Roper

This is me on a plate. It’s also about surprises. It might not look that exciting but, when you eat it, you find surprise after surprise. The orange ice, orange sugar and caramelised white chocolate are all hidden under chocolate soil, flavoured with szechuan peppercorns and popping candy. I’ve worked with a Bobcat in the soil since I left school, but I feel I’m also a bit of a surprise package. I’m not what people would expect. No one would expect someone like me to create a dish like this!

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
220g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
1 egg
300ml pouring cream
220g white chocolate, broken into pieces
1 orange, segmented
18 raspberries
1 orange, zested

Orange ice

Quantity Ingredient
80g caster sugar
2 oranges, juiced

Orange sugar

Quantity Ingredient
80g caster sugar
2 oranges, thinly sliced peel with pith removed

Chocolate ‘soil’

Quantity Ingredient
60g tapioca maltodextrin
300g milk chocolate, broken into pieces
1 1/2 tablespoons szechuan peppercorns, crushed, plus extra to serve
50g popping candy
1/4 teaspoon salt

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (or 160°C for a fan-forced oven).
  2. To make the orange ice, put the sugar and 60 ml water in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook until the sugar has dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat, add the orange juice and stir until combined. Strain the mixture and pour it into an 18 x 28 cm tray. The mixture should be about 1 cm thick. Place the tray in the freezer for about 2–3 hours, until set.
  3. To make the orange sugar, place the sugar and 60 ml water in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir to combine. Cook until the sugar dissolves. Add the orange peel strips and simmer until the caramel is golden, about 8–10 minutes. Pour onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and leave to set, about 20 minutes. Once set, chop it into 5 mm–1 cm chunks and set aside.
  4. Put the dark chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water and heat until just melted. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Add the egg and whisk to combine.
  5. Meanwhile, put the cream in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk until stiff peaks form. Reserve half the cream for serving. Add the remaining half to the dark chocolate mixture and fold it in to combine. Set aside.
  6. Put the white chocolate on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake, stirring every 3 minutes, until the chocolate becomes a dark caramel colour, about 10–12 minutes. It will seem as if the chocolate has ‘seized’ when you stir it at 6 minutes, but don’t worry as it will come back together. Remove it from the oven and spread it evenly in a thin layer. Transfer the tray to the refrigerator for the chocolate to cool and harden for about 20 minutes. When set, break the chocolate into 1 cm pieces and set aside.
  7. To make the chocolate ‘soil’, put the tapioca maltodextrin in a food processor. Place the milk chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water and heat until melted. Remove from the heat and add it to the food processor. Process until a crumble forms.
  8. Transfer the milk chocolate crumble to a bowl, add the szechuan peppercorns, orange sugar, popping candy and salt and then stir to combine.
  9. To serve, remove the orange ice from the freezer and break it into small pieces. Place a small pile in the centre of the serving plates.
  10. Spoon the reserved whipped cream and the dark chocolate cream into 2 separate disposable piping bags, snip the ends off the bags and pipe dollops of both creams onto each plate. Add the orange segments, raspberries and white chocolate squares. Sprinkle with orange zest, then sprinkle over a few extra peppercorns. To finish, cover all the elements with a mound of chocolate ‘soil’.
Tags:
dig in
brent
owens
masterchef
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