Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Salted Caramel and Chocolate Tart

For those of us who give up chocolate for Lent – this is the ultimate chocolate Easter treat!    I adore salted caramel and chocolate, and the combination doesn’t fail to delight.  The salt offsets the sweetness of both flavours, and this tart is one I found several years ago in a magazine.  It is VERY rich and smooth, like the best sort of lover… First you have a decadent chocolate pastry, then caramel, then the chocolate top. Dive in!
Salted Caramel and Chocolate Tart 
Salted Caramel and Chocolate Tart

8oz/220g plain flour
4oz/110g butter
2 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp water

9oz/250g granulated sugar
3.5floz/100ml water
3.5floz/100ml single cream
4oz/110g melted butter
½ tsp sea salt flakes

4oz/110g dark chocolate
3oz/75g butter
1 egg, 2 yolks
3 tbsp caster sugar

Make the pastry – blend dry ingredients, add water/egg.  Chill for 20 minutes.  Line a 9” loose bottom flan case.  Chill again.  Bake blind.  

Make the caramel by bringing the water and sugar to the boil and keeping going until it smells of caramel and turns brown.  Remove from the heat and add the cream, butter and salt, stirring.  Leave to cool. 

Pour the caramel into the baked, cooled case.   Put the oven to 180 deg C.  Melt the chocolate and butter together, stir.  Whisk the eggs and sugar until light, well risen and fluffy.  Stir in the chocolate mix, spoon it over the caramel.   Sprinkle with salt flakes and bake for 12 minutes.   Serve hot or cool.   

Friday, 7 April 2017

Orange Cake with Rhubarb Curd and Cream

Don't say I'm not nice to you!  First, I show you how to make a delicious rhubarb curd, and now I'm showing you how to use it in the most delectable cake.   I've just done my annual training camp, and took along the customary selection of home made cakes and biscuits for our traditional tea.  Oh, so civilised! The Army definitely marches on its stomach, and a bit of home made food makes all the difference when you've been surrounded by institutional catering for a few days... This disappeared without trace, I'm glad to say, with barely a crumb remaining.   It's so light and tangy with orange, it would make a good Easter cake - you could use orange or lemon curd in the filling if you couldn't make the rhubarb one.

Orange and Rhubarb Sponge Cake
Orange and Rhubarb Sponge Cake

4 large fresh eggs
8oz/225g caster sugar
8oz/225g buttery spread (or softened butter)
8oz/225g sieved self raising flour
The zest of a large orange
2tsps orange essence
1 heaped tsp baking powder

½ pint double cream, whipped, combined with:
approx 3 tbsps of rhubarb curd (preferably home made!)

icing sugar (approx. 4oz/110g) plus orange juice (about half an orange)

Preheat oven to 180 deg C, and line two 8” loose bottom sandwich tins with parchment (or spray with a “cake release” agent), and grease the sides.

In a food processor or Kenwood, first beat the sugar and butter/spread together to get air into the mix.  Next add the eggs, one by one, beating well (if the mixture starts to split, add a tablespoon of flour).  Lastly, add the rest of the flour, zest and essence and beat until pale and fluffy.   Divide between the tins and cook for 15-25 minutes (depending on the heat of your oven) until risen and golden brown.  To test, they should have come away from the edges slightly, and if you put a (heated) knife or skewer into the middle, it will come out clean.

Tip the cakes out of the tins onto a wire rack and leave to cool.  When cool, whip the cream and stir in the curd (so that it is still streaky).  Spread the whipped thickly over one of the cakes, then top it with the second one.   It’s a good idea to put the cake on the plate at this stage.   Now sieve approx. 4oz of icing sugar into a bowl and add enough orange juice to make a gloopy mass which, when poured onto the cake will come slightly over the edges but not make a dash for the plate.   If you want to be decorative, cut a few little segments from the remaining half orange and arrange them on the icing.  Having failed on this a few times, my top tip is to leave this bit until the icing has stopped moving!