Patissier extraordinaire Adriano Zumbo talks about his passion for sweets and the key to a really great pudding.
Adriano, why sweets and not savoury? What do you love about desserts?
As a child I was a very fussy eater, but I always loved lollies. I never really had an interest in savoury food, it didn't excite me and I fell in love with the creativity pastry offers. As I've grown older I do experiment with savoury products in my cooking at home and sometimes I bring savoury flavours across into my sweet creations.
What cookbook are you thumbing at the moment?
I'm reading Harold McGee On Food and Cooking.
Whose pastry do you really admire and why?
Pierre Herme and Phillipe Conticini. Both of these Patissiers make great use of flavours and textures. They amaze me with their simple use of ingredients and concepts. They both allow the quality of their ingredients to shine rather than being overpowered by numerous different flavours.
What is the best dessert you've eaten recently?
Desserts at Eleven Madison Park in New York.
What is the key to a really good pudding?
A great pudding should be moist and full of flavour. It's just the thing to end a meal on a cold wintery day.
How do you get that lovely soft-melting inside to a pudding?
The key is to not overcook it. Get to know your oven it's the key to great baking.
How can you tell when a pudding is done?
It really depends on the type of pudding. Cake style puddings are easily tested by either gently pressing the top of the pudding and when cooked it should spring back, alternatively you can use a skewer and it should come out clean when cooked.
View gallery: Decadent dessert recipes
How could you appropriate this recipe to use other flavours/ingredients?
The dates can be replaced with a variety of dried fruits such as figs, raisins, apricots, prunes or even chocolate chips
You can change the flavour of the caramel sauce some suggestions vanilla, cinnamon or fruit
You can change the types of spices
You can change the type of sugars
There are a variety of ingredients that can be changed in the recipe to create a different taste.
What mistakes do people often make when making puddings?
Some common mistakes are overcooking the pudding and over whipping the egg whites.
What are your three tips to improve people's dessert making at home?
Don't rush, take your time
Follow the recipe, read through the whole recipe before you start cooking
Weigh or measure your ingredients according to the recipe
What is your fall-back dessert when you don't have much time (can you be quite specific about how to prepare it)?
Quick Apple Pie made with common items from the pantry or the supermarket.
1. Chop and cook some apples
2. Crush up some shortbread biscuits
3. Make a quick dry caramel in a pan and deglaze with some cream
4. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream
5. Warm up some store bought custard
6. This can be either arranged in layers in a glass or assembled on a plate
Adriano Zumbo will be one of the celebrity chefs to feature in the Fisher & Paykel Celebrity Theatre at The Good Food & Wine Show 2012, set to be held in Sydney on 22-24 June.
For tickets and more information and the events nationally, visit www.goodfoodshow.com.au.