A simple but classic British fruit sponge dessert that’s most often made with apples. Once baked, you end up with three layers, the fruit itself, a gooey sponge and a crisp yet light top. This version of Eve’s pudding includes ground cherries as well as apples.
After my tea and chocolate tasting event last month, I was desperate to try making some ganache a la Marc Demarquette – was it really so simple to make a ganache that didn’t split and such a delicious one at that? I’d had an idea about using lemon balm as a flavouring for a long time and my lemon balm was fast succumbing to winter’s chill, so it was now or never. I spent so long pondering on what I could use the ganache for, that I ran out of time to do anything other than just make it. I had some Chocolate by Trish to try, so with a couple of her milk chocolate 38% buttons to set me up for what I hoped was not going to be an ordeal, I set to.
This is what I did:
- Brought 150ml of double cream up to the boil, threw in a handful of fresh lemon balm leaves, clamped the lid on and left for a couple of hours.
- Melted 250g milk chocolate buttons (Chocolate by Trish 38%)
- Brought cream up to near boiling point again, then poured on to the chocolate (through a sieve). Added 1/2 tsp Cornish honey.
- Used a whisk to gently stir, almost fold the liquids together until all incorporated into a beautiful glossy mass.
- Placed 24 ground cherries at the bottom of some chocolate moulds then spooned the ganache over the top.
- I left these to set, hoping I could turn them out cleanly – hey ho, best laid plans!
As can be seen from the photographs, they did not come out cleanly at all, but I did produce a beautifully shiny ganache which didn’t split – hoorah! As befits a cook’s chocolate, these buttons melted beautifully, producing a smooth but not quite liquid pool of deliciousness. I nearly swooned as I licked out the warm ganache from the bowl – it was every bit as good as Marc’s, though I say it myself. Imagine a glorious mixture of creamy chocolate and toffee suffused with a subtle lemon undertone, that’s what I could taste. The lemon balm worked really well, it was present, but in no way dominated. CT thought these were the apogee of unctuousness – definitely one to swirl around the mouth with a warm cup of tea. He thought the ground cherries, nice as they were, seemed a bit superfluous. I had to agree, these truffles would have been better savoured on their own with no distractions. Coated in a good dark chocolate to make true truffles, they would also have been delicious, but I still haven’t quite got my head around tempering. Christmas is fast approaching, however, so I don’t think I can put it off much longer.
Recently launched at Selfridges, Chocolate by Trish is a range of chocolate produced specifically for cooks and comes in the shape of buttons (which weigh a handy 5g each), shards or dust (cocoa powders). The paper bags are waxed inside and have a re-sealable top. Trish Deseine, the eponymous food writer behind the brand has also produced chocolate making kits. All of her products are available at Selfridges.
The buttons were well balanced, creamy, rich and for a milk variety, strongly chocolatey – I could quite happily have eaten the whole 350g bagful. Somehow, the flavour and mouth feel reminded me of a silky smooth good quality hot chocolate – nice! I still have 100g of Trish’s buttons left so am looking forward to trying them in another guise. I would also like to try her 64% and 74% dark varieties.
I’m harvesting ground cherries (Physalis pruinosa) every time I get the chance these days. It’s not an easy job as they are ready only when they have fallen to the ground and they do this over a period of several weeks. Now the days have drawn in, I can’t get to our plot very often, so many of them are rotting in situ. Harvesting generally means gingerly picking up what look to be the recently fallen and hoping that you don’t get a slimy mess or a handful of slugs. Because we have had a lot of dry weather recently, this task has been made easier and I have managed to accumulate a tidy number. This is the second batch of blondies I’ve made using ground cherries: the first were in far too small a tin, so neither the dough nor the ground cherries got much in the way of baking and ended up being almost unappetising. Thankfully, neither CT nor I are easily put off by raw cake dough. Anyway, the idea was too good not to try again and this time I sensibly used a larger tin. I took the blondie recipe I made last year and adapted it to use coconut flour and ground cherries.
This is how I did it this time:
- Melted 3oz unsalted butter with 100g white chocolate (Green & Black’s) and left to cool slightly.
- Whisked 6oz vanilla sugar (use 1/2 or 1 tsp vanilla extract instead depending on how vanillary your chocolate is) with 2 duck eggs until mixture was very thick and pale.
- Stirred in chocolate mixture.
- Stirred in 4oz flour (spelt wholemeal), 2oz coconut flour and 1/4 tsp pink Himalayan salt.
- Added 3oz ground cherries
- Poured into a buttered 20 cm x 25 cm tin and baked at 180C for 20 mins.
- Left to cool then cut into 12 squares.
Finally, after weeks of waiting, we had enough ripe ground cherries (a type of physalis) to cook up a bit of a storm. Hum, what to make? Ground cherry crumble was all I’d ever had before and I fancied something a bit different – something with chocolate! So I came up with this.
- Dehusked 200g ground cherries
- Melted 50g unsalted butter in a pan and mixed in ground cherries then 100g demerara sugar
- Poured this into a 22cm cake thingie
- Melted 125g unsalted butter with 125g brown sugar & 100g 85% chocolate.
- Sieved 150g flour, 1 rounded tsp baking powder and a pinch of salt into a bowl.
- Made a well in the centre, poured the chocolate mixture in and stirred .
- Mixed in 2 duck eggs and 3 tbsp milk.
- Poured this over the ground cherries and baked for 30 mins at 180C.
- Removed from oven and left to cool for 5 mins then turned out onto a plate.