Monday, 11 July 2016

Chocolate and Almond Torte

A big hello to all my dear readers and a big apology for being out of touch for so long. My weekend Culinary School Baking courses have been really keeping me busy and the baking practice thereafter which leaves me with no time and energy for blogging. To top it all, the blogger app on my phone mysteriously disappeared and I could not find it again on the Apple Store again. Finally, I got my husband to buy a iPhone to laptop connector so that I can access my phone pictures and start blogging again. With this small glitch taken care of, I hope to get back to active blogging now and beginning it with a Superhit Dessert recipe which has got me rave reviews every time I have made it. A simple recipe that it is, the only hard part is baking the meringue and while I am still struggling to bake a clean base meringue, the final dessert does not actually change whether or not you have a perfectly baked meringue.
So go ahead and make this dessert and enjoy the superb compliments that come your way!
Recipe Source: From one of my sessions at the ICCS cook off
6 egg whites
1.5 tbsp cocoa powder, sifted
250 gms fine sugar (can bring it down to 200 gms if you like less sweet)
90 gms ground almonds (almond meal, almond flour)

For the filling and topping
300 ml whipping cream
100 gms dark chocolate, melted

Pre-heat the oven at 140 degree celcius and keep two oven safe 7" baking plates (I used oven safe ceramic dinner side plates for baking) ready. The plates do not need to be greased or lined. The size is actually not so important. The meringue discs just need to be baked big enough to fit into your final serving dish.
Take the egg whites in the bowl of your stand mixer or hand mixer and add the sugar. Beat the whites to stiff peaks such that when you hold the whisk up the peak should hold its shape and the bowl inverted upside down doesn't drip down. Now fold in the sifted cocoa powder and the ground almonds and take care not to over mix. A few specks of unmixed cocoa powder here and there is fine. You must take care not to deflate the meringue.
Scoop out equal portions of the meringue into the plates and bake at 140 degree Celsius for 40-50 minutes until the top is dry to touch. Now slightly open the oven door and let the meringue discs cool inside the oven until completely cooled.
While the meringue cools in the oven, prepare the cream. Whisk the cream to soft peaks using your hand mixer or stand mixer. Now slowly pour in the chocolate and whip to stiff peaks. Keep aside in the fridge covered until ready to use.
Now, take your preferred serving dish (preferably of the same size as the meringue discs) and place one of the discs carefully on it. It is possible that the discs may break as you try to lift it or it may just stick at the bottom. That is completely fine. The shape of the meringue does not really alter the dish as it will be covered in cream. Scoop out the meringue keeping most of the crunchy part equally spread across the dish. Top it with a generous amount of cream and spread it out evenly. Layer it with the other layer of meringue disc following the same procedure as the previous one. Top it with the remaining cream and smooth out the top. Cover the dish with clingwrap and let it set in the fridge for 2-3 hours.
Garnish with fresh Strawberries or chocolate shards and serve chilled!!

Monday, 16 May 2016

Fudgy Chocolate Cake

Chocolate cake in any form and any recipe is always a delight for kids and adults alike. This is again a recipe I learnt at the cooking group I have joined recently and I am happy to say that it is delightfully easy. You can use this recipe to make a chocolate tart, as a base for fruit truffle, or to make an ice cream cake. Make it once and you will know how to use this recipe further. Enjoy!!
100 g salted butter
250 gms brown sugar (I used roughly 200 gms as I like it less sweet)
2 eggs
150 gms plain flour
45 gms cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract 

30 ml of strong coffee (optional but recommended)

Frozen Raspberries/Strawberries (fresh can be used as well)

1-2 tbsp almond meal/semolina/desiccated coconut/plain flour for greasing(whatever is available but one of the first two options are recommended)


Grease and flour a 6" pan (I used almond meal). Pre heat the oven at 175 degree celcius. 

Melt butter in a bowl in the microwave and let it cool slightly. Add the eggs and beat. Now add sugar and mix well. Add the coffee if using.

Add rest of the ingredients and mix well making sure there are no lumps.

Pour some batter in the prepared pan and in an artistic way push raspberries into the batter.  

Pour the rest of the batter on top. Put in the middle of the oven at 175 degree celcius for about 15-20 mins. Use a toothpick to check if it is done. Batter should not get stuck on the toothpick. It should be just cooked otherwise the cake will be too dry (I went wrong here and overbaked it by about 3-4 minutes). 

Note that there’s no baking powder so cake will not rise. It should be quite flat and compact.

Serve warm with whipping cream or vanilla ice cream. The cake is well suited for freezing. Do try and experiment different recipes and tarts that you can use this recipe for.