Chocolate Orange Cake with Popping Candy Shards and Candied Orange Slices

Lily Vanilli Chocolate Orange Cake

Lily Vanilli Chocolate Orange Cake

I made this cake with my friend as part of a special NYE meal – it took us an evening to make and mere minutes to demolish and both the baking and the eating were fabulous funĀ  The recipe is taken from Lily Vanilli’s book Sweet Tooth.

Recipe to follow, but for now I just wanted to share the photo (as I’m quite proud of the cake)!

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Passionfruit Ganache Tarts

These tarts are deliciously rich (particularly when made with chocolate pastry – my slight adaptation of Lily Vanilli’s excellent recipe in her book, Sweet Tooth )
I made these for dessert at a friend’s dinner party and they went down a treat! A good one to impress with and pretty straightforward too (particularly if you have already made the pastry/cheat and buy it). They can also be made in advance too.

Ingredients
1 batch chocolate pastry
200ml double cream
350g milk chocolate broken into pieces
20g butter
Flesh of 3 passionfruit plus extra for topping

Method
1. Take the pastry, roll out to 3mm thickness and cut out 10cm diameter rounds
2. Grease a 12 hole muffin tin and gently press the pastry rounds into the cavities and refrigerate for half an hour
3. Line the tin with baking parchment and weigh down each cavity with baking beads and blind bake on 180C for 10-15 minutes until starting to brown – remove from oven, brush with egg wash and bake for a further 2 minutes to seal). Bring out of oven and leave to cool.
4. To make the ganache: place the cream in a glass bowl and place on top of a small pan of simmering water. Be careful not to bowl the cream – you just want it warm enough to melt the chocolate, so keep a careful eye on the temperature
5. When the cream is warm enough (it will start to bubble at the edges), remove from heat and mix in broken chocolate and butter until smooth (you can add back to the heat if necessary, but be careful not to boil!!)
6. Stir the passionfruit into the ganache and leave to cool for 5 minutes
7. Spoon the ganache into the tart cases and refrigerate for 1-2 hours to set
8. To serve, add a spoonful of passionfruit to the tarts

Poached Cinnamon Plums with Greek Yoghurt, Honey & Toasted Hazelnuts

This is a dead simple, dead quick dessert which satisfies a sweet tooth whilst managing to include one of your five a day – bonus! You could also have this for breakfast too – maybe with a sprinkling of granola. There are many recipes like this in any standard cookbook, though this is based on none in particular and therefore any similarity is purely coincidental!

Serves 4-6
Ingredients

The Poached Fruit
8 Mixed Ripe Plums (you could also use nectarines, or a mix of the two)
2 Cinnamon Sticks
Zest of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 orange
1 tablespoon unrefined golden cane sugar
1 tablespoon honey

To serve
500g tub of Greek Yoghurt (a generous dollop or two for each serving)
Toasted Hazelnuts (or toasted flaked almonds – either is delicious)

Method
1. Quarter the plums and de-stone and place in large pan
2. Pour in the sugar, zest, cinnamon sticks, honey and just enough water to cover the plums and slowly bring to bowl
3. When it reaches the bowl, reduce heat and simmer, until the fruit is soft, but it retains its shape
4. Using a sieve, strain the juices off the fruit into a bowl, then place the fruit in a clean bowl, and return the juices to the pan (together with the cinnamon sticks
5. Simmer the juice down further until there is only about half left (taste the juice at this time and if it is too sharp, you can add more sugar/honey to taste)
6. When the liquid has reduced by about half, turn off heat, and pour over fruit and leave to cool.

To serve
1. Spoon yoghurt into bowl
2. Using a slatted spoon, put 3 or 4 quarters of plum into each bowl, then spoon over some of the plum juices
3. Sprinkle over nuts

Serve

Note – you could adapt this recipe and poach the plums in red wine and spices (cinnamon and cloves/mulled wine spice sachets) and serve with ice-cream for a more autumnal flavour

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