I enjoyed this year’s Mid-Autumn Festival with mooncakes handcrafted by Chocol8 head chocolatier and chef Tweet Obsequio.
The mooncakes are made from a blend of Swiss dark chocolate. Encased within a chocolate shell (shaped to resemble a traditional mooncake pastry) is silky-smooth ganache in different flavors. The centers are perfectly round and yellow-tinged to look like salted duck egg yolks—tucked within the traditional Mid-Autumn delicacy.
Chef Tweet’s creations are beautiful and shiny. I love them for the hard chocolate shell that snaps and oozes with smooth, creamy ganache centers.
My personal favorite is the Mango-Pistachio—caramelized pistachios and pistachio ganache with mango ganache center. What a harmonious combination.
They also come in Orange-Almond and Lemon-Caramel.
The mooncakes are available until the end of September; tel. 8008080; visit Chocol8 at The Garage, UG/F, City of Dreams Manila
Pastry Alliance of the Philippines vice president and chef James Antolin makes life sweet. Interesting to know that he started working in the hot kitchen, but later found the precision of pastry making more to his liking.
He showcases his talent at his restaurant, Ikomai, with Nagoya chef Hide. James calls his creations progressive —ever-changing, ever-new.
On my visit, I was amused by two of his playful dishes —particularly the Okoge, which I surmise is his take on the classic Baked Alaska.
Putting the Okoge together is complicated—molds are filled to the brim with burnt rice ice cream. A space is hollowed out in the center for the moist sponge and chocolate sauce. The opening is sealed with a graham Breton and left in the freezer to set.
Before serving, the Okoge is dipped in chocolate and finished with meringue that’s torched. Its final touches include a latik tuile and a side of warm vanilla sake.
The other dish, the Dulce Popsicle, or dulce panna cotta and milk chocolate mousse, is shaped in a popsicle mold and dipped in either matcha, white or dark chocolate. It is drizzled with fancy gold gel, cheese and raspberry sauces, and sprinkled with latik and peanut shards before serving.
For James, the joy is in seeing his ideas come together in a plate. He shares one of his easy recipes, his take on lava cake.
Chocolate Fondue Cake
10 egg yolk
10 whole eggs
11 oz sugar
5 oz all-purpose flour
17.5 oz dark chocolate bittersweet 66-percent cocoa butter
17.5 oz butter
Melt butter with chocolate in a double boiler. Lightly mix eggs, egg yolks and sugar. Add chocolate mixture to the egg mixture. Add all-purpose flour.
Brush small (4 oz) ramekins with butter and dust lightly with flour. Pour the mixture into ramekins. Freeze the cakes.
Bake the frozen cakes for 12-13 minutes at 375°F.
Good for 15-18 cakes.
Ikomai, ACI Group Building, 147 H.V. dela Costa, Salcedo Village, Makati; tel. 0917-7094809
Carabao’s milk ice cream
Magnolia has launched its premium ice cream line made from carabao’s milk, now in supermarkets.
I was pleasantly surprised by its homemade, old-style quality. My personal favorites are avocado and the kesong puti. The avocado tastes much like the fruit. It’s light to the palate, with a clean finish.
Glad to know that Magnolia has partnered with Nueva Ecija farmers and has pledged to purchase a fixed quantity of carabao’s milk from the farmers every year.
For a steady supply of milk and constant production of the premium line, Magnolia works closely with the Philippine Carabao Center, the Nueva Ecija Federation of Dairy Carabao Coop and Stephenhan Farms.
We are cooking the best steaks in town, Black Onyx, tomorrow, Sept. 27. Text 0920-9744443, 0917-5543700; follow @iamreggieaspiras on Instagram Facebook and YouTube; www.reggieaspiras.com