I’m totally converted to vegan banana bread, I always get better results from it than from my more traditional recipe and I’m really not sure that I can tell the difference as far as the flavour is concerned. That’s especially true of this recipe, which […]
If anyone can think of a catchier name for this then I would love to hear it. It is a bit of a mouthful, no pun intended.
I’ve met quite a few Americans who find the fact that we Brits often refer to dessert as pudding a little odd. We also refer to things that quite clearly are not pudding as pudding (e.g. Yorkshire pudding, steak & kidney pudding, black pudding) but that’s a whole other post! In America ‘pudding’ is pretty much only used to refer to a thick custardy dessert with the exception of bread and butter pudding, although over there it’s just called bread pudding. They seem to love it though, maybe it works so well because their bread is so sweet.
Anyway, I was thinking of how to make bread and butter pudding into something really special. The answer is obviously to add chocolate and use the richest, fattiest ‘bread’ you can find – cue the croissants!
butter for greasing
6 croissants (ideally a little stale)
125g cherry jam
75g dark chocolate (roughly chopped)
3 tsp brandy (optional but really good!)
1 tsp vanilla extract or paste
Grease a baking dish with butter.
Slice the croissants in half horizontally and spread the cut sides with the jam. Arrange them in the baking dish, scattering the chopped chocolate amongst them.
Whisk together the remaining ingredients in a jug, ensuring that they are really well blended. Pour this custard mixture over the croissants and then set the whole lot to one side for 15 minutes so that the croissants can soak up the custard. Pre-heat your oven to 190°c.
Bake for 35 minutes, until the custard is softly set. Cover the top with some foil if it starts to get too brown. Leave to stand for five minutes before serving.
You know you’ve come up with a winning recipe when your brother sends you this message and tells you that he’s just polished off his third slice! But really I can’t blame him for having thirds of this rich, delicious, sticky, gooey cake. The sponge […]
Sometimes you just need a slice of rich gooey chocolate cake. A moelleux isn’t some namby-pamby light, fluffy sponge adorned with frosting. It’s a serious chocolate hit. Dense and fudgy and a little bit gooey in the middle, almost to the point of melting. It’s like a very grown-up brownie.
When we went to Paris we had dinner at an amazing restaurant in Montmartre (away from the tourist traps by Sacre Coeur) and I ordered Cafe Gourmand for dessert. I always order it when I see it on the menu – usually through a combination of indecisiveness and greed. I get to try three or four tiny desserts but it totally counts as one!
Anyway, one of our ( I shared with Mr Colonial Cravings because I’m nice like that) mini desserts was a slice of deliciously rich and melting homemade moelleux. It was utterly delicious, a tiny bit warm, served with Chantilly cream. Heaven!
For Mr Colonial Cravings birthday this year I thought that I would try my hand at baking one infused with Earl Grey tea. It’s safe to say that it was a success!
200g dark chocolate
40g plain flour
2 tsp earl grey tea (optional)
icing sugar to decorate
Pre-heat your oven to 190°c and grease a spring-form cake tin. I like to lightly dust my tin with a little flour too, just to be on the safe side.
Melt together the chocolate and butter in a bain-marie and then set it aside to cool a little. Beat together the eggs and the sugar until they are fairly pale and fluffy. Mix the eggs and the chocolate together.
Grind the tea as finely as you can and sift it with the flour. Discard any bits that are too big to go through the sieve. Sieve the flour/tea again into the chocolate and egg mixture and then fold it together. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake the cake for about 35 minutes. It should still be a little soft in the middle when it’s done. Leave the cake to cool in the tin before serving with a dollop of cream.
How about these for a sweet treat? Crisp little pastry shells filled to the brim with homemade chocolate and caramelised hazelnut ganache. You know you wouldn’t be able to say ‘no’ to one of these (or two, or three).
The trick with these is to roll the pastry as thin as possible so that you can maximise the amount of filling you can fit into them – it’s all about ratios!
Provided that you have a fairly robust food processor making your own ‘praline’ isn’t really that hard, although you do obviously need to be extremely careful with the hot caramel.
125g plain flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 egg yolk
splash of very cold water
50g skinned hazelnuts
100g milk chocolate
100ml double cream
pinch of sea salt
Kick things off by making the pastry. If you have a food processor then this can be made very quickly and easily. Just add the flour, sugar and butter to the food processor and whizz it up until it looks like ground almonds. With the food processor running at a slow speed add the egg yolk and just enough cold water to bring it all together to form a soft dough.
If you don’t have a food processor then gently rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips and then mix through the sugar. Again use the egg yolk and a touch of water to bring the dough together.
Wrap the dough in cling-film and pop it in the fridge to chill for 20 to 30 minutes. Grease your mini tart tins and pre-heat your oven to 180°c.
Once the dough has rested unwrap it and gently roll it out on a lightly floured surface until it is a few millimetres thick, try to get it as thin as possible. Use a cookie cutter to cut out discs the right size for your tart tins and gently press the pastry into the tins. Prick the bases of the tarts with a fork, cover each one with a small piece of greaseproof paper and then pile on some baking beans. Bake the pastry cases for 20 minutes and then uncover them and bake them for a further 10 minutes. Once the tart shells are nicely golden leave them to cool on a wire rack.
Either oil a baking sheet or cover one with a silicone mat and set it aside. Combine the sugar and water for the praline in a heavy frying pan and then put it over a gentle heat. Resist the urge to stir it and let it bubble away until the sugar becomes a lovely deep golden caramel. Carefully stir the hazelnuts through this and then immediately pour onto the prepared baking sheet. Leave to cool and harden.
Once it’s cold and set firm break it into chunks and put it in a food processor. Grind it as finely as you can, ideally so it’s no more coarse than something like ground almonds. Roughly chop the chocolate and put it in a bowl. Heat the cream (in a pan or in the microwave) so that it’s quite hot but not boiling. Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate and let it sit for a minute or two before stirring well, so that it’s combined into a smooth ganache. Fold the ground hazelnuts into this.
Use this hazelnut ganache to fill each of the tart cases, right up to the brim. Pop the tarts in the fridge so that the filling can set and become firm. Decorate with a little plain chocolate if you like.