November 29, 2011

Edd's Praline

Since our trip to Belgium last month I can't get enough chocolate - oh wait, I have never been able to get enough chocolate but.... this has spurred me into making my own. A Couture Chocolate book for my birthday, chocolate moulds on the ready and ideas in my head.....

And along comes Edd - (winner of first Great British Bakeoff series) and he is making my ideal chocolates. Salted Caramel and Praline.

So to start off here is his Praline recipe (which he made home made nuttella from - just add praline to melted chocolate mmmm)

From Edd's Facebook page today
To make the paste you need to make a batch of praline which is traditionally equal parts caster sugar and nuts (in this case hazelnuts) you put the sugar in a pan on medium heat and cook without stirring until it has melted and is a nice dark caramel colour. Add the nuts and stir to combine then immediately tip onto a silicon lined baking tray and allow to cool. Break up into chunks then process in a food processor until smooth. You can then mix it into melted chocolate and 
you have a much better quality nutella, yum!

My turn next - keep posted! Now on a different note... to figure out why my lemon curd didn't work and then to make some snowflakes!  

November 27, 2011

Red Velvet Cake Pops/Balls

I only heard about red velvet cake a few years ago but have only now decided to give it a go. I found a recipe I will share which I have tweaked slightly from The Velveteen Baker's blog (and which does not require you to buy a boxed cake mix as I have never seen them here in the UK anyway).

Why red velvet - they are RED - blood red (or raw meat red as my boss described them) but it really is only a chocolate cake with red food colouring and a bit of vinegar (to get a bubble reaction with the baking soda apparently). I have read that if you prefer not to use food colouring (there is a lot in this recipe I must say) that you can use beetroot - I haven't tried it but I will next time to make it a bit more natural.

For the cake (I will update this next time I make with weighted measurements)

2.5cups + 5Tbsp plain flour, sift before measuring
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
1tsp baking soda
1tsp salt
1Tbsp + 1tsp natural cocoa powder, not dutch-processed
1.5cups vegetable oil
1 c milk (semi skimmed) with 1tsp lemon juice or vinegar added to it (aka buttermilk), room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
2Tbsp red food colouring - yes a lot (you can add beet juice instead but i haven't made to figure out how much)
1tsp white distilled vinegar
1tsp Vanilla extract

For the cream cheese icing:
2.25 cups icing sugar sifted
4oz  of cream cheese, softened
0.25cups mascarpone cheese (I completely missed this out  - and they were still good!)
4Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
05tsp vanilla extract

PreHeat oven to 180 Celsius (fan) 350 Fahrenhit

In a medium bowl mix the sifted flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda & salt.
In a large bowl  gently beat the oil, milk, eggs, vinegar, vanilla and colouring
Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until smooth.

Pour into a lined pan (round/square, whatever you want as it will just get crumpled up afterward) (9x13 is a guide)

Bake for approx 30min (turn once halfway through). Cool in the pan for 10min then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled it is a good idea to cut off any 'hard' crusts that may have formed so that the cake balls are not crunchy - use a serrated knife or a cake saw (love it!)

In a large bowl beat the cream cheese, mascapone, butter and vanilla until smooth. Sift in the icing sugar and beat until smooth. 

Rub together your cake into crumbs and add icing. Mix together until all gooey and combined (yep - very messy)
Roll out balls (about walnut sized) and place on a lined baking sheet or plate (something that will fit into the fridge or freezer). The freezer works best. Leave to set for at least 30min.

Coat with chocolate as you wish and decorate with whatever takes your fancy on the day!

In looking for recipes I came across a blog whereby it appears not to be such a new idea (red velvet) but has been passed down for some generations in America - here is a take on the above if you wanted to try something different

Here's the icing recipe that's been passed down in my family. The recipe comes from Grandma, but the directions are from my mom.
5 Tbsp flour
1 cup milk
1 cup butter or margarine
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla
Cook flour & milk until thick, whisking constantly. Take off heat & lay plastic wrap over the surface to prevent a skin from forming; cool in refrigerator. Cream together sugar & butter/margarine. Add cooled flour mixture & vanilla & beat with electric mixer for a long time until fluffy.

    Albert Roux's souffle Suisesse

    I was ever so lucky to get to go to le Gavroche last year for one of the most amazing meals I have ever had in my life.  For my starter I had the house speciality - the soufflé Suisesse (twice baked cheese soufflé) which was like a mouthful of cloudy heaven! A month later I decided to try out the recipe for part of my Valentine's day dinner for the other half! It obviously wasn't as heavenly but it sure had the flavour (and the calories - but they don't count on treats like this do they now?!)

    Now despite what people have said, soufflés should not be perceived as that difficult to make - just follow the recipe and the timings and get your oven temperature right and it should turn out lovely (the best part is you have to bake this one twice so it will naturally not be perfectly risen by the time you serve it anyway!)

    This is Albert Roux's recipe as served as first served at Le Gavroche 46 years ago - and still is

    Serves 4
    45g butter
    45g plain flour
    500ml milk
    5 egg yolks
    salt and freshly ground white pepper
    6 egg whites
    600ml double cream 
    200g grated mature cheddar and compte cheese

    OR gruyère or emmental 

    Heat the oven to 180ºC
    Melt the butter in a thick-based saucepan, whisk in the flour and cook, stirring continuously, for about 1 minute. 
    Whisk in the milk and boil for 3 minutes, whisking all the time to prevent any lumps from forming. Beat in the yolks and remove from the heat, and season with salt and pepper. Cover with a piece of buttered greaseproof paper to prevent a skin from forming.
    Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they form firm, not stiff, peaks. Once the egg yolk mixture cools slightly (so that the egg white doesn't cook), add a third of the egg whites to the yolk mixture and beat with a whisk until evenly mixed, then gently fold in the remaining egg whites - no white should be visible - be gentle though.

    Spoon the mixture (but don't smooth or tap to ensure all of the air is kept in)  into four well-buttered 8cm-diameter tartlet moulds (I used ramekins) (this can not be stressed enough - all of the effort for this and they end up getting stuck) Butter like you haven't buttered before!  Then place in the oven for 3-5 minutes, until the tops begin to turn golden. 
    Meanwhile, season the cream with a little salt, warm it gently and pour into a warmed gratin dish (if it is cold the soufflé will flop). Sprinkle some of the cheese on the cream then turn the soufflés out into the cream, sprinkle the remaining grated cheese over the soufflés, then return to the oven for 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

    mmmmmm - light and fluffy and such a wonderful treat
    See the brothers Albert & Michel cook the Souffle together