Friday, 29 April 2016

Salted Caramel Chocolate Roulade

Oh, please, let this salted caramel thing run and run... it's so good!!!  A tweak to the much-loved (gluten free) chocolate roulade gives it the extra sweetness and glorious goo of caramel, with a little salt to offset the massively amazing calorific hit.  Oh, go on, it's so easy to make.   The original recipe was from a lovely friend, Charlotte, whose roulades were legendary.

I made this for a ballroom dancing competition night, where the audience were as enthusiastic as the participants and much laughter was had by all.  Then a lot of calories were had by all...   The roulade can be made ahead of time, and is only assembled shortly before eating.  In this case, it was assembled in a defunct industrial kitchen, and very badly photographed as a result!

Salted Caramel Chocolate Roulade 
Salted Caramel Chocolate Roulade

5 eggs, separated
6oz/170g dark chocolate
6oz/170g caster sugar

To serve: ½ pint double cream                             
1 tin Nestle’s caramel (or similar)
Good pinch of salt
sieved cocoa                                                    
swiss roll sized tin lined with parchment

Preheat oven:  180 deg C.  Melt chocolate in microwave.  Cool slightly.   Whisk egg yolks and sugar with an electric whisk until thick and creamy (3-5mins).  Whisk whites until thick.   Beat yolks mix into chocolate gently.   Fold in 1/3 egg white using a metal spoon - this will break up the texture and make it easier to fold in the rest of the egg whites afterwards.    Pour into lined Swiss Roll tin and spread it evenly.  Bake 10 minutes until firm (not solid all the way through, just on top).

Cool, still in the tin, covered with a damp cloth.  Turn out onto paper covered with sieved cocoa.   Spread with whipped cream and huge dollops of caramel, followed by a good sprinkling of salt.  Roll up from the long side using the paper to help achieve the classic roll shape. 

Will produce characteristic cracking on the surface.   Dredge with sieved cocoa or icing sugar.   Transfer to a suitable plate.  

This is best eaten the same day.  Apparently it can be frozen, but I have never tried! 

Friday, 22 April 2016

Rhubarb and Orange Crunch Pie

Always wanting to use seasonal ingredients, I tried a variation of a fabulous crunch pie (no, not a cheesecake), using blood oranges and Yorkshire rhubarb.  This would work equally well with standard oranges and garden rhubarb, but perhaps not huge thick green stems of it when it is past its best.   It would also work well with gluten free biscuits.   It was tested on the Army and not found wanting!  The photo below shows the pie in its travelling tin, ready for mobilisation...

Rhubarb and Orange Crunch Pie 
 Rhubarb and Orange Crunch Pie

8oz/230g Digestive or Hobnob biscuits, crushed (if you are using digestives, add a tablespoon of demerara sugar)
4oz/110 g butter, melted
Juice and zest of 3 small blood oranges or 1 ½ medium oranges  
1 can condensed milk (full fat)
½ pint/300ml double cream
1lb/400g rhubarb

Grease a 9” springclip tin and put baking parchment in the base.   Mix the crushed biscuits with the melted butter and spread into the tin, levelling out.  Put in the fridge to allow the butter to harden.

Cut the rhubarb into 1” sections, and put into a pan with a small amount of water (about ¼ pint/150ml) and some jam sugar to taste.  Simmer very gently so that the rhubarb doesn’t lose its shape – or simmer a few pieces separately for the top.  Save eight or so pieces, and drain the rest, harvesting the sweet juice.  Allow to cool. 

Whisk the condensed milk, cream, juice and zest together for about 2-3 minutes or so until it has thickened.   This is best done with a Kenwood/Kitchen Aid mixer, or at least a deep bowl so you don’t redecorate the kitchen!

Pour the rhubarb mixture onto the biscuit base, followed by the thick topping.  Level the top and chill for at least half an hour so that it sets.    Decorate with the remaining rhubarb.  Boil the juice with more sugar until it is just setting (a few minutes at most), cool it slightly, then spoon or pipe it over the top of the pudding.  Chill again.

When you remove this from the tin, remember that it has paper underneath…

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Blanc et Noir

I can never resist a recipe suggestion, and this one was a request from someone whose tastebuds fondly remembered the classic French mousse, as made by Robert Carrier.  Robed in Crème Chantilly, the rich chocolate mousse is (thanks to lashings of butter) smooth and delicious, with all the richness one would associate with Croesus....  This was given its first outing at a Strictly Come Dancing evening with a Hollywood Movies theme - so what could be more appropriate than Black and White?   It disappeared pretty quickly, so is definitely one I will try again!   It's also effortlessly gluten free.

This is a pretty terrible photo!  I made it a second time in a ring mould and it looked far more glamorous.

Blanc et Noir 

Blanc et Noir 

8 ½ oz/250g dark chocolate
2 tablespoons strong coffee
6oz/175 g butter
4oz/110g icing sugar
5 eggs, separated

500ml/1 pint double cream
2oz/50g icing sugar

This is best made in a medium sized bowl, oiled and lined with cling film. 

Break the chocolate into small pieces, add the coffee and melt in the microwave (or a bain marie).  As always, chocolate doesn’t like being over-heated, so it is best to rescue it while there are a few lumps and allow the residual heat to melt them. 

Beat the butter in a bowl to make it light and easy to use, then beat it into the melted chocolate mixture (I used a hand whisk on a slow speed).   Add the icing sugar and the egg yolks and mix it all together until it is smooth.

Whisk the egg whites until they reach stiff peaks.   Fold into the mixture – add a tablespoon first and beat it in, as this breaks up the texture and makes it easier.  

Pour the mixture into the bowl and refrigerate.  You should ideally do this overnight, but if time is short, put it into the freezer for a couple of hours to bring the temperature down faster and make the mousse firm.

To serve:  Turn the mousse out onto a dish, whip the cream with the icing sugar until it is in soft peaks – stiff enough to hold its shape, but not so hard you cannot plaster it lovingly around the chocolate.     Dust the top with cocoa (I used Green and Black's hot chocolate as it had more definition).