Chocolate Krantz Cake

(Burnt chocolate and caramel custard with mini chocolate Krantz cake)

Every once in awhile, an exceptional recipe comes along and fairly quickly without much thought, I find myself returning to it more than twice in a single week. This very splendid chocolate Krantz cake from Tara’s blog, which comes by way of Ottolenghi, is one such recipe. It produces two memorable loaves of sweet yeasted cake that are utterly blissful when eaten warm and that also manage to stay moist and just as pleasing several days later.

The first time I made it, I foolishly halved the recipe. Big mistake. The entire loaf disappeared within two days, leaving me craving for more. The second time round, I made a full batch, flavouring the dough with candied orange and cardamom and also reducing the sugar content by a few tablespoons. Half the dough was converted into a tray of mini loaves, for tearing and dipping into little cups of burnt chocolate custard.

Anyway, you know the drill. If you only have time and the inclination to bake one thing this week, please let it be chocolate Krantz cake. Get the recipe from Tara’s blog. If you want to gild the lily, the recipe for the chocolate custards are below.

Burnt chocolate caramel custards :
(makes 4; adapted from a recipe from The Sweet Life by Kate Zuckerman)

1/2 cup caster sugar
1 cup cream, warmed
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
70g bittersweet chocolate, melted
3 egg yolks
generous pinch of sea salt

plus extra caster sugar for caramelising the finished product

Melt the 1/2 cup of sugar in a medium sized pot, then increase the heat and cook until golden brown, stirring with a heat-proof spatula. When the sugar has caramelised, turn down the heat and carefully whisk in the cream (the caramel will splutter), followed by the milk and salt. Continue cooking until the caramel has dissolved, then remove from the heat.

In a large bowl, combine the yolks with the melted chocolate, then whisk in the warm caramel cream. Strain the custard into a jug, and divide the mixture between 4 ramekins (I used small cups, as shown in the first picture). Bake covered loosely with foil in a bain marie in a preheated 155’C oven for about 40 minutes until the custards are just set. Chill overnight before caramelising with a generous sprinkle of caster sugar and a blow torch.

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Hello Summer Chocolate Sorbet

Hello beautiful Sydney beaches
and sand getting into impossible places
and the impossibility of finding a spot to park your car
before joining the thirty minute queue at the fish and chip shop
for soggy snacks scooped from an overloaded fryer.

Hello crayon yellow peaches, pineapples, blush cherries,
ruby red raspberries, black plums, zebra tomatoes
and those things in Sydney that often look like apricots
but rarely taste like one

and sock tans and brown arms
from running under the sun in your new pair of gym shorts
that replaced the ones with a big rip
right where two cheeks would meet.

Hello mango cheeks, preservative free sausages, watermelon rind pickles,
and 42’C days that make you long for breakfast ice-cream.

Hello Summer
I think I love you sometimes.

Chocolate Sorbet :

300g water
70g sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon Dutch-processed cocoa powder
60g 70% dark chocolate buttons
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
100g milk

In a medium pot, whisk together the cocoa, water, sugar and honey. Bring to boil, cook for 1-2 minutes then remove from heat. Whisk in the chocolate buttons, followed by the rest of the ingredients. Strain. Allow to chill overnight before churning. Eat and make often.

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Chewy, gooey, crispy, crunchy..

(Hazelnut meringue with chocolate cream and cherries)

Well, it’s been a bit of a mixed year, hasn’t it? If the Mayan apocalypse doesn’t ruin all our plans for the 25th, I’d like to wish everyone reading this, Merry Christmas!

We had friends over for dinner the other day as part of a pre-Christmas catch up. Put two teetotallers and two vinous aficionados at a table and you would think it’d be a recipe for disaster, but it was so much fun. If it takes an occasion like the holiday season for people to finally get together, then so be it. In light of recent bad news happening around the World, I’m reminded of how lucky some of us are to live happy, (relatively) uncomplicated lives and to be surrounded by loved ones, or at least be connected to friends near and far away.

At the end of the evening, dessert was brought out with a bit of a disclaimer. This recipe was new to me and I didn’t know if it would turn out well. What is it meant to be like, they asked? I’d hoped it would be chewy, gooey, crispy and crunchy.

And it was.

The recipe for the meringue comes by way of the brilliant Ottolenghi cookbook. A sweet way to end a meal, Christmas or otherwise.

Hazelnut meringues :

100g egg whites
180g sugar
generous pinch of sea salt
2 tablespoons chopped hazelnuts
1 tablespoon cocoa powder

Preheat the oven to 110’C.

In a bowl, whisk the egg whites, sugar and salt together just to combine. Warm the mixture in the bowl over a bain marie until it feels warm to touch, stirring at all times. Transfer the contents of the bowl to an electric mixer and whisk on high until the mixture has cooled down and you have a firm, shiny meringue. Swirl in the chopped hazelnuts and cocoa powder.

Place large spoonfuls of the meringue onto lined baking trays. Bake for about 2 hours or until the bottoms of the meringues feel dry.

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