I’ve never been much of one for rich dark fruit cake. I love dried fruit but I always find fruit cakes to be a bit too sweet and full-on. Something like this is much more my cup of tea, more cake than fruit and a […]
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.
These are flavours which are just made to go together. They’re fragrant and exotic and generally a delicious combination. Cardamom is one of my favourite spices. I do love a no-churn ice cream recipe too, they’re always so quick and easy to whip up (no […]
It wasn’t until I travelled to Charleston SC that I thought of praline being anything more than the chocolate seashells that Mr Colonial Cravings receives for Christmas every year. But in Charleston we tried some very tasty crunchy little clusters of caramelised pecans. I think […]
I think cherry and pistachio might be two of my favourite things. They’re delicious alone but even better together. Freshly baked muffins are always hard for me to resist too, they’re so warm and light and fluffy. They’re also really quick to make so my cravings can usually be satisfied within an hour of them occurring!
120g plain flour
1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
40g shelled unsalted pistachios
40g butter, melted
100g frozen cherries
Pre-heat the oven to 190°c and line a muffin tin with wrappers.
Sift together the flour and raising agents. Put the pistachios into a small food processor and grind them up, they don’t have to be as fine as ground almonds, I like to leave mine a little chunky.
In a separate bowl or jug mix beat together the honey, butter, buttermilk and egg.
Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and then pour the wet ingredients into it. Very briefly fold the two together, you don’t want to over mix and it’s fine to have little pockets of dry ingredients. Fold in the frozen cherries.
Divide the batter between the muffin cups and bake for 15-20 minutes, until they have risen and become golden brown. Enjoy warm or cold!
So I’m on a mission to use up all the bits and bobs that are left in my pantry before our imminent move back to the UK. That’s how this epic breakfast treat occurred.
I had half a jar of malt extract (I still need to use the rest of that actually!) and various bags of nuts, none of which had much left in them. There was also a little bit of self-raising flour in there, which I hardly ever use because generally I prefer to use plain flour and baking powder. All things that can be tossed into pancake batter.
These are really light and fluffy and the malt extract gives them lots of rich, almost caramel flavour. I’ll tell you one thing…they really set you up for a day of packing!
30g butter (melted)
3 tbsp malt extract
150g self-raising flour
40g whole wheat flour
1 tbsp baking powder
60g finely chopped mixed nuts (anything you like)
pinch of salt
Whisk together all of the dry ingredients except the nuts in a large mixing bowl. In a separate jug whisk together the milk, eggs, melted butter and malt extract until they are well combined.
Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in about a third of the wet mixture. Mix this together, working from the centre outwards, incorporating a little of the dry mixture at a time. Repeat this until everything is blended together into a thick, smooth batter. Finally fold through the chopped nuts.
Lightly grease a large frying pan and place it over a moderate heat. Pour the batter into the pan to create your pancakes, however big or small you like and cook them for a couple of minutes before flipping them over and cooking them on the other side. Serve hot with butter and a drizzle of maple syrup.