If necessity is the mother of invention, as Plato is claimed to have once said, I’m going to go ahead and say that failure must also be closely related to it. While coming up with new recipes is great fun to me, there are times when I’m met with epic failures. While I prefer not to talk about how I used to react to these failures when I was younger (I kindly request my family to not comment here if they are reading this!), I can safely say that I handle these situations a lot better now. A few weeks ago I turned a less than perfect Chocolate Babka into a Chocolate Raspberry Bread Pudding which I loved, and this time I turned these multicoloured fruit roll-up failures into fruit and chocolate bars. Not just any fruit and chocolate bar – but a Doctor Who scarf inspired, Chocolate Rainbow Fruit Bars!
I made these for my entry in the Time Lord Chefs “Old School” Doctor Who Food event hosted by Katie from Recipe for Perfection (formerly called “The Perfect Brownie” – be sure to check out her re-vamped blog!). To me the most iconic Doctor from the classic series is the fourth one played by Tom Baker. My mum (who wasn’t a DW fan until I made her watch the episode “Blink”) refers to him as the “the doctor with an Afro” (not quite, but you get the picture – see below). He even made a guest appearance in the 50th anniversary episode (The Day of the Doctor) which was pretty awesome! Plus did you know Tom Baker’s Birthday is on the 20th January? That’s tomorrow!
Every Doctor in the series so far has had something unique about him. From Jelly babies, Celery Stalks, Bananas, Fish Fingers and Custard (here’s my take on that), Converse shoes, Fezzes (Here are my edible fezzes) to Jammie Dodgers and so many other things! Tom Baker (the fourth doctor) had his scarf which was colourful and quirky in the way he wore it and I was inspired by it to make a fun dessert. I would LOVE to actually own a scarf like this. I currently own this “Doctor Hoo” t-shirt (among other Doctor Who things in my wardrobe and kitchen) but this scarf would certainly be a fantastic addition.
So back to the failed fruit roll-ups. To create the colours on the scarf I used blackberry (purple-ish), strawberry (red), pineapple and peach (yellow), pineapple, peach, banana and spinach (green). I took two good shots at it. The first time I left them in the oven for seemingly too long so they promptly became fruit crisps instead. I didn’t try to replicate all the colours in the original doctor’s scarf, only chose the more striking colours.
The second time around I laid out thicker fruit layers and spread them out a bit more along the long edge. It still got quite crispy although the blackberry layer came out perfectly.
So what was the problem? As I later realized (which I honestly should have expected) each fruit layer or fruit component dehydrates in the oven at different rates. So while the purple blackberry layer came out well at the temperature and time I selected, this was too much for the other layers which came out crispy (and that obviously doesn’t work for a fruit leather) even though I spread those layers a little thicker than the blackberry layer. I will still keep working on this to find out how I can get multiple fruit layers to dry up in the oven at the same rate. When I do, you guys will be the first to know!
So how did I salvage it? With chocolate of course. After all, chocolate fixes everything right? 🙂 I added a thin layer of chocolate to the sheet of dehydrated fruits. I made the chocolate layer thin enough so that the chocolate flavour wasn’t overwhelming and shield all the delicious fruity flavours.
By the way, did you know that chocolate saved the 6th doctor’s life when he was poisoned one time by an alien who added soluble aspirin (which is poisonous to the Time Lords) to his tea? The chocolate nullified the effects of aspirin and saved his life! So there you have it. There are so many questions in life for which the sole answer is chocolate!
You can make these with any of your favourite fruits or use store-bought fruit roll-ups to make it easier. Even if your fruit roll-ups dry up a bit too much like mine did, you need not worry because that works just as well for this recipe.
- ½ cup hulled, sliced strawberries (about 150g)
- ½ cup blackberries (about 150 g)
- 1 cup pineapples (about 250g)
- ½ cup peaches (about 150g)
- 1 small banana
- about 6-7 baby spinach leaves
- Sugar and lime juice to taste (optional - not really needed because you will be spreading chocolate as well)
- 1 lb/500g chocolate (dark, milk or white)
- 8 oz/250g cream
- 1 tsp Instant coffee granules (optional)
- Using a blender puree the blackberries and strawberries separately until you have a puree. Add sugar and lime juice if needed and process for a few minutes to mix the sugar in properly. Set this aside.
- Blend the pineapple, peaches and banana together. Add sugar if needed and process further.
- Separate ¾ of this mix and set aside. This will be the "yellow".
- To the remaining quarter, add the spinach leaves and blend it until well incorporated.
- Prepare a baking tray with a Silpat on top (you could use parchment paper - but personally I prefer Silpat) and pour layers of the fruit along the long edge. You can use any combination/pattern/sequence you like, but I preferred to keep the green to a minimum (just my personal preference)
- Spread each fruit layer (quite thick) on the silpat making sure the fruit layers overlap with each other a bit as these shrink a little as the dehydrate.
- With the oven at the lowest temperature setting (which is "warm" on my oven), place the baking tray in the middle of the oven and with the door ajar, leave it in there for a few hours (took about four hours in my oven, but this could vary) until the layers are no longer tacky (some layers might be a bit too dry- but that's okay)
- In the meantime, place the cream, chocolate and coffee (if using) in a heat proof bowl and melt it over a double boiler or in short bursts in the microwave until you get a smooth chocolate mix. Leave it to cool slightly.
- Spread the cooled chocolate layer on top of the fruit layer, covering the whole area. You may miss the edges, but you can trim these off.
- Place this in the refrigerator until the chocolate firms up and then peel off the entire chocolate and fruit layer from the Silpat and place it on a surface (coloured side up).
- With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut into strips (or any shape you prefer). Store in the refrigerator.
What was even better than the dainty look of these things was the taste. With every bite you get a hint of the fruit flavour which then gives way to the chocolate flavour. And as you move along the chocolate fruit bar you will taste the different fruity flavours. The blackberry flavour was the strongest with strawberry coming in second. The yellow and green flavours weren’t as strong although there is still a subtle hint of it.
The next best thing was the colours! I had some fun making different patterns with the colours while taking photographs as you can see below. I can only imagine how little ones will have heaps of fun with it too. And there’s so much room for you to play around with the colours and the amounts of it and the thickness of those bands, this is a truly fun dessert to make as well eat.
I think I’m going to go ahead and call these imperfectly perfect. They came to be because a recipe turned out to be less than perfect, but made their second coming as little treats that tasted perfect. And while they may not look like perfect artisan chocolates, they are perfectly fun to eat!
So do you see how I got my inspiration to make these from the fourth doctor’s scarf?
There will be more Doctor Who themed awesomeness to come and
I will post the link to Katie’s round up next week here are some of the other bloggers creations for this round of #TimeLordChefs. If you are a whovian like me, you can check out some of my previous Doctor Who themed deliciousness below too. And maybe you can have a “Jelly baby” while you are at it too! 🙂
Fish Fingers & Custard (Vanila Basil Cake Fingers with Lime and Graham Cracker Crust)
Mini Fezzes (Mini Raspberry covered Chocolate Swirl Cheesecakes)
3D Sculpted Cake of Half face man and Clockwork Droid
“Tangerine” Santa Claus Cupcakes and Evil Snowman Cupcakes
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