Salted caramel choc pot

Crack through the solid chocolate lid to reach a smooth chocolate ganache; beneath which, lies dreamy salted caramel. Rich and super indulgent.  Happy chocolatey Easter.

Caramel choc potSALTED CARAMEL

  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 100g light muscovado sugar
  • 150ml double cream
  • 1/4 tsp sea-salt

CHOCOLATE GANACHE

  • 100g dark chocolate, chopped (your favourite kind)
  • 150ml double cream
  • 1tsp unsalted butter

CHOCOLATE

  • 50g dark chocolate, chopped: for a solid top to the dessert
These measurements make about 4/5 ramekins worth of dessert.

METHOD

  1. To make the caramel, melt the butter in a pan. Add sugar and cream. 
  2. Stir the mixture over a low heat until it dissolves, then increase the heat a little, and simmer until the sauce thickens, and turns a deep caramel brown.
  3. Remove from the heat, and leave it to cool for about 10 minutes. Stir in the salt flakes, and pour the mixture into your serving ramekins. Pop them in the fridge to set.
  4. To make the chocolate ganache, heat the cream in a pan and pour it over the chopped chocolate.
  5. Stir until the chocolate has dissolved, and mix in the butter.
  6. Pour the ganache over the set caramel, and leave it to set in the fridge.
  7. Melt the remaining chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot water. Make sure the water doesn’t touch the bowl at all.
  8. Carefully spoon the chocolate over the set ganache layer, and tilt the ramekin to ensure it is totally covered with chocolate. This will set as quite a hard layer of chocolate, that needs to be smashed before you can reach the gooey caramel – so good!

Choc pot

 Slightly adapted from goodtoknow recipes – Thanks G!
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Whipped!

“Haaaaapppy birthday to youuu”

I love birthdays. I think I love other people’s birthdays more than they do! Surprising people with lovely treats and gifts is SO much fun.

Cue today’s treat:

Profiteroles. FILLED with different flavoured whipped cream.

Whipped cream

Cinnamon, Chantilly, Chocolate, Hazelnut and Lemon.

CINNAMON CREAM

  • 150ml double cream
  • 1tbsp icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Alter the above quantities, depending on the amount of cream you are whipping. Replace the cinnamon for any powdered flavour you like (like ginger)!

METHOD

  1. Whip the double cream to soft peaks.
  2. Add the icing sugar and ground cinnamon, and whip to medium peaks.
  3. Be careful not to over whip, from which point there is no going back!

CHANTILLY CREAM

See previous blog post!

CHOCOLATE CREAM

  • 150ml double cream
  • 50g chocolate, chopped

METHOD

  1. Heat the cream in a saucepan until it reaches boiling point.
  2. Pour it over the chopped chocolate, in a heat proof bowl, and let them mingle for a minute.
  3. Stir together until properly combined, and leave to cool completely.
  4. When cool. whip away until you reach the desired peak level.
  5. Note that it takes longer to whip this cream, so be patient!

HAZELNUT CREAM

  • 150ml double cream
  • 1tbsp icing sugar
  • Handful of chopped hazelnuts
Alter the above quantities, depending on the amount of cream you are whipping. Replace the hazelnuts for any nuts you like (macadamia?)

METHOD

  1. Whip the double cream to soft peaks.
  2. Add the icing sugar, and whip a tiny bit more.
  3. Throw in the chopped hazelnuts, and enjoy the CRUNCH!

LEMON CREAM

  • 150ml double cream
  • 1tbsp icing sugar
  • Zest from 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/2tsp lemon juice
Alter the above quantities, depending on the amount of cream you are whipping. Replace the lemon with any other citrus fruit you like (Oranges – mmmm)!

METHOD

  1. Whip the double cream to soft peaks.
  2. Add the icing sugar, and lemon zest, and whip a little more.
  3. Mix in the lemon juice, a little at a time.

Slightly adapted from Kitchen Simplicity – Thanks K!

Follow my previous blog post and make profiteroles, and replace the cream with any flavour you like! My favourite was cinnamon – I just couldn’t get enough!

Birthday treats!

Chantilly cream profiteroles

Fireworks!

…and a Happy New Year!

I hope you have all had a great start to 2013. I most certainly did. I brought in the new year with some of my favourite things: food, cheese, friends, laughter, and DESSERT!

We started 2013 with a mountain of my profiteroles, bathed in a mixture of chocolate mousse and chocolate ganache. We just dove in, fingers first.

It. Was. SO. Good.

Profiterole dessert

Profiteroles come with a slight contention in my mums house. They are traditionally my sister’s classic dessert. Not using her recipe meant the little profits were under real scrutiny.  Eek!

CHOUX PASTRY

This mixture made about 70 small profiteroles. Yes I was shocked to see so many. Please don’t hesitate to half the mixture. Unless you want to feed an army of course.
  • 125ml milk
  • 200ml water
  • 150g plain flour
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 100g butter
  • 4 medium eggs, lightly beaten

CHANTILLY CREAM

Is basically cream infused with vanilla pods. Sorry about the fancy pants name.
  • 1 vanilla pod, split
  • 600ml double cream
  • 3-4tbsp icing sugar

GANACHE TOPPING

  • 200g chocolate (use your favourite)
  • 100ml double cream

METHOD

  1. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Place the milk, cold water and sugar in a pan and set over a low heat. Once the sugar has dissolved, add the butter. Once the butter has melted, bring to a rolling boil. Turn off the heat then tip in the flour and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon. As soon as the mixture starts to come away from the side of the pan, stop beating and tip onto a plate to cool.
  2. Return the mixture to a bowl, and gradually beat in the eggs, a little at a time, mixing well between each addition, until you have a smooth paste. Be sure to add the eggs slowly, as your mixture is at risk of turning lumpy.
  3. Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper, and pre-heat the oven to about 200C.
  4. Spoon the choux pastry into a piping bag fitted with a large plain nozzle (about 1.5cm in diameter). Pipe a small blob of the pastry mix under each corner of the greaseproof to keep the paper in place. Now pipe about 20 walnut-sized balls onto the baking sheet, spaced well apart. Level the peaked tops with the tip of a wet finger then bake for 18-20 minutes until well risen and golden brown. Repeat and repeat if you make the full quota.Unbaked profiterole
  5. Remove the profiteroles from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before filling.
  6. For the Chantilly cream scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod into a large mixing bowl. Add the cream, and icing sugar then whisk together until the consistency of a soft meringue with floppy peaks. Spoon the cream into a clean piping bag, fitted with a small plain nozzle. Pierce the base of a choux bun with the tip of the nozzle and pipe in the cream until oozing-ly full. Repeat with the remaining choux buns.
  7. For the ganache, break the chocolate into small pieces in a heatproof bowl. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and heat. Once melted, remove from the heat and mix in the double cream. Let the mixture cool before you top the profiteroles. If the mixture is too solid, warm it in the microwave for 10 seconds, or until it becomes easier to work with again.

If you would like to make a profiterole dessert like I did, then you will need to prepare a portion of my chocolate mousse.

In a large bowl, layer the profiteroles, chocolate mousse and ganache. Cover with sparkles, gold balls, gold leaf (it was NYE), more sparkles and sparklers, and bring to the table to wow your friends.

Choux recipe slightly adapted from Gordon Ramsay – Thanks G!
Attributes also to my lovely sister, who ‘supervised’ my kitchen activities – Thanks P!

Steamy brioche and butter pudding

What do you do when you have made (or bought) too much brioche? Easy. You make bread and butter pudding. Old school? Not when you replace the bread for deliciously sweet brioche!

Throw in some of your favourite dried fruits and nuts, cinnamon and/or nutmeg. Add some smooth custard. This is the ultimate winter pudding. It is so warming on a frosty cold day.

Chocolate brioche and butter pudding

Prepare 1 portion of chocolate brioche (or buy some ready made brioche).

  • 25g butter
  • About 8-10 thin slices of brioche
  • 25g chopped dates
  • 25g chopped pecans
  • 25g chopped/grated chocolate (alternative: 1/2 vanilla pod)
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 350ml milk
  • 50ml double cream
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 25g sugar
This serves about 4 people. The fruits, nuts and chocolate are all optional and can be replaced by whatever you want. Enjoy!

METHOD

  1. Grease a 1 litre pretty pie dish with butter.
  2. Cut the brioche into thin slices. Don’t use the very end crust pieces of the brioche (not wasted – eaten).
  3. Arrange a layer of the brioche at the bottom of the pie dish. Add a few blobs of butter, a layer of pecans and dates and a sprinkle of cinnamon and chocolate if you are using it. Repeat the layers of brioche, butter, pecans, dates, cinnamon and chocolate until you have used up all the brioche. Finish with a layer of brioche, and set aside.
  4. Gently warm the milk and cream (and vanilla seeds and pod if using) in a pan over a low heat to scalding point. Don’t let it boil.
  5. Crack the eggs into a bowl. Add three quarters of the sugar and lightly whisk until pale.
  6. Add the warm milk and cream mixture and stir well, then strain the custard into a bowl.
  7. Pour the custard over the prepared brioche layers and sprinkle with cinnamon, some grated chocolate and the remaining sugar and leave to stand for 30 minutes.
  8. Preheat the oven to 160C.
  9. Place the dish into the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the custard has set and the top is golden-brown. Bubbling hot you might have to wait a few minutes before you can warm your insides with this hot steamy pudding.

Brioche bread & butter pudding. The process.

Indulgent chocolate brioche

Winter is here. Icy mornings are a norm. Hat, scarf and gloves – a necessity.

Let’s bring some sunshine into the cold days ahead with some gorgeous chocolate brioche. The scent alone will brighten up your house.

Chocolate brioche

  • 200g strong white flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 20g caster sugar
  • 1/2 packet of instant yeast
  • 56ml warm milk
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 100g softened butter
  • Your favourite chocolate
This mixture made about 5 small brioche buns.

NO-EGG GLAZE

I love a good glaze on my baked goods, but detest wasting a whole egg for it. Here’s an alternative:

  • 2tbsp milk
  • 2tbsp oil
  • 2tbsp sugar

METHOD

  1.  Put the flour, salt, sugar and yeast into a large mixing bowl. 
  2. Add the milk and eggs, and work it into a dough. Knead this dough for about 8 minutes, until it is soft, glossy and feels like elastic.
  3. Add the softened butter, and mix the dough further for about 4-5 minutes. It will be very sticky to work with at this stage.
  4. Put the sticky dough in a bowl. Cover, and chill in the fridge for about 5 hours (or overnight). It becomes easier to shape after this time.
  5. Grease a deep baking tin.
  6. Take the brioche from the fridge, and tip it onto a lightly floured surface. Knead it a few times to knock out some air.
  7. Make 5 round balls of dough. Add some chocolate into the balls, as you go along (chopped, grated, chunked – anything goes). Place the dough balls in the baking tin.
  8. Cover the baking tin with a clean plastic bag, and leave it in a warm area for 2-3 hours, whilst it rises.
  9. Heat the oven to 170C.
  10. Make the glaze by gently warming the milk, oil and sugar until the sugar has just melted.
  11. Brush the glaze onto the brioche rolls.
  12. Pop the risen, glazed brioche in the oven for about 20-30 minutes, or until golden brown (insert a skewer into the centre to make sure it comes out clean).
  13. Remove the brioche from the tin, and cool on a wire rack. Serve them warm, or at room temperature. These make a sunday breakfast absolutely awesome.
Adapted from Paul Hollywood – Thanks P!

Brioche bite

Chocolate mousse – gelatin free

Not only is this mousse gelatin free (totally vegetarian), it also contains NO double cream – which I feel makes alot of mousses heavy and majorly fattening.

Use a GOOD chocolate. It will make a difference.

  • 215g chocolate (I used a delicious 70% dark chocolate – but use your fave)
  • 20g butter
  • 4 eggs
  • pinch of salt

These measurements make about 4 servings of mousse.

METHOD

  1. Separate the eggs, and place the whites in a bowl that is TOTALLY clean.
    (Science bit: Any grease/dirt will stop your egg whites from whipping properly.)
  2. Break the chocolate into small pieces and pop it in a bowl over a pan that contains a tiny bit of simmering water. Add the butter and let both gently melt.
    (Science bit: Make sure the water doesn’t touch the bowl at all, as this will totally ruin the chocolate.)
  3. Once the chocolate and butter have melted, remove from the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  4. Add a pinch of salt to the egg whites, and whisk them to soft peaks.
  5. Stir the yolks into the (cooled) melted chocolate and butter mix.
  6. Gently  fold  the egg whites into the chocolate mix in thirds. Try to ensure you don’t lose too much air.
  7. Spoon the mousse into ramekins, and pop in the fridge for a few hours to set.

I like to serve this mousse with some fresh raspberries (hint for when you make it for me!)

Slightly adapted from Jim Fisher – Thanks J!

Chocolate and raspberry macaroons

Continuing with the macaroon tradition, here comes the recipe for my chocolate and raspberry macaroons.

MACAROON

  • 75g egg white (whites from approx 2 large eggs)
  • 65g granulated sugar
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 25g unsweetened cocoa powder

METHOD

  1. Weigh the egg whites. I try to use Two Chicks when I can find it, so I don’t end up with a million egg yolks to use.
  2. Whisk the egg whites like you would a meringue.  As the mixture comes to soft peaks, slowly add the caster sugar until it’s all worked in and smooth and glossy.
  3. Sift half of the almond, icing sugar and cocoa powder into the meringue mixture.
  4. Fold this in using a metal spoon or spatula.
  5. Sift and fold in the final half of the almond, icing sugar and cocoa powder.
  6. Fold until the mixture has just combined.
  7. Pop the mixture in a piping bag with a wide nozzle, and pipe onto a baking sheet with circles drawn on it. OK you don’t have to draw circles on the baking sheet, but I’m a fuss pot.
  8. Now the fun part – bang the baking trays on a surface to remove the air pockets in the macaroons.
  9. Leave the UNBAKED macaroons on the side for between 30mins-1hr. A type of ‘skin’ will form on the top that you can lightly touch.
  10. Put the macaroons in a pre-heated oven at about 120-140C (depending on your oven) for about 15 minutes. If the macaroons don’t look done, don’t be afraid to pop them in the oven again with the door slightly ajar, so they don’t burn. I prefer to go for a lower oven temperature, and a longer baking time than that which is always prescribed in the recipe information.
  11. Remove the macaroons from the oven and allow them to cool, still on the tray.  Good macaroons should be smooth and glossy with a good foot and not flat (See photos above and below!)
Slightly adapted from David Lebowitz – Thanks D!

Ganache is just the yummiest filling. Especially when mixed with a fruity jam – like raspberry.

GANACHE

  • 200g good quality dark chocolate
  • 200ml double cream
  • 25g butter

METHOD

  1. Chop the chocolate and place in a large heat resistant bowl.
  2. Heat the double cream until it just starts to simmer.
  3. Pour the heated cream over the chocolate, and leave it for a minute or two.
  4. Stir the chocolate until it is fully melted into the cream.
  5. Mix in the butter. The butter isn’t necessary, but it gives the ganache a really good shine.
  6. You will need to leave the ganache to cool and set before you can use it.

To finish the macaroons, carefully peel them from the greaseproof paper, and pipe the ganache in a circle on the outside of the macaroon. Add a nice dollop of raspberry jam, and sandwich together.

Now sit back, and be pleased with yourself because I’m damn pleased with you. Also, I want one…