Every year I mean to mark Twelfth Night by making a special cake and every year I manage not to do it – until now. When it comes to cake, I associate Twelfth Night with marzipan, so although I didn’t intend to make a traditional King Cake or similar this year, I did want to include almond paste. And as I still had plenty of lemons left from my 3pFruits box, lemon marzipan cakes it was to be.
I was lucky enough to grow up with an Aga in the house. This meant plenty of slow cooked meals. There’s something about slow cooking that really brings out the flavours and melds them into something richer and more flavoursome than the sum of the parts. These days, I only have an ordinary electric cooker, so I don’t tend to do much of that sort of cooking. At least I didn’t until I was sent a Von Shef slow cooker to try out. Those delicious childhood stews called to me and I knew I was very soon going to make a slow cooker vegetable stew.
Cranks and I go back a long way. The Dartington Cider Press branch, now Cranks Kitchen, opened many years ago, when I was at school. It was a very exciting prospect for an ever hungry bunch of teenagers and it was only a couple of hundred yards down the hill. We couldn’t afford much, but I do remember wolfing down a fair number of cheese baps and date slices. I have been a frequent visitor ever since. When I was invited to attend a new product launch event there a few week ago, I was not going to say no.
The concept of a leftover Easter egg is something I find hard to get to grips with. In our house, uneaten Easter eggs must have something seriously wrong with them, or have fallen down the back of the sofa. The whole point of self-denial during Lent is to celebrate your resolve with a massive blow-out at the end, which is where the Easter eggs fit in. Fit into your stomach, I mean.
I know these are a little late in the day, but this is the last of my Easter Platter posts and really they don’t have to be Easter eggs at all. I think they’d be great given as a gift on any occasion – especially if you’ve mastered the art of tempering chocolate. Having seen, this post, I was going to attempt making my own Easter eggs this year rather than buying them. Having looked at the recipe a little closer, however, I was undecided – I really can’t get my head around US measurements and what did two packages of Graham crackers equate to anyway? So, when I had some cake left over from trimming the Battenberg, I decided to use that as the base for a filling instead.
- Creamed about 1oz butter with about 1/2 oz caster sugar.
- Beat in 1 dsp rhubarb liqueur.
- Added about 5oz cake crumbs and mixed until all thoroughly combined.
- Took walnut sized pieces and rolled between the palms of my hands forming them into some semblance of an egg shape – I made 15.
- Put the pieces onto a tray lined with baking paper and placed in the freezer for 1/2 an hour.
- Melted 100g 72% cook’s chocolate (G&B) over a pan of hot water. Removed from the heat and added a further 50g. This was in an attempt to temper the chocolate – ha ha (I will get this cracked this year, I will).
- Dipped the eggs into the chocolate and put back on the baking paper to set. As the eggs were frozen, this didn’t take long.
- Decorated with mini sugar stars before the chocolate had set.
My usual aversion to faffing about came into play, so my chocolate eggs did not look in the least professional. I was, however, pleased that I had made the attempt. Most people I know prefer home made over commercial offerings and these certainly looked home made!
Luckily, my mother, for whom the majority of these were destined, was very impressed and thought them utterly delicious. CT also got in on the act. He too thought they were delicious and were the best Easter eggs he had. With a nice crisp chocolate shell and melt in the mouth innards, these were just like a real egg he thought. Not designed for an instant sugar hit, these were slow food to be savoured carefully and enjoyed at length. The bitter dark chocolate was a good foil to the softer sweeter filling.