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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Raisin’ a toast to the weekend

(Raisin toast, stuffed with raspberry and custard)

There are few things more annoying than waking up hungry on a Saturday morning and discovering that you’ve run out of all things breakfast-worthy. When this happens, I suffer through a few handfuls of B’s cardboardy breakfast cereal while making a quick bread like this one. Occasionally the little organised person in me that’s constantly struggling to get out, manages to be a bit more prepared.

So this weekend, I made some raisin bread. It’s based on a recipe from one of my favourite books and is phenomenal eaten warm straight from the oven. If you have leftovers, the bread is also great toasted, or, taking a little inspiration from classic french toast, I also sandwiched some toasted slices with thick vanilla custard and raspberries. For once, that’s weekend breakfast AND dessert covered.

Raisin Bread :
(based on the fruit loaf recipe in Warm Bread and Honey Cake by Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra)

350g bread flour
1 sachet (7g) dried yeast
2 teaspoons raw sugar
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 egg
50g soft butter
150g whey or warm milk
120g raisins (or dried fruit of choice)

In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix the sugar, whey (or milk) and yeast. Allow to stand for 5 mins, then add yolk, butter, flour, salt and cinnamon (in that order) and mix on medium speed with the dough hook until the dough is smooth and comes away from the side of the bowl. You can also make the dough by hand if you wish.

Transfer the dough to a medium sized oiled bowl, cover and chill for 2-3 hours or overnight. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured bench, pat/press it into a rectangle, roughly 1cm thick. With the long side facing you, scatter the raisins over the surface of the dough and roll it up, brushing away any excess flour. Place the rolled up dough in a greased loaf tin or on a lined tray. Cover and allow to prove. When the dough has doubled in size, bake in a preheated 200’C oven for 30 mins or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.

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