Author: Emma Hawkins

Hazelnut Biscotti with a Chocolate Ganache and an Orange Curd

Hazelnut Biscotti with a Chocolate Ganache and an Orange Curd

Happy Christmas for yesterday folks! I hope that where ever you are you had a lovely day and that you found some Christmas cheer. With all the festivities going on we can sometimes forget that this can be a very hard time of year for some people, especially those coping those with the loss of a loved one or a mental illness, so if you’re finding the season a little emotional warms hugs and best wishes are being sent your way – it will get better with time! x

From one celebration to another – New Years Eve! At the moment I have this little obsession with buying foreign food magazines when I’m abroad. The different cuisines are so interesting and although most of the time they’re in a different language, meaning I can’t read the writing, I love looking at the pictures and tying to work backwards to what the recipe might be. A few years ago I came across a page in an Italian magazine with two turquoise bowls, one filled with a thick brown ganache and another filled with a glossy orange curd looking substance. I immediately thought of these as being dipping accompaniments to some nutty biscuits, so a few years later here we are!

With the festive season drawing to a close all eyes now look forward to New Years eve, and these are perfect canape type thing for a party or gathering on the night! The biscotti can easily be picked up, dipped and eaten like sweet nachos in guacamole. Whilst it might seem like extra effort to make dipping sauces for biscuits, with these ones I’d seriously recommend you make the effort. Biscotti are crisp Italian biscuits which are twice baked and therefore without the sauces they can be a little too dry to be really enjoyable. However if the thought of new years mahem sends you into a spin you could serve these with some nutella, thinned out with a little double cream and some shop bought preserve or curd instead!

Recipe

Makes 20 biscuits

Time: 90 minutes

Ingredients

For the Biscotti

  • 2 Medium eggs
  • 100g Caster sugar
  • 250g Plain flour
  • ½ tsp Bicarbonate of soda
  • 100g Chopped hazelnuts, plus extra to serve

For the Orange curd

  • 40g Cornflour
  • 3 Large Oranges
  • 1 Lemon
  • 300ml Water
  • 3 Medium egg yolks
  • 85g Caster sugar
  • 50g Butter

For the Ganache

  • 150g Double cream
  • 130g Dark chocolate

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C and line two baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Put the eggs into a bowl with some sugar and whisk together until pale a fluffy. Add the flour, bicarb, orange zest and hazelnuts and mix these into the egg mixture until a soft dough forms.
  3. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape it into 20cm long sausage (and as wide as you want the length your biscuits to be, I went for about 5 cm). Place the block onto a baking tray and then flatten it slightly. Bake the biscotti block in the oven for 25-30 minutes until starting to brown and go slightly crisp on the outside.
  4. Take the block out of the oven and lower the oven temperature to 160˚C. Leave the biscuit to cool completely.
  5. Place the biscuit block on a chopping board and slice it into 1cm wide biscuits.
  6. Lay these biscuits flat on a baking tray and then bake for a further 10-15 minutes to crisp up. Leave to cool on a wire rack and then move onto the orange curd.
  7. Put the cornflour, orange juice and zest, and the lemon juice and zest into a bowl and whisk to combine.
  8. Next pour the water into a large pan and bring to the boil. Pour the hot water onto the citrus mix, whisking constantly, until combined.
  9. Pour the orange mixture back into the pan and heat gently whilst stirring until the curd has thickened up. Take the pan off the heat and add the egg yolks, sugar and butter. Mix together with a whisk until the butter and sugar have dissolved. Then pour the curd into a jug and set aside for later.
  10. Now make the ganache. Chop the chocolate up finely and put it into a bowl. Then pour the cream into a pan and bring to the boil. Take the cream off the heat and pour over the chocolate, stirring continuously until the chocolate has melted and a thick ganache has started to form. Transfer the ganache to a bowl for later.
  11. When everything is ready serve the biscotti with the curd and ganache in little pots to dip into, and lots of coffee! Any leftover curd or ganache will keep in an airtight container for 2-3 days.

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

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Easy Chocolate Pudding with Chocolate Custard

Easy Chocolate Pudding with Chocolate Custard

From an easy main to an easy dessert, I love making complicated things but there are those times when you just need something you can throw together without thinking about it. Being a student I’m truly experiencing the struggles of little money, little space and little time, so that’s when something like this becomes a godsend. This can be made in the oven or a microwave and so it’s the perfect last-minute, ‘I need chocolate cake now’ kind of dessert.

Of course no good fudgy sponge cake is complete without a good dollop of custard. For this one I’ve used custard powder. Whilst I think fresh custard made with eggs is always a lot nicer, you can’t deny the ease and speed at which you can make custard with a powder mix, so in the interest of preserving your sanity this custard recipe is as quick and as easy as you could want it to be! By extension though, if you don’t want to bother making custard at all, or if you don’t have a hob at your disposal you can use packet custard and then either add cocoa powder to it or just leave it as a vanilla custard.

Recipe

Serves  8

Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

For the sponge

  • 180g Butter
  • 80g Light brown sugar
  • 50g Cocoa powder
  • 3 Large eggs
  • 2 tbsp Whole milk
  • 175g Self raising flour

For the custard

  • 400ml Milk
  • 5 tbsp Custard powder
  • 5 tbsp Light brown sugar
  • 25g Cocoa powder

To serve

  • Fresh berries (e.g blueberries, strawberries or raspberries)
  • Ice cream or Sorbet (I recommend raspberry sorbet with this!)

Method

  1. Take a 1L pudding bowl and butter the inside (this can be any kind of bowl but just make sure it’s not metal as it’ll be going into the microwave).
  2. Put the butter and sugar into a bowl and beat until smooth. Add the cocoa powder to the mix and then stir until combined.
  3. Add the eggs and milk to the batter and whisk them in, followed by the flour to get a pourable mixture.
  4. Pour the mixture into the greased pudding bowl and cover loosely with clingfilm. Then microwave for 4 ½ minutes on high heat until cooked through. Check the pudding with a skewer to make sure the centre’s not raw, and then leave the pudding to rest for a few minutes.
  5. Meanwhile make the custard. Put the milk into a pan and bring to the boil.
  6. Put the custard powder, sugar and cocoa powder into a bowl and whisk together. Pour a little of the milk onto the mixture and whisk in to make a smooth paste. Then slowly pour the rest of the warm milk into the mixture, whisking constantly, until combined.
  7. Pour the custard mix back into the pan and then cook whilst whisking over a medium heat until the mixture thickens.
  8. Turn the pudding out onto a plate and then pour some of the custard over the top. Serve slices of the pudding with the rest of the custard, fresh berries and sorbet/ice-cream!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

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Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie

Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie

I made this way way back in the summer when I was in Canada and obsessed with making cookies, but I’ve waited until now to post this one as I think it’s perfect for bonfire night. You know that time when you’re waiting to head out into the cold night, but decide to have one last hot chocolate before bracing the frost? This is what that’s for. (I know today’s Halloween but I’m looking ahead so bare with). Anyway, way back when I was rummaging through the pans of the house we were staying in I found this gorgeous skillet pan right at the back, and I knew right away that I was gonna make one of these giant cookies. Iron skillet pans like this are so useful as they’re perfect for getting the ultimate cook on a fillet steak, making tart tatins, and of course making giant cookies like this! Admittedly I don’t have one myself (yet), but If you haven’t got an iron skillet pan like this I’d really recommend getting one.

The best way to serve these is with a big dollop of ice cream in the middle and then just let everyone dive in. Make it into a big sharing, sociable dessert type thing. Alternatively if you don’t like to share you can make one and eat it all yourself – I won’t judge. Another great thing with cookies like this is that you can customise to your hearts content! Try adding fruit, nuts, spices and other kinds of chocolate to make it super tasty!

Recipe

Serves 8

Time: 10 minutes prep, 20 minutes cooking time

Ingredients

• 150g Unsalted Butter
• 75g Light brown sugar
• 125g Granulated sugar
• 1 Large egg
• 1 tsp Vanilla extract
• 150g Plain flour
• ½ tsp Bicarbonate of soda
• 1/2 tsp Salt
• 75g Milk chocolate, chopped into chunks
• 75g Dark chocolate, chopped into chunks

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
  2. Mix the butter and sugars together in a bowl with a wooden spoon until pale and fluffy. Add the egg and the vanilla and mix to combine. Then add the flour, bicarb, salt and chopped chocolate and mix together to form a smooth dough.
  3. Take a 10 inch skillet pan and press the dough into it. Don’t worry if the dough doesn’t quite fill the whole skillet as it’ll spread and rise as it bakes.
  4. Bake the whole thing in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until puffed up and golden brown. Leave to cool for 5 minutes so that it solidifies slightly, before serving it with lots of vanilla icecream!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

 

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Amaretti Stuffed Peaches with Lemon Cream

Amaretti Stuffed Peaches with Lemon Cream

As it’s world mental health awareness day today I wanted to make a recipe that’s perfect for all states of mind. For me cooking is that relaxing, creative outlet for all my anxiety, anger and so on and I think lots of people similarly find that it’s a great de-stress activity. There’s also something very communal about making something you can share with others, and most of all making something that is tasty to eat. However there are times when the thought of going into the kitchen is not appealing and whilst I know it’d help me feel better, everything I can think of to cook feels too complicated. Bring on the stuffed fruit!

I’ve never been much of a fan of stuffing fruit for desserts; I generally prefer to stuff desserts with fruit. But if you want a quick, delicious dessert that is super easy to throw together and very hard to get wrong then I seriously recommend these! By crushing up some amaretti biscuits you can make a really flavoursome stuffing for these peaches in seconds, and it also works really well in plums, nectarines and apples so you can work with whatever fruit is in season. I realise that amaretti biscuits may be a little pricey and niche for the average student/household, so if you don’t have any amaretti biscuits around you could use a selection of nuts instead.

Recipe

Serves 3

Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

For the peaches

  • 3 Peaches
  • 30g Ground almonds
  • 20g Chopped almonds or hazelnuts
  • 20g Crushed amaretti biscuits
  • Zest of ½ a Lemon
  • 1 tbsp Caster sugar
  • 1 Small egg
  • A few drops of rosewater
  • A few drops of Vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp Amaretto (optional)
  • 250ml Apple juice

For the cream

  • 250ml Double cream
  • Zest of ½ an Lemon
  • 2 tbsp Icing sugar
  • 1 tsp Orange blossom water

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C. Slice the peaches in half and then take out the stones. Put the peach halves into a deep gratin dish or roasting tin in a single layer.
  2. In a bowl mix together the ground almonds, chopped almonds, crushed amaretti biscuits, lemon zest, sugar, egg, rosewater and vanilla until combined.
  3. Spoon this mixture into the space in the peaches where the stones were, making a little mound.
  4. Mix the apple juice and the amaretto in a bowl and then pour this around the peaches.
  5. Then bake the peaches in the oven for 30-40 minutes until soft and slightly caramelised (the time will vary depending on the peaches ripeness).
  6. Now make the cream. Gently whip the cream with a hand whisk until soft peaks form. Then add the lemon zest, sugar and orange blossom water and fold in gently to combine.
  7. Serve the warm peaches with the cream and little of the poaching juices!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

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Black Forest Amaretto Trifles  

Black Forest Amaretto Trifles  

I’m heading off to uni in a couple of days where I’ll be in the land of little space and little money, so recently I’ve been doing a load of cooking to make the most of the time I’ve got left. The result of doing a load of cooking at once is that you end up having the weirdest niche ingredients lying around the kitchen which then work their way into new recipes. A little while ago I made some stuffed amaretti peaches (recipe coming soon!) and so I had half a bag of amaretti biscuits leftover. I found myself snacking on these biscuits for a couple of days before I realised that rather than snacking on them I should probably use them to make something else. They’re not something I have lying around very often but they can add great flavour to a dish!

So that’s how these came into being. Some crushed amaretti biscuits in the bottom of a glass, topped with some spiced, previously frozen cherries (keeping frozen fruit in the freezer is the most useful thing for speedy, quick desserts!) and then a chocolate custard type thing on the top. The custard layer in this takes a while to thicken as it doesn’t use eggs, so if you want to make this super quick you could just make a light ganache by heating up some double cream and pouring it over the same amount of chopped chocolate. Then add 2 tsp milk and mix until combined. This may make the dessert a little richer, but it’ll make it super quick to put together.

Recipe

Serves 4

Time: 20 minutes (may be a little longer depending on how long it takes for your custard to set!)

Ingredients

For the Cherry layer

  • 150g Frozen cherries
  • 50g Caster sugar
  • ½ tsp Ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp Ground ginger
  • ½ tsp Vanilla bean paste

For the Chocolate layer

  • 500ml Milk
  • 1 tbsp Plain flour
  • 2 tbsp Caster sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla bean paste
  • 60ml Amaretto
  • 100g Dark chocolate
  • 50g Unsalted butter

For the Topping/Base

  • 250ml Double cream
  • 125g Amaretti Biscuits, plus a few extra to decorate

Method

  1. Begin with the cherry layer. Put the cherries, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, vanilla and 2 tbsp water into a pan and bring to a gentle simmer. Leave until the cherries are squishy and the juices are running out of them but the cherries are still in shape. Set aside for later.
  2. Now make the chocolate layer. Put the milk into a pan and heat gently.
  3. In another bowl put the flour, sugar and vanilla into a bowl and whisk together until smooth. Slowly pour the warm milk over the mixture, whisking constantly to combine, and then pour the custard mix back into the pan.
  4. Place the pan back onto a medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and is smooth.
  5. Add the amaretto and mix it in. Then take the pan off the heat and stir in the chocolate and the butter until they’ve melted. Set aside for now.
  6. To prep the topping pour the double cream into a bowl and whisk gently until soft peaks form. Leave somewhere cool (like in a fridge) until needed. Then crush the amaretti biscuits and put them into a bowl.
  7. Now you’re ready to start layering the trifles. Take 4 shallow glasses or one large serving dish and sprinkle ½ the amaretti biscuits into the bottom. Then spoon over ½ the chocolate mixture, followed by the cherries, keeping a few aside to decorate. Portion out the rest of the chocolate mixture between the glasses and smooth over with a spoon to make an even layer. Dollop the cream onto the top of the trifle(s) and finish with a sprinkle of the rest of the rest amaretti biscuits and a cherry. Enjoy!

Thanks for reading!
Emma x

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