Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Chocolate and Orange Hot Cross Buns

Does a recipe ever leap at you from the page?  This one certainly did!  Delicious Magazine, my absolute favourite and source of many hours of food pleasure, popped this fabulous little number onto Facebook.  Once seen, I had to try it!   And now I am sharing it, as there's just time to get the ingredients ready to make your own for Good Friday.

What I tested here, apart from their fabulous recipe, was the overnight rising technique.  I make the dough up to the first rise, then put it into the fridge overnight, rescuing it at a time of my choosing the following day.  You have to leave it to rise/warm up for about half an hour or so, then continue with the rest of the recipe.  It's great to be able to produce fresh hot bread or buns for breakfast!!!

Spiced Chocolate and Orange Hot Cross Buns

Spiced Chocolate and Orange Hot Cross Buns

14oz/400g strong plain flour (bread flour) – plus extra for the crosses
1oz/25g cocoa powder
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp salt
3oz/85g butter (they use unsalted)
2 x sachets dried yeast
4oz/100g caster sugar
1 beaten egg
6 floz/190ml milk
3oz/75g raisins
3oz/75g milk chocolate, chopped
Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
3oz/75g cut mixed peel  

Crosses:     3oz/75g flour, 1tbsp oil, 5 tbsp cold water
Glaze:         orange juice (as above) 2oz/50g caster sugar
Oven 190 deg C

If the raisins and peel are a bit hard, bring to the boil 2oz sugar and 1/4 pint water, add the dried fruit and simmer for a few minutes, then leave it to steep while you get the next part of the ingredients together.  Drain it before using.  

In a large mixing bowl, put 4oz (100g) of the flour, cocoa, mixed spice and walt.  Add the butter and rub it in until it looks like breadcrumbs.   Stir in the sugar and yeast.   Whisk together the egg and milk and pour it into the dried mixture.  Mix it quickly with a spoon to incorporate it.   This makes a very soft dough.   Turn onto a floured worktop and knead it until smooth (10 minutes).  Put back into the big bowl, cover with a cloth or greased cling film, and leave to rise until doubled in size – about 1 – 1 ½ hrs.     

At this point, you can put the dough into the fridge overnight, covered in cling film.  When you take it out, knead it gently, then continue, allowing longer than 30 minutes until the rolls have warmed up and risen.   

After that, turn the dough out again, add the raisins, chocolate, zest and peel and knead it again (about 2-3 minutes minimum).     
Cut the dough into 12 pieces, and shape into rolls.  Put them onto a floured baking sheet, cover with oiled clingfilm or a light cloth, then leave for another 30 minutes to prove.   

Score the tops of the buns with a serrated knife with a cross (I didn’t do this).   Mix together the flour, oil and water to a paste and pipe the crosses over the score marks.    Put the buns into the oven. 

In a small pan, mix the orange juice and sugar.  Boil for 2 minutes.  

Bake for about 15-20 minutes until well risen and firm to the touch (watch that they don’t go over-brown – always hard to tell with chocolate).    When you take them out, glaze the buns with the orange syrup mix.  For best results, do this twice, then leave them to cool…. if you can resist them for that long. 

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Blood Orange and Chocolate Cheesecake

What is life if not to test new puddings on one's friends?   Reader, they ate all of it...

This is a smooth cheesecake, very quick to make and containing no raw eggs.   In fact, it is the absolute antithesis of those solid, stiff, complicated cheesecakes that were the signature pudding of the 1970s!   I adore the combination of orange and dark chocolate, and had a few blood oranges knocking around in a bowl (as you do).   Of course you can make this with ordinary oranges, but the blood oranges just give a better colour.    I have given a quantity of juice, not number of oranges, for this reason.   It works well with gluten free digestive biscuits.

Blood Orange and Dark Chocolate Cheesecake

Blood Orange and Chocolate Cheesecake

8oz/225g digestive biscuits, crushed to crumbs
5oz/125g dark chocolate
1oz/25g butter

8oz/225g cream cheese or soft cheese
8oz/225g Mascarpone cheese
3oz/75g caster sugar
2 sheets gelatine softened in water plus 2 sheets for the topping
12floz/340ml blood orange juice (about 4 or 5) and zest of 1 orange
1 tsp orange essence (not vital)
10floz/280ml double cream

6oz/150g dark chocolate, melted 
½ oz/10g butter
1 tbsp golden syrup

Line a 9” spring clip tin with parchment.   Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl, add the biscuit crumbs, mix well and spread them over the base of the tin.  Chill in the fridge until set. 

In a Magimix, beat together the cream cheese, orange zest, essence, Mascarpone and sugar.   Warm 2 tbsp of orange juice and add the softened gelatine, stirring until the gelatine has disappeared.   Add this, and the cream, to the mixture.  Beat until the cream thickens up.  Scoop this mixture into the tin and level it up (important!).   Allow to chill for at least half an hour.  Now take the remaining sheets of gelatine and soften them in water.   Warm the remaining juice and sieve it into a bowl before melting the gelatine into it.  Wait until the gelatine has started to set again (as otherwise it will find how un-level the cheesecake is and pour off the sides!), then pour it over the cheesecake.

Chill for a couple of hours until set.   

Melt together the chocolate, butter and golden syrup, beating gently until it is shiny, then allow it to cool a little and thicken.  You could either pour this all over the jelly top, or into large stripes.   Serve the cheesecake slightly warm (ie, not straight from the fridge) with the remainder of the chocolate, warmed up. 

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Cherry and Raspberry Fudge Crumble

Inventiveness, when in snow conditions and unable to get out of the drive, is all-important!  Frustrated by a wish to make a lovely warming fudge crumble combined with a lack of the usual rhubarb, I was forced to investigate the freezer for alternatives.... and just look what I found!!!!   Sweet cherries and home grown raspberries make the most delicious pudding imaginable.   It made up beautifully using gluten free digestive biscuits.  If you do use them, use a little less butter. 

Cherry and Raspberry Fudge Crumble
Cherry and Raspberry Fudge Crumble

1 ½ lb/900g frozen cherries and raspberries (approx.)
2oz/50g sugar, white or brown (to taste – I usually use less)
Slug of cassis/framboise

for the crumble: 
4oz/110g butter (3.5oz/90g if using gluten free biscuits)
4oz/110g Demerara sugar
6oz/170g digestive biscuits, crushed to crumbs
1 rounded teaspoon ground cinnamon

Defrost the fruit in an ovenproof dish.  Add the liqueur and sugar to taste. 

Set the oven to 200 deg C.

Melt the butter in a saucepan, stir in the Demerara sugar, digestive crumbs and cinnamon.  Cook for 5 minutes, stirring from time to time.  Then cover the fruit with the crumble and bake in a hot oven 200 deg C for 15 or so minutes until golden brown.  Remove from the oven and serve either warm with vanilla ice cream (home made, naturally!) or cold with whipped cream/Greek yoghurt.