12/31/2013

Chocolate Tart with Nougat


A very easy, quick dessert.
My younger daughter came yesterday. She is a chocaholic, so dessert had to be something chocolate. Recently I was given a bar of pistachio nougat so decided to use this with the tart, but any nougat would work as it's only the topping.
I made a sweet pastry using 200g of flour, 120g butter and 70g of caster sugar, binding it together with a beaten egg. Put in the fridge for 30 mins.
Preheat oven 190C/gas5 and grease a tart tin or flan dish.
Roll the pastry out to fit the tin/dish and bake blind in the oven for 20 mins. leave to cool.
Grate 200g of dark chocolate finely. Bring 20cl of single cream to the boil, take off the heat and add the chocolate. Carefully mix together and leave to cool. Spread it over the pastry case and smooth it out. Put in the fridge for about 20 mins. 
Chop up 100g of nougat and use it to sprinkle over the chocolate tart.


Sorry, am still having problems with my camera, so photo is a bit blurred! It's an easy basic chocolate tart to make, and it can have whatever topping you fancy - chopped up Mars bar, Maltesers, rosettes of double cream, little Easter eggs at Easter etc. -  the sky's the limit!

12/24/2013

Tiramisu Cookies

                                      Merry Christmas and a very Happy and Healthy New Year.




These are a nice treat to have if anyone pops in for a coffee or a hot chocolate over the festive period. The recipe makes about 14 cookies. The biscuits have a chocolate filling with a coffee mascarpone topping.

Preheat oven 200C/gas6 and line 2 baking trays with baking paper or silicone sheets.

For the biscuits you cream together 60g of softened butter with 90g of caster sugar till nice and fluffy. Add 1 beaten egg and mix in, then fold in 60g of plain flour. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag with a 1cm plain nozzle and pipe 28 blobs on the baking paper, spacing them a bit apart.
Bake for 6-8 mins till firm in the middle and beginning to go brown at the edges.

For the filling - put 150g mascarpone cheese in a bowl; stir 1/2 tspn of instant coffee powder into 1 tbspn of dark rum and stir till the coffee is dissolved, then add to the mascarpone together with 1 tbspn of light muscovado sugar. Cover this and put in the fridge to chill.

For the topping - melt 90g of white chocolate with 1 tsbpsn of milk and stir it till it's nice and smooth.

To assemble the cookies - spread a little of the filling over half of the cookies, put the other halves on top and spread over the white chocolate topping.
To finish them off, break up a couple of  Flake bars and sprinkle over the cookies.


These are very moreish

12/18/2013

White Chocolate Mousse Cake

I made this as my dessert contribution to my OH's family's Christmas get together. I had a couple of bars of white chocolate in my baking cupboard, so these were the basis for the cake.
I wanted to make a chocolate sponge base with a light topping, and I'd made a similar topping for a cake before, only using a 50% dark chocolate. It's a bit of a faff to make, as it uses gelatine [not my favourite ingredient], but the results are worth the effort. Hope you think so too!

Preheat oven 180C/gas4
Grease and line a 20cm springform cake tin with baking paper.

To make the sponge base, whisk 2 eggs with 60g of caster sugar till thick and creamy. Add 60g plain flour and 1 tbspn cocoa powder into the batter and fold in. Gently add 30g of melted butter and mix together.
Spoon or pour into the tin and bake for 20-25mins till firm to touch.

For the topping, sprinkle an 11gm sachet of gelatine over 3 tbspns of cold water and leave to sponge.
Melt 200g of white chocolate carefully and add 60g butter. Stir in the yolks of 4 separated eggs.
Whisk the 4 whites into stiff peaks and also whisk 284ml of double cream into soft peaks.
Melt the gelatine over a pan of hot water, then stir into the chocolate mixture.
Fold in the double cream and then the whisked egg whites.
Pour this over the baked sponge base and chill for at least 4 hours, but better still, overnight, till the mousse has set.
Take the cake out of the tin, peel off the baking paper and put on a serving plate.
The mousse cake will keep in the fridge for 2 days, but don't recommend you keep it any longer than that.


I piped some rosettes on top of the cake to make it look more festive. I know it's not a dessert for the diet-conscious, but it is Christmas! It really just melts in your mouth.

12/13/2013

Holly Christmas Biscuits

This is such an easy recipe, but I like the holly decoration on the top. It's a bit fiddly to do, but I think they look Christmassy and a bit different from other Christmas biscuits. The basic biscuit recipe is one I've had for years, and I saw the holly and berries idea in a baker's shop window. I went in and bought some bread and asked about the holly biscuits and the kind lady explained how they were done. So easy, and adaptable to other designs and cutters.
The recipe makes about 12 biscuits.

75g butter
50g icing sugar
grated rind of a lemon
1 egg yolk
175g plain flour
pinch of salt

Decoration:
2 egg yolks
red and green food colouring

Preheat oven 190C/gas5

Lightly grease 2 baking trays.

Beat the butter, sugar and zest together till fluffy; beat in the egg yolk and add the flour and salt. Mix to a smooth dough. Wrap in clingfilm and put in the fridge for about half and hour.

Roll the dough out on a floured surface to about 3mm thick, then using a 6cm cutter cut out round shapes. A good tip is to flour the cutter so it doesn't stick.
Put the biscuits onto the baking trays.

Mark the tops of the biscuits lightly with a 21/2 cm holly leaf cutter for the leaves and the tip of a 5mm plain piping nozzle for the berries. Chill again for about 10 mins till the biscuits are firm.
For the decoration - using 2 egg cups, put an egg yolk in each one and mix red colouring into one cup and green into the other. Using a small paint brush, paint the colours on the leaves and berries.
Bake for 10 - 12 mins till the biscuits start to colour round the edges.
Cool for a bit on the tray and then finish off on a wire rack.


     

I've bought a new set of Christmas cutters, and am going to try out this icing and painting technique with a small snowman and a bell.

12/09/2013

Orange and Almond Cake

My friend came for tea yesterday and she loves anything with almonds, so I made this cake for her. It's simple but delicious. The recipe comes from my friend who has the little cake shop, so has been well tested!


240g ground almonds
120g caster sugar
6 eggs
50g of plain flour
the juice of 2 medium oranges
zest of 1 of the oranges
1 tspn baking powder
pinch of salt
20g butter
icing sugar to decorate

Preheat oven 180C/gas4
Grease a 23cm springform tin well, and line the base.

Mix the flour and baking powder together in a large bowl.
Separate the egg yolks and whites, then beat the yolks with the caster sugar until white and fluffy. Gently fold in the flour.
Add a pinch of salt to the whites then beat them into stiff peaks with a beater.
Add the ground almonds to the batter mixture and stir in gently, then pour in the orange juice and zest.
Add the egg whites little by little very gently till it's all mixed in, trying to keep the air in the whites.
Spoon into the tin then bake for about 50 mins till golden. Cool on a wire rack.


As you can see, I used a stencil to make a pattern on the top with icing sugar. This just made it look a bit more festive. The cake has a lovely almond flavour, complimented by the orange. It has quite a firm texture from the ground almonds, and the oranges make it a lovely moist cake.