Tag Archives: Dessert

Salted Caramel

Salted Caramel’s been in the ice cream scene for a few years now. Raved about for their crisp waffles and consistently good ice cream, it sees its fair share of crowd despite having Udders being their direct neighbour. It was in fact bursting with people when we arrived close to midnight on Saturday.

Trust me however when I say seating is the secondary problem. The first is actually selecting a flavour or two from their huge offering of ice creams.

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Our orders for the night

Of course if we could stomach it all we probably would; but we can’t. I did my very best by being the typical Singaporean and asking for as many samples as I dared.

The Peanut Butter was fully of creamy goodness, one of my favourites in fact.While the Salted Caramel was indeed salty, the salt and caramel lacked depth and fell flat. The Matcha is one of the better ones I’ve tasted, lightly sweetened with a slightly powdery texture reminiscent of matcha powder.

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Espresso with caramel biscuits and Earl Grey (S$5), with a waffle (S$3.50)

The Espresso tasted wonderfully strongly of coffee. The biscuits though were pretty undetectable, soggy and without a hint of caramel at all. If executed well it would have kicked the flavour up a notch. The Earl Grey was perfectly executed, with the distinctly floral overtones rounded off gently by its creamy texture. An absolute delight.

While their waffles have been touted for being crispy and fluffy, it was anything but that that night. Slightly moist exterior, dense and chewy, it made the dessert very heavy and unpleasant. Perhaps it was the insane crowd that came in the way of quality control, but it doesn’t speak well of them in any case.

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Roasted Pistachio and Chocolate Sorbet (S$5), with a waffle (S$3.50)

The pistachio is pretty good on the first few bites, with a strong pistachio flavour and chewy pistachio bits. However it was a tad too sweet, and overwhelmed the nutty fragrance towards the end. The Chocolate Sorbet was my favourite. Dark, intense and creamy, it was absolute decadence. I can’t figure out how it is a sorbet though.

Smack right in the heart of Upper Thomson, it is not the most convenient place to pop by for ice cream. It’s definitely easier to get there by car. Though the waffles left much to be desired, Salted Caramel does have an amazing range of ice cream flavours. If you do manage to hitch a ride for the day, be sure to drop by and have a scoop or two.

Salted Caramel
246F Upper Thomson Road
Thomson Garden Estate
Singapore
S(574370)

Sun-Thurs: 1200-2300
Eve of PH, Fri & Sat: 1200-0200

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The Fabulous Baker Boy

The Fabulous Baker Boy is not news to brunch junkies. Most famous for it’s cakes, this quaint little bakery cafe has been garnering a steady crowd and following in its 2 years of operation. It recently went through a renovation, refitting the cafe with air conditioners. In the sweltering hot Singapore, who can say no to a good brunch and yummy cakes in an air conditioned area?

The usual problem with popular brunch venues though is, well, its popularity. There are so many people it takes ages for the food to arrive. That’s where desserts come in.

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Valrhona Chocolate (S$8++/slice)

Using chocolate of 70% cocoa, the Valrhona Chocolate cake was fudgy, chewy, yet moist and light at the same time. We loved this an polished it off in less than a minute.

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Carrot Cake (S$8.50++/slice)

Touted to be one of the best carrot cakes in Singapore, it certainly tasted so on the first bite. It was fluffy and lightly sweetened, and the shredded coconut was a wonderful addition. However it fell flat after a few mouthfuls. The cream cheese frosting lacked the tang, the walnuts and raisins weren’t significant enough, and the carrot laden sponge tasted like any normal vanilla sponge. It was quite the disappointment.

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Salted Caramel (S$8++/slice)

I loved how luscious salted caramel is generously slathered between the layers of valrhona chocolate torte. It gave the otherwise dense chocolate cake a welcomed salty balance. It’s my favourite out of the 3 we tried. It is quite a big slice though so it might be good to share it with a friend, to prevent it from getting too jelak.

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Corned Beef Hash (S$17++)

Chunks of corned beef, with onions, potatoes, and a little bacon, this is an absolutely hearty dish. I’m far from being English, but a spoonful of this sent me straight home. Simple fare, cooked with passion and love. This unconventional brunch dish is a definite must-try when visiting TFBB.

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Wild Mushroom Salad (S$14++)

Anything with an egg looks awfully awesome. Sadly the only other commendable part of the dish is the reduced balsamic dressing. Not many F&B establishments use reduced balsamic, which definitely kicks any salad up a notch. The mushrooms though are mediocre, simply sautéed with garlic. The salad didn’t taste like a properly composed dish, but more like a handful of veggies with a side of mushrooms.

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Towkay Ng’s Eggs Ben(S$12.50++)

TFBB’s eggs ben stand out from the others because of the way their eggs are made. Most eggs ben come with the average poached egg – a harder exterior of egg white encasing liquid yolk. TFBB’s eggs are similar to that of Symmetry’s, like a soft-boiled egg, with a softer egg white exterior encasing the yolk and semi-cooked whites. The hollandaise sauce was very well executed. It is a pity the brioche slices used were not distinct, so much that swapping it with the normal muffins would be preferable.

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Guinness Beef Pot Pie (S$18++)

A perfect pot pie, if not a tad too salty. It takes 15 minutes to make a pot pie, so you are assured it’ll come fresh out of the oven, steaming hot to your table. Crisp buttery pastry and delicious tender stewed beef, it’s absolutely worth the wait.

Several hits and misses, but the hits do explain why TFBB is such a popular spot. They don’t merely sell your usual brunch fare, including their interpretation of many local dishes. While their cakes have been slightly disappointing, the savoury dishes were executed pretty well. In the highly saturated ‘hippy’ cafe scene, TFBB is definitely one to look out for.

The Fabulous Baker Boy
The Foothills
70 River Valley Road
#01-15
Singapore
S(179037)

Closed on Mondays
Closed from 4:30pm-6pm daily

Tue-Thurs: 11am-10pm
Fri: 11am-11pm
Sat: 11am-11pm
Sun: 10am-5pm

Brunch/Lunch till 2:30pm
Tea till 4:30pm
Dinner till 9pm

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&Sons bacaro

Bacaro = A traditional Venetian gastrobar, where people stop to enjoy a drink together with little plates of food (cicchetti is similar to the Spanish tapas, but think of it as a regional variation).

This idea of casual dining seems to be increasingly popular, with Morsi and Sorsi launched by Lino Sauro of Gattopardo not too long ago; and now &Sons by Beppe de Vito of il Lido. Opened last December in China Square Central, &Sons seems to already have a pretty strong following. I’ve been there quite a few times, and they are always packed to the brim. Then again, with a wonderful ambience, affordable delish cocktails, and absolutely stunning cicchetis, why wouldn’t they be?

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Proscuitto di Parma & Melon (S$12++)

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Proscuitto San Daniele, Pickled Pears (S$12++)

There are features that distinguish both kinds of cured meats. However my unrefined taste buds aren’t accurately able to decipher anything. That aside &Sons cures their own meat, and judging by their proscuitto they are really good at it. The pickled pears are an absolutely ingenious pairing, adding a tinge of sour to the commonly sweet and salty combination.

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Burrata, Asparagus Cream, Hazelnuts (S$15++)

Lightly dressed greens, a generous portion of fresh and creamy burrata cheese, rounded of with grounded hazelnuts and a drizzle of olive oil – perfection in a plate. The quality of the ingredients lends to a fresh and appetizing dish.

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Grilled Smoked Caciocavallo, Avocado (S$15++)

I was really surprised when I found out that what I ordered was simply cheese! Meaty and chewy, the caciocavallo was deceivingly similar to perfectly grilled calamari. The charred exterior gave the smoked cheese an interesting contrastive texture, hitting the simple ingredient up many notches.

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Tagliolini, Crab & Nduja (S$9++)

For those who don’t know, I first fell in love with contemporary European cuisine after an amazing dinner at il Lido. I was most impressed with the pasta I had, which so happened to be their then Lobster Tangliolini. So this dish was an absolute throw back in time. Al dente noodles, perfectly executed sauce, balanced by slightly tangy crumbles of cheese. Wonderfully executed.

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Spaghetti, Sea Urchin Carbonara (S$16++)

This carbonara perfected the fine line between decadent and overly creamy. All mixed up, the sea urchin cream just barely coats the al dente noodles. It’s like a good aglio olio, where the olive oil is just enough to make it really savoury and falling short of oily. With sea urchin being naturally creamy, &Sons achieved the perfect balance. Of course it also helps that there was a copious amount of crispy bacon bits.

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Tagliatelle, Truffle Pesto (S$12++)

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Wagyu Beef Tagliata, Salsa Verde (S$26++)

The wagyu was nicely seared and tender; a decent dish. Compared to the other dishes it was not much to scream about.

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Baccala Cakes, Sea Urchin Sabayon (S$13++)

These entirely charred balls are actually cod cakes. Break into it, the fresh, sweet cod pairs wonderfully with the creamy sea urchin sabayon. It is odd though that it’s so burnt on the exterior; wonder if that’s intentional?

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Foie Gras, Pumpkin Cream & Roasted Onions (S$18++)

An unexpected combination, this dish is yet another culinary surprise. The usual apples or citrus pairings are absent here; instead &Sons uses another textually similar complement. Yet it works. The sweet pumpkin cream and the roasted onions paired really well with the buttery foie gras.

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Gelato – Pistachio (S$5++)

Creamy, fragrant and bold, this is the real thing. &Sons’ amazing Italian gelato is a must-have.

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Salted Caramel Strawberry Jubilee (S$12++)

A rather ambiguous name, this is rather like an Italian’s eton mess: meringue, ice cream and strawberries all jumbled up into a sinfully delish dessert. The plump and fresh strawberries were the highlight. Not exactly salty nor adding a slightly burnt and smoky dimension, the salted caramel however fell flat. It would have been perfect if the salted caramel was more pronounced.

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Raspberry Zabaione (S$12++)

A light custard, this classic Italian dessert is presented similar to a creme brulee. Flame-torched with handful plump tart raspberries, it is a wonderful way to end the dinner.

&Sons may be new, but being set up by people well established in the F&B industry it is definitely the new kid to look out for. They have recently launched their lunch promotion, offering wonderful pastas (a much bigger portion) at S$8. With the nice ambience, wonderful service and great food, it’s definitely a must to dine at if you’re around the CBD.

&Sons bacaro
China Square Central
20 Cross Street
#01-09
Singapore
S(048422)
6221 3937

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Laurent Duchêne

Croissants = French. French = Croissants.

They seem synonymous, no?

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If not for their various desserts and breads, Laurent Duchêne demands a visit by virtue of winning the title of the best croissant in Paris in 2011 and 2012.

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I visited the outlet at Rue Wurtz, and my single and largest complaint is that they do not have a sit-in option. So friends and I had to look for nearby cafes, and grab a cuppa there in order to use their tables.

My sole purpose of visiting them was to try these famed croissants of theirs; but of course when ever do I stop at one? With the array of sweets and vennoisseries on display resistence is futile.

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10 minutes of hopping about on each foot and nail-biting, we decided on a few vennoisseries and pastries to share amongst the 3 of us.

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Croissant (€1.05)

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Lightly browned, the beautifully caramelized glaze was such a teaser. It tore easily with a slightly audible crackle, revealing a pale yellow, airy and absolutely fluffy interior. Buttery yet not greasy; soft yet crisp; fluffy yet substantial; I understand why this was voted best twice. Can’t say I’m the expert but LD’s croissant is really the best I’ve ever tasted.

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Kouign Amann (€2.20)

Think of it as a cross between a croissant and a butter cake. Essentially bread dough and puff pastry rolled with butter and sugar, Kouign Amann is a unique gâteau that promises perfectly caramelised exteriors for a maximum dose of caramel. With Tiong Bahru Bakery’s as my only other basis of comparison, I’m definitely not one to judge this pastry. I can say though that it is without doubt addictive and packed full with yumminess. One thing: the pastry dough was a little soggy and hard to bite through.

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Paris-Brest (€4.00)

Good choux pastry, decadent praline creme patisserie and a generous sprinkle of crushed almonds make this a very pleasing pastry. The very first Paris-Brest I had in France and I must say it lived up to expectations.

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Millefeuille (€3.20)

Perhaps our visit to Jacques Genin was too early, cause every millefeuille we had after paled in comparison. LD’s wasn’t too bad. The puff pastry was decent, crisp enough. The creme patisserie however was a let down. I would call it whipped cream instead. It didn’t help that it had alcohol in it, which was not stated previously.

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Financier (€2.80)

This was surprisingly good. It was moist and had a nutty fragrance from the browned butter, without being overly sweet.

It’s hard to judge with the limited items we’ve tried. One thing for certain, is that LD makes hands down wonderfully delicious croissants. And for that, just for that, I’ll definitely return.

2 Rue Wurtz
75013 Paris
Tél/Fax : 33 (0) 1 45 65 00 77
Hours: Monday-Saturday, 0700-2000

238 Rue de la Convention
75015 Paris
Tél: 33 (0) 1 45 33 85 09
Hours: Wednesday-Sunday mornings, 0700-2000

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Gerard Mulot

I’ve read a lot about Gerard Mulot since my first visit to Paris 4 years back, and was really disappointed when I missed it then. Famous for their chocolates and patisseries, I first learnt of GM when reading a book on Paris patissieres (that I have 5 of those huge-ass books says much about my obsession with Paris). I swear those pages of their wonderful entremets and chocolates were screaming “EAT ME”. So while revising my itinerary for France 2013, I was determined to pop by at least once. Or twice. Thrice maybe?

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I visited the outlet situated along the quiet borders of the 13th and the 14th – a very strategic location imho. mere 10 minutes walk away from the exit of Les Catacombes de Paris, it’s the perfect place for a sweet bite after the solemn morbidity of the tourist site.

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What about these patisseries that really gets me off, is the huge variety of saliva-inducing sweets they boast and the utter impossibility of tasting every single one of them. The damn dichotomy! Yes I am fat but I’m not that fat. With our limited tummy space we settled on having what we thought would be the least filling of the lot – the macarons.

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Box of 9 macarons (€16). Flavours from top to bottom: Nougat, Passion/basilic, Feuille de menthe, Caramel au beurre salé, Pistache, Vanille, Noix de coco, Chocolat, Mangue Yuzu

With the nicely formed feet and a smooth waxy exterior, GM’s macarons passed the look-test. Does it taste as good was the nagging question. Biting into it, the crispy exterior gave way to a chewy almond shell and a smooth, creamy ganache/buttercream. Absolutely wonderful. Technical skills aside, GM nailed the flavours. My favourites were Passion/basilic, Caramel au beurre salé, Noix de coco, Mangue Yuzu. Classical flavours they perfected; but by nailing these new inventive flavours GM has definitely brought the bar up for macarons.

Yes I’m still bitter that I didn’t get to try GM’s other famous sweets, but I guess their unexpectedly delish macarons were worth it. Forget Pierre Hermé and Ladurée. GM’s not one you’d want to miss out on.

93, rue de la Glacière
75013 Paris
Tél : 01 45 81 39 09
Fax : 01 53 80 40 07
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 1000-1930

76, rue de Seine
75006 Paris
Tél : 01 43 26 85 77
Fax : 01 40 46 99 34
Hours: Monday-Sunday, 0645-2000
Closed on Wednesdays

6, rue du Pas de la Mule
75003 Paris
Tél : 01 42 78 52 17
Fax : 01 42 72 60 34
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 0800-2000

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Amorino: one of the best gelatarias in France?

It’s surprising that gelato chain-shops like Amorino is considered by some of the locals to be probably the best gelataria in France. I’ve had my first taste of Amorino in Spain last year, and the experience was pretty good. Wanting to test the Frenchs’ judgement, I decided to give it my second go in Paris.

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Wooden furniture illuminated by the orange lights, Amorino exuded a homely vibe that made us feel welcomed at once. Walking towards the gelato counter, one will be amazed at the flavours offered. From your typical Chocolate and Vanilla, to exotic Pineapple and Coconut sorbets, and finally to never-heard-before ones like Speculoos; the sight of this astounding range was pretty damn exciting!

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I like Amorino’s concept of sales, charging customers for the size of cups/cones bought without restricting the number of flavours they can try. In other words, we could try all the flavours if we wanted to! The staff would then scoop an equal amount of each flavour into the cup/cone, and the amounts differ depending on the number of gelato flavours chosen.

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Clockwise from bottom to top: Cioccolato Ecuador Pure Origine, Speculoos, Caramello al Burro Salato, Pistacchio del Bosforo.

We got 2 grande cups for the 7 of us, with 4 flavours each. The pistachio was simply heavenly. Nutty and fragrant, it is probably one of the best pistachios I’ve ever had. Amorino offers 2 kinds of pistachio-flavoured gelatos, with one being sweeter and less nuttier. If I’m not mistaken, this is the Pistacchio del Bosforo. It has a deeper nutty fragrance and aftertaste, without being overly sweet. An absolute delight. The Cioccolato Ecuador Pure Origine was spot on. Apparently Speculoos is a brand of biscuits! I never knew so I can’t really comment on the authenticity of the flavour. It just tasted sweet and wasn’t that memorable. Finally: having tried several delicious salted caramel desserts, this gelato was disappointing to say the least. I think it would suffice to say I couldn’t tell the Caramello al Burro Salato from the Speculoos.

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Clockwise from bottom to top: Cocco puro Sri Lanka, Yogurt con Yogurt 0%, Tiramisu, Nougat.

This turned out to be the better of the 2 cups. First off the Yogurt con Yogurt 0% was absolutely delish. With little bits of coconut in the gelato, it was creamy, fragrant, and unique. Probably one of the best coconut-flavoured gelatos I’ve had too. Cocco puro Sri Lanka was another favourite of mine. I guess the best way to describe it is “slightly soured milk”. It has all the decadence and creaminess of milk gelatos, with a dash of sour that gives it a refreshing spin. The Nougat I didn’t like that much. Unlike the Australian nougat tidbits we love, this tastes much more like those almond essences. Tiramisu wasn’t that bad, except it would make a better Coffee than Tiramisu.

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With the hits and misses measuring at a 50/50, I guess I wouldn’t call it one of the best gelatarias in France. That’s not to say they don’t serve good gelatos. If you’re ever anywhere near Amorino, I’d still say it deserves a visit. Who knows, you might find some of the flavours actually worthy of those empty calories!

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The day my DSLR failed me

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A product of editing with the PicsArt application.

I used to be an Instagram hater (that I use it now doesn’t mean ANYTHING). Pfft what filters? Lo-fi? Hudson? X-Pro? Good photographers need #nofilters. No way is my good ol’ DSLR ever losing to some no-name-filtered-mobile-camera-picture. And I never thought there’d be a day I was grateful for mobile cameras and their numerous editing applications.

Today proved me wrong. Somehow my many DSLR shots just didn’t seem to work. The lighting was too harsh, even after manual adjustments. As with everything food-related, I have to take a picture with my phone and – yes – Instagram it. So imagine my surprise when I realise that the pictures I took with my phone turned out better than those in my camera! With a little editing those pictures turned out to be pretty decent. I guess mobile pictures and apps can possibly be passable with good lighting and a lil editing.

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French toast breakfast I made for my Aunt for her birthday this morning!

Today’s my Aunty’s birthday, so I decided to give her the whole B-in-B shebang. Pancakes I’ve made way too often; so French toast it shall be. Another one of your sweet breakfasts, French toasts are usually accompanied by honey or maple syrup, and some caramelised fruits. I was afraid that would be a tad too sweet, so I decided to try my hand at making some salted caramel and creme patisserie. I had no worries about the latter cause I’ve made it before, but the salted caramel was a different story altogether. I never liked anything salty+sweet in my desserts; I don’t understand how that works. I’m only recently beginning to like it thanks to Milk and Honey’s Salty Malty gelato. That means I’ve never tried salted caramel anything, except for maybe that 1 or 2 “ok imma give it a shot” bites of sea salt caramel macarons. Which also means I wouldn’t know if I’ve nailed the flavour.

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Being the daredevil that I am I gave it a shot anyway, and I’m pleased that my Aunty, and my family, seemed to really like it! So I guess I did get it right after all (: my only qualm was the crème pâtissière. Aunty ate hers the moment I served it up so the consistency was just perfect. The rest of my family decided to have theirs as tea, so they refrigerated it, and toasted it before eating. Totally unwise because overheating the creme patisserie caused it to curdle a wee bit. That aside everything else was wonderful, and this is definitely going into my list of BinB recipes!

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French Toast with Caramelized Bananas, Crème Pâtissière and Salted Caramel (serves 3)

Salted Caramel (will make more than required)
1 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
1/2 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
1/2 tablespoon fleur de sel

Vanilla Crème Pâtissière
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons caster sugar
2 tablespoons plain flour

Caramelized Bananas
3 bananas, separated
4 teaspoons of honey

French Toast
6 slices of bread
4 eggs
half cup of milk

The crème pâtissière and salted caramel should be prepared ahead.

To make the Crème Pâtissière:
1. Add the vanilla extract to the milk and bring the mixture to simmer, then remove from heat.

2. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale. Whisk in the flour until combined. While continuously whisking, add a bit of the hot milk to the eggs then pour the egg mix back into the pot.

3. Place the pot over low heat and stir constantly until custard is slightly thick, rich and creamy. Be careful not to overcook the custard and curdle it. To avoid lumps, strain it while pouring into a bowl. Cover the surface directly with cling film to stop a skin from forming. Cool to room temperature then refrigerate until needed.

To make the Salted Caramel:
1. First, make sure you have all of the ingredients ready. Once you start the caramel sauce you have to pay close attention so you don’t burn it. To begin, heat the sugar over medium high-heat. When the sugar starts to melt, start whisking the sugar. The sugar will clump up, but keep whisking. It will continue to melt. When the sugar is melted, stop whisking.

2. Continue cooking the sugar until it reaches a deep amber colour, watching it carefully to avoid burning the caramel.

3. As soon as the sugar reaches the dark amber colour, carefully add the butter. Whisk until all the butter is melted.

4. Remove the pan from the heat and slowly pour in the heavy cream. Whisk until cream is incorporated and caramel is smooth. Whisk in the fleur de sel

5. Let the caramel sauce cool for about 10 minutes in the pan. Pour the caramel into a large jar and cool to room temperature, before storing it in the refrigerator up till a month.

To make the Caramelized Bananas:
1. Heat a non-stick pan over medium high-heat.

2. Working in batches of 3, heat drizzles of honey over the pan for about a minute. Add in the slices of bananas, leaving enough space between each slice to flip them. Leave the banana slices to cook and form a brown caramelized crust on one side before flipping it over. If the honey starts to bubble, reduce the heat and continue cooking.

3. Wash the pan after each batch. Place the caramelized bananas aside while you prepare the French Toasts.

To make the French Toast:
1. Whisk the eggs and milk together in a flatter, wider bowl/dish. Dip each slice of bread, both sides, into the egg batter until soaked through.

2. Heat up the pan over medium heat, then fry each side of the eggy bread slices until golden then set aside.

To assemble:
1. Spread the crème pâtissière thickly on one side of the french toast, then layer the bananas on top. Spoon a little caramel over the top and sandwich the lot with another slice of toast.

2. Serve with extra salted caramel sauce and scoops of ice cream if you have em!

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