Tag Archives: Pudding

Four Great Almond Recipes

I know what you’re thinking, ‘Really, Chris another Almond recipe’, but I bet I’m not alone here, one of my favourite things to cook with is almonds. Flaked, chopped, toasted or salted. You name it I like almonds. Sadly, we haven’t yet finished building our new kitchen, so I can’t actually cook any new almond recipes and show them off yet. Fear not. Here’s a list of all my top recipes with almonds.

Twisted Almond Loaf

1. Toasted Almond Krantz Loaf
This is a tweak to Yotam Ottolenghi’s krantz loaf recipe that’s traditionally made with pistachios. Don’t get me wrong pistachios are great. They’re just not almonds.

BlackBerry-Tarts-1024x718

2. BlackBerry & Almond Tart
We discovered this in our local coffee shop and spent ages trying to replicate it in our little seaside kitchen. Fresh blackberries melted into toasted almonds and almond butter, makes this our perfect teatime treat.

Lemons

3. Lemon Tart
Technically this is a lemon recipe, but without the ground almonds it might as well be lemonade.

Chocolate Rolls

4. Salted Chocolate Almond Rolls
Step forward the mighty little salted chocolate almond rolls. Enriched dough, smothered in chocolate, sprinkled in salted almonds, then rolled and baked into little chocolate gems.

Krantz Cake with Salted Almonds

It has been way too long since I baked a loaf of anything. Making the ever-so-popular mini pretzels was fun. The double egg glazed burger buns? Yep they were a laugh, but I think making the sourdough starter sort of ruined the joy of baking for me. It was too much hard work, with little reward and I needed something to lure me back to my giant jar of flour.

Enter Yotam Ottolenghi’s latest recipe book, jam packed full of inspirational ideas, that found its way into my birthday wishlist. Now here was something to kick-start me into baking again, especially the take on a classic krantz cake. Granted it’s a lot of work, but the reward…well my key recipe tasters (Anna and some mate’s down the road) said it was well worth it. A couple of small tweaks to his classic recipe and I was bitten again by the baking bug.

Twisted Almond Loaf

Krantz Cake with Salted Almonds (makes two loaves)
530g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
100g caster sugar
2tsp dried fast-action yeast
grated zest of one lime
3 large free-range eggs
120ml water
1/3 tsp salt
150g unsalted butter, cut into 2cm cubes, at room temperature
sunflower oil, for greasing

To  make the dough combine the flour, sugar, yeast, lime zest and salt into a large mixing bowl. I don’t have a fancy food mixer, so I attempted it by hand. Add the eggs and water, then mix until the dough comes together. Then start adding the butter, just a little bit at a time, until it melts into the dough. Keep kneading until it becomes elastic, smooth and a little bit shiny. You’ll need the extra flour to keep dusting it so it doesn’t stick. Once done, place in a large pre-greased bowl, cover and leave in the fridge overnight to proof.

Chopped Almonds

Chocolate Almond Filling
50g icing sugar
30g cocoa powder
130g dark chocolate
120g unsalted butter
100g almonds, with their skins on
2 tbsp caster sugar

Chocolate Spread

Lightly toast the almonds in a pan, then roughly chop and set aside. Melt the butter and chocolate in a bowl over bowling water until combined. Then mix the chocolate together with the icing sugar and cocoa powder to make a spreadable paste.

Dough

Grease two baking tins with sunflower oil and line the bottom with grease proof paper. Remove the dough from the fridge and divide in half. Keep the remaining half in the fridge. Roll the dough on a floured surface into a large rectangle. Then with a palate knife spread half the chocolate mixture over the dough rectangle, leaving roughly a 2cm border. Sprinkle half the toasted almonds and half the caster sugar on top of the chocolate mixture.

Spread with crushed almonds

Roulade

Then brush a little water around the 2cm border so it sticks. Using both your hands roll it like a roulade and gently stick the wet edge so it looks like a giant burrito.

Trimmed Edges Lengthways Trim Chocolate Twist

Trim 2cm off each end with a large serrated knife. Now take the same knife and cut lengthways down the middle, dividing the log into two pieces.  You should have layers of dough and chocolate mix showing. Gently press together and then plait the two pieces together. Once you get to the end, press the two pieces together and place the whole thing into your pre-greased loaf tin to proof. Repeat the process with the remaining ingredients. Leave both loaves to proof under a wet tea towel for around 90 minutes.

Chocolate Almond Plate Proofing Loaf

The Sticky Syrup Finish
260g caster sugar
160ml water

Preheat the oven to gas mark 5 or 190ºC. Remove the wet tea towel and place the loaves on the middle shelf of your oven for 30 minutes. While the loaves are cooking, boil the sugar and water until the sugar dissolves. Set the syrup aside and leave to cool.  As soon as your loaves are done, brush all the syrup across both of them. The recipe calls to use all of the syrup, so it might seem like a lot, but don’t worry the breads soaks it all up. Leave until warm, then remove from the tins and leave to cool before eating…I’ve certainly got the baking bug back.

Chocolate & Poached Orange Cheesecake

Grated CheesecakeFirst it was bread, then pie – now pudding is the latest recipe challenge to to enjoy it’s moment in the sun. The reason? I’ve….erm, become addicted to the mystery box challenge in Master Chef. Basically, each week they get a mystery box of ingredients and have one hour to wow the judges with their creation. Almost always, from the relative safety of my sofa, I can think of something to make out of the savoury box. It’s always got a bit of meat, some veg and the odd jar of capers to throw you off course…but then there’s the tricky sweet box.  Just what the hell do you with a bottle of Grand Marnier and couple of blueberries? Pithed Orange Now I’ve never been brilliant at pudding, I’ll admit, but it’s clearly my weakness. Yes I can hear you mumbling ‘Come on Chris! Who has a food blog and can’t make a pudding’. It’s just that some clever clogs always manages to muster a winning tart from a box full of boring old rhubarb and a little bottle of Frangelico. So that’s my new challenge – try and make pudding with what’s lying around the cupboard. Like my own private pudding cooking challenge. Just without the time limit or the pressure of facing some judge. Chocolate & Poached Orange Cheesecake (serves 4)Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like a have a fridge full of cream cheese just in case I need it. Although I did have a few oranges, some leftover biscuits and about 3 blocks of chocolate in the fridge and here’s how I made it. Crushed Oreo 1 tsp vanilla paste 400g cream cheese 3 free-range eggs & 2 free-range egg yolks 100ml double cream 200g caster sugar Zest from one lime, orange and a lemon 150ml water 2 medium oranges 1 packet of Oreo or any chocolate biscuits (crushed) Milk chocolate for grating Add a 100g of the sugar to the 150ml of water leave to dissolve. Peel and segment the oranges trying to remove as much pith as possible. Then add to the sugar water and bring to the boil. Let it bubble for about a minute, then switch it off and leave to cool. Sweet Orange Custard Cheesecake Add the vanilla, cream cheese, eggs, cream, zest and remaining 100g of sugar into a heatproof bowl. Set the bowl on a pan of boiling water (about 300ml) whisking constantly for about twenty minutes until smooth and thickened. Remove from the heat and chill in the fridge. The finished mix will be thicker than a normal custard, but won’t fully set. eaten cheesecake To make each cheesecake, take four glasses/ jars and put three or four segments of oranges into the bottom. Add a little of the sweet orange liquid. Then layer in your crushed Oreo biscuits and spoon in the cheesecake mix. Finally grate chocolate over the top and you’re done. Did I win the challenge?

Flourless Chocolate Cake

A couple of weeks ago, I was out with the lads drinking dark beers and getting in animated discussions about the weekend football. Epic it was…until that is my phone buzzed with a message from Anna. ‘Don’t forget we’re out for dinner tonight and you promised to make pudding. Anna xx‘.

The alarm bells kicked in. In fact, I’d totally forgotten and only had a couple of hours to rustle something up. I could have just popped to the shops, wraped it in foil and claimed it as my own. No that’s not for me, what I needed here was a quick fix. Thankfully, I had a cracking chocolate cake recipe up my sleeve for just this sort of emergency. It’s like a big giant gooey chocolate circle of goodness and it never fails.

Ingredients
250g butter
250g brown granulated sugar
500g dark chocolate (70%)
10 eggs

Smash up the chocolate into smaller bits and add to a rounded bowl, along with the butter. Cover the top of the bowl with cling film and place on top of a pan of boiling water. You only need a small amount of water in the pan so it sits just beneath, but not touching the bowl. Then leave it and that means no stiring. Playing around with it is likely to make the chocolate granulated. Once the butter and chocolate is melted, take off the heat and we’ll come back to it later.

Separate the egg yolks from the whites into two different bowls. With a mixer beat the sugar and yolks until they become fluffy. It’s easier if you have an electric whisk, or a pain in the wrist if you have a wind up one like ours! Take your melted chocolate/ butter mix and gradually pour and mix into the egg yolks. Beat until smooth and set aside.

Whisk the egg whites into stiff peaks with your mixer. Gently fold the egg whites into the cake mixture with as little mixing as possible. This probably doesn’t make any sense, but the idea is to try and keep as much air in it as possible. Heat your oven up to gas mark 4 (180 degrees).

Spoon in your mixture to a pre-greased cake tin and bake for about 35 minutes. If you like it very gooey then go for 30 minutes. Now it might look a little plain, but boy will this cake make you popular. It’s best served with thick whipped cream, with fresh vanilla stirred through.