Friday, 25 July 2014

Chocolate Sundae Royale - We Should Cocoa #47

When Mõvenpick asked their fifteen favourite bloggers (of which I'm one!) to create a sundae using their ice-cream, perhaps unsurprisingly my thoughts jumped to chocolate. I was planning on an All Chocolate Sundae project using dark and white chocolate ice-cream, chocolate brownies and chocolate sauce. However, the plan was hijacked by these blackcurrants. Adding cassis to champagne makes for a Kir Royale, so I reasoned that adding blackcurrants to my chocolate sundae would not only enhance it, but make it fit for a monarch - a Chocolate Sundae Royale, no less.

Mõvenpick ice cream takes me straight back to Switzerland where I was a teenage au pair. Country bumpkin that I was, I found the ice-cream parlour serving Mõvenpick sundaes to be amazingly glamourous. My introduction consisted of a magnificent affair with 15 balls of differently flavoured ice-cream - I remember it well. So when I was sent two tubs of their ice-cream, two sundae glasses and matching spoons, I was all set to relive my dissolute youth. I chose Swiss Chocolate which not only tasted of rich dark chocolate but also contained generous amounts of Swiss chocolate shavings; I paired it with a contrasting creamy White Chocolate containing chunks of white chocolate. Both were way too tasty and the leftovers didn't hang around in our freezer for very long. These two, along with eight other flavours, can be purchased in 900g tubs from Ocado.

The ever-inspiring Elizabeth is hosting We Should Cocoa this month over at Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary. She has chosen chocolate ice cream and toppings recipes - you can do either or both. Ice-cream in July is becoming a bit of a tradition. Do have a look at the July 2013 We Should Cocoa ice-cream round up. Well I knew I was going to be getting some chocolate ice-cream, so I needed to come up with something particularly good for a topping.

CT gave me a most wonderful book for my birthday, Mast Brothers Chocolate: a family cookbook by Rick & Michael Mast. The book is full of dark and luscious recipes along with stories of their bean to bar chocolate making adventures. A recipe for hot caramel fudge sauce caught my eye and I knew that was the one I wanted to use for my sundae and my entry to We Should Cocoa.

This is how I made:

Chocolate Caramel Sauce

  • Melted ¼ a cup of golden caster sugar in a pan over medium heat, then allowed to simmer for a couple of minutes until it turned a bronzy colour. Removed from the heat.
  • Meanwhile heated ½ cup of double cream in a separate pan with ½ tsp of vanilla extract until hot.
  • Poured the cream into the caramel and stirred hard until all was smooth.
  • Added 100g chopped 70% dark chocolate and stirred until melted.
  • At this point my caramel ganache separated out, so I heated a ¼ cup of cream and poured this in, stirring carefully. Thankfully this worked and I had a thick but beautifully smooth and shiny warm chocolate caramel sauce.

This is how I made:

Blackcurrant Sauce

  • Simmered 150g blackcurrants with 75 ml water for about ten minutes to soften the fruit.
  • Pressed the mixture through a sieve, extracting as much juice as possible. Threw the remaining pulp in the compost.
  • Stirred in 1 tbsp of icing sugar.
Pride comes before a fall, but I think this might be one of the best sundaes I've ever eaten - maybe because I had it for breakfast! Not normally one for sweet foods in the morning, I reckon this was my most decadent breakfast ever. My excuse was simple: I had to make it early in the morning whilst the light was best for photographic purposes and before the house heated up too much. Different layers, textures, tastes and temperatures made a sundae surprise to keep us guessing - we were never quite sure what was coming in the next mouthful. Blackcurrant was an inspired addition; it had a punchy piquancy and the tart fruit cut through the richness of the chocolate and cream. A slug of cassis could easily be added to the blackcurrant sauce to make this even more decadent than it already is.

This Chocolate Sundae Royale is my entry to the Mõvenpick Ice Cream Blogger Competition. The creator of the favoured recipe wins a two-hour masterclass with the Langham's head pastry chef, Cherish Finden, followed by afternoon tea for two at the Palm Court. Fingers crossed.

You can see some of the other entries here:
Appropriately enough given the hot weather, this month's Family Foodies event is Chill Out, Baby, making my sundae eminently suitable (although it might be best to omit the optional cassis). It is hosted this time by Vanesther of Bangers & Mash and is hosted alternately with Lou of Eat Your Veg.

This month's Blogger Scream for Ice Cream over at Kavey Eats is all about holidays. Well, the Swiss sundaes that inspired this were not exactly holiday related - I don't think I've ever worked so hard as I did when I was an au pair. My entry is, however, travel related, so I hope it counts.








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Chocolate Sundae Royale
A decedent chocolate ice-cream extravaganza made with dark and white chocolate ice-creams, chocolate caramel sauce, blackcurrant brownies and some blackcurrant sauce to cut through the richness.
Ingredients
  • 2 blackcurrant brownies - quartered
  • 6 small scoops white chocolate ice-cream
  • 4 small scoops Swiss chocolate ice-cream
  • ½ cup hot caramel fudge sauce (see above)
  • ¼ cup blackcurrant sauce (with an optional slug of added cassis for extra decadence)
Instructions
1. Place one of the brownie quarters at the bottom of each sundae glass.2. Top with a scoop of white chocolate ice-cream followed by some of the chocolate sauce.3. Add 2 scoops of Swiss chocolate ice-cream followed by the remaining brownie quarters.4. Top with 2 scoops of white chocolate ice-cream, then drizzle the chocolate and blackcurrent sauces over the top until they flow down the sides.
Details
Yield: 2

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Pomegranate Choctail - Random Recipes #41

Dom's been drinking too many cocktails recently and in his own words has become obsessed. And now he's trying to lead us all astray by getting us to make cocktails for Random Recipes this month. Shame on you Dom ;-) Actually, it's good to have an excuse to make a cocktail, they are rather lush.

Surprisingly, I don't seem to have many cocktail recipes, so instead of choosing a book randomly, I entered cocktails into Eat Your Books and came up with a chocolate bramble cocktail from Adventures with Chocolate by Paul A Young. I know Dom tells us not to tinker with the recipe, but he should know by now that I'm incapable of following this instruction. In any case, I didn't have any blackberries or Crème de Mûres, but I did have some pomegranate juice, or juice drink to be more precise. I didn't even follow Paul's exact recipe for the chocolate liquor part as it seemed rather sweet and the pomegranate drink was quite sweet enough. However, I did follow his method - more or less.

The cocktails went down a treat - dark and velvety, very adult and not too sweet. If you prefer your drinks sweeter, just add a little more sugar to the chocolate liquor or use a less dark chocolate. CT was rather disappointed I'd only made enough for one each. The chocolate and red pomegranate didn't quite layer in the way I'd hoped, but I liked the way they swirled together as they slowly mixed;  I was reminded of a lava flow.

So it's cocktails for Random Recipes over at Belleau Kitchen. Dom has upped the anti this month by offering a bottle of vodka as a prize for the best entry.

This also goes off to Baking with Spirit where the theme is Alcohol for Parties. This event from Janine of Cake of the Week is this month hosted by Laura of I'd Much Rather Bake Than ...










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Chocolate Pomegranate Cocktail
A dark chocolate fruity cocktail that has depth and bite.
Ingredients
  • 25g golden caster sugar
  • 40g 80% dark chocolate + a couple of squares to serve
  • 50 ml Plymouth gin
  • 200 ml pomegranate juice drink
  • 10 ml lemon juice
  • 4 ice cubes
Instructions
1. Warm the sugar and chocolate in a pan with 100 ml water until the sugar has dissolved and the chocolate melted.2. Simmer for a couple of minutes, then take off the heat.3. Shake the gin, pomegranate and lemon juice together.4. Place two ice cubes in two glasses. Pour the gin concoction over the ice, then slowly pour the chocolate sauce in.5. Top with a square of chocolate.
Details
Prep time: Total time: Yield: 2 glasses

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Chocolate Pomegranate Cake with Lemon Curd and Strawberries

So enamoured was I with the chocolate, lemon curd and strawberry combination after I made these chocolate waffles, that I knew immediately that was what I would use for my birthday cake last week. What I didn't then know was that I would add pomegranate to the mix.

When I was sent some pomegranate juice drink from The Simply Great Drinks Co, I thought it would make a fabulous addition to my cake. And so it proved to be. Neither CT nor I are particularly keen on sweet drinks and this did taste very sweet. However, we found that a dilution of one third juice to two thirds water suited us very well; it tasted good and was particularly refreshing during hot days. It made for a rather tasty cocktail too - recipe to follow. In fact I only just managed to nab some for my cake before it ran out. The pomegranate flavour was to the fore and the colour was deep and jewel-like. With pomegranates trending as the latest superfood, consuming some has to be a good thing. However, it must be said that PomeGreat, as this drink is called, contains only 30% pomegranate juice. The rest is made up of water and other fruit juices from conentrate.

As some of you may remember, I carried out a cocoa powder tasting trial some time ago. It was Food Thoughts organic and fair-trade cocoa that came out best. Food Thoughts is available in Sainsbury's, but is not stocked by the Co-op or anywhere else in Liskeard, so I don't get to use it very often. Luckily, Food Thoughts kindly sent me a couple of pots recently, so it was this cocoa I used in my birthday cake.

On the day, friends hosted an afternoon tea party for me that ended up lasting long into the evening. It was a jolly affair and it even stopped raining long enough to have a walk around their beautiful garden and to spend half an hour sitting out on their newly created terrace. I did much of the baking for the occasion including the gooseberry mini cakes that have already featured. Surprisingly, the most popular bake of the day turned out to be some little muffins made from the gleanings of a weeding session down at the plot. They were modelled on this recipe for carrot and beetroot muffins, only I used tender leafy greens instead of the carrots and beetroot and omitted the cocoa powder. Greens, walnuts and goat's cheese is a winning combination I found. I also made brownies, peanut butter cookies and madeleines. My friend made sandwiches, quiches and scones, so we had a veritable feast.

The cake went down a storm. No surprise, with its tangy fruity creamy combination it encapsulated summer. The chocolate cake itself was succulent with a light but substantial sponge that was infused with a hint of pomegranate.

A couple of days after my birthday when this cake had long since disappeared, my mother turned up with another birthday cake. Lucky me. I don't get cakes made for me very often, so I was quite delighted. It was a well textured light fruit cake with a layer of marzipan beneath the icing and although very different, it was equally delicious.

I am sending this off to Emily over at A Mummy Too for her Recipe of the Week.


It also goes to Cook Blog Share with Lucy over at SuperGolden Bakes.

Tasty Tuesdays gets a look in too with Vicki at Honest Mum.

This also goes off to Jenny over at Mummy Bakes Cakes for July's Celebration Cakes and Bakes.







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Chocolate Pomegranate Cake with Lemon Curd and Strawberries
A celebration chocolate cake made with pomegranate juice then layered and topped with cream, lemon curd, strawberries and chocolate.
Ingredients
  • 225g unsalted butter
  • 225g dark brown sugar
  • 1 heaped tbsp golden syrup
  • 4 large eggs (I used duck eggs)
  • 225g flour (half wholemeal, half white)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 50g cocoa powder (I used Food Thoughts)
  • 60g ground almonds
  • 150ml pomegranate juice
  • 200ml double cream
  • 4 heaped tbsp lemon curd
  • 300g strawberries - hulled and quartered
  • 20g dark chocolate - shaved
Instructions
1. Cream butter sugar and golden syrup until light and fluffy.2. Beat in eggs, one by one, alternating with a spoonful of the flour if necessary to prevent curdling.3. Sieve in the flour, baking powder, almonds and cocoa and stir until just combined.4. Add the pomegranate juice and stir gently until just combined.5. Scrape into two prepared 21 cm cake tins or silicone moulds and bake at 180℃ for 30 minutes or until well risen and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tins for ten minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.6. Whip the cream until peaks form. Divide into two and fold in half of the strawberries.7. Cover one of the cakes with the strawberry and cream mixture, then spread on 2 tbsp of the lemon curd. Place the remaining cake on top and cover this with the plain whipped cream. Cover with the rest of the lemon curd, the strawberries and the chocolate shavings.
Details
Yield: 12 servings

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