Creme Chocolat with Rose Chantilly

We don’t really celebrate Valentines Day in this house. We are way to cynical. Also the thought of my husband presenting me with some naff red roses and a Dairy Milk Tray make me cringe so hard it hurts. 

This pudding is really quick but it’s got a sexy French name and I’m sure you could lick it from a spoon in a suggestive manner if you felt that way inclined, which is why I think it would make a very nice ending to a romantic meal. It needs at least 2 hours to chill in the fridge, but you could make the chocolate cream the day before and put the cream on just before you serve it. 

Bonus point: there’s lots of whipping involved which is great for bingo wings. 


Ingredients

  • 150g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 300g double cream
  • 150g whole milk
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1 tsp rose water
  1. Put 150g of double cream and all of the milk in a pan and heat on a medium flame.
  2. Beat the egg yolks and 1 tbsp of sugar until pale and fluffy.
  3. Slowly pour the hot cream and milk mixture into the egg, whisking constantly.
  4. Return this back to the pan and cook over a low heat, whisking constantly, until it has thickened to the consistency of custard.
  5. Pour half of this on to the broken chocolate and stir until completely smooth.
  6. Pour the remaining custard into the melted chocolate and beat until smooth and glossy.
  7. Pour the chocolate cream into the vessel of your choice. Pretty tea cups, fancy glasses and jam jars all work well. As does a normal dish.
  8. Gently tap the pots of chocolate on the work top to get rid of the bubbles.
  9. Lick the bowl so that no chocolate goodness is wasted.
  10. After a minimum of 2 hours the chocolate should be set enough to decorate.
  11. To make the Rose scented chantilly, place the remaining cream and sugar into a bowl with the Rose water and vanilla. Whip until it forms soft peaks and is light and airy.
  12. Pipe or spoon on to the chocolate cream. Decorate with berries, rose petals and chocolate shavings. 
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Blood Orange Tart

When you work as a pastry chef in a bakery where artificial colouring is outlawed, things start to get a little brown at this time of year. All summer we work with vibrant hues of pinks, purples and yellow. Autumn brings us beautiful purple and red shades from plums and spring brings us fluorescent pink from Rhubarb. There isn’t really a lot of colour to work with at this time of year. That is until blood orange season is upon us!

Blood oranges are in season from mid January to early March, so not long at all really. They get their beautiful colour from a naturally occurring pigment which only develops when night time temperatures are low. Some of them are stained red on the outside whilst some look perfectly, ordinarily orange. 

This Tart does take a bit of time, as it’s very important that you rest the pastry and chill the filling. Patience is most definitely a virtue when it comes to patisserie. Trust me when I say this took me a long-ass time to learn. If blood oranges are out of season, substitute with normal oranges. 

Ingredients 

For the pastry:

  • 250g plain white flour
  • 150g icing sugar
  • 120g unsalted butter
  • 1 egg

For the curd:

  • Juice and zest of 4 oranges
  • 200g butter
  • 150g sugar
  • 4 egg yolks, 1 whole egg
  • 1 tbsp cornflour

For the meringue:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 200g caster sugar


To make the pastry:

  1. Cream the butter and icing sugar using a wooden spoon.
  2. Mix in the egg, then gently with your hands mix in the flour to form a dough. Be careful not to over work the pastry as this will leave you with a tough pastry case.
  3. Place in a plastic bag and chill in the fridge for at least one hour.
  4. Lightly dust a work surface with flour, roll out the pastry to the thickness of a £1 coin and line a Tart case. Make sure the pastry is pressed right in to all the knooks and crannies and leave a little extra pastry over hanging the edge of the case. Prick the base of the case with a fork.
  5. Place in the fridge or freezer to chill for at least an hour.
  6. When fully chilled, cover the pastry in greaseproof paper and fill the case with rice or dried beans. This stops it puffing up in the oven.
  7. Bake the pastry case in a preheated oven at 160 degrees/ Gas mark 3. It will need approximately 20 minutes, turning half way, plus another 10 with the paper and rice removed. Because of the sugar in this recipe, the pastry does colour quite fast, so keep a close eye on it.
  8. When the case is out of the oven, use a small sharp knife to tidy up the over hanging edges. Set aside to cool.


For the Blood Orange Curd:

  1. Set up a Bain Marie using a pan of simmering water and a heat proof bowl. The bowl must not touch the water.
  2. Melt the butter and sugar in the Bain Marie.
  3. In a seperate bowl, combine the eggs, orange zest and juice and cornflour. Make sure they are well mixed.
  4. Pour this mix into the melted butter and sugar. Cook it carefully on the Bain Marie, whisking continuously until it starts to thicken. It should be glossy, smooth and coat the back of a spoon when ready. 
  5. Place in a clean tub to cool, with some cling film on the surface so as not to form a skin.



When the Orange Curd is cool, pour it into the cooled Tart case and place this into the fridge to set. The Tart will be lovely just as it is, however if like me you have a constant need to go one step further, you can decorate your Tart with Swiss meringue…

For the Meringue:

  1. Over a Bain Marie, whisk together the egg whites and sugar. Cook until the mixture reaches at least 63 degrees, or is just about too hot for your pinky finger. 
  2. Using an electric whisk, whip the mixture until it forms stiff peaks. 
  3. Pipe or mound onto your filled and chilled Tart and carefully toast with a blowtorch.


Tips

  • If your Orange Curd lacks acidity (as Orange often tends too), squeeze in a little lemon juice at the end of the cooking. If you have it, a pinch of citric acid works even better.
  • If you do not have a blow torch and still want to do the meringue, cover the whole surface of the Tart in meringue and cook it under the grill. 
  • Any left over Orange Curd will keep in the fridge for 3 days and it tastes amazing on toast.
  • If you think you may struggle for time, you can line the pastry case up to a week before you need it and store it in the freezer. The Curd can be made a few days in advance and stored in the fridge. 
  • Freeze your pastry scraps with a date label and store for up to a month. A small amount will defrost quickly and be ready to roll for when you next need it. 
  • If you will not be serving your Tart within a few hours of finishing it, I recommend glazing the inside of the pastry case with an egg wash. Do this when you remove the paper and rice. 

Beans on Toast

….it’s a legitimate dinner.

I’ve read in a few places recently that the rest of the world think that the great British dish of beans on toast is a bit odd. This is bull shit. Beans on toast is one of the greatest meals of all time.

It serves as breakfast, lunch and dinner. It can even be a light snack for those of us with a heartier appetite. You can have it just as it is; piping hot beans and toast slathered in butter and gooey from the bean juice. Or you can pimp them up with melted cheese, fried eggs, hot sauce, sausages…. 

The only problem with beans on toast is….the beans. Tinned baked beans are fine if you’re heading out camping in the arse end of nowhere, or you’re stock piling for the end of the world as we know it. But if you have the time and the facilities, I urge you to make your own. 

Traditional baked beans are a lengthy process. They are a 10 hour labour of love, not including soaking time for the dried pulses. It’s 100% worth doing if you want to spend a day lovingly babysitting a crock pot of delicious, sweet beans. Look up a recipe for Boston Baked Beans and go buy some molasses.

If you are a normal person with a full time job and an actual life outside of the kitchen, I suspect you won’t be doing this any time soon. So here is my recipe for quick beans:


Ingredients 

  • 250g smoky bacon lardons
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 cans of Haricot or Cannelini Beans
  • 1 500g carton of Passatta
  • 2 tbsp sugar

Method

  1. Dry roast the cumin and mustard seeds, grind finely and add to the paprika. Set aside.
  2. Heat a large, heavy saucepan. Add a drop of oil, then add the bacon. Fry until crisp.
  3. Add the celery and onion to the bacon. Cook on a medium heat, stirring gently until the onions are translucent.
  4. Put all the spices in the pan, stir well, then add the drained beans and the passatta.
  5. Re-fill the passatta carton with water, swirl it around and add to the pan.
  6. Throw in a pinch of salt and the sugar and mix the whole lot well.
  7. Bring the beans to a steady boil, reduce to a simmer and put the lid on.
  8. Leave the beans to simmer for 45 minutes to one hour. You will need to give them a gentle stir every now and then. Top up the water if it starts to look a little dry.
  9. The beans are done when the sauce has reduced and the beans are beginning to break down. Season to taste.
  10. Serve with freshly toasted sourdough and plenty of butter. 

Tips

  • If you are making these beans to eat at a later date, cool as quickly as you can, place in an air tight container and store in the fridge for up to 3 days. Ensure they are piping hot when you reheat them.
  • If you are vegetarian or vegan, simply skip the bacon. These beans are packed full of protein as they are so it doesn’t really bring much to the party, I just really like bacon.
  • If you can get it, I recommend adding a dash of liquid smoke just before you serve this.

Fussiness Factor: Lola really like the sweetness of these beans. The onion and celery break down into the sauce and become invisible. If your fussy kids like this, it’s a good thing to have in the fridge to add vegetables and vitamins to whatever beige food they have requested for dinner.