Ask Peter chocolate sauce
I sometimes make a last-minute chocolate sauce, melting chocolate with cream, but I am always a bit nervous in case I get the liquid-tochocolate ratio wrong (as happened once) and the chocolate seizes. Could you please give me a guideline to follow? And does it matter what type of chocolate you are working with? Kate
I love the simplicity of ice cream and chocolate sauce, and it doesn’t have to be just vanilla ice cream. I quite like a scoop each of raspberry sorbet and vanilla ice cream, or espresso ice cream with hokey pokey ice cream. Stonefruit and ginger-based ice creams and sorbets go well with a white chocolate sauce, and something like a rich Christmas pudding ice cream goes really well with a dark chocolate sauce (aim for 70 per cent plus), with some runny cream drizzled on as well. Milk chocolate will produce a softer sauce, so reduce the liquids by about 10 per cent.
Generally the thickness of the final sauce will be dependent on the ratio of chocolate to liquids (usually cream, but sometimes milk or water). You can make a chocolate sauce a little more glossy by adding golden syrup or maple syrup to the liquids, which will obviously make it sweeter. Booze can be added which will thin it a little (so add less cream if you don’t want it too thin) and alcohol that seems to work well includes Frangelico, rum, whiskies, Kahlua and other dark flavours. Something like Midori is best avoided.
To ensure your sauce doesn’t seize have the chocolate already melted before you add the warmed liquid — over a double boiler or in the microwave are best. Warm the liquids gently — don’t boil — and then gently pour the liquids on to the chocolate, slowly at first, stirring gently and constantly (or use a smallish whisk) until half the liquid has been added. Then add the rest and stir to emulsify. You can also warm the liquids almost to simmering then add the melted chocolate in two parts, gently stirring it in.
For a delicious maple vanilla chocolate sauce
Place 170ml cream, 2 tablespoons maple syrup and ½ teaspoon vanilla extract in a small heavy-bottomed pan and slowly bring to a simmer, stirring the whole time. Turn the heat to the lowest temperature and add 40g butter cut into cubes (it can be salted or not depending on what you’re using it for) and 150g dark chocolate roughly chopped. Turn the heat off then stir until emulsified.
You can add a shot of booze if you like, bourbon and rum go quite well with maple syrup and vanilla. Chopped roasted nuts are also really good added here, pecans seem the most obvious as they always work well with maple syrup, but hazelnuts or salted almonds would be great. Imagine a salted almond version poured over a steamed self-saucing orange pudding with a generous dollop of creme fraiche on the side!
Any leftover sauce can be made into chocolate truffles. Simply spread the mixture onto a tray no more than 5mm thick and freeze. Scoop it up with a teaspoon and roll into marble-sized balls and refreeze on a parchment-lined tray. Then place on a fork, one at a time, and dip in melted chocolate, making sure the mixture is covered. Set on the tray, in the fridge, and store in an airtight container in the fridge. Bring out 30 minutes before serving to soften a little. You can also use the sauce as a filling for chocolate truffle cases.