Tarbouche – Lebanese chocolate marshmallow cakes

Tarbouche – Lebanese chocolate marshmallow cakes

By
From
New Feast
Makes
12
Photographer
Alan Benson

These hugely popular Lebanese teatime treats are a kind of Middle Eastern version of Twinkies or Tunnocks Tea Cakes. They are called ‘tarbouche’ – which is the Arabic version of a Turkish fez – to reflect their shape.

To make the soft, fluffy marshmallow, you’ll need to source Trimolene (a special ‘inverted’ sugar used for candies, desserts and ice creams) and to follow the recipe very precisely.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient

Pine nut praline

Quantity Ingredient
150g caster sugar
40ml water
200g pine nuts

Biscuit base

Quantity Ingredient
200g ginger biscuits
100g unsalted butter, melted

Marshmallow

Quantity Ingredient
280g strawberries, hulled and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon rosewater
300g caster sugar
255g trimoline
12 x 1.6g gold-strength gelatine, soaked in 60 ml cold water for 10 minutes

Chocolate coating

Quantity Ingredient
250g best-quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
50g unsalted butter, diced, at room temperature
edible flowers, to garnish, optional

Method

  1. To make the praline, combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and heat slowly to dissolve the sugar. Once completely dissolved, increase the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, or until it reaches the ‘thread’ stage, which is 110°C on a candy thermometer*. Add the pine nuts and stir well. The sugar will crystallise as the oils come out of the nuts. Keep stirring until it redissolves to a caramel, which may take 10–15 minutes. Pour onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Smooth evenly and leave to cool. When cold, pound to coarse crumbs with a rolling pin.
  2. When ready to make the base, preheat the oven to 160°C. In the bowl of a food processor, whiz the biscuits to fairly fine crumbs (or put them in a sealed plastic bag and bash them with a rolling pin!). Stir in the melted butter evenly. Tip the mixture onto a sheet of greaseproof paper and roll to a thickness of 1/2 cm. Bake for 8 minutes, or until lightly browned, then leave to cool. Cut into 7 cm circles.
  3. For the marshmallow, whiz the strawberries and rosewater in a blender until finely pureed, then pass through a sieve. Combine the sugar with 105 g of the Trimoline and 70 g of the strawberry puree in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  4. In the bowl of a stand-mixer, combine the remaining 150 g Trimoline with another 70 g of the strawberry puree and the soaked gelatine then whisk on medium speed to combine. With the motor running, slowly pour on the boiling syrup. Continue whisking for 5 minutes or until it cools to room temperature. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a 11/2 cm nozzle and pipe the marshmallow onto the biscuit bases in a big blob. Smooth the surface evenly with a wet finger. Chill for 2 hours until set.
  5. To make the chocolate coating, combine the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water (it shouldn’t touch the water). When they have completely melted, remove from the heat and stir them together well. Weigh out 60 g of the praline and fold it gently into the chocolate. Spoon over the tarbouche cakes evenly and scatter on the flowers, if using. Leave to set on a wire rack for 20 minutes.

Note:

  • If you don’t have a candy thermometer, the thread stage is reached when a drop of the syrup falls from a spoon in a long, unbroken thread.
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