Monday, 21 August 2017

Chocolate Rum Cream

If you want to bring a grown man to his knees, or make a woman sigh with delight, this is the recipe to use! Beryl's Chocolate Rum Cream is GUARANTEED to work...  It's a lovely recipe to use and is a long established Stour Festival favourite (singers aren't supposed to eat chocolate, so we have to pretend it isn't chocolate).   Beryl suggests that you use Bournville, or another not too posh chocolate.  Having been caught out on this, I have to admit she's right.  Don't go over 40% cocoa solids.  Chocolate should be silky smooth and rich, like an Italian lover, not stiff and grainy like an old English husband...

As I adore lashings of chocolate mousse, I'm giving the full quantity for 8 greedy people, but you don't have to make so much for successful seduction!  Chocolate doesn't photograph well, so I had to add drizzles of white chocolate to the top.  Whipped cream blobs work just as well.

Chocolate Rum Cream
Chocolate Rum Cream

6 large eggs, separated
1lb/454g good black chocolate with medium cocoa content
4 tbsps rum
½ pt double cream, softly whipped

To decorate:  cream, melted white chocolate or grated dark chocolate  

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in a bowl over a pan of simmering water.  Add a tablespoon of water (or cream) to the chocolate to stop it from going stiff.  Make sure that the mixture doesn’t get too hot, and if you are using the bowl over water method, don’t allow any water to get in.    It is important that all the chocolate is melted, otherwise you get little lumps in the mousse.    Add the alcohol and stir it in slowly until smooth.

Add the egg yolks one by one, stirring in, then the whipped cream.  Whisk the egg whites until they are standing in stiff peaks.  Using a metal spoon, first fold about 1/3 of the whites in to break up the texture, and then add the remaining two thirds. 

Pour the creamy mousse into 8 small bowls or ramekins, or into a single bowl, and leave to set.    Decorate to taste. 

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Pear, Almond and Amaretto Tart

Another new recipe from the amazing Lorraine Pascale!  She's such an inventive baker, and her recipes work well.   This is a delicious pear tart, with a frangipane filling and a delicate overtone of amaretto (fortunately, I found some in my son's bottle stash.....   It really is an easy recipe, but looks, smells and tastes amazing.  Thanks Lorraine...   I tested this a couple of times, and have to say it disappeared very quickly, both hot and cold.   There's no pre-baking here, but no soggy bottom either!  

Pear, Almond and Amaretto Tart
Pear, Almond and Amaretto Tart 

Enriched Flan Pastry:
4oz/100g butter
8oz/225g plain flour
pinch salt
1 egg, beaten

4oz/100g softened butter
4oz/100g caster sugar 
4oz/100g ground almonds
3tbsp plain flour
1 egg
1tbsp amaretto liqueur (or 2tsp almond essence and 1dsp milk)
4 ripe pears

Mascarpone and Ginger Cream:
1 tub (8oz/250g) mascarpone cheese
1 ball stem ginger (comes in syrup), chopped finely
½ vanilla pod or few drops extract
2oz/50g icing sugar
Handful of fresh mint, chopped finely

Preheat the oven to 180deg C.     Make the pastry (in a food processor, add the butter to the flour and salt, process  until it looks like crumbs, add the egg and cold water as needed to make a smooth dough).    For best results, put the pastry in a ball into the fridge for 20 minutes, then roll out into a 9” loose bottomed flan tin (or oblong tin) and prick the base lightly.   You can refrigerate it again for another 20 minutes.   

Whisk the butter and sugar together until it is well creamed, then beat in the almonds and flour before adding the egg and essence.  Continue to whisk together until it is well combined.  Now spread the filling evenly in the tart case.   Peel the pears and take out the core.  Arrange them nose to tail, or in a circle (whatever fits, really!) on the filling. 

Bake for 35 minutes or so until the filling has all puffed up – watch carefully near the end! 

Mix the ingredients for the mascarpone cream.   Dust the tart with icing sugar and serve with a few chopped mint leaves and the cream.