This month Dashing Dom has joined forces with Krazy Kavey in a chilling combination of Random Recipes and Bloggers Scream for Ice Cream. Now that Autumn has descended on us rather earlier than expected, ice-cream is no longer top of my list of desired desserts. However, ice-cream and frozen desserts are what we’ve been tasked to make, so I gritted my teeth and went to interrogate Eat Your Books. This is my preferred method of selecting my books for these Random Recipe occasions.
This time I limited the search to my chocolate books, which I was somewhat surprised to see has reached the grand total of seventeen. Ultimate: the Green and Black’s New Collection was the book randomly selected. I haven’t looked at this tome in such a long time that I was pleased to renew my acquaintance. It turns out it contains quite a few ice-cream recipes as well as a recipe for chocolate parfait – a frozen dessert which I’ve never made before. I decided to make half the quantity as I didn’t have much space in the freezer; this meant I needed about 60g of dark chocolate. Now it just so happens that I had 70g of dark lavender chocolate lying about; I’d found this too strong and soapy to eat on its own, so it was awaiting just such an occasion as this. Lavender chocolate works wonderfully well when incorporated into other recipes, I reckon. The parfait recipe included coffee, but as I was adding lavender, I omitted this.
This is how I made:
Chocolate Lavender Parfait
- Whipped 150g double cream to soft peaks using hand beaters.
- Separated two large eggs, putting the yolks into a bowl and the whites into the fridge for some future use.
- Warmed 75 ml water in a small pan and dissolved 60g golden caster sugar in it.
- Notched up the heat and boiled the syrup for 2 minutes, then turned the heat off.
- Added 70g chopped dark lavender chocolate (72%) and left to melt.
- Beat the egg yolks with the hand held beaters, then slowly poured in the chocolate syrup beating all the while. Carried on beating until the mixture was almost cool.
- Beat in 1 dessertspoon of cognac, then folded in the whipped cream.
- Divided the mixture between four ramekin dishes and placed in the freezer.
To be honest I’m not terribly sure what the difference between a parfait and ice-cream is technically, but it’s a very good way of making a no-churn frozen dessert. It was velvety smooth and not a shard of ice crystal could be detected. It’s very rich and truly decadent, but the soupçon of lavender keeps it tasting fresh and prevents it from cloying on the palate as some creamy confections can do. The cognac gave a welcome hint of sophistication and brought out the other flavours. This is a perfect use for lavender chocolate and a brilliant make ahead dessert I can now knock up for future dinner parties.
A healthy dose of cognac makes this dessert crazy enough for me, so I am entering it into Baking with Spirit over at Cake of the Week where Janine has asked us to all go crazy.
I’m also sending this off to Lucy’s #CookBlogShare over at Supergolden Bakes.
Vegetable cakes are nothing new. They’ve been popular for a very long time now. But have you ever tried a Jerusalem artichoke cake? It’s chewy, crunchy, moist and abundant with a very pleasing nuttiness. A sharp lemony cream cheese icing sets it off beautifully.
We are just back from a rather damp week spent on the Lizard. For those wondering, the Lizard is not a large scaly reptile, although there is a reptilian link. It’s a peninsula lying at the most southerly point of mainland UK and is made of serpentine rock. It’s actually a piece of sea floor which somehow ended up in the wrong place. The serpentine has unusual chemical properties which leads to a unique habitat, making it a Mecca for botanists – CT was in his element. Despite the fact we only had one morning of sun the entire duration of our stay, it wasn’t as wet as it might have been and we had a lovely time, spoilt only by the fact it passed far too quickly.
Before leaving, the big question was what cake to take with us? On our last stay there, two years ago, I made a well remembered chocolate mayonnaise cake which was not only delicious but lasted the whole week. I needed to replicate the delicious and lasting qualities, but wanted something a little different. In the end, the sheer number of apples I’d been given sealed the deal, it just had to be an apple cake. Leafing through my many recipe books and scraps of paper, I finally plumped for an Apple & Hazelnut cake. I’ve had this recipe for at least 14 years but have never actually made it and where it came from is now lost in the mists of time. I adapted it to include chocolate of course and made a few other amendments along the way, including brandy soaked sultanas.
This is what I did:
- Soaked 3oz sultanas in 1 tbsp brandy for a couple of hours (overnight would have been better).
- Spent an age cracking the last of last year’s hazelnuts, then toasted 3oz of them.
- When cool, blitzed them in a coffee grinder.
- Peeled, cored and chopped 1 lb cooking apples
- Creamed 8oz unsalted butter with 6oz cardamom sugar.
- Beat in 3 duck eggs.
- Stirred in 2 tsp dried orange zest.
- Sieved in 12oz flour (half wholemeal and half white), 1.5 tsp baking powder, a pinch of salt and 1 tsp cinnamon.
- Mixed in the apple and hazelnuts.
- Stirred in sultanas and 3oz milk chocolate drops (40%).
- Spooned into a 23cm cake mould.
- Sliced an unpeeled dessert apple and placed slices around the top.
- Scattered over 2 tbsp demerara sugar
- Baked for 45 mins at 180C.
Luckily the cake was delicious and it did last us the week, although with the various other treats we had whilst we were there, we probably shouldn’t have had any cake at all.
Here are a few highlights of our trip in no particular order of merit or occurrence:
Walking the coastal path on that first sunny morning somewhere near Kennack Sands.
Spotting our first view of Cornish Heath (Erica vagans) this year – no longer at its best but always exciting as the Lizard is one of the very few places that it grows in the UK.
Dodging showers around Trewidden Gardens, Penzance – 1st visit and the most impressive grove of tree ferns we’ve seen in the UK.
Kynance Cove as we saw it two years ago – this time it was hard to discern through the thick mist.
The biggest swathe of Devil’s Bit Scabious either of us have ever seen.
Dragonfly on CT’s knee.
The delightful fishing village of Cadgwith.
Posh nosh at New Yard Restaurant, Trelowarren.
A celebratory cake was needed for the 1st anniversary of CT’s blog Radix. So, it’s chocolate and chestnuts again! This time with the added bonus of chilli – our own dried and crushed “fatalli”, a particularly vicious yellow variety. I used the already tried and tested Nigella recipe from How to be a Domestic Goddess. As I had half a tin of chestnut puree left over from the biscuits, I made only half the quantity, which made quite a nice sized cake for two.
Here’s what I did:
- Melted 100g 85% dark chocolate and left to cool slightly.
- Creamed 75g unsalted butter with 25g dark brown sugar until light and fluffy.
- Mixed in 200g (or thereabouts) of sweetened chestnut puree.
- Added 3 egg yolks, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 2 tsp brandy and the chocolate and stirred until combined.
- Whisked 3 eggs whites until stiff, then added 25g caster sugar and whisked again.
- Folded egg whites into the cake mix 1/3 at a time.
- Poured into a 2lb silicone loaf thingy and baked at 180C for 30 mins.
- Left to cool for 20 mins, then turned out and dusted with cocoa powder.
Usually I serve this warm as a dessert when we’ve got friends over, but I have to say it works pretty well as a cake too. It rose spectacularly, but like most soufflé type concoctions, it sank almost immediately I took it out of the oven – it still tasted delicious though. The texture is distinctly truffle like, rich and dense yet paradoxically light. The taste is more delicate than one would associate with chestnuts, but none the worse for that. As we only used a very small quantity of the fatalli, a pleasant glow resulted rather than the usual meltdown we normally experience when using this chilli.
Other Chestnut Recipes You Might Like
- Chestnut brownies
- Chestnut cream meringue cake
- Chilli, chocolate & chestnut flourless cake (gluten-free)
- Chestnut biscuits with a chocolate cream filling
- Chocolate chestnut cupcakes
- Chocolate chestnut log
- Mushroom & chestnut sausage rolls with mustard pastry
For more plain (ish) cake recipes, why not take a look at my Large Cakes category? I have a lot to choose from and you’re bound to find something there you’ll like.
Some biscuits are best for adults to savour and these chestnut biscuits fall into that category. The chocolate cream filling is very rich and made with dark intense chocolate. And the chestnut purée in the biscuits themselves is quite a delicious but sophisticated flavour.