Vegetarian food blog featuring nourishing home cooked recipes, creative baking and luscious chocolate.

Getting Passionate about Caramels

5 Star, Chocolates, Sponsored Post | 19th September 2014 | By

The master at work, not me

The name Rococo for me conjures up images of sophisticated but slightly quirky chocolate luxury; a company steered by a woman who is thoroughly immersed in the world of fine chocolate. Chantal Coady is a name to be revered, she understands chocolate like few others. She is a chocolate pioneer and when she founded Rococo back in 1983, most of us in the UK had no idea what real chocolate was. Real Chocolate written by Chantal in 2003 was one of the first chocolate books I ever owned; reading the background and history of this most wonderful of substances, got me hooked (if it was possible to be even more hooked than I already was).

Rococo have teamed up with the kitchen expert Magnet to make a number of exquisite chocolates in one of their kitchens and have produced videos to show us how it’s done. In this YouTube video, principal chocolatier Barry Johnson makes Passion Fruit and Rosemary Caramels in the Integra White range at the Magnet Kensington Showroom. It’s an eleven minute step by step guide showing how to produce elegant chocolates including essential techniques such as how to use a mould, make caramel and those all-important finishing touches that delight the eye.

The flavours of passionfruit and rosemary had my mouth watering as soon as I heard about them. I adore passionfruit and when it is combined well with chocolate, it’s a real treat. The addition of the robust earthiness of rosemary is a great balancer to the fruity, tangy sweetness of the passionfruit. I had to have a go. As the video didn’t include quantities, I took an educated guess and the caramels worked out fine. I was only able to find one passionfruit, which wasn’t really enough, so I ended up with only eight caramels and some leftover tempered chocolate. For the 100g of dark chocolate couverture I used, a double quantity of the passionfruit and rosemary caramel would have been perfect, making sixteen large chocolates instead of only eight.

Following the video, but with a few tweaks to adapt to what I had in the kitchen, this is how I made:

Passionfruit and Rosemary Caramel Chocolates 

  • Using a paintbrush, lightly dusted chocolate moulds with silvery gold glitter as I didn’t have the means for Barry’s method.
  • Tempered 100g of Costa Rica origin 71% dark chocolate.
  • Coated the sides and bottoms of 16 chocolate moulds (I was being hopeful and only had enough filling for 8). Left to set.
  • Pressed the insides of 1 large passionfruit through a sieve into a small pan.
  • Added 1 tsp of glucose syrup and a few needles of freshly picked and washed rosemary.
  • Heated over a low temperature until warm, then left to infuse for an hour.
  • Heated a heavy bottomed pan over a medium to high heat, then poured in 50g golden granulated sugar. Left to caramelise and turn a light reddish brown.
  • Removed from the heat and stirred in the passionfruit, mixing vigorously as I did so.
  • Added 15g of unsalted butter, followed by 25g of a good 41% milk chocolate and mixed until smooth.
  • Left to cool, then spooned into the moulds, leaving a 2mm gap at the top.
  • Left for a couple of hours to set.
  • Topped the moulds with the liquid tempered chocolate and left to set.
  • Removed with great care.

My attempt at cutting neatly in half

My chocolates may not have been as accomplished as Barry Johnson, but I was impressed with the results. The chocolate was tempered, with a good snap and a beautiful shine. In fact they were so shiny, they were virtually impossible to photograph. The chocolate was a high quality bar of Costa Rica origin 71% that I picked up at the Waterford Food Festival and it tasted delicious – rich and fruity but with no bitterness. The caramel was exquisite. It had a smooth soft texture and the flavours of sweet tart passionfruit, a hint or rosemary and rich chocolate melded perfectly. One of the points Barry mentions in the video is to be careful the caramel is well sealed by the chocolate as you don’t want it to leak out. I not only managed this, but also achieved a thin chocolate shell so the caramel was enhanced rather than overwhelmed.

So if you’re planning on holding a dinner party or need something special to wow friends and family, why not try making these mouth-watering Passion Fruit & Rosemary Caramels. Even if you don’t, watch the video anyway – it’s so interesting to see the process and watch a top chocolatier at work in a clean and tidy kitchen.

This is a sponsored post. I was not asked to write a positive review and as always any opinions expressed are my own.

As these chocolates contain a caramel flavoured with fresh rosemary, I am entering them into Karen’s Cooking with Herbs over at Lavender and Lovage. Mediterranean herbs are this month’s theme.

With rosemary being a Mediterranean herb, I am also sending this off as a posh Tea Time Treat to Janie over at The Hedgecombers and Karen over at Lavender and Lovage.

Passionfruit Curd Sponge Cake & Clandestine Cake Club

Finally, I was getting to go to my very first Clandestine Cake Club (CCC) event. Cornwall CCC started up a few months ago, but as it held mostly during week days or if in the evenings has been quite some distance away, I hadn’t been able to get to any earlier ones. I was ridiculously excited; this was an opportunity to meet other cake bakers and talk cake for two hours. It was also a fine excuse to eat lots of cake – how good is that? I was a little nervous, I didn’t know anyone else who was going to be there, or at least I thought I didn’t. This meeting was a mid-week morning one and was way down west. I happened to be on leave, however, so it seemed a good opportunity to take part and also visit Heartlands, which had newly opened just a 15 minute walk away from our venue. CT, lured by the promise of a look around the newly created botanical gardens there as well as indulging his love of cake, bravely accompanied me. The venue was Baker Tom‘s newly opened cafe in Pool, half way between Redruth and Camborne.

The cake theme was “fruity”. Having recently made passionfruit curd, I was keen to make a cake using it. After my disaster with the apple & lemon curd cake, I was slightly concerned, but hoped all would be well if I took a bit more care when turning out the cakes. Thus my Passionfruit Curd Cake was born.

This is what I did:

  • Creamed 225g unsalted butter with 225g cardamom sugar until pale and fluffy.
  • Beat in two large tbsp of passionfruit curd.
  • Beat in 1 goose egg.
  • Folded in 225 sifted flour (100g wholemeal, 100g white, 25g coconut) with a heaped tsp of baking powder.
  • Stirred in 3 tbsp milk.
  • Spooned mixture into two 21 cm cake moulds and baked at 180C for 25 minutes.
  • Left to cool for a few minutes then turned out onto wire racks.
  • Melted 50g white chocolate in a bowl over hot water.
  • Creamed 75g unsalted butter with 125g icing sugar until very pale.
  • Beat in the cooled chocolate.
  • Beat in 2 tbsp passionfruit curd and a couple of teaspoons of orange juice.
  • Used this to sandwich the two cakes together.
  • Mixed 75g icing sugar with enough juice from a mandarin orange to make a slightly runny icing.
  • Spooned this onto the cake and spread it a little to the sides so that some of the icing dripped down the cake in what I like to think is a decorative fashion.
  • Decorated the top with the little sugar daffodils and the citrus sprinkles I won recently.
Thankfully, the cakes both turned out of their moulds with no mishaps whatsoever – a huge sigh of relief was heaved at this point. All I had to worry about was getting it to the meeting in one piece. This was achieved successfully. The cake cut well, was eaten by many and was, I’m pleased to say, delicious with a pronounced passionfruit flavour.
And what of the CCC? Goodness, what an array of amazing looking cakes there were. I didn’t manage to get a picture of the whole spread as more kept arriving throughout the morning. Sadly, there was no way I could try all of them, even CT couldn’t manage that. But I really enjoyed each and every one I did try and it was very hard to decide which was my favourite. Luckily, we got to take cake home with us too, a nice plateful in fact – yum, what an excellent idea.

Everyone was very friendly and it was interesting to put a few twitter names to faces and meet the organiser Ellie Michell. A pleasing amount of time was spent talking cake. As it happened The Cow Lady, who we know from a previous incarnation and lives near Liskeard turned up as well, what a surprise to find she was into cake baking too.
Ellie has organised some fantastic venues for the Cornwall CCC meetings and this one was no exception. Baker Tom’s cafe was really interesting, it was brand spanking new with enough room to set out our wares on wooden table tops. The bakery itself was in full view behind the counter. Despite being a real fan of Baker Tom’s pain aux raisins – (I’ve not yet had better), I’d never met the man behind the bakes before. He was lovely and made us all very welcome. I got to have a tour of his bakery and a look at his rye sourdough which I was particularly interested in to see how it compared to mine. He also allowed us all to have a go at shaping some Fougasse which we then got to take home with us – an unexpected pleasure.

Passionfruit Curd

Preserves | 10th May 2012 | By

Passionfruit curd is something that has been niggling away at the back of my mind since I saw the post about it on Chocolate Teapot nearly three years ago. This reminded me of the recipe in Nigella’s How to be a Domestic Goddess, which I’d been meaning to make since I bought the over a decade ago ago. You can perhaps see a pattern emerging here – fast is not my middle name! Although both of these recipes sounded good, I preferred a version without seeds as I wanted to use the curd in a cake, so back in March, I finally got around to making what promised to be the best fruit curd ever. I based my version on a recipe I saw over at thepassionatecook.

This is how I did it:

  • Cut 3 passionfruit in half and scooped out the flesh.
  • Rubbed through a sieve to remove seeds trying to extract as much juice as possible.
  • Placed juice in a bowl with 40g cardamom (caster) sugar and 1 duck egg.
  • Whisked thoroughly.
  • Placed bowl over a pan of simmering water and carried on whisking,
  • Added 25g unsalted butter & continued to whisk for about twenty minutes until thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.
  • Poured into a jar.

This was indeed the best fruit curd ever, I loved the colour and I loved the taste. It was so delicious and there was so little of it, I thought it would be rather a waste to use it in a cake, so instead we had it on scones one day and on toast the next. However, when I found out that my first Clandestine Cake Club meeting had a fruit theme, my idea for a passionfruit curd cake began to re-form. So, it wasn’t long after making my first batch of passionfruit curd, that I then made my second.

I am submitting this to Jac’s Bookmarked Recipes over at Tinned Tomatoes which was founded by Ruth of Ruth’s Kitchen Experiments.

Dark Passionfruit Brownies

Brownies & Blondies | 21st April 2010 | By


Having finally located some passionfruit, I went a little overboard and bought quite a few. Then they all needed using up! So I was looking to bake something else after my success with the white chocolate and passionfruit cupcakes. I had brownies on the brain at the time, so brownies it had to be. After hunting around the net, I found this recipe at Scandilicious.

Having made these some time before Easter and having stupidly lost my notes, I can’t quite remember how I made them. I know I didn’t use the extra egg yolk as I can never bear to have just a single egg white hanging around – what do you do with only 1 egg white? I think I might also have used 3 passionfruit!!!

Excited by such fragrant delights, I wasted no time in sinking my teeth into one. Oh no, it had a very strong chocolate hit which was great, but I found the overall experience disappointing. Dark chocolate didn’t seem to go well with passionfruit and rather masked the flavour – or did it? CT loved them at first bite and thought it was a terrific combination. When I tried one again the following day I couldn’t understand why I was so underwhelmed the first time around. It just goes to show, you can’t always trust your own tastebuds. In fact these just got better with each passing day. They had a fudgy consistency and a velvety texture, although I found the seeds slightly annoying. If you love dark chocolate and you love passionfruit, you’ll love these.

White Chocolate & Passionfruit Cupcakes

5 Star, Cupcakes | 3rd April 2010 | By


Inspired by Chele’s recipe for passionfruit & white chocolate muffins over at the Chocolate Teapot, I immediately wanted to use this great sounding combination of flavours. I was unable to do so for quite a while as I couldn’t find any passionfruit. Chele gave me a good tip and bingo, I found some. Last weekend we went off to visit friends “down west” as we say in my part of Cornwall. Of course, I wanted to take cake and this was an ideal opportunity to make use of the recently acquired passionfruit. This is what I did:

  • Melted 125g unsalted butter with 100g white chocolate (I used the very vanillary G&B).
  • Mixed in 125g granulated vanilla sugar (I have a vanilla pod permanently sitting in a jar of granulated sugar, but this could be substituted with 1 tsp vanilla extract).
  • Beat in 2 large eggs
  • Sifted in 150g flour (100g wholemeal and 50g buckwheat), a meagre teaspoon of baking powder and 1/4 tsp bicarb of soda.
  • Stirred in 2 large tbsp Greek yogurt (TOTAL 0% fat) and the pulp of 2.5 passionfruits.
  • Creamed 60g unsalted butter with 75g sieved icing sugar until well incorporated.
  • Stirred in 1 tbsp yogurt (TOTAL 0% fat) and pulp from remaining 1/2 passionfruit. It all came rather unstuck at this point as the mixture curdled and I wasn’t able to rescue it.

The passionfruit sponge was a total success – well formed, light and delicious, but I was sadly let down by the curdling of the butter icing. It tasted lovely, but looked more like badly cooked scrambled eggs rather than icing! The flavour of the passionfruit came out in both, however, and these were a real joy to eat. Luckily I have very forgiving friends.