Thursday, March 26, 2009

Baked Chocolate Fudge

In my recent post on Tiger Tea Cakes I talked about my lack of resistance to chocolate. And this got me thinking and thinking and thinking about chocolate. And all the good chocolaty things I had ever eaten. And then my mind recalled this baked fudge I had made a while back. And this got me thinking and thinking about this baked fudge. And next thing I am in the supermarket tossing unsalted butter and cream into my trolley. And woe and behold, there I am pulling a batch out of the oven. You can imagine the gory details of what followed.

If only I could off held for a few weeks I would have the exscuse of Easter. When you are more or less obliged to scoff down chocolate. But no, I am officially as weak as water. A slave to the little grey cells.

The thing about this baked fudge is that it is utterly decadent, delectable and deadly. Silky smooth, creamy, rich and deeply, deeply chocolately. Just reading this post has added an inch to your hips. Sorry, but it's true!!!

Sadly, it's all too easy to make. A bit of melting and mixing and baking in a water bath and you are done. When it first comes out of the oven it will be very soft. With more the texture of a firm chocolate mousse. By the next day it will still be quite soft, but will have settled to a firmer and denser texture.

As if the fudge was not evil enough it also offers unparallelled opportunities for bowl and spoon licking. Woe is me!!!

Baked Chocolate Fudge
(adapted from Donna Hay Magazine, July/August 2006)

400gm dark chocolate, chopped
120gm unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup cream
5 eggs
2 tbspn plain flour, sifted*

Place the chocolate, butter, sugar and cream in a saucepan over low heat. Stir until melted and smooth. Whisk together the flour and eggs. Slowly whisk the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture.

Pour into a small rectangular loaf tin (12x21cm) lined with baking paper. Ensure that the paper rises above the edges of the tin as the fudge will rise a little. Place the tin in a deep baking tray and add enough boiling water to come halfway up the tin's sides.

Bake for 2 1/4 hours in a 150C oven or until the fudge is cooked. To test if it is cooked, insert a skewer in the centre of the fudge. If the batter clinging to the skewer easily rolls into a little ball, then the fudge is done.

*This is an Australian recipe. 1 Australian tbspn = 4 tspn (20ml). 1 US tbspn = 3 tspn (15ml).

Friday, March 20, 2009

Challenge Book #35 - Plum Baklava Tarts

Traditional nursery rhymes are all very well, but I prefer my own versions. Like this.

Little Jack Horner sat in a corner eating a plum baklava tart.
He put in his thumb and pulled out a plum.
And then scoffed the lot.

Much better. Or this.

Mary had a little plum backlava tart
It's cream as white as snow.
Everywhere that Mary went
These tarts were sure to go.

She took a batch to school one day
And they all scoffed the lot.

Just wouldn't make sense any other way.

These tarts tick all the boxes - they are easy, attractive and taste darn good. The baklava component is a bit of an abstract interpretation. Demerera sugar, ginger, cinnamon and ground almonds (the recipe specifices walnuts, but I hate them) is layered between sheets of filo pastry. The sugar provides a great crunch and the ginger is just inspired. It complements the plums beautifully.

I think you could make these with any manner of fruit. I think pears or apple would be fantastic. Or how about some poached quinces. I think that would be really superb!!!!!

This recipe is of course from Challenge Book #34 in the KJ wants a kitchen Aid Challenge. This is the Best which is the book from the TV series of the same name. I adored this show. It starred Ben Donoghue (right) , Paul Merrett (left) and Silvana Franco (middle). Each week they would cook a dish based on a given theme like sweet breakfasts or cheesy snacks. The dishes were judged by a group of three food lovers. I am so disappointed that it never went to a second series.

This particular recipe was by Paul, who was my favourite. At the time I was more enamored of his smile than his food. But every recipe of his that I have tried has been excellent. In fact every recipe I have tried from this book has been excellent. Silvana's recipe for spaghetti carbonora is the best I have ever tasted.

Plum Baklava Tart
(adapted from the Best)

12 ripe plums, stoned and quartered
85gm caster sugar
50gm ground nuts (walnuts or almonds)
2 tbspn demerera sugar
1/4 tspn ground cinnamon
1/4 tspn ground ginger
6 large sheets of filo pastry
85gm butter, melted

Cook the plums with the caster sugar for 10-12 minutes. The plums should be soft but still hold their shape.

Mix together the ground nuts, demera sugar, cinnamon and ginger. Cut the filo pastry into 12 equal sized squares, which are large enough to fit into a muffin mold. Brush a layer of filo with the melted butter and sprinkle with the nut mixture. Place another square on top to form a star shape and repeat. Add a third and final filo sheet.

Push the pastry square into a greased muffin mold. Allow the points of the pastry to stick up. Place a ball of foil into the middle of the pastry. Bake in a 190C oven for 5-8 minutes until just beginning to colour.

Remove the pastry cases and spoon in the plum mixture. Serve immediately with a dollop of thick cream or ice cream.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Challenge Book # 34 - Tiger Tea Cakes

Don't you just want to take a great big lick of this chocolate ganache? I know I certainly do!!!! And I've already eaten a pile of the stuff.

I just can't resist good chocolate. The budget stuff I can ignore till the cows come home. But deep, rich, quality chocolate owns my soul.

I do not keep it in the house, because if it is there it must be eaten. All of it!!! It does not matter what time of day it is, what else I've eaten, or how deeply I've buried it behind old sauce bottles or odd socks. Once my mind knows that it is there, its siren call drags me onto the rocks of overindulgence every time.

So while I really enjoyed these little tea cakes. What I really loved was the bonus hit of the rich, silky smooth ganache. It just made them something a bit extra special.

The cakes themselves are lovely and moist, with a delicious almond and chocolate flavour. Like most almond meal cakes, they are slightly on the heavy side though. One is enough. Next time I think I will make them in a mini muffin tin.

The method of making them is unusual, at least to me. Only egg whites are used and they are briefly mixed together with the almonds, sugar, flour and corn syrup before being refrigerated. It's easy enough and it works beautifully. So no complaints from me!!!

These tea cakes come courtesy of Dorrie Greenspan's Paris Sweets. Dorrie of course needs no introduction to the blogging community. There is a blog event (Tuesday's with Dorrie) entirely devoted to her recipes.

Paris Sweets is of course Challenge Book #34 in the KJ wants a Kitchen Aid Challenge. This is by the way, where I have to make something from every cookbook I own before I can buy any new ones.

This is a lovely, lovely book. All the recipes are gathered from Parisian patisseries. It makes me just want to jump on a plane to Paris and start eating!!

I have had this book for ages, but shamefully have only tried a few recipes. I can highly recommend the TV snacks. Lovely little buttery biscuit shots tinged with salt. Delicious!!

Tiger Tea Cakes
(adapted from Paris Sweets)

6 large egg whites
235gm ground almonds
150gm sugar
45gm plain flour
210gm unsalted butter
25gm light corn syrup
145gm dark chocolate, finely chopped

Whisk the egg whites to just break them up. Add the ground almonds, sugar, flour and corn syrup. Mix until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours.

Bring the butter to a boil in a small saucepan. Stir into the batter. When the batter has cooled, stir in the chopped chocolate.

Spoon about 3 tablespoons of the mixture into a buttered muffin mold.

Bake in a 180C oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool.

Chocolate Ganache
(adapted from Paris Sweets)

230gm dark chocolate, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
60gm unsalted butter, chopped

Pour the cream into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour it over the chocolate and let the mixture rest briefly. Very gently stir until the mixture is smooth. Whisk in the butter until melted.

Refrigerate until the mixture is firm enough to hold it's own shape. Pipe onto the top of the cakes. Dorrie notes that the original tiger cakes are first turned upside down.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Challenge Book #33 - White Chocolate and Raspberry Waffle Pudding

Hi ho everyone. I'm back!........You didn't even know I was gone, did you? And I bet you haven't noticed my chic new haircut and my cool new shoes I got for a bargain either. Sighhhhh........Why do I even bother?!!

Seriously though, I have been up in Queensland for a couple of weeks enjoying the rain. These days it's such a novel experience to have it rain from dawn till dusk. It was great. I read tons of books and just relaxed. So lovely.

Now, after my last post complaining about the abysmal inferno that Canberra had become, you are probably wondering why I am posting a warm baked pudding. Well, that's because after the fun of 40C plus mother nature decided to plunge temperatures down to the late teens and to single figures during the night. I felt ridiculous digging out cardigans after weeks of lamenting that I had to wear clothes at all.

I have been itching to make this pudding since I got this book for Christmas. I believe when I turned the page and saw it my first words were "WOOOOOOOOOOOAH".

White chocolate and raspberry is one of my most favourite combinations. And waffles. Waffles are not big here in Australia. You can get one brand in the supermarket. But I ate a few hundred when I visited Belgium some years back. So fantstically good.

Well how did it taste, I hear you ask. I have to say, deliciously yummy and no mistake about it!!! It was really good. And very rich. Small servings are advised. The only thing I can criticise is the texture. The waffles did get a little mushy at the bottom. But I didn't care.

As you might expect, 5 of the Best is Challenge Book #33 in the KJ Wants Kitchen Aid Challenge. Only around 30 more to go. Oh dear!!!!

Raspberry and White Chocolate Waffle Pudding
(adapted from 5 of the Best)

480gm waffles
300gm raspberries
200gm white chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup castor sugar
1 tbspn plain flour*
3 eggs
1 tspn grated lemon rind
1 tspn vanilla
2 cups thickened cream
icing sugar to dust

Dice the waffles into 2cm cubes. Put about half into a greased medium sized casserole dish. Top with half the chocolate and raspberries. Repeat the layers.

Whisk together the eggs, flour, sugar, rind, vanilla and cream. Pour over the waffles and leave for around 10 minutes.

Bake in 170C oven for 35 minutes or until golden.

Dust with icing sugar and serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

*This is an Australian recipe. 1 Australian tablespoon = 4 teaspoons (20ml). 1 US tablespoon = 3 teaspoons (15ml).

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