Friday, September 23, 2005


Deborah Biancotti, guest blogging

Jam Doughnuts: Jam Doughnuts get brownie points for reminding me of my childhood. Jam Doughnuts are never as good as you think they're gonna be.

Cream buns: Cream Buns are best when they are Butter Cream Buns from the Chinese bakery up the road. Mock cream on soft bread, covered with coconut. Cream buns should never be so old that there's any sensation as your teeth descend through the cream. Even mock cream is meant to be soft. If it wasn't, it would be called Mock Something Else. Mock Butter, maybe.

Profiteroles: Too much can go wrong with profiteroles. The cream can be too hard, the choux pastry can be too chewy, the chocolate can be too un-chocolatey. A high risk dessert.

Cheesecake: Can take it or leave it. Baked is better.

Trifle: OK, but better for breakfast than dessert.

Custard: Best homemade, with lots of milk whipped up to make the custard frothy. Pour into a cup & drink warm.

Mango pancakes: The Regal does excellent Mango Pancakes for Yum Cha. The tang of mango contrasts exquisitely with the softness of the pancake & cream. Tinned mangoes appear to give the best effect. The only time Mango Pancakes are ever less-than-excellent is when they're Banana Pancakes. Even Banana Pancakes are very good (though they lack the complexity of their Mango cousins), but are disappointing when you bite into them expecting them to be mango.

Berries Soaked in Liqueur: No.

European Sponge Cakes Soaked in Liqueur: What's with putting liqueur into desserts? Liqueur is best drunk, & dessert is best eaten.

Pavlova: Must've made myself sick on it as a child. Can't look at Pavlova now.

Lamingtons: Lamingtons are the only thing I miss when I'm overseas. Lamingtons are white sponge cake rolled in chocolate sauce & covered with coconut. They were originally an invention to make stale sponge cake taste better. Sometimes they have cream in the middle, but the cream does not make a worthwhile contribution to the overall Lamington experience, and is best avoided. Lamingtons also come in strawberry, but any other flavour would be wrong. Although mango lamingtons would probably be nice.

Gulab Juman: Excellent, sickly sweet dumplings floating in sugar syrup. Found in Indian sweets stores on Cleveland St. The best ones do not show splitting (the ones I make generally split, but still taste excellent). Brilliant with Ice Cream.

Ice Cream: Excellent in many of its guises, favourites include coconut & also caramel. Gelato is different to ice cream & generally better. All sorts of flavours make good gelato. Rockmelon, pistachio, white chocolate, honey vodka (not sure about honey vodka, actually, but it sounds like a damn good idea). Gelato exists all over Sydney, though exceptional examples may be found in Leichhardt & Newtown.

Wasabi Ice Cream: (Special case: Ice Cream.) Have not tried, but seeing as the Chilli Choc Tim Tams were pretty tasty, might give it a go. Wasabi Ice Cream may be obtained from the Japanese ice cream shop near the Capital Theatre.

Chilli Choc Tim Tams: Not bad. Original Tim Tams are still the best, especially when used as a straw to drink coffee (not to be done in polite company).

Black Forest Cake: Not a huge fan of chocolate cake, myself. Chocolate is best in coffee or in Cadbury blocks. Or Tim Tams.

Fruit Salad: I respect your right to choose Fruit Salad.

(Deborah Biancotti is a Sydney-based writer & amateur dessert hunter. She recommends that desserts are best when consumed in good company & with a smile on your face. Desserts should never be abused as an antidote to unhappiness. This only sours them. You can hunt out Deborah's online presence at &


At 1:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 1:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 1:43 AM, Anonymous Cat Sparks said...

Deb -- Jam donuts are *exactly* as good as I reckon they're gonna be. Every time. I love them!

and what the hell do you have against cheesecake???

At 1:47 AM, Anonymous deborahb said...

Cat: Nothing, I am indifferent to cheesecake. Tiramisu is way better. Damn! I forgot tiramisu!

Deleted comment person: What the?!

At 2:33 AM, Anonymous Gillian said...

I have a recipe for sixteenth century jam doughnuts which are *everything* a jam doughnut ought to be .. and kosher too.

(One thing, doughnuts and Krispy Kremes do not live in the same universe. Krispy Kremes belong in the spun sugar universe.)

At 2:48 AM, Blogger Tansy said...

Mango lamingtons? Deb, you're a genius! I've never made a lamington in my life, but I'm suddenly tempted.

PS: I had tiramisu tonight. :)

At 2:49 AM, Blogger Cheryl said...

Tim Tams, Tim Tams, Need Tim Tams...

At 4:31 AM, Blogger Shaun CG said...

I find jam doughnuts very pleasant. I never liked them as a child so I suppose that every time I eat one (rare, these days) I experience a little joy at discovering that they are very tasty indeed.

At 4:45 AM, Anonymous Anna said...

Yes, Tim Tams! But for me, it's mamoul, mammmoouuuul. A little mountain of semolina shortbread, all sandy, unsweet, butter-rich and rosewater scented; hidden inside, a paste of walnuts and cinnamon and a touch of sugar. Baked just till done, dredged with powdered sugar, and eaten warm.

At 4:50 AM, Anonymous deborahb said...

Gillian: YUM!! (And no, I don't mean Krispy Kreme jam doughnuts, *gross*!)

Tansy: Aw! Tiramisu!!! I want!! Post me some of those mango lamingtons, eh, go on! ;)

Cheryl: Mmmmm, Tim Tams .....

Shaun: Where do you get the good jam doughnuts? I think my local uses way too much jam.

You know what else is good? Cinnamon Scrolls...

At 4:51 AM, Anonymous deborahb said...

Anna: OMG, where do I get it?!

At 5:57 AM, Anonymous chrisbarnes said...

This all makes perfect sense to me. (Then again, I am Captain Pudding, so I would say that, wouldn't I.)

You make your own gulab jamuns? Wow... so do I get to try some? Please?

At 3:23 PM, Anonymous deborahb said...

Chris: Don't be too impressed -- they're not difficult, though they are time consuming. The dilemna is always that one feels a dinner of sorts should be prepared first, since just two of those sugary little gulabs are enough to send your blood pressure soaring to dangerous levels, & yet one needs more time (& more pots) if one is to supply it all.

But yes, of course! I will make you gulab juman. :)

At 4:42 PM, Anonymous Anna said...

Deborah, Every Lebanese bakery in Sydney makes mamoul, in the traditional two varieties: nut and date (decorative moulds differentiate). But the best I've ever bought was served at the old Lebanese House Restaurant in downtown Melbourne, 264 Russell Street (a couple of doors from the marvelous nut and everything shop--dried okra! jallab syrup! dates that leave chocolate for dead)The Lebanese House also does a perfect lemonade--the real stuff, tart and cloudy from real lemon, and spiked with rosewater, a pitcherful as a serving. And their coffee with cardamon! Better than in Jerusalem. But the mamoul--no fancy moulded job. Just pure made-in-the-hand delight. "I like things not too sweet, too," he said, and it was exactly that. The perfect mix of salt and sweet, and texturally, of sandy and meltingness. But make them yourself. They're easy to make. I'd give you a recipe, if you don't mind that I don't usually measure, so it ends up being 'to taste'.

At 3:44 PM, Anonymous Kate Eltham said...

So, okay, I have this whole big rant about how they've messed with the Tim Tam.

Chilli Tim Tams?? White Chocolate Truffle Tim Tams?? Chewy Caramel, I mean, COME ON!

Those guys (Arnotts) have, like, 60% market share on the chocolate biscuit market in Australia mostly because of the mighty Tim Tam.

They're diluting the brand, man. It's all down hill from here. What next? Profiterole Tim Tams with a custard centre?

They had Paradise, mate, perfection I tell you! And they listened to the damn snake...

At 8:50 PM, Blogger Julian Silvain said...

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At 4:18 PM, Anonymous Whitney said...

I've tried the chilli tim tams and they're weird. But not bad. But I must say the caramel are the best.


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