Picture by: Patricia Niven

Recipe: Darren Purchese’s Dark Chocolate & Orange Set Creams

Three days until Mother’s Day and seriously, Jarryd, that’s not a lot. Get onto that present for mum/mother of child and really put yourself in bold font, italics AND underlined by whipping up this little dessert by Melbourne pastry god, Darren Purchese, using Callebaut Chocolate.
We reckon you’ll need at least a day ahead to smash it out, but the results will be worth it when you watch mum’s eyes close as she delicately takes her first bite and you know she’s thinking, “my child is The Chosen One. I always knew. This is why I was created. For them. My gift to the humanity.” Or something like that. Anyway, the recipe:

Dark Chocolate & Orange Set Creams – Serves 4 – 6


Callebaut Dark chocolate & orange set cream

Muscovado sticks

Candied orange zest (see below for how. We’ve got you.)

Orange segments

Pouring cream

Dark Chocolate & Orange Set Creams

180ml Cream

180ml Milk

50ml Cointreau (optional) or warm water

1 Orange, fine zest *

1 Egg

4 Egg yolks

80g Callebaut Milk chocolate, chopped small

160g Callebaut Dark chocolate, chopped small


  • Bring the cream, milk and freshly grated orange zests to the boil in a saucepan
  • Remove from the heat and leave to sit for 10 minutes to infuse
  • Bring back to the boil and again remove from the heat and put aside.
  • In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and egg yolks together
  • Pour one third of the hot milk/cream onto the eggs and mix well with a whisk
  • Pour this mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining milk/cream and mix well with a spatula or wooden spoon
  • Place the pan back onto a low heat and stir constantly. Cook the cream to 80C using a digital thermometer to accurately check the temperature**
  • Place both milk and dark chocolate measures into a mixing bowl
  • Strain the hot custard through a sieve onto the chocolate. Mix well with a spatula or whisk until you have a smooth and shiny chocolate cream.
  • Add the Cointreu or water at this point, and mix well
  • Pour the cream evenly into six dishes (Darren uses a wide shallow glass bowl, but anything will do really)
  • Place the dishes into a fridge for a minimum of two hours to set

* A microplane is the best tool to use for grating citrus zests. Darren prefers zest straight into the bowl or pan to capture all of the essential oils.

**  If you don’t have a digital thermometer available then cook the custard until it lightly coats the back of the spatula.

Muscovado Sticks  

50g Muscovado sugar

50g Caster sugar

1 tblspn Dark treacle

100g Unsalted butter, room temperature

200g Plain flour

Pinch Salt

Pinch Bicarbonate of soda

Pinch Cinnamon, ground (optional)

Pinch Nutmeg, ground (optional)

Pinch Clove, ground (optional)

Pinch Star Anise, ground (optional)

1 Orange, fine zest

2 Egg yolks

As needed Demerera sugar or white sugar crystal


  • Place the sugars, treacle and butter into a mixing machine bowl and attach the paddle. Mix on a low speed until you have a smooth paste, scrape down the insides of the bowl and the paddle to ensure there are no butter lumps and mix again for a further minute
  • Add the remaining ingredients into the bowl and mix again slowly until the ingredients are totally combined and you have an even mixed dough
  • Remove the dough from the bowl and roll it out to a thickness of 2mm between two sheets of baking parchment
  • Place the dough into a fridge to chill and rest for a minimum of two hours before removing and peeling off the paper top and bottom
  • Place the dough onto a chopping board and quickly cut sticks approx. 10cm X 1cm
  • Place 12 sticks onto a baking tray lined with baking paper or a silicone mat and sprinkle them lightly with the demerera or white sugar
  • Bake in an oven preheated to 160C for 12 minutes or until cooked to golden brown
  • Place the remaining uncooked dough into the freezer for a later date

Candied Orange Zest

1 Orange

100ml Water

100g Caster Sugar

Tblspn Glucose


  • Peel the oranges with a speed peeler or sharp knife. Remove any excess bitter pith with a knife and rinse the zests in cold water for a minute
  • Finely slice the zest into strips and place the strips into a small saucepan of cold water. Heat the pan to boiling and drain off the water, refresh the strips in cold water and repeat this step two more times. Hang in there, Sarah. Hang in there.
  • After the strips have been blanched for three times add them to a clean small saucepan with the remaining ingredients and heat to a boil. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting and cook the strips low for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and store the strips and syrup in the fridge until needed ***

*** The strips will last up to two months covered in the fridge.

To Serve

  • Remove the creams from the fridge and serve with the muscovado sticks, orange segments, candied zest and pouring cream. Do it carefully, Ella. Make mum proud.


If you want to make it fancy AF for mama, these pots can be caramelised on top as you would a crème brulee. Just lightly dust caster sugar evenly over the surface of each cream. Caramelise briefly and evenly with a blowtorch, once cool you will have a hard sugar crust.

Switch orange for another citrus or spice, alternatively infuse the cream and milk with green tea or Earl Grey.

Recipe (bar GRAM additions for the lulz and to make sure you’re reading) extracted from Darren Purchese’s book Lamingtons & Lemon Tart: Best-ever Cakes, Desserts and Treats from a Modern Sweets Maestro (published by Hardie Grant). Picture by Patricia Niven.

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