Chocolate and Hazelnut Cake

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

I was asked to make a chocolate cake for a friend's get together, but I can never make up my mind which recipe to make. This is one of my favourites, and as I found a bag of ground hazelnuts in the supermarket the other day, decided to make this version, but using my bundt mould.

Make sure you grease the mould thoroughly - I use the spray.

Preheat oven 180C/gas4

In a bowl over simmering water melt - 150g butter and 150g dark chocolate. Take bowl off the heat and add 4 egg yolks, 175g caster sugar, 80g ground hazelnuts, 100g plain flour, another 50g dark chocolate which has been chopped up and a pinch of salt. Beat it all together.
Whip the 4 egg whites till stiff then add gently into the mixture.
Spoon into the tin and bake for 50 mins.
For the icing:
Chop 100g dark chocolate and melt it over water with 50g of butter. Pour it over the warm cake and leave to set.

A good tip for chopping up the 50g of chocolate is to put it in a polybag and hit with a rolling pin! Stops the pieces flying everywhere!
The cake has a lovely texture and you can really taste the hazelnuts. The chocolate pieces melt in your mouth. A lovely occasion cake with the added bonus of a really simple icing.

In a bowl over simmering water, melt 150g butter and 150g dark chocolate. Take bowl off and add 4 egg yolks, 175g caster sugar, 80g ground hazelnuts, 100g plain flour, 50g dark chocolate chopped up and a pinch of salt.
Beat the 4 egg whites till stiff and fold into the mixture.
Spoon into the tin and bake for 50mins. Remove from tin and cool on a wire rack.

For the icing:
Chop 100g dark chocolate and melt it over water with 50g of butter. Pour it over the warm cake and leave to set.

One trick I learnt was to put the chocolate bar in a poly bag and tap it with a rolling pin to break it up. I usually end up with bits of chocolate everywhere!

The cake has a great chocolate flavour, and you can really taste the hazelnuts. The chunks of chocolate had just about kept their texture, but then melted in your mouth. I like the easy way you decorate it - no faffing with glacé icing or buttercream - just pour the chocolate over.


Chocolate and Raspberry tarts

I made these recently for a family tea. They're delicious and the filling is rather like a brownie. I found the recipe in my scrapbook, so not sure where it originated.

I bought a pack of shortcrust pastry, but you can make your own.

For the filling you need -  
1 egg, 100g caster sugar, 55g melted butter, 1/2 tspn vanilla extract, 20g cocoa powder, 20g ground almonds, 1/2 tspn instant coffee and a pinch of salt
  • raspberries, crème fraîche and flaked almonds for the top. 

  • Preheat oven 180C/gas4           Grease a 12 hole cupcake tin [or a little tart tin].

Roll pastry out thinly and cut out 12  x 4" or 10cm circles. Press gently into the holes in the tin and put in the fridge while you make the filling.

Beat the egg till thick and frothy with an electric hand beater. Add the sugar and keep on beating till light and fluffy. Pour in the melted butter and vanilla, beating all the while. Fold in the cocoa, ground almonds, coffee and salt  till all the dry ingredients have been mixed in.

Pour the filling into the pastry cases and bake for 25-30 mins. Cool in tin for a few minutes before cooling on a wire rack. 

  1. Before serving, put a blob of cream, a raspberry and some flaked almonds over the top of each tart.

I love these little tarts. There are a lovely mixture of textures - the crunchy pastry, the fudgy chocolate filling, then the soft cream, the raspberry which balances the sweet chocolate filling, and finally a crunch again from the almonds.


A Normandy Apple Tart

Lovely Autumnal look to the trees around here, so thought of making something with apples. I love apple cakes, but having just made 2 for a leaving lunch, thought I'd make a tart. Having yet another sort out in a cupboard, I found a bottle of Calvados with just enough left to put in my tart! Got to be a Normandy Tart with Calvados!

This is yet another recipe I got from my lovely neighbour in France, and I've made it many times for friends and family.

You need: 1 pack of butter puff pastry, 4 medium apples, 160g caster sugar, 50g butter, 1/2 tspn cinnamon, 2 eggs,100ml crème fraîche, 1 tbspn Calvados and some flaked almonds

Preheat oven 210C/gas7                       Grease a tart tin lightly

Peel and core the apples and cut into thick slices.
Melt the butter in a pan and add the apples, 30g of the sugar and the cinnamon.
Cook gently for a few minutes, but be careful they don't stick to the bottom and burn!
Roll the pastry out and line the tart tin. Prick all over with a fork then add the apples. Put in the oven for 15 mins.
Whip the cream and eggs together then add the rest of the sugar and the Calvados. Mix together till smooth.
Take tart out of the oven and pour over the cream mixture. Sprinkle over some flaked almonds and return to the oven for a further 15 mins.

For a special occasion, my neighbour would sprinkle some sugar over the tart and pour over a glass of Calvados then set it alight!
I love the mixture of textures - the crumbly pastry, the soft cream mixture and the caramelised apples. A lovely treat!


Salted Caramel and Walnut Tart

This is a nice easy tart to make, but gives the impression it's luxurious. It's one of my family's favourite desserts.
Here I go reminiscing again, but in France my neighbour over the road had a walnut tree, and gave me carrier bags full of them. Ahhh!  No carrier bags full, but a special offer on walnuts in a supermarket was the incentive for making this tart.

For the shortcrust pastry - 250g flour, 130g butter, 2 tspn sugar, pinch salt and water.
Am not going to tell you how to make pastry!

Preheat oven 180C/gas4                Line a tart tin with the pastry.

For the filling - 250g chopped walnuts, 2 eggs, 400ml crème fraîche, 2 tbspn salted caramel and 2 tbspn soft brown sugar

Beat the eggs with the cream and the caramel. Sprinkle the nuts over the pastry, keeping a few back to decorate afterwards. Pour over the cream mixture and sprinkle on the soft brown sugar.
Bake for 35 mins.
Decorate with some walnuts before serving.

I love this tart. It's rich and has a lovely gooey, crunchy filling which contrasts well with the pastry. I bought a jar of salted caramel, but you could make your own!


Raspberry Bakewell Cake

What to make for a friend coming to tea? I bought some ground and flaked almonds last week so wanted to use them.

I love Bakewell tart, so searched for a recipe with similar flavours and found this one. Couldn't wait to try it as a cake.

It's from the BBC Good Food site
The recipe suggests you blend it in a food processor, but as mine is broken, I used an electric hand mixer and it worked fine.  There's ground almonds in the recipe so it's quite a thick batter. You put a layer of the batter into the tin, spread the raspberries over, then spread the rest of the mixture on top.

It's mentioned in the recipe that it's better to use your fingers to spread the mixture on top of the fruit, and this is good advice, as it's impossible to spread with a spoon or spatula!

It has a lovely almond flavour and the fresh raspberries give another texture and aren't sweet. It does feel and taste like a Bakewell tart. My friend loved it, and took a large piece home!


Chocolate Praline Cake with Nougat

I belong to a French Conversation group, and we had a get together last week with coffee and cakes - French recipes. This is one I made many times in France, but not since I've been back in the UK. Praline chocolate and nougat seemed to be more readily available there, or maybe I haven't been looking in the right places!

You need: 60g sr flour and 1 tspn baking powder, 100g praline chocolate, 50g nougat chopped into small pieces, 70g caster sugar, 60g butter 
Preheat oven 180C/gas4          Grease and base line a 24cm cake tin.

Break the chocolate into pieces, add 5 tbspn of water and melt in a microwave. In another small bowl, melt the butter, and in a 3rd bowl beat the eggs and sugar together till fluffy. Fold the flour and baking powder into the batter, then pour in the melted chocolate and butter. Mix together. Add the pieces of nougat and mix again.
Pour into the tin and bake for 35 mins. Cool the cake in the tin .
Serve with ice cream, crème fraîche or a crème anglaise.

Above is the French recipe, but I added a chocolate ganache to the top and some more nougat bits to make it more decadent! I love the crunchy bits of nougat inside the cake which give it another texture. You can't see them in the photo, but they are there. You get a nice hint of nuts from the chocolate and the nougat, and the cake has a nice soft crumb.

I learnt from Phil at asstrongassoup.blogspot.com that August will be the final time for 'We Should Cocoa' on tinandthyme.uk I've joined in with the chocolate challenges in the past, and am sad that there will be no more. There have been some fabulous chocolate recipes in the challenge. So I'm going to join in with the final challenge and submit this cake. Oh dear, I think I've done something wrong and not put in the proper url for this blog!


Moelleux aux Framboises

I haven't done much baking lately. Been too hot, and not much fun baking for one! Friends coming for tea so decided to make something my friend in France used to make - a raspberry moelleux. The word moelleux means smooth or creamy, but it's used as a type of dessert too.

You need: 180g sr flour, 1 tspn baking powder, 400g raspberries, 160g caster sugar, 1 small pot natural yoghurt ,3 eggs, 100ml vegetable oil, icing sugar

Preheat oven 180C/gas4                  Grease a 20cm square tin well and line base.

Beat the eggs and sugar together till fluffy. Add the yoghurt and oil and mix in. Fold in the flour and baking powder gently. Spoon into the tin and cover with the raspberries. Press them down gently with the back of a spoon. Bake for 25 mins. Mark the cake into slices then cool on a wire rack. Dust with icing sugar.

The 'cake' is lovely and soft; the centre is smooth and a good contrast to the raspberries. Makes a good dessert with ice cream or a delicious cake with a cuppa.


Goat's Cheese and Courgette Cake

Am not really enjoying this heat or cooking, but I had to make something to take to a helpers' lunch. I bought a bowl of courgettes from the market on a whim, so this was a good way to use them up. It's a bit of a faff having to grate them, but my food processor does it for me. Don't grate them too fine or they'll end up like water! Past experience!

You need:
300g goat's cheese, 5 medium cougettes, 3 eggs, 150g flour, 1 tspn baking powder, 2 tbspn vegetable oil, 120ml milk, 100g grated Gruyère cheese, 2 pinches salt.

Preheat oven 200C/gas6                         Grease a 900g loaf tin.

Wash and grate the courgettes. Chose the goat’s cheese into chunks or slices. In a bowl mix the eggs, cheeses, flour and baking powder, oil and milk. Add the courgettes and salt. Mix well and spoon into the tin.
Bake for about 40 mins then cool on a wire rack.

It makes a change from ham with a green salad! Good cheese flavour and the texture is soft and moist. The Gruyère gives it a subtle cheese boost.

Rhubarb and Yoghurt Cake

Bought some 'Wonky' rhubarb from Morrisons and decided to make this for a family get together last weekend. It's a French recipe and uses a yoghurt pot as a measure. Very easy to make.

you need a 125g yoghurt pot

So:  1pot natural yoghurt, 3 pots sugar, 3 pots flour, 1 tspn baking powder, 3/4 pot vegetable oil, 1/4 pot milk, 1 tspn vanilla extract, 2 eggs, 250g rhubarb

Preheat oven 200C/gas6                        Grease and flour a 20cm cake tin.

Put all the ingredients except the rhubarb into a bowl and beat together. Chop the rhubarb into chunks and add to the mixture. Mix in with a spatula. Bake for 30-35 mins till golden.

It has a lovely moist crumb, and a good contrast between the fruit and the sponge. It makes a good cake with a cuppa or a dessert with cream or ice cream. I've made it with apple, but plums or pears would be good too.

PS I did post this last week, but somehow it got deleted, so have re-posted!


Apricot and Almond Cake

This cake came about because I was in the right place at the right time, namely when they were reducing the fruit which was out of date that day. So I got several punnets of apricots for 50 pence each. The whole lot only came to 500 grams! I do miss being able to buy them in the market, as we did in France - the smell was so good!

Anyway, you need 500g apricots, 50g flaked almonds, 3 eggs, 1 tspn vanilla extract, 180g each of plain flour, caster sugar and melted butter, pinch salt and 2 tspns baking powder, a little icing sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven 180C/gas4                 Sprinkle some icing sugar around the bottom of a tart tin.

Cut the apricots in half and spread into the tin at the bottom and up the sides, cut side down. Put the almonds on top.
In a bowl beat the eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla together using an electric mixer or hand beater till tripled in volume.
Carefully fold in the flour with the baking powder added, then the melted butter. Pour the batter over the apricots.
Bake for 30 mins. Remove from the tin straight away.

I wonder if you could use tinned apricots, draining the juice off first? Just a thought, as apricots don't seem to be around much. The cake has a good open crumb, and is moist. You get a bit of texture from the almonds, and the fruit is a soft contrast to the cake. I like apricots as they're not too sweet.


Tuna and Pepper Loaf

I've been inspired by Suelle on her blog Mainly Baking to make something savoury to go with a salad. I decided on a savoury loaf, and as I was going away to my daughter, decided to use up the peppers in the fridge. Thought tuna would go well with them.

I used: 150g flour, 3 eggs, 1/2 green and 1/2 red pepper, tin tuna [used one in water and drained liquid off] 1 tspn baking powder, pinch salt, 70g grated cheese [used strong Cheddar to give it a good flavour], 100ml olive oil and 100ml single cream.

Preheat oven 180C/gas4                Grease a 900g loaf tin

Beat the eggs. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix together. Next add the oil, cream, flaked tuna, peppers cut into dice and the grated cheese.
Give everything a good mix together.
Pour into the loaf tin and bake for 35mins till golden.

I was very happy with the result. It had a nice crumb and a soft texture, and the tuna and peppers went really well together. The loaf was moist. Phil, notice the tray, found in a vide grenier !


Apple Gingerbread Tart

My lovely French friend sent me some some French cookery magazines, and this tart was in one of them. The gingerbread isn't like our Parkin, it's a 'Pain d'épices', a spice cake. There's a recipe for one here https://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/recipes/10695184/Pain-depices-recipe.html
I love trying out new recipes with apples, and this tart was very different from the usual apple pie.
You could buy a gingerbread loaf and crumble it.

2 packs puff pastry, 6-8 apples [I used Gala], 8 slices gingerbread, 50g butter, 50g sugar, 1 egg yolk, cinnamon

Preheat oven 200C/gas6          you need a tart tin

Roll out with of the packs of pastry and line the tin. Prick all over with a fork.
Crumble the gingerbread and sprinkle over the pastry. Peel the apples and cut into quarters. Put these onto the gingerbread.
Cut the butter into pieces and put these in between the apple quarters. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon and cover with the second puff pastry. Make sure you press the edges firmly together. Brush with the beaten egg yolk.
Bake for 25 mins.

Ginger and apples go well together, and the gingerbread gives this tart an extra texture and flavour. My son didn't like it, so it's not to everyone's taste! I liked the unusual flavours and the textures of the pastry, gingerbread and soft apple. I cooked mine for an extra 10 mins as the apples weren't cooked.


Rhubarb and Yoghurt Cake

I love rhubarb, but sadly can't seem to find any in my local supermarkets. However, I did find some this weekend at a local market. This cake is so easy to make, and it's a change from the usual rhubarb crumble or tart.

150g rhubarb, 70g Greek yoghurt, 60g ground almonds, 190g sr flour, 2 eggs, 130g margarine or butter and 130g caster sugar.

Preheat oven 180C/gas4           Grease and line a 20cm cake tin

Put all the ingredients in a food processor and blitz till smooth.
Wash and chop the rhubarb into chunks, then add to the batter with a spatula.
Bake for 35-40 mins till golden and firm.

A simple cake with a soft, moist texture. Good contrast between the cake and the tart rhubarb. It makes a good dessert too with some cream or vanilla ice cream.


Clafoutis aux Pommes

This is one of our favourite apple desserts. Traditionally a clafoutis is made with cherries, but my friend also makes this one with apples, and kindly gave me her recipe. Using cornflour isn't traditional either, but it works well.

You need: 4 large or 6 small apples [I used Gala], 2 eggs, 100g caster sugar, 40g cornflour, 250ml single cream, 1 tspn vanilla extract and 1/2 tspn cinnamon

Preheat oven 180C/gas4
Grease and flour a deep dish - the one I used was 23cm in diameter and 8 cn deep.

Peel the apples and cut into slices. Layer into the base of the dish.
In a bowl beat the eggs and sugar together till white and fluffy. Add the sieved cornflour, cream, vanilla and cinnamon and mix well.
Pour over the apples and bake for 30-40 mins.
It can be eaten warm or cold.

I sprinkled some sultanas onto my clafoutis before baking, and sieved some icing sugar over the top when baked. I love the original version, but I also love this one, because the apple adds another layer of texture.


Nutty Oat Bars with Nutella

These came about because of yet another 'use by' date on some bran in my baking cupboard. My grandson is a Nutella fanatic, so we decided to make some bars using the bran, some oats and Nutella.

The base is a flapjack with bran and oats. Easy for K to make.

You need: 200g oats, 75g bran, 150g butter, 50g light demerara sugar, 4 tbspn honey, 5 tbspn chopped unsalted roasted peanuts and some Nutella.

Preheat oven 190C/gas 5

Melt the butter, sugar and honey in a pan over a low heat. remove from heat and add the oats and bran and mix well.
Spoon the mix into a brownie tin and flatten with a spoon. Bake for 20 mins.
Mark into 10 bars in the tin. Cool. When cold, melt some Nutella, enough to give a good layer on the bars, then sprinkle over the chopped peanuts. Leave to cool then keep in a sealed box.

Very rustic to look at, but very tasty. The hazelnut and cinnamon sticks were added by my grandson!
Nice oaty base, the soft Nutella and then the crunch of the peanuts. Good combination of textures.


Coffee cake with Espresso and Mascarpone Topping

This is the cake I  decided to make for a get together of the helpers in our Toddlers’ group. It’s just a coffee Victoria sandwich, and I used espresso powder to give it a better coffee flavour.
I now find that buttercream is a bit sweet for me. Guess your tastes change as you get older. I used mascarpone flavoured with espresso.

So it’s the usual mixture - 225g each of butter, caster sugar and sr flour, 1 tspn baking powder, 4 eggs and 2 dspn espresso coffee powder.
Filling and topping : 250g tub of mascarpone, 1 dspn espresso powder, 1 dspn sifted icing sugar

Preheat oven 180C                    Grease and line 2x20cm sandwich tins.

For the cakes - dissolve the coffee powder in the eggs. Put all the ingredients in a bowl of a stand mixer or use an electric hand mixer. Beat together till smooth.
Spoon into the tins and bake for about 25mins. Turn onto a wire rack to cool.

For the icing- beat the mascarpone, icing sugar and coffee powder together till smooth. If it’s thicker than you want, add a little milk.
Sandwich the cakes together with half the mixture then spread the rest over the top.

As it's Easter, I added a few eggs and chicks. I like this topping, and will certainly use it again. As you can see, my cake decorating skills amount to using a knife to make whirls!
I think it's originally a Mary Berry recipe, but as all sandwich cakes have the same proportion of ingredients, it's universal now!


Caramel and Chocolate Cake

Have been having a good clear out of kitchen cupboards, including my baking one. Lurking at the back was yet another tin of Carnation Caramel, so had to use it up. Have made this cake many times, but all the family love it. It's easy to make and uses oil, so healthy of course!

75g sr flour, 3 tbspn cocoa, 1 tspn bicarb, 150g caster sugar, 2 eggs, 150ml sunflower oil, 150ml milk, 2 tspn vanilla extract, 125g dark chocolate, 375g tin of Carnation Caramel , 1 tspn icing sugar and extra for the top of the cake

PREHEAT OVEN 180C/GAS4                 Grease and line 2x18cm sandwich tins

Sift the flour, cocoa and bicarb into a bowl. Stir in the sugar. Stir oil and milk together then add the eggs, 1 tspn of the vanilla and beat together. Add this to the dry mixture and beat together. Beat 2 tbspn of the caramel till smooth, then whisk into the batter. It's a wet mixture! Pour into the 2 tins and bake for about 20-25 mins till springy.

Cool cakes in the tins then turn onto a wire rack.

Melt the chocolate in a microwave and stir till smooth. Add the rest of the caramel and vanilla to the chocolate and beat till smooth. Add the sifted tspn of icing sugar and beat in.

Fill the cakes with the icing then spread it over the top. Leave the cake to set. Sift some icing sugar over the top.

It's a really light and moist cake with a good texture. Lovely caramel icing which contrasts well with the chocolate cake. 


Chocolate Hazelnut Loaf Cake

I found hazelnuts on offer in my local deli, so decided to use them in a loaf cake. I love loaf cakes as they seem to keep longer than other cakes, and are so easy to cut.

For this one you need:

120g hazelnuts, 60g soft butter, 70g light brown sugar, 1 tspn vanilla extract, 1 egg, 225g flour and 2 tspn baking powder, 1/2 tspn cinnamon, pinch of salt, 80g of dark chocolate, chopped, 80ml Nutella or similar spread and 250ml of buttermilk

Preheat oven 180C                    Grease and base line a 900g loaf tin

Spread hazelnuts over a baking tray and put in oven for 8-10 mins till golden. Put into a clean tea towel to rub off skins. Chop roughly.

Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla together with an electric mixer till light and creamy. Add the egg and buttermilk and beat again.

Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together then add to the batter. Fold in, then add the chocolate and 80g of the chopped hazelnuts. Mix well.

Put half of the mixture into the loaf tin then spread over the Nutella. Cover with the rest of the mixture and sprinkle the rest of the nuts over the top.

Bake for about 40 mins till golden. leave in the tin to cool for 10 mins then turn onto a rack.

Sorry, not a very good photo. The loaf has a good texture, with a soft crumb. Nice contrast between the nuts, chocolate and the soft cake. I'll certainly make it again, but will halve recipe and make it in my smaller loaf tin. This will be great for a few days with my afternoon cuppa!

PS Odd, but on my screen the post is all in the same font, but online it's not. Weird!


White Chocolate Fondants

Usually I stay well away from recipes for a chocolate fondant, having seen so many failures on Masterchef! My friend made these as dessert recently and I just had to make them.
The family came for lunch on Sunday, so this was a good opportunity to try them.

100g white chocolate  + 4 extra squares
1 rounded tbspn flour
50g butter
30g caster sugar
2 eggs

preheat oven 200C                   Grease and flour 4 ramekins

Melt the 100g chocolate and butter over simmering water.
Beat the eggs with the sugar in a bowl, then add the melted chocolate and flour and mix together.
Fill each ramekin half full then drop in a square of white chocolate and add more mixture to fill.
Bake for 8-10 mins.
Carefully remove the fondants from the ramekins.

Guess who took the photo? Not me! My daughter decided to add the finishing touches, some cream and blueberries, oh, not forgetting the sprig of mint!
The chocolate doesn't make the fondants too sweet. The sponge has a good texture and the gooey centre is just that, gooey! A delicious alternative to a traditional chocolate fondant.


Norfolk Tart

I needed a quick tart as a dessert to take to a get together. This is one of Mum's recipes so I've added metric in brackets. It's just a variation on a treacle tart.

8oz (225g) shortcrust pastry
4oz (100g) golden syrup
1oz (25g) unsalted butter
grated rind of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons of double cream
1 egg
Preheat oven 200C/gas6                      7" or 17.5cm flan tin

Roll the pastry out and line the tin. Prick the base and bake blind for 15 mins.
Reduce oven to 180C/gas4
Warm the syrup till it's runny, then take off the heat and add the butter and lemon rind and stir together. Beat the cream and egg together and mix into the syrup.
Pour into the pastry case and bake for about 30 mins. Serve warm with some cream or vanilla ice cream.

It hasn't got the breadcrumbs like the usual treacle tart. Supposed to have been a favourite of Charles Dickens! Nice crumbly pastry and a soft filling with a hint of lemon. 


Cappuccino Bars

An easy traybake to make for tea or a coffee morning.

Preheat oven 180C/gas4                  Grease and line a 24x33m tin

1 tbspn cocoa plus extra to dust over top
2 tbspn instant coffee granules
2 tbspn warm water

225g each of butter, soft brown sugar and sr flour
1 tspn baking powder
4 eggs
cinnamon for dusting top

Icing - 100g white chocolate broken in pieces, 50g butter, 3 tbspn milk, 175g icing sugar

Mix the cocoa and coffee with the water.
Put the rest of the ingredients in a food processor or mixer and blitz together. Add the coffee/cocoa and mix again.
Pour into the tin and bake for 30-35 mins. Cool in the tin.

For the icing - Melt the chocolate, butter and milk together over simmering water. Sieve the icing sugar and stir into the chocolate mix.

Spread the icing over the cake and dust the top with a little cocoa then cinnamon.

Cut the cake into bars and if you want, put the bars into paper cases. I just decided to do this as I seem to have a lot of paper cases lurking in the back of the cupboard! The bars have a good texture and aren't too sweet, contrasting well with the sweet white chocolate icing. A handy recipe for a traybake.


Chocolate Truffle Tart

I made this recently as my contribution to a 'get together' lunch. It used up a bar of chocolate I would probably have eaten! It's a recipe I've made many times and is adapted from an old American baking book I picked up on one of my visits. Have mentioned it on here before - 'Favorite Cakes and Tarts my Mom made'.

For the dough you need - 114g cold butter cut into pieces, 150g caster sugar, 1 large egg and 1 egg white, 300g plain flour, 40g cocoa and 1 tspn baking powder

For the filling - 250g dark chocolate, chopped [not more than 60%], 90g cubed butter, 2 large beaten eggs, 85ml double cream, 50g caster sugar and 1 tspn vanilla extract

Preheat oven 190C/Gas5                         20cm tart tin

Cream butter and sugar together till soft. Beat in the egg and egg white. Sieve the flour, cocoa and baking powder together then add to the mixture and fold in. Bring together into a disc, wrap in cling film and put in fridge for 30 mins. Roll out between 2 layers of parchment paper or clingfilm then line tart tin. Cover with parchment paper and baking beans and bake blind for 20 mins.

Melt the chocolate and butter over a low heat. Cool. Add the rest of the filling ingredients and pour into the tin. Bake for 20 mins till filling is set but still a bit wobbly in the middle.

The tart is quite rich, so you only need a small slice! The pastry is quite cakey, but is still a good contrast in texture to the soft filling. Nice served with vanilla ice cream.


Apple Galette de Rois

I love to make one of these traditional French galettes, but wanted to make it a bit different so added some apples.

You need: 2 packs of puff pastry, 3 eating apples, 200g crème fraîche, 200g ground almonds, 100g caster sugar + 40g, 3eggs and 1 egg yolk

Preheat oven 220C/gas7                 A baking tray

Cut the apples up into small cubes and put into a pan with the 40g of sugar. Caramelise for about 10 mins. Add 1 tbspn of the cream and mix together.
In a bowl mix together the rest of the cream and the 100g of sugar, the ground almonds and eggs. Put this in the fridge for 10 mins.
Roll out the pastry sheets. Cut out 2 large circles [I used a large dinner plate]. Put one of the circles on the baking tray and cover with the apples. If you have one, put a bean or little fêve in then spoon over the almond mixture. Cover with the second circle of pastry and pres the edges together.
Dilute the egg yolk with 1 tbspn water then brush over the pastry. Make a pattern on top using the sharp point of a knife.
Bake for 25 mins.

The addition of the apples gave another layer of flavour. I liked the pastry then the soft apple, the almondy frangipane and the final pastry layer. A good galette, but I think I prefer it made in the traditional way.

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