It’s ‘Choux’ Time …

Our lunch today was in honour of it being my husband’s birthday last week and I wanted to make a dessert that I’d never tried making before, having always believed it was too tricky and too likely to go wrong. I didn’t have a ‘plan B’ and so had to give it my best shot.

I can’t believe I thought choux pastry was difficult! I followed a Mary Berry recipe and they turned out really well. The best part though was pumping each choux bun full of whipped cream – even my boys wanted to have a go!

Each choux bun was then coated in a chocolate icing before being chilled in the fridge for a couple of hours.

Just to have a go, I attempted to make spun sugar. This too was a new experience for me and didn’t go quite to plan – the sugar syrup mixture cooled too quickly and was tricky to ‘spin’. I re-heated it a little and decided to drizzle the sugar which had by now turned to caramel, over the choux buns. As soon as the hot caramel hit the chilled, chocolate coated buns, it solidified. The caramel made an intensely satisfying sound as we all crunched our way through it. I’ll definitely be making them again – my boys have asked for a full-on Croquembouche next time though!! ❀

Advertisements

Very naughty but oh so very nice …

What can I say? The boys asked for me to make these and it would be cruel to say ‘no’ I think. There are lots of recipes for ‘millionaire’s shortbread‘, all of which are pretty similar. The recipe that I used this time (it was another Mary Berry classic) used TWICE the amount of ingredients for the caramel. The result was clear to see:

 

 

Due to the vast amount of caramel, we have renamed this classic ‘Trillionaire’s Shortbread‘! Needless to say, I won’t be making these on a regular basis as I’m sure it’s not a good idea to eat your daily allowance of calories in one hit – it may be time to dig out the wii fit balance board before it’s too late!

Caramel Conundrum …

I was lucky enough to receive ‘Short and Sweet’ by Dan Lepard this Christmas and today decided to make his caramel sauce – my sister-in-law and two nieces were coming for lunch today and I wanted to give the children something special on their ice cream. It went completely WRONG!! The recipe said to boil 100g caster sugar with 25ml water and to keep boiling until the liquid went a deep red colour. I didn’t even get that far as within a few moments, all the water had evaporated and I was left with 100g of caster sugar!! Time was against me so I didn’t get the chance to have another go at the same recipe. Instead I used the recipe for the caramel that I’d made for the Salted Caramel Tart earlier this week, I doubled the amount of cream as I wanted the caramel to be a pouring sauce – it was delicious:

20111230-200922.jpg

 

So far as the children were concerned, being able to top their ice cream off with caramel sauce, maltesers, marshmallows and/or raspberries, was a real hit!

The tastiest thing this Christmas …

was a Chocolate and Salted Caramel Tart. It looked tasty on paper, the ingredients were a great combination – chocolate, cream, sugar, butter and digestives – but I wasn’t expecting the final result to be quite so delicious. I even prepared our visiting parents for the fact that I thought desert had gone a ‘bit wrong’.

Here are the pictures, the recipe follows. There was total silence around the table whilst this was being eaten, someone even asked if they could lick their plate clean!

Image

Image

And so to the recipe:

For the crust:

250g digestive biscuits, crushed

125g butter, melted

For the caramel:

225g caster sugar

100g chilled butter

100ml double cream

1 heaped tsp Maldon sea salt

For the topping:

100g caster sugar

2 eggs

2 extra egg yolks

250g dark chocolate

150g butter

Ice cream, to serve

1. Heat your oven to 180*C. Lightly grease a 23cm loose-bottomed tart tin.

2. Place the crushed biscuits in a bowl, add the butter and mix well. Press the biscuit mixture in to the greased tin, chill the tin in the fridge for 30 minutes or the freezer for 10. Remove the tin from the fridge and bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until the base feels dry. Leave to cool.

3. For the caramel, bring the sugar and 100ml water to the boil in a pan over a medium heat, stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the butter, return to the boil and simmer, stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes or until the mixture is a toffee colour. Pour in the cream and the salt and boil for another 2-3 minutes until slightly thickened. Cool for a few minutes before pouring over the biscuit base.

4. To make the chocolate topping, whisk the sugar, eggs and egg yolks for 4 minutes, or until thick and pale. Gently melt the chocolate and butter together in a bowl over a pan of simmering water (make sure the bowl does not touch the water), leave to cool for a minute and then add to the sugar  and egg mixture, whisking until smooth and glossy.

5. Spread the chocolate mixture over the caramel and bake for about 20 minutes or until it is almost set but still a bit wobbly. Allow to cool in the tin, refrigerate if you prefer your caramel firm rather than gooey (either way is great!)

And that’s it – a recipe that will definitely be going in to the family file, one which I will no doubt use again and again, whenever I get the chance.