Saturday, May 29, 2010

Blueberry Chocolate Cakes

How do you make an amazing blueberry cake even more delicious? Add some chocolate. I suppose this isn't some hidden magic trick tho, as chocolate makes almost everything better! The squeeze of lemon juice at the end gives a hint of tangy zing (serves 4).

INGREDIENTS
Olive oil spray
2 x 125g punnets blueberries (see note)
100g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
50g (1/3 cup) self-raising flour
40g (1/4 cup) plain flour
2 tbs cocoa powder
2 tbs skim milk
1 egg, lightly whisked
1 tbs vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
60ml (1/4 cup) water
1 tbs fresh lemon juice

PREPARATION
Preheat oven to 180°C. Spray four 150ml-capacity non-stick muffin pans with olive oil spray to lightly grease. Combine half the blueberries and 1 tablespoon sugar in a bowl. Divide evenly among the prepared pans.

Sift the combined flour and cocoa powder into a medium bowl. Add the milk, egg, oil, vanilla and 2 tablespoons of the remaining sugar, and stir until just combined.

Spoon the flour mixture evenly over the blueberry mixture in the pans and smooth the surface. Bake in oven for 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centres of the cakes comes out clean. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly. Use a serrated knife to trim the tops of the cake so they will sit flat. Turn onto a baking tray.

Meanwhile, place the water and remaining sugar in a small saucepan over low heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil. Cook, without stirring, for 1 minute. Add the remaining blueberries and cook, tossing, for 1 minute or until the syrup just starts to change colour. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice.

Divide the cakes among serving plates. Top with blueberries and spoon over a little of the syrup. Serve with cream freiche.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Chocolate Banoffee Pies

Banoffee pies are an English pastry dessert made from bananas, cream, toffee and boiled condensed milk (aka dulce de leche). Now this is purely preference, but Banoffee is perhaps the most satisfying dessert you can finish a meal with. Banana, caramel and biscuit. Add chocolate and you've got a great combo!

INGREDIENTS
250g dark chocolate digestive biscuits
180g unsalted butter
1 tbs cocoa powder, plus extra to dust
1/2 firmly packed cup (100g) brown sugar
395g can condensed milk
75g dark chocolate, melted
1 tbs golden syrup
300ml thickened cream
2 small bananas, sliced

PREPARATION
Finely crumb biscuits in a food processor. Melt 80g butter and add to crumbs with cocoa. Process to combine. Press into six 10cm loose-bottomed tart pans. Chill for 20 minutes until bases are firm.

Place sugar and remaining butter in a pan over low heat, stirring, until butter has melted. Add condensed milk and stir over low heat for 5 minutes or until mixture is a thick, golden caramel. Remove from heat, then add chocolate and golden syrup, stirring to combine. Fill tart shells with caramel mixture. Chill for at least 1 hour to set.

Whip cream until soft peaks form. When ready to serve, place tarts on plates, top with sliced banana and whipped cream, then dust with cocoa.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Steamed Chocolate Pudding and Black Forest Sauce

An old-fashioned steamed pudding is hard to beat. Dripping with dark chocolate and cherry sauce, this delicious recipe makes lovely moist chocolate pudding that serves 4.

INGREDIENTS
115g unsalted butter
115g caster sugar
2 eggs
85g self-raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tbs cocoa powder
30g almond meal
1 tbs milk
200g good-quality dark chocolate, broken into squares
160ml (2/3 cup) thickened cream
Thick cream, to serve
670g can pitted cherries
1 tbs arrowroot
2 tbs brandy

PREPARATION
Place butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until pale. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift the baking powder, flour and cocoa together & add to mixture with almond meal and milk, stir until well combined. Spoon into a 1 litre buttered pudding basin, cover with a layer of foil and tie with kitchen string to secure. Place in a saucepan and add enough water to come halfway up side of pudding basin. Steam for 1 1/2 hours.
Make a chocolate sauce by addding the chocolate and cream and place over a saucepan half-filled with simmering water (make sure the bowl doesn't touch the water). Use a metal spoon to stir occasionally until chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat. Or heat in a microwave, uncovered, on Medium-High/650watts/70%, stirring every minute, for 2-3 minutes or until melted and smooth.

To make the black forest sauce, place cherries and their juices in a saucepan, bring to a simmer over medium heat. Combine arrowroot with brandy until smooth, then add to cherries and cook for 2-3 minutes until thickened. Serve with cherry sauce, chocolate sauce and a dollop of cream.