The days are longer and the nights colder but the need for food remains the same. The term comfort food is thrown around so often like the L word in relationships, we have almost lost all meaning in the mac and cheese, fried chicken and gravy.
Yes these foods are comforting. Who can forget the stereotypes of chocolate boxes at the end of a break up? However at the end of the day most of us say these food are our go to comfort food but what we really want is something more close to home. Your mothers stew, dad’s chilli or grandma’s sweet delights are what most of us really want. For some of us these are cravings never to be fulfilled. However I think my ultimate comfort food a little embarrassing.
I read a lot of what is good , what is bad and what is down right nasty. I know bakery bread is better than super market bread all the time. I know that industry tub canola spread is filled with chemicals and that butter will always taste better. Ice cream from a gelato bar is 1000x time better than home brand ice cream.
I get it! However I am about to share a the food I find most comforting. As juvenile as it sounds I am really into sandwiches. Not just any sandwiches, butter and vegemite sandwiches. If you have no idea what vegemite is it is the left over brewers yeast that get some spice and flavours added to it. If I was to put it a nicer way it is like a beef concentrate stock paste but darker, malty and salt as hell. This savoury paste may turn off some but I love it. Maybe I am asian who loves soy sauce, which is fermented soy beans. If I put it that way it is natural.
More so when spread on buttered white supermarket bread then squashed and cut into triangles. Yes Try to squash your sandwich, it make it better. If I really daring I would go for canola spread over butter but this something no one else in my family likes. Very buttery, savoury and slightly sweet form white supermarket bread.
It may go against everything I read about what is good food but why would I listen to writer to tell me what tastes good? Another thing it is easier to make than frying donuts. Just saying… I need it to be quick.
But enough with my sandwich obsession On the other side of the world I hear that peanut butter and jello is a nice sandwich combo too. Until I try real American made PB and J, I can only dream of what it is.
SO what is better than birthday cake?
PRE BIRTHDAY CAKE! Yes my birthday is soon, SO I can have two cakes right?
This cake is inspired by the America fixation with Peanut butter and jelly in sandwiches. The savoury, creamy hit of peanut butter against fruit tangy jelly.; I am seeing what make this the king of kid sandwiches. PB&J Dacquoise is the adult adaptation of the kid fave. It is classy enough to serve at a adult party but it will allow everyone to get into the kiddy mood and actually have fun with food. Forget manners, it is time to face palm this cake!
Layers of crispy, nutty meringue filled with a combination of sweet smooth cinnamon spiced grape and apple conserve and creamy cream cheese mousse. Cream cheese has a slightly savoury note to it which is wonderful when paired with very sweet flavours like grapes. Diacquiose is a meringue that is combined fine nut meal to create sponge like texture without flour. So if your friends are on the gluten free train; they can eat this! Nothing better than creating a cake every one can eat 🙂
A few notes on making the meringue try to fold it as lightly as possible and not work it too much when making the circles. If you work it too much it will be flat and hard.You can go down the pipping route but it is just as easy to spread on the baking paper.
The grape conserve has apple in it but you can not really taste it. It is more the texture and tartness of apples because grapes can be bland and sweet, not that great in cake. Also the cinnamon is an added bonus to the complement the peanut flavours.
The topping is more for fun than anything. Potato chips are the key element to any lunchbox, They provide the sinful crunch that can not be copied by apple slices. Here they work with the salted peanuts to add texture to cake as the layers become soft and soak up the jelly and cream cheese mousse.
Give in to the layers of PB&J Lunch box dacquoise. Your childhood has never looked so classy.
PB&J Lunch box dacquoise
Make a 20cm four layer cake.
Adapted from this Recipe on Bon appetit
Peanut dacquoise layers
90g Salted Skinless Peanuts
90g Toasted Walnuts
175g caster sugar
6 egg whites
2g cream of tartar
pinch of sea salt
Cream cheese mousse
250g block of cream cheese, soften to room temperature
50g icing Sugar, sieved
pinch of sea salt
240ml whipping cream, divided
5g extra icing sugar
5ml vanilla extract
Grape and apple conserve ( this makes a lot but save it for pancakes later!)
1kg of red or green grapes, washed and picked over
500 apples, peeled, chopped
60ml lemon juice
2 tsp lemon zest
1 stick of cinnamon
700g white sugar
salted peanuts , chopped
potato chips, crushed
In a large pot place all ingredients for the conserve. Using a wooden spoon mix it all together slightly ( do not worry you can stir it more when it cooks down). Set over medium low heat and simmer until the fruit leaks its juice. You can help the process by crushing the grapes when it is a bit softer. Once it very liquid, set it on a constant strong simmer, stir occasion to prevent burning for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes remove from heat and strain. Pour the mixture back into the pot and continue to simmer until it is thick. It will thicken more as it cools. Once down set aside to room temp before transferring to fridge.
Pre heat oven to 160 C. Line two baking trays with baking paper. Using a 20 cm spring form cake on base draw two circles on the baking paper. Turn the baking paper over so you do not get marks on the dacquoise. In bowl mix the peanut and walnuts together. Place 1 cup of the nuts and 60 g sugar in a food processor and crush until it is a fine dust. Set aside. Crush remaining nuts roughly and set aside in the same bowl.
Using an stand mixer, place the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar in the use the mixer with the whisk. The beat the egg whites to soft peak on high medium before raining in the remaining sugar slowly. Beat to stiff peaks.
Fold in the ground nuts slowly until combined.
Using a cookie scoop divide equal amounts of the mixture in the middle of the circles on the baking paper. Smooth out the mixture using an angled spatula form the middle to the edges. Makes as many layers as you can before using the rest a cookies.
Bake for 45 mintues but test at 30 mintues. If they are dry all over, golden brown but still soft; it is ready. Remover form oven and leave to cool on tray.
In a stand mixture with the beater attachment, beat cream cheese to soft. Scrape down the bowl. Add slowly icing sugar until combined. Scrape the bowl again. Add vanilla and beat again to combined.
In another bowl beat the cream to firm peaks with extra icing sugar and salt. Add a 1/4cup of cream to the cream cheese mix. Rough fold it in the lighten the mix. Fold the remaining cream in slowly in three addition. Set aside in fridge for later.
Place a tiny amount of cream cheese mousse on the cake plate. Place a layer of the dacquoise on the cake plate, fixing it to the mousse to prevent it moving. Using a piping bag fitted with a large round nossle. Pipe a ring round the layer, avoiding the edge by 1cm. Pipe remaining cream in the middle of the ring. Smooth out the middle with a spatula. Create a shallow well in the middle. Place a small amount of the conserve in the middle, smooth out. Continue to do this for for 3 layers. The final top layer: Cover it in the mousse then sprinkle on the salted peanuts and chips. Chill for 1 hour before serving.