Category: Baking

Chocolate Orange Tiramisu

Chocolate Orange Tiramisu

Hello! I hope you all enjoyed a lovely Christmas, or if you don’t celebrate Christmas I hope you enjoyed the general festive spirit floating around the place. With one celebration passed we’re now looking towards New Years Eve and the (hopefully) roaring 20s we’re about to enter into. I’m currently about to head off to the snowy Dolomites of Italy (I’ll post lots of pictures of the food on my Insta stories so stay tuned for that!), but as a result I won’t be throwing a NYE party this year sadly. Nevertheless I thought I’d concoct a little dessert for those of you who might be looking for an easy,  yet stylish dish for any New Year dinner parties going on out there.

This tiramisu you could serve in a big dish or little glasses like the classic tiramisu if you’d like, however I find that it looks so much better plated up like this! For some reason by deconstructing a dessert you can make it look really elegant without too much effort. It also allows you to get all the different elements in the perfect proportions for when eating, with a little left over for anyone who wants a top up!

Recipe

Serves 4-6

Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 2 Oranges
  • 100ml Marsala
  • 75g Dark chocolate
  • 250g Mascarpone
  • 250g Custard (you can use ready made or check out my creme patisserie recipe if you’d like to make your own!)
  • 50ml Coffee
  • 12-18 Sponge fingers
  • 1 tbsp Cocoa powder, for sprinkling
  • A few springs of fresh mint to garnish

Method

  1. Grate the zest from the oranges and leave it on one side for now. Then cut away the peel and pith from oranges and discard it.
  2. Slice the oranges into discs and them pop them in a bowl with the marsala. Leave to soak on one side.
  3. Put the chocolate into a glass or metal bowl over a pan of gently simmering water. Leave to melt for about 5 minutes and then set aside to cool a little.
  4. Put the mascarpone into a bowl and whisk to soften it. Add the custard and whisk again until smooth.
  5. Pour half the custard mixture into the bowl of cooled chocolate and mix in 2 tbsp of the coffee until the mixture is smooth.
  6. Add half the orange zest to the remaining custard mix and whisk to combine. Pour the chocolate mascarpone into a pipping bag with a star shaped nozzle and orange mascarpone into a pipping bag with a round nozzle. Leave both bags in the fridge until needed.
  7. When everything’s ready start to plate up begin by taking the orange slices out of the marsala and leaving them to dry a little on some kitchen roll. Pour the remaining marsala into the leftover coffee and mix to combine.
  8. Dip one of the sponge fingers into the coffee mixture and place it on your first plate. Repeat with two more sponge fingers, laying the on the plate to form a zig zag.
  9. Take the orange mascarpone pipping bag and pipe 3 big  blobs next to the ends/corners of the fingers.
  10. Slice the orange discs into quarters and place them around the plate (I find a mixture of slices laid flat and ones propped upright works well).
  11. Take your chocolate mascarpone pipping bag and pipe 6-7 blobs in the free space, between the orange mascarpone and slices.
  12. To finish off take your orange marscapone again and pipe clusters of smaller blobs in the remaining gaps (groups of 3 work well!). Then take a little extra orange zest and place it on top of the big orange marscapone blobs. Finish with some fresh mint placed here and there and a sprinkle of cocoa powder!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

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Christmas Wreath Pavlova

Christmas Wreath Pavlova

It’s been a bit of a topsy turvy term and an even crazier year, but here we are – about to say goodbye to 2019 and hello to some hopefully roaring 20s! It’s not been the best year, but it’s been a year and that’s something. I’ve started to look after myself a little more, so even though I still feel like I’m running down hill at least I’m now smiling. I’ve learnt to appreciate the little things – the way the light hits a building, or the sound of rain on the window – and yes I know I sound like an artsy white girl, but it’s true. Our minds have a tendency to dwell on the bad and fixate on things that need to be solved. But looking at what is and what’s been done can be just as important, so that’s something I’m going to try to do more in the new decade.

Right, insightful snippit over. Onto the food. I’ve really missed getting creative in the kitchen, and even though it’s done me a world of good stepping away from this blog for a little while I couldn’t wait to get back to it as soon as I hit the Christmas holiday! I started making another dish (which will be up soon!) and that resulted in a bowl of leftover egg whites on the side which was crying out to be made into a meringue – hey presto! In all honesty, I’m not entirely sure how this ended up like this – I’ve made meringues for years and I’ve never had one this stiff and shiny, but hey – I’ve managed to do it so you can to!

I’m a sucker for a traditional pavlova so whilst you could go more Christmasy on the flavours (see my suggested variations at the bottom of this post) I think you can’t beat the classic vanilla cream and mixed berries so that’s what we’ve got. And besides, with a peppermint-striped meringue and a wreath shape it already looks festive!

Recipe

Serves 8-12

Time: 2-3 hours

Ingredients

  • 2 Egg whites
  • 110g Caster sugar
  • Red gel food colouring (optional)
  • 300ml Double cream
  • A handful of frozen mixed berries (I went for blackcurrants, raspberries and blackberries)
  • A couple of sprigs of fresh mint to garnish

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 110C. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Take a circular object (a plate or cake tin lid works well), put it on the baking paper and trace round it with a pencil to make an outline. Turn the paper over on the baking tray so the line is on the underside and then set the lined tray to one side.
  2. Put the egg whites into a spotless bowl (a metal bowl is best here and it’s the easiest to get grease-free). Whisk the egg whites with an electric whisk until soft peaks form.
  3. Continue to whisk and add the sugar to the egg whites 1 tbsp at a time until completely combined and the mixture is stiff.
  4. Fit a pipping bag with a star shaped nozzle and then prop it up right by putting it into a pint glass. Take some red gel food colouring and brush it in lines up the inside of the pipping bag (I find a table knife is good at this).
  5. Spoon the meringue into the piping bag and then squeeze it down to the bottom until it’s just about to come out.
  6. Pipe small blobs of the meringue onto the baking paper, around the line you drew earlier to make a ring. Then pipe slightly large blobs in a ring on the inside and outside of the one you’ve just pipped. Bake the meringue in the oven for 1-2 hours until crisp on the outside. Then turn the oven off and leave the meringue to cool completely in the oven (this will prevent it from cracking).
  7. Meanwhile put the cream and vanilla into a bowl and whisk until it just starts to hold it’s shape (any more and it’ll go over when piped).
  8. Spoon the cream into a pippin bag and leave in the fridge until needed.
  9. Take the cooled meringue out of the oven and place it on a serving plate/board. Pipe blobs of the cream along the inside ring of the meringue wreath.
  10. Scatter some berries over the cream and then finish with a garnish of mint!

Alternatives to try:

  • Whisk 1 tsp Brandy into the cream and then top with fresh cranberries and orange segments instead of the mixed berries.
  • Whisk 1 tbsp cocoa powder into the cream to make a chocolate cream topping (this works well with fresh strawberries!).

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

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Double Chocolate Blackberry Brownies

Double Chocolate Blackberry Brownies

It’s blackberry season again!! This is such a big thing in my house as we live in the countryside, so we watch the blackberries over the season from mid-August to start of October, by which point they’re juicy and sweet and beautiful. We literally can’t leave the house any more without my mum bringing tubs for foraging (one time we even took a fishing net to catch apples in – it was strangely effective!) So now that we have tubs and tubs of blackberries in the fridge it’s time to start getting creative again!

It’s no secret that I’m a complete brownie freak. I like to make them, smell them, eat them, jazz them up, play around with them and generally appreciate their existence. So it’s no surprise that I ended up making some these swanky blackberry brownies. I’ve also added in some booze in here because it works so so well with chocolate! I’m not much of a drinker (relatively speaking) and so I’m only just discovering it’s value in cooking – but boy does it give this a nice lil’ touch! Of course though, if you wanna make these t-total you can leave out the alcohol and soak the blackberries in some spices (a pinch each of ground cinnamon and ginger are good!) and Ribena to give them a touch up.

As term hasn’t started for me yet (I know we start super late!) I’m in the process of bouncing between home and my uni house to make the most of the time I have free to do that. When I went home the other day I came up with these (as you can’t not appreciate having a fully stocked kitchen when you’re in one!) and luckily I managed to have a few left to take back to Oxford with me. One of the things I love most about baking is being able to share what I make with friends, and it’s something I really don’t do enough of any more. But these went down a treat so I can definitely see them becoming a favourite in our house!

Recipe

Makes 12

Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

For the Brownie

  • 220g Butter
  • 280g Dark chocolate
  • 4 Medium eggs
  • 280g Caster sugar
  • 60g Plain flour
  • 150g White chocolate, roughly chopped

For the Icing

  • 200g Blackberries
  • 10ml Chambord
  • 40ml Creme de Cassis
  • 175g Icing sugar

To decorate

  • Fresh blackberries
  • 50g Dark chocolate
  • Ice cream to serve (optional)

Method

  1. Begin by prepping the blackberries for the icing. Place the blackberries, chambord, Cassis and 25g of icing sugar in a bowl, mix together and then set aside to macerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Now move onto the brownies. Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C. Grease and line a 15×15 cm loose tin with butter and baking paper.
  3. Put the butter and chocolate into a metal or glass bowl over a pan of simmering water and leave to melt.
  4. Take another bowl and whisk the eggs until pale and fluffy with an electric whisk. Add the sugar and continue to whisk until it leaves a trail when the whisk is taken out (around 5 minutes should do it).
  5. Fold the chocolate into the eggs, sieve in the flour and add the chopped white chocolate. Mix everything together until just combined.
  6. Pour the mixture into the lined tin and sprinkle over half of the macerated blackberries. Then bake the brownies for around 20 minutes until a crust has formed on top and it feel slightly firm. Set aside to cool.
  7. Whilst the brownies are cooling, move onto the icing. Sieve the remaining blackberries, pressing the berries into the sieve with the back of a spoon to release the juices. Then mix a little of this juice into the icing sugar, 1 tsp at a time until a smooth, pourable icing is made.
  8. Turn the brownies out onto a serving board. Once completely cool drizzle the icing over the top. Scatter over some fresh blackberries and finish with some flakes of dark chocolate. These are really good served warm with ice cream!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

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Coffee and Caramelised White Chocolate Cookies

Coffee and Caramelised White Chocolate Cookies

So last week I did a post on how to make yourself some delicious caramelised white chocolate – now it’s time to know how to use this ingredient in your baking! These cookies are really easy to make and can be frozen as a dough, so you can make a huge batch and then just bake them as and when you want so you always have fresh cookies! (And who doesn’t always want fresh cookies?) If you’re a bit short on time you don’t have to use caramelised white chocolate, this also works really well with normal white chocolate. That said, I would recommend giving the caramelising process a go if you can because it brings a new flavour dynamic which is well worth the effort!

In other news I’ve just moved into my student house for the year which is really exciting because I now have a gorgeous kitchen to cook in all year round! It’s gonna take a little while to find my bearings and get everything sorted, but hopefully I’ll soon start getting out some content from there so keep an eye out for that – and as always any requests just throw them my way!

Recipe

Makes 12

Time: 2 hours (plus chilling time)

Ingredients

  • 170g White chocolate (30-32% cocoa solids), roughly chopped
  • 105g Unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ tbsp Instant coffee granules
  • 200g Plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • ½ tsp Baking powder
  • ¼ tsp Baking soda
  • 100g Light brown sugar
  • 75g Caster sugar
  • 1 Large egg
  • 1 Large egg yolk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
  • Flaked sea salt, for sprinkling

Method

  1. Begin by making the caramelised white chocolate. Pre-heat the oven to 120˚C. Spread the roughly chopped white chocolate on a shallow baking tray lined with baking paper and put it into the oven for around 10 minutes.
  2. Take the tray out, stir the white chocolate with a spatula until evenly mixed and then put it back into the oven. Repeat this mixing every 10 minutes for the next 30-50 minutes until golden and caramelised.
  3. Leave the caramelised chocolate to set on the baking paper. (It can then be wrapped in baking paper and stored like this for up to 2 months if you don’t want to use it straight away).
  4. Now start making the cookies. Put the butter into a small pan and melt it gently over a medium heat. Once melted add the coffee and stir until dissolved. Then leave this to one side until needed.
  5. Next mix the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a bowl.
  6. In a separate bowl whisk together the butter, sugars, egg, egg yolk and vanilla until fully combined. Add the flour mixture to these wet ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until a smooth dough starts to form.
  7. Break the caramelised white chocolate into pieces and add it to the dough.  Then mix everything together until the dough is smooth and the chocolate is incorporated. Wrap the dough in cling film and then leave it to chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
  8. Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C and line a couple of baking trays with baking paper.
  9. Roll the dough into 60g balls and place them on the lined baking trays, making sure they’re spaced out by a couple of inches to prevent them from spreading into each other during baking.
  10. Sprinkle the cookies with a little sea salt and then bake in the oven for 15-18 minutes until golden brown and starting to crisp around the edges. Leave the cookies to cool for 10 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. These will keep in an air-tight container for up to 5 days. Enjoy!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

 

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How to Caramelize White Chocolate

How to Caramelize White Chocolate

There’s this new trend in the food-world that I’ve been itching to try for way too long that involves white chocolate getting a bit of a make over – so I thought I should give it a go! I feel like if you were to typecast chocolates, dark is the all-knowing friend who’s super healthy and idealistic; milk is the loving grandparent who’s always there to have a quick chat whatever the weather; whilst white is the super cute but annoying toddler who’s great in small doses and if you’re in the right mood. It’s nice, but a little too sweet and not much else. Well, here’s white chocolate’s chance to shine!

Caramelising chocolate is a really easy process in which you just bake the chocolate on a baking tray, stirring it every now and then until it turns all golden and beautiful. Doing this gives the chocolate a bitter caramel flavour which works really well with the sweetness of the white chocolate. You can then use the caramelised chocolate as you would a normal bar of white chocolate (cookies, ganache, mousse etc!). I’ve found that, whilst the technique is super easy, the type of chocolate you use will have a massive effect on the outcome of the process. If you use cheaper, more standard stuff it tends to come out dry and lumpy – great for cookies and cakes, not so good for mousses and ganache. Therefore if you do want a silky smooth end product you’ll need to use chocolate that has a cocoa content of over 30% (this info is on the back of most bars near the ingredients). I experimented with Sainsburys own brand, Lindt, Menier’s, and Green and Blacks and the Green and Blacks were the only type that came out smooth, so if you have any doubts that’s the one I’d recommend!

(^ this is an example of what you can use your caramelised white chocolate for – coffee walnut teacakes coated in caramelised white chocolate! Recipe going up soon!)

Recipe

Makes 200g caramelised white chocolate

Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 200g White chocolate (at least 30% cocoa butter), roughly chopped

Method

  1.  Pre-heat the oven to 120˚C. Spread the roughly chopped white chocolate on a shallow baking tray lined with baking paper and put into the oven for around 10 minutes.

2. Take the tray out and give the white chocolate a good stir with a spatula until smooth. Then put back into the oven for another 10 minutes.

(^Chocolate after 10 minutes in the oven)

(^Chocolate after 10 minutes in the oven and a good mixing)

3. Repeat this mixing every 10 minutes for the next 30-50 minutes until golden and caramelised.

(^20 minutes in the oven)

(^30 minutes in the oven and ready to use)

3. The chocolate is now ready to use. If you want to store it for another day you can pour/spoon the caramelised chocolate into a jar or leave it to set hard and then wrap it in some grease proof paper to store it as a bar. It can be stored like this for up to 2 months.

 

Uses…

So far I’ve used this for two recipes – these delicious coffee and caramelised white chocolate cookies and the coffee walnut teacakes shown above (recipes coming soon!). As far as I can tell though, this will work really well in any recipe using chocolate! You can add it to your favourite cookie recipe like I’ve done here or why not try…

  • Pouring over 200ml warm double cream to make a ganache?
  • Sprinkling it over a cake or mixing it into some cake batter?
  • Making it into some ice cream? (I’ve heard this one is especially good!)

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

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