The season of mellow fruitfulness is now upon us. I have a bag full of apples from my mother’s garden and blackberries abound in our Cornish hedgerows. Inevitably, a blackberry and apple crumble will make its way onto our early autumn dinner table. In truth, this time of year is just not complete without one.
When I was leafing through Chantal Coady’s book Rococo: mastering the art of chocolate a few weeks ago, I was struck by her recipe for White Chocolate Heartbreakers – a white chocolate cake served warm with a melting raspberry and white chocolate middle – rather like a chocolate fondant. I bookmarked it straight away as I thought it would be an excellent dessert for the upcoming blackberry season, producing a surprise purple melting middle rather than a pink one.
Ages ago, I saw a fabulous post for a fruit dessert pizza over at Peaches Please and was immediately struck by the idea. I had been sent some plums from South Africa so the time was right to try a plum pizza. Some of you may recall the plum and amaretto ice-cream I made with these very same plums way back when, so I had high hopes. I was also keen to try making pizza dough with white chocolate which I thought would suit this fruity delight very well.
This is how I made:
Plum and Walnut Pizza
- Mixed 250g flour (half wholemeal, half white) in a bowl with 1 tsp instant yeast, ½ tsp salt and 1 tsp maca powder (not necessary, but makes me think I’m being healthy).
- Stirred in 150ml warm water and 1 tbsp olive oil until the mixture came together in a ball.
- Kneaded for about 10 minutes on an oiled surface, adding 30g of finely chopped vanillary white chocolate towards the end (I used G&B).
- Placed into an oiled bowl and left to rise for an hour or so.
- Divided the mixture into 4 balls and rolled as thinly as possible into rounds.
- Placed on lined baking sheets.
- Warmed 3 tbsp of plum jam (homemade) and 1 tbsp marsala in a small pan.
- Sliced 4 large purple plums into thin slices.
- Roughly chopped a handful of walnut halves.
- Spread a tbsp of the jam mixture over the base of each pizza.
- Laid the plum slices over the jam then scattered some walnuts over the top.
- Dusted a little vanilla sugar over the top.
- Baked in the middle of the oven at 200°C for 12 minutes.
- Served immediately (apart from the odd photo or two).
Gosh these were good. The dough was soft and sweet and combined beautifully with the tart juicy plums and the fragrant vanilla. The walnuts gave a delightful crunch and added bitter notes which contrasted nicely with the caramel undertones from the bits of white chocolate that had caramelised in the dough. These were also a visual feast with the strikingly coloured purple plums. This is a dessert I can see us having again and again – maybe with peaches or nectarines by way of a change.
Alpha Bakes is P this month and I have three of them. P is for Purple Plum and Walnut Pizza. It is hosted this time around over at Caroline Makes and is alternately hosted by Ros of The More Than Occasional Baker.
And this is my second entry to Bookmarked Recipes this month with Jac over at Tinned Tomatoes.
Being rather pleased with this fabulous bake, I am submitting it to Emily’s #recipeoftheweek over at A Mummy Too.
Plum is the chosen ingredient for the monthly Rix Aga Inspired Recipes, so I am sending this over to them as well in the vague hope I might win £100 Waitrose voucher.
We have come this month to the final letter in the alphabet for Alpha Bakes and it is U. Upsidedown cakes were the obvious choice, but I wanted to do something a bit different. With all the on-going and distressing news about Ukraine recently, my first though was to make a Ukrainian chocolate cake. However, although there is a fantastic bake called Kiev Cake, it was a little complicated and I didn’t think I’d be able to fit it in. So I procrastinated. I then tried finding a chocolate bake from Uruguay. I found some amazing biscuits called Alfajores. These have been bookmarked for another time, but again they were a little more involved than I was looking for. So I procrastinated some more. I tried Uganda but came up with nothing. The result of all this procrastination is a very last minute bake on the final day and it is, after all that, an upside-down cake!
Continuing on my salty journey from the salted caramelised almond chocolates I made for We Should Cocoa, I couldn’t resist making these salted butterscotch chocolate fondants. This month’s Classic French theme is chocolate fondants and as I had a bar of salted dark chocolate to hand and I do like the combination, I knew the fondants I was going to make would be salted something or other. I thought I would base mine on a recipe for molten chocolate cakes in the French classic Cooking with Chocolate edited by Frederic Bau. I halved the quantity and made a few other changes, but in essence this is, vraiment, une recette classique Française.
This is how I made:
Salted Butterscotch Chocolate Fondants
- Buttered 3 ramekins and dusted with cocoa powder.
- Melted 50g salted butter in a pan over very low heat with 70g salted dark chocolate – I used the Lindt Touch of Salt I recently reviewed. Left to cool a little.
- Whisked 2 eggs with 120g dark brown sugar until thick and tripled in volume.
- Sifted in 1 scant teaspoon of cocoa, 1 scant teaspoon of mesquite and 20g plain flour. Folded in as carefully as possible so as not to lose the air gained by whisking.
- Spooned into the three prepared dishes. There was enough mixture left for a 4th, but I only have three, so I very naughtily polished the remains off and oh, it was so delicious.
- Baked at 180°C for 10 minutes.
The brown sugar and mesquite worked as I’d hoped and produced a really good salted butterscotch flavour. The same cannot be said for my turning out which ended in disaster at the first attempt, so I didn’t try with the other two. They tasted fabulous anyway and CT on his return from the daily grind seemed to cheer up no end when he knew what was on the menu.
I am entering these into Classic French the monthly theme from Jen of Blue Kitchen Bakes and this month hosted by Claire of Under the Blue Gum Tree who has chosen that most luscious of desserts: chocolate fondants.
Well there’s a mouthful and I should probably have come up with something a bit snappier, but it pretty much describes this pudding. I’d just made Karen’s Orange Liqueur (shockingly back in October 2011), so I had a load of oranges minus their skin that needed using up fast. I also noticed at about the same time that some of the apples I’d been given a while ago looked like they were in need of using too. So an apple and orange pudding of some kind it had to be. Time being limited, a nice easy oaty one seemed to be in order.
This is what I did to make:
Apple, Orange Pudding with a Ginger Chocolate Crunchy Oat Topping
- Peeled, cored and sliced 5 large Cornish cooking apples.
- Layered them in a buttered ovenproof dish with 50g demerara sugar scattered amongst the apples.
- Poured over the juice of two oranges and a little water.
- Melted 75g butter in a large pan with 1 heaped tbsp golden syrup.
- Stirred in 8oz rolled oats, 1/2 tsp ground ginger and 40g chopped crystallised ginger.
- Stirred in 50g chopped 60% dark chocolate.
- Spooned this over the top of the apples.
- Baked for 30 minutes at 180C.
As I had both apples and oranges in need of using up, I am entering this into the No Waste Food Challenge, which this month is fruit. Established by Kate of Turquoise Lemons, this month is hosted by Elizabeth’s Kitchen.
I love Random Recipes and think Dom of Belleau Kitchen is a genius for coming up with the idea. I’ve been in from the beginning, so it always grieves me when I run out of time and don’t manage to make the challenge. Last month was such a one and I was beginning to panic that this month would turn out the same, but no, I was determined not to miss another month. Dom gave us quite a bit of freedom with this challenge and allowed us to pick our own book, a highly unusual event. I went for my Valentine’s gift from CT (itself a highly unusual occurrence); a chocolate book I have long been lusting after, Chococo chocolate cookbook by Claire Burnet. I closed my eyes and opened the book on a random page, somewhat trepedaciously – you just never quite know what you might be letting yourself in for. Sigh of relief, which then turned to one of excitment: chocolate pancakes platter. I have long wanted to make chocolate pancakes, but somehow have never actually managed it. Fortuitously, I also had a tub of blackcurrants which were in desperate need of using up. My mother’s freezer, not so fortuitously and very upsettingly, packed up unexpectedly. She ended up having to throw most of the food away. By the time we received the currants, they had been out of the freezer some time. So instead of making the cherry compote denoted in the recipe, I made blackcurrant and rose compote instead.
This is how I made:
Chocolate Pancakes with Rose, Mint and Blackcurrant Compote
- Sieved 150g wholemeal flour into a bowl with a scant tsp of baking powder and 30g cocoa powder.
- Stirred in 2 tbsp vanilla (caster) sugar.
- Made a well in the centre and broke in an egg.
- Started to mix from the middle outwards, adding 175 ml milk a little at a time.
- Beat in 20g hazelnut oil (instead of melted butter).
- Left to rest for about 20 minutes whilst I got on with the other things.
- Dry fried a large tbsp of flaked almonds with 1/2 a tsp of icing powder until they were lightly browned and slightly caramelised.
- Turned into a little serving dish.
- Poured the blackcurrants into a pan.
- Didn’t add any sugar as this had already been done.
- Added the last of my rose syrup (about 2 tbsp) which also really needed using up.
- Simmered for a few minutes, then added 2 tbsp mint vodka.
- Simmered for another couple of minutes.
- Heated a frying pan over a medium heat and added a slither of butter.
- Placed a heaped tbsp of pancake mixture into the pan, spreading it out with the spoon to form a circle of about 10 cm.
- Left for a few minutes until bubbles started to appear in the pancake.
- Turned it over and cooked for a couple more minutes.
- Placed on a plate and put into a warm oven.
- Repeated the process making six pancakes in total.
- Assembled the pancakes by layering them with a tbsp of blackcurrant compote and then another pancake.
- Stacked them three pancakes high finishing with a layer of blackcurrants.
- Topped with the almonds and dusted with a little icing sugar.
Random Recipes – the choice is yours. My choice was Chococo.
Kate of Turquoise Lemons has given us Preserves for her monthly No Food Waste Challenge. Blackcurrants preserved from the summer, mint vodka and rose syrup I made back along in need of using up,
The freezer disaster also makes these pancakes eligible for Credit Crunch Munch I reckon along with the homemade rose syrup and mint vodka. A monthly challenge hosted by Fab Food 4 All and Fuss Free Flavours.
As these are American style pancakes, I’m entering them into Bloggers Around the World hosted by Chris of Cooking Around the World. The country of choice this month is USA.
This recipe from Green Seasons by Rachel Demuth has been bookmarked for a very long time. Using mangoes, limes, chillies, cinnamon and of course chocolate, it combines some of my favourite ingredients. I was given this cookbook by some dear friends at least three years ago and they hinted broadly that this was a recipe I ought to make. It took a basket of beautiful green limes, sent for review and Chris to choose Mexico for his monthly Bloggers Around the World event for me to finally take the plunge
Green Seasons is the third vegetarian cookbook written by Rachel Demuth, a leading vegetarian chef who runs the acclaimed vegetarian restaurant Demuths and the highly successful Vegetarian Cookery School in Bath. I’ve made quite a few of the recipes in the book, which include vegan and gluten free ones too; they have all been successful and delicious. You can find out more by reading my review of Green Seasons. The book has recently been made available for iPad so if on-line cookery books are more your thing, you may want to take a look. As well as the book, I can highly recommend the courses at the cookery school, at least the one I attended on Middle Eastern mezze anyway.
The pudding may be Mexican by name, but possibly not by nature. I’m not sure where the cinnamon or the chillies came from, but I don’t think there was a single ingredient of Mexican provenance. However, Latin American it certainly was: the 100% chocolate bought on a recent trip to the Eden Project was Colombian, the rum was Cuban and the limes hailed from Brazil. The chocolate, very handily, came in two 125g blocks, which made it a breeze for me to halve the recipe – after all, there was only CT and I to indulge in them and even for us, a pudding to serve eight seemed a little excessive. Sadly, the limes arrived with very little information, but they did appear to be waxed, so I made sure I scrubbed them well with warm water and washing up liquid before using.
This is how I made:
Mexican Chocolate Pudding with Chilli and Lime Mango Slices
- Melted 125g of Colombian 100% chocolate in a small saucepan over gently heat with 150 ml of milk. Stirred until almost smooth.
- Took of the heat and added 1 tbsp of white Cuban rum.
- Creamed 25g unsalted butter with 75g vanilla (caster) sugar.
- Beat in a yolk from a duck egg and put the white in a clean bowl.
- Beat in the chocolate mixture.
- Sifted in 20g wholemeal spelt, 10g cocoa powder, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1/8 tsp baking powder. Stirred gently until just combined.
- Whisked the egg white until stiff and folded into the chocolate mix. Spooned into four buttered ramekins.
- Placed the ramekins in a tin and filled to about 1 cm with water.
- Baked at 180C for about 17 minutes.
- Peeled and sliced a ripe mango (rather messily)
- Dissolved 2 tbsp cardamom (caster) sugar in a large pan with 1 tbsp water over a low heat.
- Turned up the heat and added 1/2 tsp chilli flakes followed by the mango slices.
- Allowed to bubble away for a few minutes until the liquid had turned syrupy.
- Removed from the heat and added the grated zest and juice of one well scrubbed Brazilian lime.
- Ran a knife around the edge of the puddings to loosen them, then turned out onto plates. Dusted with cocoa and added some reserved lime zest to the top.
- Served with some the mango slices.
This may look like burnt pie and chips, but what it lacked in appearance, it more than made up for in sensuousness. It was very rich, very dark, not too sweet and it reached into places other puddings rarely do. The cinnamon supported, as well as ameliorated the strong and robust nature of the chocolate. We ate them warm whilst the centre was still gooey. The sweet, sour and fiery mango slices were delicious in their own right but also acted as a great foil to the chocolate. CT had only one thing to say about this: “sex on a plate”. In fact he was probably right, these would be perfect for Valentine’s Day.
Thank you to Chris of Cooking Around the World for choosing Mexico for this month’s Blogging Around the World – he finally got me to make this rather wonderful dessert.
Kate of What Kate Baked has chosen Perfect Puddings for this month’s Tea Time Treats. Hmmm, perfect looking my puddings aren’t but I think they might hit the perfect button for taste, smell and touch. This monthly challenge is co-hosted by Karen of Lavender and Lovage.
Bookmarked for more than three years, this has to be a contender for Jac’s Bookmarked Recipes over at Tinned Tomatoes.
Those two romantics Dolly Bakes and Laura Loves Cakes have a valentine’s theme for this month’s Calendar Cakes with My Achy Cakey Heart. Well as already described, this may not look that pretty but it’s very likely to win over your Valentine.
Finally, I think, I am submitting these to Simple and in Season as limes are in full season now. Started by Ren of Fabulicious Foods, this month’s host is C of the fabulicious Cake, Crumbs and Cooking.
Just before my January healthy eating resolve dissolved, I was sent some sachets of Truvia to use. The sachets come in 1/3 of a teaspoon and are really designed for use in cups of tea or coffee. One sachet is equivalent to a teaspoon of sugar. There has been a re-emergence of interest in stevia recently which is the main constituent of Truvia. Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) is a plant which tastes incredibly sweet, but has zero calories, making it quite tempting as a sugar substitute. It does have a bit of an acquired taste, but in all its years of use, no negative effects have yet been proven. You can find more about Truvia here.
Anyway, I don’t like sweet drinks so had no interest in using it in my cup of tea. Instead I had some left over bread I thought would lend itself very nicely to a bread and butter pudding. It’s been years since I made this very British pudding – I have no idea why I’ve waited this long because it’s a really good one. I also had some lovely fairtrade chocolate to finish off, so I included that along with the bread.
Sugar Free Bread and Butter Chocolate Pudding Recipe (almost!)
This is what I did to feed 4:
- Buttered a small Pyrex casserole dish.
- Cut 14 slices of a large white baguette – about 1 cm thick.
- Spread each slice with butter.
- Laid 7 slices at the bottom of the dish.
- Chopped 60g of dark chocolate (TraidCraft 72%) and scattered half over the bread slices.
- Layered the remaining bread over the top and scattered on the remaining chocolate.
- Whisked 2 eggs well with 200ml milk, 1 tsp vanilla extract and 3 level teaspoons of Truvia.
- Poured this over the bread and left to soak for 15 minutes.
- Baked in the middle of the oven at 180C for 25 minutes.
This turned out even better than I was hoping; I had been concerned that the chocolate on the top would burn, but no, it melted beautifully. The top was crisp and buttery and the bottom was smooth and custardy. The chocolate gave it an added richness that turned it from an everyday pudding (as if I made puddings every day) into a special event. We ate it warm whilst the chocolate was still melted and it felt truly decadent, but really wasn’t. The Truvia gave just the right level of sweetness, but had an aftertaste which is not unpleasant, but takes some getting used to if you are unfamiliar with it. Greedy souls that we are, CT and I consumed the whole thing in one sitting. It was soooo worth it. At least we knew the sugar count was low!
I am submitting this to Calendar cakes, a monthly blogging event hosted by Laura Loves Cakes and Dolly Bakes. The theme this month is for a healthy New Year, New You so I hope this virtually sugar free pudding fits the bill.
As I was using up left over bread and chocolate (not sure that one counts really, as I never find it difficult to use chocolate) I’m entering this into Credit Crunch Munch which you can find out about with hosts Fab Food for All and Fuss Free Flavours.