Friday, March 04, 2011

The End is in Sight!

Movng on to a touch of the luxurious (but still able to be made cheaply enough from 'basics' with the addition of a few 'extras'), here are three of easy recipes, the first and third based on a Victoria Sandwich 'mx'.

Chocolate Sponge Cake: serves 6
3 large eggs
7 oz ( 200g) butter, softened
7 oz (200g) self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tblsp cocoa powder
4 oz (100g) grated chocolate
Put the eggs, butter and sugar into a large bowl, then sift the flour, baking powder and cocoa over. Beat together until light, then fold in the grated chocolate.
Spoon into 2 greased and lined 18 cm (is that 6") sponge tins and level the top, then bake for 20 - 25 minutes at 180C, 350F, gas 4 or until risen and firm when pressed gently in the centre. Leave to cool in the tin for five minutes before turning out onto a cake airer, peeling off the base paper.
When cold, sandwich together with either chocolte butter cream or whipped cream, and dust the top with icing sugar.
chocolate butter cream:
Beat together 9 oz (250g) softened butter with 4 oz (100g) icing sugar, then fold in 10 oz (350g) melted chocolate. Spread over one layer of the above cake, and place the other layer on top. If you wish, spread half the icing in the middle of the cake, the remainder on the top.

This next recipe is a simpler version of the more 'cheffy' Chocolate Fondant. These are best baked in 6 individual 5 fl oz (150ml) pudding moulds, but 6 sections of a muffin tin could be an alternative way to bake the puddings.
Chocolate Pud with a Melting Middle:
3 oz (75g) self-raising flour
half tsp baking powder
2 oz (50g) cocoa powder
2 oz (50g) ground almonds
5 oz (125g) butter, softened
4 oz (100g) caster sugar
2 eggs
1 tblsp water (opt)
6 small chunks chocolate (about the size of a grape)
Sift together the flour, baking powder and cocoa into a bowl, then fold in the ground almonds. In another bowl, cream together the butter and sugar, and when light and fluffy, beat in the eggs followed by the sieved flour mixture. The mixture should be soft enough to drop off spoon, and if it won't then beat in the water.
Grease the chosen pudding moulds (see above) with oil, then spoon in the mixture, levelling the surface. Take a lump of chocolate and gently push one into the middle of each pud, but only just below the surface, it needs to stay well above the bottom of the mixture.
If using individual moulds, stand them on a baking sheet (muffin tins can go in as-is), and oven-bake for 20 - 25 minutes at 180C, 350F, gas 4. Leave to cool in the tin for five minutes, and then turn out onto individual plates. Good served with a hot chocolate sauce, cream or ice-cream.

'Rretro' foods are now coming back into fashion. . Here is one such - again based on the Victoria Sandwich proportions. It helps to have the correct tins to make these called 'dariole moulds' - luckily I kept my old ones, but they are still on sale, but 'at a pinch' a muffin tin could be used instead. As dariole moulds are usually sold in sixes, no point in buying a dozen if you don't intend using them often, instead just reduce the ingredients below by half to make just half the number. Muffin tins usually have 12 sections, in which case use the recipe as it stands.
Orange flower water is not on everyone's shelves, so instead either use orange juice or a few drops of vanilla extract with a little water.
After baking, if some contents stubbornly refuse to turn out of the baking tins easily, one way to help them on their way is to stand the still-hot tin on a cold, wet teatowel and leave it for a few minutes. Not sure why this works (perhaps it helps to shrink the contents) but it does.

Coconut Madelines: makes 12
8 oz (225g) butter, softened
8 oz (225g) caster sugar
4 eggs, lightly beaten together
8 oz (225g) self-raising flour
2 tsp orange flower water (see above)
3 - 4 tblsp raspberry jam, warmed
4 oz (100g) desiccated coconut
6 glace cherries, halved
Put the butter and sugar into a bowl and cream together until light and fluffy, then beat in the eggs - a quarter (one egg) at a time. Fold in the flour and orange flower water. To prevent the creamed mixture 'curdling' when beating in the eggs (it doesn't much matter if it does, but looks better if it doesn't), a teaspoon of the flour beaten in with the first of the egg helps to prevent this.
Two-thirds fill 12 greased, floured and base-lined dariole moulds, place them on a baking sheet, then bake at 170C, 325F, gas 3 for 15 minutes until risen and firm to the touch. Remove from oven and either tap the tins on the work surface to help release the cakes, or carefully run a knife around the inner rim (or use the top above),, then carefully turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
When cold, brush the sides, base and top of the cake with the warmed jam and roll in desiccated coconut. Stand upright with the narrow (flat) end at the top, and place half a glace cherry in the centre of each.