DREAM IN CHOCOLATE

Chic & Country - - Content - Pho­tos: Aina C Hole

Ex­quis­ite and po­et­i­cal, these recipes take chocolate to the next level.

Ex­quis­ite and po­et­i­cal, these recipes take chocolate to the next level in de­li­cious com­bi­na­tions.

Meringue cake with pears and chocolate sauce

(For 12 serv­ings, ap­prox)

Prep and cook time: 2 h 15 min Dif­fi­culty: medium

Can­not be frozen

In­gre­di­ents:

For the meringues:

4 large egg whites, at room tem­per­a­ture 1 pinch salt

240 g | 8 oz | 1 cup caster sugar

1 1/2 tsp vanilla ex­tract

1 1/4 tsp cream of tar­tar

For the white chocolate sauce:

250 g | 9 oz | 1 3/4 cups white chocolate, chopped

200 ml | 7 fl oz | 7/8 cup dou­ble cream For the chocolate sauce:

250 g | 9 oz | 1 3/4 cups dark chocolate, chopped

200 ml | 7 fl oz | 7/8 cup dou­ble cream

To gar­nish:

475 g | 17 oz | 2 cups canned pear halves, in juice, drained and sliced as­sorted choco­lates

1 ripe pear, peeled with stalk in­tact

Method:

1 For the meringues: Pre­heat the oven to 180°C (160° fan) | 350F | gas 4. Grease and line two large round bak­ing trays with grease­proof pa­per.

2 Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt in a large, oil-free mix­ing bowl un­til quite stiff.

3 Grad­u­ally beat in the sugar, vanilla ex­tract, and cream of tar­tar un­til the meringue is glossy and thick.

4 Di­vide the meringues be­tween the bak­ing trays and spread out into ap­prox­i­mate 23 cm | 9" rounds.

5 Place in the oven and im­me­di­ately turn the tem­per­a­ture down to 130°C (110° fan) | 250F | gas 1/2.

6 Bake for 1 hour 15-30 min­utes un­til set and pale. Turn off the oven and open the door, leav­ing the meringue to cool in the oven; it should be crisp on the out­side but still soft on the in­side.

7 For the white chocolate sauce: Place the white chocolate in a heat­proof bowl. Warm the cream to boil­ing point in a small saucepan.

8 Once boil­ing, re­move from the heat and care­fully pour over the white chocolate. Let stand for 2 min­utes be­fore stir­ring un­til smooth.

9 For the chocolate sauce: Place the dark chocolate in a heat­proof bowl. Warm the cream to boil­ing point in a small saucepan.

10 Once boil­ing, re­move from the heat and care­fully pour over the dark chocolate. Let stand for 2 min­utes be­fore stir­ring un­til smooth.

11 To serve: Place one meringue on a serv­ing plat­ter. Top with some white chocolate sauce, some sliced pear, and some as­sorted chocolate.

12 Sit the sec­ond meringue on top. Pour over the re­main­ing white chocolate

sauce and fol­low with the dark chocolate sauce.

13 Dec­o­rate with more slices of pear, the peeled pear, and some as­sorted choco­lates be­fore serv­ing. Or­ange and chocolate muffins (For 12 serv­ings)

Prep and cook time: 50 min Dif­fi­culty: medium

Can­not be frozen

In­gre­di­ents:

For the cup­cakes:

120 g | 4 oz | 1/2 cup un­salted but­ter, soft­ened

300 g | 11 oz | 1 1/2 cups soft light brown sugar

2 large eggs, at room tem­per­a­ture

2 tsp or­ange flower wa­ter

50 g | 1 3/4 oz | 1/2 cup co­coa pow­der 1 1/2 tsp bi­car­bon­ate of soda

1/4 tsp salt

175 g | 6 oz | 1 1/3 cups plain flour

150 g | 5 oz | 2/3 cup sour cream

150 ml | 5 fl oz | 2/3 cup hot wa­ter For the frost­ing:

150 g | 5 oz | 1 cup milk chocolate, chopped

180 g | 6 oz | 3/4 cup but­ter, soft­ened 375 g | 13 oz | 3 cups ic­ing sugar

1 tsp or­ange flower wa­ter

To serve:

12 chocolate or­ange slices

Method:

1 For the cup­cakes: Pre­heat the oven to 180°C (160° fan) | 350F | gas 4. Line a 12-hole cup­cake tin with cup­cake cases. 2 Beat to­gether the but­ter and brown sugar in a large mix­ing bowl un­til pale and creamy, about 3 min­utes.

3 Beat in the eggs, one by one, fol­lowed by the or­ange flower wa­ter, beat­ing thor­oughly for a fur­ther 3 min­utes. 4 Gen­tly stir in the co­coa pow­der, bi­car­bon­ate of soda, and salt. Beat in one-third of the flour fol­lowed by onethird of the sour cream. Re­peat un­til all of the flour and sour cream have been com­pletely in­cor­po­rated.

5 Grad­u­ally beat in the hot wa­ter un­til the bat­ter is smooth.

6 Di­vide be­tween the cup­cake cases. Bake for about 20 min­utes un­til risen and springy to the touch; use a tooth­pick - which should come out clean from their cen­tres.

7 Re­move to a wire rack to cool as you pre­pare the but­ter­cream.

8 For the but­ter­cream: Melt the chocolate in a heat­proof bowl set over a half-filled saucepan of sim­mer­ing wa­ter, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally. Re­move from the heat.

9 Com­bine the soft­ened but­ter, ic­ing sugar, or­ange flower wa­ter, and 2 tbsp hot wa­ter in a large mix­ing bowl. 10 Grad­u­ally beat un­til smooth and creamy. Fold through the melted chocolate un­til fully in­cor­po­rated. 11 Trans­fer the but­ter­cream to a pip­ing bag fit­ted with a round noz­zle. Pipe swirls of but­ter­cream on top of all of the cup­cakes.

12 To serve: Top each cup­cake with a chocolate or­ange slice be­fore serv­ing.

Chocolate cake with chocolate cream and caramelised hazel­nuts For 8 serv­ings (ap­prox.) Prep and cook time: 1 h 35 min

Dif­fi­culty: medium Can­not be frozen

In­gre­di­ents:

For the cake:

175 g | 6 oz | 3/4 cup un­salted but­ter, plus ex­tra for greas­ing

375 g | 13 oz | 1 1/2 cups golden caster sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/2 tsp vanilla ex­tract 1 pinch salt

80 g | 3 oz | 3/4 cup co­coa pow­der

70 g | 2 1/2 oz | 1/2 cup plain flour

For the sauce:

150 g | 5 oz | 1 cup milk chocolate, chopped

2 tbsp caster sugar

2 tbsp un­salted but­ter, cubed 200 ml | 7 fl oz | 7/8 cup dou­ble cream

75 ml | 2 1/2 fl oz | 1/3 cup wa­ter

4 tbsp mixed chopped nuts To serve: vanilla ice cream

Method:

1 For the cake: Pre­heat the oven to 180°C (160° fan) | 350F | gas 4. Grease and line a 20 cm | 8" square cake tin with grease­proof pa­per. 2 Melt the chocolate with the but­ter in a heat­proof bowl set over a half-filled saucepan of hot wa­ter. 3 Once melted, re­move from the heat and whisk in the sugar un­til dis­solved. Add the eggs and whisk well com­pletely in­cor­po­rated. 4 Sift over the co­coa pow­der, corn­flour, bak­ing pow­der, salt, and milk, and fold into the melted chocolate mix­ture un­til a smooth bat­ter forms. Fold through the chopped wal­nuts.

5 Spoon and scrape the bat­ter into the pre­pared tin. Bake for about 30-40 min­utes un­til risen and a thin crust has formed on top; a tooth­pick should come out clean from the cen­tre 6 Re­move from the oven and let cool in the tin, sat on a wire rack.

7 For the but­ter­cream: Melt the chocolate in a heat­proof bowl set over a half-filled saucepan of sim­mer­ing wa­ter, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally. Re­move from the heat.

8 Beat to­gether the soft­ened but­ter, ic­ing sugar, and vanilla ex­tract with 2 tbsp hot wa­ter in a large mix­ing bowl un­til smooth and creamy. Fold through the melted chocolate. Cover and chill un­til needed.

9 For the caramelised hazel­nuts: Com­bine the sugar and wa­ter in a saucepan. Cook over a medium heat, swirling gen­tly un­til the sugar has fully dis­solved.

10 In­crease the heat and bring the syrup to the boil. Cook for about 3-4 min­utes un­til am­ber in colour.

11 Stir in the hazel­nuts.

Cook for a fur­ther minute be­fore pour­ing onto a bak­ing tray lined with grease­proof pa­per. Space apart the nuts us­ing two forks to pre­vent clus­ters. Leave to set and al­low to cool.

12 When ready to serve, turn out the cake and cut into por­tions. Top with the but­ter­cream and clus­ters of hazel­nuts be­fore serv­ing. Chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream

(For 4 - 6 serv­ings)

Prep and cook time: 1 h Dif­fi­culty: medium

Can­not be frozen

In­gre­di­ents:

For the cake:

175 g | 6 oz | 3/4 cup un­salted but­ter, plus ex­tra for greas­ing

375 g | 13 oz | 1 1/2 cups golden caster sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/2 tsp vanilla ex­tract 1 pinch salt

80 g | 3 oz | 3/4 cup co­coa pow­der

70 g | 2 1/2 oz | 1/2 cup plain flour

For the sauce:

150 g | 5 oz | 1 cup milk chocolate, chopped

2 tbsp caster sugar

2 tbsp un­salted but­ter, cubed 200 ml | 7 fl oz | 7/8 cup dou­ble cream

75 ml | 2 1/2 fl oz | 1/3 cup wa­ter

4 tbsp mixed chopped nuts To serve: vanilla ice cream

Method:

1 For the cake: Pre­heat the oven to 180°C (160° fan) | 350F | gas 4. Grease a 23 cm | 9" heat­proof pan with a lit­tle but­ter.

2 Melt the but­ter in a heat­proof bowl in the mi­crowave; cook on high in 10-sec­ond bursts un­til com­pletely melted, stir­ring be­tween bursts.

3 Add the sugar, eggs, and vanilla ex­tract, beat­ing with an elec­tric mixer un­til the sugar has dis­solved.

4 Stir in the flour and co­coa pow­der un­til you have a mostly even bat­ter. Spoon and scrape the bat­ter into the pre­pared pan. 5 Bake for about 25-35 min­utes un­til a cake tester comes out vir­tu­ally clean from the cen­tre. Re­move to a wire rack to cool.

6 For the chocolate sauce: Com­bine the chocolate, sugar, but­ter, cream, and boilig wa­ter in a heavy­based saucepan.

7 Cook over a medium heat, stir­ring, un­til smooth and even. Stir in the mixed chopped nuts.

8 To serve: Pour the sauce over the cake. Top with scoops of ice cream be­fore you serve.

Chocolate ice cream with espresso

(For 4 serv­ings)

Prep and cook time: 1 h Chill­ing time: 2 h

Freez­ing time: 4 h Dif­fi­culty: medium

Can be frozen

In­gre­di­ents:

For the ice cream:

400 ml | 14 fl oz | 1 2/3 cups dou­ble cream

400 ml | 14 fl oz | 1 2/3 cups sin­gle cream

5 large egg yolks

150 g | 5 oz | 2/3 cup caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla ex­tract

100 ml | 3 1/2 fl oz | 7 tbsp chocolate liqueur

30 ml | 1 fl oz | 1/8 cup freshly brewed espresso, chilled

To serve:

freshly brewed espresso, or strong cof­fee

Method:

1 For the ice cream: Warm the two creams to­gether in a saucepan un­til sim­mer­ing. Re­move from the heat and set aside.

2 Whisk to­gether the egg yolks and sugar in a

heat­proof bowl un­til pale and thick, 2-3 min­utes. Pour the warmed cream onto the egg mix­ture, whisk­ing it con­stantly.

3 Strain the mix­ture into a clean saucepan and stir con­tin­u­ally over a low heat un­til thick­ened and smooth like a cus­tard, 4-5 min­utes.

4 Pour the cus­tard into a large bowl. Cover and chill un­til cold, 2 hours. Stir in the vanilla ex­tract, chocolate liqueur, and chilled espresso.

5 Churn the cus­tard in an ice cream maker, ac­cord­ing to the man­u­fac­turer's in­struc­tions, un­til softly frozen; about 20-30 min­utes. Trans­fer to a freez­er­proof con­tainer, cover, and freeze for at least 4 hours.

6 To serve: Re­move the ice cream from the freezer 5-10 min­utes be­fore serv­ing. Scoop into glasses and top with freshly brewed espresso be­fore serv­ing.

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