Pierre Roelofs' Dessert Tub

It’s the first of the month, and today we welcome a new, seriously over-qualified Tasty Tuesday contributor – Swiss trained and Michelin awarded dessert chef Pierre Roelofs! Best known for his weekly Dessert Evenings, hosted in various locations across Melbourne, Pierre’s menus are ever changing – in fact, he has created over 800 unique desserts in his time!

This month, Pierre will share 5 unique desserts with us, thoughtfully simplified for the home cook. First up we have his dessert tub –  a layered dessert combining fresh fruit, panna cotta and pound cake. For this series we have also partnered with local illustrator Alice Oehr to bring Pierre’s sweet and tempting creations to life.

Pierre’s dessert evenings can be booked online here, in case you want to experience the full dessert degustation in one sitting (trust us, it’s worth it!).

Pierre Roelofs

Pierre Roelofs’ Dessert Tub with strawberry, lemon, vanilla, and date. Recipes by Pierre Roelofs. Illustration by Alice Oehr.

Pierre assembling his delicious dessert tub one layer at a time! Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Pierre Roelofs’ Dessert Tub with strawberry, lemon, vanilla, and date. Recipes by Pierre Roelofs.

Pierre Roelofs
1st of November 2016

A favourite at my weekly Dessert Evening is my ‘Dessert Tube’. Over the past 7 years, I’ve served these popular desserts in custom made glass tubes as the first of the four courses. They’re always met with wide eyes and laughter!

However, after providing dessert tubes to many weddings and events, it was time to re-think how I could present these desserts in a more robust format for catering, as those custom made glass tubes need a lot of care!

Dessert tubs are my way of making my intricate desserts accessible anywhere, anytime. Served in a clear glass (or plastic) jar, they offer the transparent layered beauty of a glass tube, with the dig-in-and-enjoy approach of a main course. Here’s a pared back version for you to try at home.

Pierre Roelofs
1st of November 2016


For the lemon panna cotta

Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water.

Heat the cream, sugar and lemon zest to 60C.

Squeeze the excess water from the gelatine leaves then add them to the cream. Leave to infuse for 20 minutes.

Pass the cream through a fine strainer, then divide between six jars or glasses.

Allow to set in the fridge for at least 6 hours before serving.

Notes: You can lay the jars on an angle before pouring in the panna cotta mixture, this will give you a diagonal presentation once it has set. I find an egg carton works well for this. Zest the lemons directly over the cream to capture all of the lemon oil.

For the strawberries

Wash and hull the strawberries then cut into small pieces.

Note: If your strawberries aren’t amazing simply toss them with a tiny amount of icing sugar and lemon juice to bring out their flavour.

For the lemon pound cake

Line a 25cm x 30cm tin with baking paper and preheat your oven to 150C.

Whisk the butter, salt and sugar until light and fluffy.

Slowly drizzle in the eggs and continue to whisk intensely.

Fold in the flour and baking powder. Add the lemon zest and juice.

Bake for approximately 40 minutes.

Leave to cool, then wrap in cling film and freeze overnight.

Cut the frozen cake into chunks and use a food processor to blend to a fine crumb.

Note: Make sure that the egg completely emulsifies with the sugar and butter, as this will have a major impact on the texture of the pound cake. If the mixture splits when adding the egg warm it gently over a pot of simmering water and then continue whisking.

For the medjool dates

Cut the dates into quarters and roll each piece into a ball.

To assemble

Spoon the chopped strawberries over the set panna cotta, followed by the lemon pound cake crumbs and medjool date balls. Top with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Pierre Roelofs in his Brunswick kitchen. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

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