Tag Archives: Chocolate

Gluten free Almond and Chocolate Cake with greedy variations….

7 Feb

The gluten free trend is becoming stronger and stronger and many people are asking for good recipes of cakes without flour or with flour substitute.

Rice flour, chickpea flour, corn flour, coconut flour but also almond flour are among those substitutes.

As I love to cook with almond because it’s really tasty, rich but not overpowering, here is a chocolate cake recipe gluten free but full of almond flour.

I also added a few variations if you are in the mood for really greedy desert…

Result Slice

Ingredients

  • 5 eggs
  • 200 g of butter
  • 200 g of caster sugar
  • 200 g of dark chocolate (at least 56%)
  • 200 g of  almond flour

Method

In a bain-marie*, melt the chocolate and butter together. Let it cool down a little.

Separate the eggs. With a whisk, mix the yolks with the sugar until you get a light and creamy mixture. Blend this with the chocolatey mixture and add the almond flour.
Gluten Free Almond Choc CakeBeat the egg whites until they are stiff and using a metal spoon, carefully fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture.

Gluten Free Almond Choc Cake-2

Pour the mix into a spring-form baking tin covered with parchment paper and bake for 45 min at 180° C (380°F).

Gluten Free Almond Choc Cake-3

Variations:

If you want to go for a richer version, you can add caramel sauce and nuts for example.

Swirl a large spoon of caramel sauce in the mixture before baking it and sprinkle pecans all over the surface. They will sink down otherwise, slightly help them so that they do not burn in surface while baking.

Gluten Free Almond Choc Cake-4-Alternativephoto 2

Result with Ice Cream

* You can also use your microwave. Place the chocolate (roughly chopped) and the butter (diced) in a bowl and get them melted 10 seconds by 10 seconds.

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Chocolate & Coconut Tart

8 Dec

I have kept that recipe in my drafts for almost 2 years…. always postponing it for no real reason except the fact that I did not really had good pictures of the different steps you have to go through.

Then, that catering job came and my client thought it would be a good idea to propose such a nice dessert to her guests.

I was about to give-up the idea of taking pictures as I have been really sick for the past 2 days and I had lots more to do in my neither too big nor too tiny kitchen!

Then I realized that it would for sure postpone that post for the next 2 years…..!

Here we are…. I hope you will like it because that tart is like a Bounty Bar….. it has lots of flavor and if you use a really good coconut, it will be amazing!

2644199225.

INGREDIENTS FOR THE SWEET PASTRY DOUGH (Makes 1 large tart or 8 individuals)*

  • 250g of flour
  • 5g of salt
  • 100g of icing sugar
  • 125g of butter cold and diced
  • 1 egg whisked
  • Plain flour to roll out the dough
  • Iced water if necessary

*To make your pastry more original, you can add spices or flavor to it. If you want to go deeper into chocolate…. you can substitute 100g of flour with chocolate powder. You will then obtain a nice dark crust with a nice chocolate flavor that will bring another dimension to your tart!

METHOD**

By hand: Place the flour, icing sugar, salt and cold diced butter in a bowl and start bringing the ingredients together until they form a light bread crumb consistency.  Now, add the egg and combine completely. Add a little water if the dough is to dry. Form a ball with the pastry and wrap it in cling film. Let it rest in the fridge for at least half an hour.  This freezes beautifully.

With a Magimix: Sift the flour, salt and icing sugar into the bowl of a food processor and add the cold diced butter.  Pulse until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.  Whisk the egg and add to the pastry mixture and stir well to bring together, adding a little more iced water if necessary.  Bring the pastry together into a flat disc, wrap it with cling film and chill for at least 30 minutes before rolling out.

Once the pastry is firm enough to roll out, sift a little flour on a clean surface and on your rolling pin and start rolling out your dough until it is 3-4mm thick. As the dough is very fragile, you can either fold it from the center into 4 like a “crepe” or roll it gently on your rolling pin and unroll it on top of the pastry case.

Once it is on top of your pastry case, press gently towards the bottom of the case so that the dough perfectly fits to the pastry case. Remove the excess of dough using a sharp knife around the edges of the case or simply roll once the rolling pin on top of the case. The excess will fall in a very clean way.

In a preheated oven (200° C / 380° F) bake the pastry case blind for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.  Remove and let it cool down on a rack.

Blind Baking

INGREDIENTS FOR THE COCONUT CREAM

  • 150g of caster sugar
  • 150g of butter at room temperature
  • 4 eggs whisked
  • 125g of shredded coconut

METHOD

Whisk together the butter and sugar until thick and pale, incorporate the coconut and the eggs and keep on whisking until you obtain a nice smooth cream.

Once your tart shell is blind baked, fill it with the coconut cream and spread it evenly. The mix will rise while baking, do not overfill the tart otherwise, you will struggle with the chocolate layer.

Keep the leftover in a bowl and make a mini tart if you also have pastry dough leftovers!

Bake it for 15-20 minutes at 180° C / 350° F until it get a nice golden color.

Let it cool down and prepare the chocolate layer.

Coconut and Choc

IMG_5823

INGREDIENTS FOR THE CHOCOLATE LAYER

  • 200g of dark chocolate (at least 56% cocoa)
  • 40ml of single cream
  • Shredded coconut for decoration

METHOD

Start a bain-marie, pour water in a pan and place a bowl on top, bring the water to a gentle boil. The bottom of the bowl must not touch the water, the bain-marie is due to the steam of the water.

Pour the chocolate in the bowl and once it is melted, incorporate the cream until you get a nice uniform mix.

Spread it from the center of the tart until the edges working with a spatula to get a nice uniform layer. Let it cool down.

Keep the chocolate leftover for your mini tart if you started it!

It’s up to you but if you want, you can decorate your tart with coconut to make it obvious that it is not only a chocolate tart but a chocolate & coconut tart.

I usually cut 3-4 cm cardboard strips and place them on top of the tart without pressing on it to keep the chocolate layer intact.

Then I spread shredded coconut all over the tart and gently remove the strips.

Finitions

 

Polka Dot Cheesecake by Julie Leclerc

1 Sep

I have waited soooooo long to post that recipe…..

Actually….. almost a year as I first tasted it when I started to work at Travers Smith.

On the day of your birthday, you get to choose the cake you want and usually, it’s Philippa who makes it as she is the Queen of the Pastry in the kitchen!

Also, as she excels in that recipe and because everybody loves it, she often has to do that one!

Even the Cheesecake skepticals such as Sue…. go for it and even go for another slice sometimes!

That cheesecake recipe is just amazing, it is sweet, fresh and airy and you also get your chocolate daily dose thanks to those magnificent dots dispersed all over the cake! 

As usual, Philippa reminded me to write that she found that recipe in one of Julie Leclerc‘s recipe books in which you can find plenty of amazing traditional pastry recipes.

Hope you will like it because I really do!

 

Ingredients

  • 315g digestive biscuits crushed
  • 160g melted butter
  • 150g chopped quality dark chocolate
  • 750g cream cheese at room temperature (Philadelphia is the best!)
  • 1,5 cup caster sugar
  • 1,5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs

Method

  • Grease a 20cm springform tin and line it with parchment paper.
  • Mix the crushed biscuits with the melted butter then pour it in the tin. Press it firmly with the palm of your hand to get a great thick base for your cheesecake! Chill it for at least an hour.

  • Preheat your oven to 150℃.
  • While that time, gently melt the chocolate in a bain-marie or in the microwave (I usually heat it 20′ by 20′ until it gets melted) then let it cool down a little.
  • In the bowl of your Kitchen Aid, cream together the cream cheese and sugar until it gets smooth and fluffy. Then add the vanilla extract and the eggs.

  • In a separate bowl, put 5 tbsp of the mixture and incorporate the melted chocolate to it. Once it is done, pour it in a piping bag and reserve.
  • Get your tin out of the fridge and pour the white mixture into it. Flatten the surface by shaking it a little or use a spatula.
  • If you use a disposable piping bag, cut the end of it and insert the end of it in the mixture, press gently to insert piped dots of chocolate deeply and evenly in the cake.
  • Repeat the same process all over the cake but be sure to be far enough from the other so that they do not touch.

  • Bake 25 minutes until the cheesecake is set but not dry. The edges are slightly colored and the surface does not crack because it is cooked at low temperature.
  • Let the cheesecake cool down in the tin.
  • If you can let it rest overnight, it is even better the day after!

Lemon Tartlets with a Meringue Topping and the Chocolate Alternative*** for my aunt Nadine

3 Jun

On the 3rd of June, it is my cousin Thibaud’s birthday and as usual, we had bought plenty of meat to put on the BBQ, plenty of fresh fruits to watch our diet…. but no cakes for the occasion. Also, I have to say that our countryside is great for meat, cheese or other savory specialties but when it comes to cakes…. it is not that easy to find something appealing.

Then I remembered that he once told me that he likes lemon tart…. I quickly checked that my uncle Daniel did not used all the lemons for the oyster feast they made and I started it.

As I did not have a lot of eggs as well as a lot of time, I stuck to the chocolate variation that is always a great surprise if you prepare the tart properly. Which means that you properly cover the chocolate layer with lemon curd in order to surprise your guests.

It seems to have worked once again as my aunt Nadine asked me to hurry up and write the recipe on my blog!

Then here we are…. there is no more secrets for you!

INGREDIENTS FOR THE SWEET PASTRY DOUGH (Makes 1 large tart or 8 individuals)*

  • 250g of flour
  • 5g of salt
  • 100g of icing sugar
  • 125g of butter cold and diced
  • 1 egg whisked
  • Plain flour to roll out the dough
  • Iced water if necessary

*To make your pastry more original, you can add spices or flavor to it. For example, I add a tbsp of poppy seeds, a gratted lemon zest, a tsp of ginger, cinnamon or sometimes I put only 180g of flour and 70g of almond powder. It will make the difference….!

METHOD**

By hand: Place the flour, icing sugar, salt and cold diced butter in a bowl and start bringing the ingredients together until they form a light bread crumb consistency.  Now, add the egg and combine completely. Add a little water if the dough is to dry. Form a ball with the pastry and wrap it in cling film. Let it rest in the fridge for at least half an hour.  This freezes beautifully.

With a Magimix: Sift the flour, salt and icing sugar into the bowl of a food processor and add the cold diced butter.  Pulse until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.  Whisk the egg and add to the pastry mixture and stir well to bring together, adding a little more iced water if necessary.  Bring the pastry together into a flat disc, wrap it with cling film and chill for at least 30 minutes before rolling out.

Once the pastry is firm enough to roll out, sift a little flour on a clean surface and on your rolling pin and start rolling out your dough until it is 3-4mm thick. As the dough is very fragile, you can either fold it from the center into 4 like a “crepe” or roll it gently on your rolling pin and unroll it on top of the pastry case.

Once it is on top of your pastry case, press gently towards the bottom of the case so that the dough perfectly fits to the pastry case. Remove the excess of dough using a sharp knife around the edges of the case or simply roll once the rolling pin on top of the case. The excess will fall in a very clean way.

In a preheated oven (200°) bake the pastry case blind for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.  Remove and let it cool down on a rack.

** As usual, if you are in a hurry, you can use a ready to roll sweet pastry, it will save you a little time. You’ll just have to go straight to the baking instruction.

INGREDIENTS FOR THE LEMON CURD

  • 240g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 lemon zest
  • 16cl lemon juice
  • 300g butter

METHOD
Whisk together the sugar and the eggs, add the lemon juice and zest. Cook in a bain-marie until it gets a nice thick consistency (about 40 min).
Turn off the fire and add the butter to the mix. Let it cool down then pour it in the baked pastry.

To make it smoother, you can mix it with a hand blender.

If you prepare it in advance, cover it with cling film to avoid it from getting a nasty crust on top.


INGREDIENTS FOR THE MERINGUE

  • 3 egg whites
  • 150g of caster sugar
  • 7cl of water for the method 2

METHOD 1 with uncooked sugar… the easy one

Pour the egg whites in the bowl of the Kitchen Aid and start whisking until it gets foamy then add half of the sugar and keep on whisking. When it gets thick, add the remaining sugar and keep on whisking until it forms soft peak. The meringue is shiny and firm.

METHOD 2 with cooked sugar

Pour the sugar and water in a pan and place it on a medium fire. Plunge a thermometer in the pan and keep an eye on it. Once the syrup starts to boil and reaches 117°, take the pan off the fire and plunge its bottom in cold water to stop the syrup from cooking further. You may have to brush the edges of your pan with a pastry brush if some sugar grains stick to it.

Start to whisk the egg whites until it gets firm then pour slowly the syrup on the edges of the bowl while it’s still whisking on a medium speed. The meringue will get a shiny and silky appearance. Keep on whisking til the meringue completely cools down.

With a spatula or a piping bag, pour some of the meringue on top of the lemon tartlets.

Use a torch to create the nice burnt aspect on the surface of the meringue. Alternatively you can place it under the grill for a very short time (depending on the power of your grill it may take a few seconds til 2-3 minutes).

***CHOCOLATE VARIATION

INGREDIENTS FOR THE CHOCOLATE VARIATION

  • 150g of dark chocolate
  • 60g of butter or double cream

METHOD FOR THE CHOCOLATE GANACHE

In a bain-marie, melt the butter or cream and chocolate together.

As it is still hot, cover the bottom of your baked pastry case with it and let it cool down.

Then pour the lemon curd on top of it with a spatula and put it back in the fridge until it is time to serve it.

1-Chocolate and Lemon TartIMG_1123 2-MeringueIMG_1134IMG_1135

Most of the time, I do not put meringue on top as the combination of lemon and chocolate is really great just like that.

IMG_1137 IMG_1139

Milky Crunch

20 Jan

In December, I have introduced you to the Praliné technique thanks to Philippe Conticini but I also told you that I will write a post about a gorgeous cake made with praliné: the Milky Crunch that I discovered on a french website:

http://myhome-made.blogspot.com/

I wanted to give it a try as it really looked gorgeous and even if it took me a while to do it, it was really worth it!

Then be prepared to spend a lot of time in your kitchen if you want to do it. I prefer to warn you as most of my recipes try to be everything BUT time consuming…. This one is not but I really had a lot of fun as well as my husband who took most of the pictures and tasted each layer of the cake before I started to assemble it.

Here is my translation of the recipe with a few adaptations…. I did not do the thin chocolate layer and as we don’t have Gianduja in London or in my neighborhood, I just used dark and milk chocolate….


INGREDIENTS

For the Hazelnut Dacquoise Layer

  • 175g of egg whites
  • 50g of caster sugar
  • 150g of hazelnuts
  • 125g of icing sugar


For the Praliné Crunch Layer

  • 100g of praliné
  • 125g of crêpes dentelles (Gavottes)
  • 25g of milk chocolate
  • 20g of cocoa butter or quality butter if you don’t have
  • 20g of hazelnuts roasted and roughly chopped


For the Chocolate Layer and the Decorations

  • 300g of tempered chocolate

For the Milk Chocolate Mousse

  • 550 g of milk chocolate
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 25 g of caster sugar
  • 125 g of whole milk
  • 600 g of single cream (150 + 450 )


For the Dark Chocolate Ganache

  • 200g of dark chocolate
  • 125 g of single cream
  • 1 tbsp of honey
  • 30 g of butter


For the Chocolate Icing

  • 100 g of dark chocolate 70% or 300g if you don’t have Gianduja Chocolate
  • 200 g of Gianduja Chocolate (with hazelnuts)
  • 200 g of single cream
  • 50 g of water
  • 50 g of glucose syrup
  • 25 g sunflower oil

METHOD

For the Hazelnut Dacquoise Layer

– Preheat your oven to 180 degree.

– Roast the hazelnuts on a tray or in a frying pan and let them cool down. Place them in a processor and roughly chop them with the icing sugar. You need to keep some hazelnut pieces as they will keep the dacquoise crunchy.

– Whisk the egg whites and add the 50g of caster sugar to get them tighter. They must form soft peak and hold by themselves.

– With a spatula, gently incorporate the hazelnut to the egg whites.

– Spread the mix on a baking tray covered with a silicon mat or parchment paper and bake it for 15-20 min. The Dacquoise is still soft and slightly colored.

– Once the Dacquoise is cool, use the mold in which you are going to assemble the cake to cut out a piece of Dacquoise that will be the base of your cake. It can be a circle, rectangle, square….

For the Praliné Crunch Layer

-Melt together the Chocolate Milk and the butter in a pan on slow heat or in the microwave (15 sec at a time).

-Mix together the praliné and the crushed Gavottes (crepes dentelles).

-Incorporate the roughly chopped hazelnuts and the chocolate and butter mix.

– Spread the mix on parchment paper and cover it with another piece of parchment paper and make it flat with a rolling pin.

– Cut out a piece of the same shape and same size as the dacquoise so that it fit on top of it and reserve it in the fridge.

For the Chocolate Decorations

– Using silicon molds for mini cupcakes, place 1/2 a square or 2 chocolate buttons into each case and get the chocolate melted in the micro-wave (15 secondes at a time) or just place the mold in a hot oven until the chocolate covers the bottom of the cases.

– Place the mold in the fridge and use it when it’s time to decorate the cake.

For the Dark Chocolate Ganache

– Chop the dark chocolate and melt it in a bain-marie or in the micro-wave (15 secondes at a time)

– In a pan, bring the honey and the cream to a boil and pour 1/3 on the chocolate and incorporate it vigorously with a spatula then add another 1/3 and the last 1/3.

– As the temperature will decrease, add the butter and mix it again to have a nice and silky ganache.

For the Milk Chocolate Mousse

-Chop the chocolate and melt it in a bain-marie or in the micro-wave (15 secondes at a time)

– Start with the cooking of the custard: in a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the sugar until it gets foamy and white. Pour it into a pan with the milk and 150g of cream and cook it on a slow heat while spooning constantly. The temperature must be between 82 and 84 degrees otherwise, the egg yolks scramble or the cream will not get thicker. If you are not used to do the custard, cook it on a bain-marie, it is easier even if it takes a bit longer.

– Once the custard is thick enough (it covers the back of the spatula and when you pass your finger on it, it leaves a trace), pour 1/3 on top of the melted chocolate and incorporate it with a spatula. Once the mix is homogeneous, add another 1/3 and incorporate it with the spatula then finish with the last 1/3.

– Whisk the remaining 450g of cream in a bowl until it gets light and airy then incorporate it to the chocolate mix when that one as cooled down to 45 degree.

For the Chocolate Icing

-Chop the chocolate and melt it in a bain-marie or in the micro-wave (15 secondes at a time)

– In a pan, bring the milk, glucose syrup and cream to a boil and pour it 1/3 at a time on top of the chocolate.

– Mix it well to obtain a nice and silky icing and use it as it’s still warm (about 40 degree).

HOW TO ASSEMBLE

– First prepare the praliné crunch layer, cut it and reserve it.

– Second, bake and cut the dacquoise and reserve it.

– Grease the edges of the mold (such as a loose bottom pan) you are using and cover it with parchment paper to make it easier when you will have to get the cake out. Place the dacquoise layer at the bottom then cover it with the praliné crunch layer. Press well so that they stick together.

– Prepare the chocolate ganache and pour it straight away on top of the praliné crunch layer.

– Prepare the chocolate mousse and pour it on top of the ganache.

– Make the chocolate icing and pour it on top of the mousse. Place in the fridge and let it rest for a few hours.

– If you did not use parchment paper for the edges: once the cake is refrigerated, use a sharp knife and plunge the blade in boiling water before passing it around the edges of your mold. Press the cake through the bottom and it will come out easily. Otherwise, press through the bottom and carefully remove the parchment paper around the cake.

– Use the hot blade to smooth the edges of your cake as the paper or mold may have stuck to the chocolate icing.

– If you have been making chocolate decorations with the tempered chocolate, you can add them when you unfold the cake. For mine, if have been using finely grated chocolate and chocolate pieces made with the temperate chocolate.

– Enjoy straight away with a large bunch of friends…

You can also make a couple of medium size cakes or many small ones and freeze them. Just get them out 24 hours before!

Millionaire Shortbread…. and billion of calories!

25 Apr

The Millionaire Shortbread is one of the slice that we sell at the Divertimenti Café.

When you look at it, it really looks amazing but a Snickers or a Mars are really light in comparison!

Let’s have a look at the ingredients to understand what I am talking about….

Anyway, this is the perfect recipe for kids….. chocolate for clean fingers, caramel absolutely non sticky and so light that they’ll be starving for dinner!

Ingredients for the biscuit

  • 300g self raising flour
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 200g butter

Ingredients for the caramel layer

  • 200g butter
  • 386g condensate milk
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 4 tbs golden syrup

Ingredients for the chocolate topping

  • 400g of dark chocolate

Method

For that recipe you’ll need a 30x40cm baking tin folded with parchment paper.

First melt the butter in a pan and mix it with the sugar and the flour. Pour the crumbs in the tin and press the surface so that it looks flat.

Cook about 20′ at 180° until golden brown. Let it cool down in the tin on a rack.

While that time, prepare the caramel.

In a pan, bring to the boil the butter, milk, syrup and sugar. Always keep an eye on it and stirr it constently to avoid the caramel from burning.

Once it became brown and sticky, pour it on the biscuit and let it cool down.

At last, melt the chocolate in a bowl on a bain-marie and pour it on top of the caramel.

Let it cool down and cut it into slices or squares.

Hazelnut Caramel Slice

22 Apr

As I am now working in a Café in Marylebone, I have a lot of different cakes to cook and recipies to share with you… but less time to put them on my blog!

I’ll start with this one that is crazy inb term of calories but also in term of taste….

You’ll need a 20 * 30 slice pan lined with baking parchment.

Base

  • 200g chopped butter
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 440g brown sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 225g flour

Caramel Filling

  • 180g butter
  • 110g sugar
  • 2tsp golden syrup
  • 180ml concentrated milk
  • 175g roughly chopped hazelnut

For the base

Melt the butter and the cocoa powder in a pan until you obtain a uniform paste.

Add the sugar and incorporate then remove from the fire.

Add vanilla, beaten eggs and flour and pour the mixture in the pan.

Cook about 20 min at 180°.

Once cooked, let it cool down in the pan.

The filling

In a pan, melt the butter, sugar, syrup and condensated milk for about 10 minutes until you obtain a gold to dark colour.

Stir in the hazelnuts and pour the mixture on top of the cooked base.

Let it cool down.

The top

  • 200g of dark chocolate
  • 1tsp oil

In a bain-marie, melt dark chocolate and oil and spread it on top of the slice. Use a flat spatula to spread it all over the slice.

Let it cool down, remove from the pan and cut it in slices, squares or whatever shapes you want.

Hazelnut Caramel Slice

Hazelnut Caramel Slice