Camembert Snowflake

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camembert 19/01/2018

I’m a tiny bit obsessed with cheese at the moment. That’s a lie, I’m always obsessed but here is a particularly gooey, overloaded offering containing caramelised onions, bacon, herbs and buttery pastry dunked into melting luxurious cheese.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 baking camembert
  • 2 sheets of puff pastry
  • 3 tbsp caramelised onion chutney
  • 75g crispy smoked bacon bits
  • 1 egg whisked
  • Honey
  • Rosemary leaves

Instructions:                                               

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper.
  2. Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface. Place a large mixing bowl on top of the pastry sheet. Cut around the bowl to form a circle (around 9-10 inch diameter).
  3. Repeat step 2 with the second sheet of pastry.
  4. Place one circle of pastry on the prepared baking sheet. Spread caramelised onion chutney over the pastry, leaving the middle centre clear. Sprinkle bacon bits over the chutney and then cover with the second circle of pastry.
  5. Place the camembert cheese in the centre of the circle of pastry and then cut around to form a circle. Discard the cut pastry and lay the cheese in the open centre.
  6. Cut the circle of pastry into 16 equal segments. You can do this by cutting the circle first into 4 equal segments. Then, cut each segment in half and then in half once more, ending with 16 segments in total.
  7. Lift one segment, twist once to the right and place it down. Then lift the segment next to it and twist once to the left and place it down. Keep going around, alternating the direction of the twist. Finally, bring up edges of two segments with opposite twist and press together.
  8. Brush the pastry with egg wash. Make 3-4 slits on top of the cheese and then drizzle cheese with a little honey. Sprinkle rosemary leaves over the cheese and pastry. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes.
  9. Rip off the pastry branches and dunk them in the gooey cheese. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
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Chocolate Hot Cross Bread and Butter Pudding

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hotc 18/01/2018

What’s not to like about chocolate, custard and bread? I’ll tell you. Nothing.

I know it is only January but yes, hot cross buns line the bakery isles already and these chocolate and salted caramel versions from Tesco are no exception. Ever a sucker for the end of isle specials, I found that a few packs had made their way into my shopping bags. And what better way to enjoy them than baked up in a wonderfully gooey, fluffy and light chocolate studded custard? Again, nothing.

Ridiculously easy and ridiculously tasty. Give it a go.

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 6 chocolate and salted caramel hot cross buns
  • 25g butter
  • 75g dark chocolate chips
  • 2 large eggs
  • 250ml milk
  • 1tbsp caster sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

  1. Heat the oven to 170°C, 150°C Fan.
  2. Cut the hot cross buns in half and butter the cut sides, sprinkle with half of the chocolate chips, sandwich together again and place in a baking dish.
  3. Beat the egg milk, sugar, salt and vanilla together and pour over the buns. Scatter with the remaining chocolate chips and bake for 30 minutes or until just set.
  4. Serve with custard or ice cream.

Chocolate Irish Cream Roulade

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roulade 01/01/2018

Happy New Year! Have I got a treat for you?

Yes.

This gorgeous chocolate roulade is made without flour so it’s light as a feather. The cake is rich and chocolatey yet light and almost mousse-like from the pillowy egg whites.

I am not usually a huge fan of cream but the Baileys filling is light and subtle. I cannot describe what a joy this cake is to make and to eat so you’re just going to have to try it yourself.

I have included some tips for the assembly but don’t worry if the cake cracks as this is part of its charm.

Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • butter, for greasing
  • 175g (6oz) plain dark chocolate (about 70 per cent cocoa solids)
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 175g (6oz) caster sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 300ml (10fl oz) double cream
  • 4 Tbsp Baileys Irish Cream liqueur
  • icing sugar, sifted, for dusting

You will need a Swiss roll tin, 30cm x 23cm (12in x 9in) and 2cm (¾ in) deep.

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan/350°F/gas 4). Lightly grease the Swiss roll tin with butter and line with baking parchment. It helps to make a small diagonal snip at each corner of the baking parchment, about 3cm (1¼ in) long, so the paper fits snugly into the corners of the tin.
  2. Break the chocolate into pieces and place in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water. The base of the bowl must not touch the water. Leave until just melted, then remove from the heat, stir and leave the chocolate to cool slightly. (See below, Make a light cake, step 1.)
  3. Meanwhile, place the egg whites in a large bowl and whisk using an electric hand whisk on high speed until fluffy and stiff, but not dry.
  4. Tip the caster sugar and egg yolks into another large bowl and whisk on high speed until light, thick and creamy, for about 1½ minutes. Pour in the cooled chocolate and stir until blended. Add two large spoonfuls of the egg whites to the chocolate mixture and mix gently, then fold in the remaining egg whites. Sift the cocoa and fold it into the mixture. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface. (See below, Make a light cake, step 2.)
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cake is well risen and firm on top. Remove the cake from the oven and set aside, leaving it in its tin until cold (expect it to dip and crack a little).
  6. Place the cream in a bowl with the Baileys Irish Cream liqueur and whip until thick enough to just hold its shape. If insufficiently whipped it will be too runny to spread; if over-whipped it will become too thick to spread evenly.
  7. Lightly dust a large piece of baking parchment with icing sugar. Turn the cake out on to the parchment and carefully peel off the lining paper. Spread the surface of the cake with the whipped cream, leaving a bare rim of about 2cm (¾ in) all the way around the edges. With one of the short ends near you, make a score mark 2cm (¾ in) in from this edge, being careful not to cut right through. Starting at this point, tightly roll up the roulade. Transfer the roulade to a serving platter or board. (See below, Roll a neat roulade.)

 

Keys to perfection:

Make a light cake:

  • As soon as the chocolate has melted, take the pan off the heat so the chocolate doesn’t overheat or it will become too stiff; it needs to be a pourable consistency. Stir, lift the bowl off the pan and leave the chocolate to cool until it feels tepid. If the chocolate is too hot when stirred into the egg yolks it will start to cook them.
  • Pour the cake mixture into the buttered and lined Swiss roll tin. The mixture should be light and airy now that the egg whites have been added. Ease it into the corners and smooth the surface level using a spatula. Do this very gently, so that you don’t squash out the air that you have just whisked in.

Roll a neat roulade:

  • Leave the roulade cake to cool completely before you tip it out of the tin. Run a small palette knife around the inside of the baking parchment in the tin to loosen the cake, so you can turn it out easily without it breaking.
  • Gently turn the cake out on to a large sheet of baking parchment that has been lightly dusted with icing sugar. Carefully loosen the parchment that surrounds the cake and peel it off, making sure you don’t take the cake with it.
  • Using a palette knife, spread the cream evenly over the roulade, so you will get a uniform spiral of cream in each slice. Rather than spread the cream right up to the edges, leave a gap of about 2cm (¾ in) all round, or the cream will start to ooze out as you start rolling.
  • Use a sharp knife to make a score mark 2cm (¾ in) in from a short edge, and cut about halfway through the cake on the score line. This will be a useful starting point when you start rolling and will give you a tighter, neater roulade.
  • Roll the cut edge over tightly to start with, using the baking parchment to help keep it all tight by gently pulling it up and over the roll. Don’t worry if the cake cracks – that is quite normal and will be part of the roulade’s charm.
  • Keep rolling, again using the parchment to help by pulling it up and over as you roll. After rolling, ensure the join is underneath, as this will keep the roll secure, then transfer the roulade to a platter using a large, wide spatula or two fish slices.