Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Blackberry and White Chocolate Melts

Blackberry Cakes
When leafing through Chantal Coady's book Rococo: mastering the art of chocolate a few weeks ago, I was struck by her recipe for White Chocolate Heartbreakers - a white chocolate cake served warm with a melting raspberry and white chocolate middle - rather like a chocolate fondant. I bookmarked it straight away as I thought it would be an excellent dessert for the upcoming blackberry season, producing a surprise purple melting middle rather than a pink one.

Blackberry and White Chocolate Cakes
This was the first time I made a recipe from this book. Annoyingly it was not watertight; the quantities used were inconsistent and some of the methodology didn't make sense. In fact, I suspect the book suffers from being poorly edited, which is a shame as it's a marvellous book with lots of fabulous recipe ideas. The index is a shambles. I couldn't find this recipe indexed under raspberries for instance - in fact I couldn't find it in the index at all. Warning: the recipe uses an awful lot of white chocolate and I only made half the amount! I ended up with 25g of stray chocolate that was unaccounted for in the recipe, so having already cut it up, I incorporated it anyway.  I envisaged the white chocolate would caramelise at the base (which it did), so I put the stray chocolate on the top, hoping it would do the same (which it did). I made the full quantity of the surprise centre as I had designs on it for another recipe - my chocolate blackberry cake. This had to be made the night before to allow the mixture to freeze (except it didn't).

This is how I made:

Blackberry and White Chocolate Melts

  • Puréed 125g blackberries with a stick blender, then pressed through a sieve to extract the seeds.
  • Melted 80g white chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot water.
  • Added the purée to the bowl and stirred until combined.
  • Filled six ice-cube trays with the mixture and put the remains in the fridge for future use. Froze the mixture overnight.
  • Melted 50g unsalted butter in a pan over gently heat. 
  • Removed from the heat and added 100g chopped white chocolate. Left for a few minutes then stirred until melted and smooth.
  • Beat in 2 smallish duck eggs (2 largish hens eggs), one at a time with a pinch of Himalayan rock salt and ½ tsp vanilla extract.
  • Sifted in 60g self-raising flour along with 50g ground almonds and stirred gently to incorporate.
  • Chopped another 100g of white chocolate into small pieces and added 50g to the batter. 
  • Distributed about 25g of the chopped chocolate between 6 silicone muffin moulds.
  • Covered the chocolate with a spoonful of batter. Placed a frozen blackberry ganache on top of each one, then covered with the remaining batter.
  • Topped with a blackberry and the remaining chopped chocolate.
  • Baked at 160℃ for 30 minutes when the cakes were risen and golden.

Blackberry Volcano Cakes
Not everything went according to plan and I have a few quibbles with the recipe. The ganache didn't freeze for a start, so it was difficult to remove from the ice-cube tray. However, the result was still fabulous and these little puds are a decadent and delicious dessert I'd be happy to serve up at any dinner party. As envisaged, the white chocolate base and top caramelised giving another layer of flavour and texture to these gorgeous little puds. The blackberry ganache was a star, even though it erupted all over the cakes and didn't come out as a neat melting pool of purpleness in the middle. Blackberry and white chocolate volcano cakes would be a more appropriate name and one I shall use next time. Do let me know if you have any more success with the melts than I did.

I'm sending this off to Bookmarked Recipes with Jac over at Tinned Tomatoes.

As purple is the theme for Vegetable Palatte this month, I'm also sending these off to Shaheen  over at Allotment 2 Kitchen.

Anything goes for Treat Petite with Cakeyboi and The Baking Explorer this month and as it's their first anniversary something special is required. So these blackberry and white chocolate melts are being shared with them too.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Apple and White Chocolate Tarts

We had a wonderful time last week, jaunting off for an evening picnic with friends at Helligan Gardens followed by a production of Dead Dog in a Suitcase by the multi talented and much loved Kneehigh Theatre.

As I wanted something a little elegant for such an occasion and had a load of apples that needed using up, I decided to make some apple tarts. Since discovering the fabulous yogurt pastry I used for my rhubarb and almond cream pasty pie earlier this year, there's been no looking back. It's easy to make, easy to use, has a great taste and texture and doesn't crack when rolling. Being in a bit of a hurry, I forgot to add the white chocolate, so I ended up adding the chocolate to the apple puree part of the tart instead. This worked brilliantly, so I'm glad I made the initial mistake. The tarts looked good and tasted even better. The apple puree had a lovely creamy texture and vanilla flavour due to the white chocolate, which contrasted well with the crisp unsweetened pastry and the apple slices on top.

This is how I made:

Yogurt Pastry

  • Rubbed 150g salted butter into 260g flour (half wholemeal spelt, half plain white) until the mixture resembled breadcrumbs.
  • Stirred in 3 tbsp yogurt until the mixture clumped together.
  • Brought it into a ball with my hands and left to rest for an hour before rolling.
I used about a third of the pastry for the tarts and used the rest in a roasted squash, runner bean, blue cheese and walnut tart which I also made for the picnic.

print recipe
Apple & White Chocolate Tarts
Individual apple tarts with a base of vanillary apple puree and white chocolate topped with apple slices and glazed with apple jelly.
  • shortcrust pastry (mine was homemade) - enough for 6 x 10 cm tart tins
  • 4 windfall apples
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp vanilla sugar (golden caster)
  • 30g vanillary white chocolate (I used Green & Blacks)
  • 1 drop nutmeg extract
  • 3 dessert apples
  • 1 tbsp apple jelly
1. Roll the shortcrust as thin as possible and line the tart cases. Blind bake at 180C for 10 mins.2. Peel, core and dice the windfall apples being sure to cut out any bad bits.3. Cook over low heat with a splash of water and the vanilla sugar until soft.4. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate and nutmeg. Stir until the chocolate has dissolved and the apples are roughly pureed. 5. Divide this between the six tart cases, ensuring they are all covered.6. Quarter and core the dessert apples, then slice thinly. Top the tarts with the apple slices, then sprinkle with a little vanilla sugar.7. Bake at 180C for 15 minutes or until the apples are soft and slightly caramelised.8. Warm the apple jelly in a pan and brush over the hot apples. Leave the tarts to cool.
Total time: Yield: 6

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Chocolate Blackberry Cake - We Should Cocoa #49

As this is a We Should Cocoa anniversary, I wanted to do something a little bit special. I also had a cake to make for a friend. I knew I wanted to use the chocolate blackberry jam I made a couple of weeks ago; it's not only rather special but seasonal too. Leafing through some of my baking books, I came across Ruth Clemens' Ultimate Chocolate Cake recipe in her book, The Pink Whisk guide to Cake Making. The recipe looked good and as we are all in the throws of the Great British Bake Off, it seemed rather appropriate as Ruth was one of the finalists back in 2010.

I decided to follow the recipe for the cake batter and the ganache, but not the buttercream as I was going to use jam. I halved the ganache recipe and changed the cake recipe a little - I just can't help it! I attempted feathering for the first time using the leftover blackberry white chocolate ganache from the blackberry puddings recipe I have yet to post.

This is how I made:
  • Measured 220ml milk into a jug and added 2 tbsp of malt vinegar to make a quick version of sour milk. Gave it a stir and left to coagulate.
  • Creamed 165g unsalted butter with 300g light Muscovado sugar and 30g of Molasses sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in 3 duck eggs (large hens eggs can be substituted) one at a time.
  • Sieved in 200g plain flour, 80g self-raising flour, 60g cocoa powder (I used Food Thoughts fairtrade & organic), 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda and 1 tsp mesquite powder (optional - gives a slight caramel flavour).
  • Folded in alternately with the soured milk.
  • Spooned the mixture into 2 7" oiled baking tins and 3 small rectangular silicone moulds filling them to about 3/4 full.
  • Left to cool in the tins, then turned out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Brought 140 ml of cream to the boil in a small pan with 1/2 tbsp golden syrup.
  • Added 175g of 53% dark chocolate and left for a couple of minutes.
  • Stirred until well mixed and smooth.
  • Sandwiched the large cakes together with chocolate blackberry jam.
  • Topped with the ganache.
  • Piped lines of white chocolate ganache on top and then used a tooth pick to feather the lines - or at least attempted too.
  • Cut the mini cakes in half, sandwiched with the jam then topped with the ganache. 

The batter rose so well, that it annoyingly overflowed, which was not quite what I was looking for. The mixture was also a little fragile, so needed to be handled quite carefully when still warm. It was, however, very light and quite delicious. CT, who wasn't party to the intricacies of the creation, was quite taken by the unexpected pleasure of the blackberry jam cunningly secreted in the middle - ooh he said.


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