Tuesday, 21 May 2013

White chocolate and banana mudcakes

This is a great recipe to throw together for a tea time treat or for the school pick up when you have hungry kids. There are some naughty ingredients but the bananas add some good stuff! I often make a full batch and then freeze half so that I have a batch ready and waiting to just bake once it has defrosted (though to be fair it doesn't really take long to make this from scratch).

250 g stork
250 g white chocolate
150 ml hot water
1 cup caster sugar
1¾ cups plain flour
1 cup self-raising flour
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 eggs
4 mashed bananas

Preheat oven to 150°C. Melt chocolate and stork in microwave for 1-2 minutes. Add water and sugar, stir and put in microwave until sugar has dissolved (this may not be necessary since the chocolate and butter mix will already by hot). Set aside to cool.

Mash bananas, eggs and vanilla together in a separate bowl. When chocolate mix has cooled add sifted flours to the chocolate mixture. Add the egg and banana and mix well.

Either line and grease the base and sides of a cake tin. Or line some muffin tins with cases (this should make about 12 large muffins and about 6 small cupcakes or around 20 normal cupcakes).

Pour into prepared tin and cook for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on size of tin. Or into the muffin cases and cook between 15-25 minutes depending on the size. Check about 3/4 of the way through cooking to see how it is doing.

Lovely plain or ice with white chocolate icing or cream cheese icing.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Chocolate, salted caramel and pecan/hazelnut tart


  • For the pastry
  • 50g hazelnuts/pecan nuts
  • 200g plain flour
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  • 140g cold butter , diced
  • 1 egg yolk
  • For the caramel
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 25g butter
  • 100ml double cream
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
  • large pinch sea salt flakes
  • 50g hazelnuts and pecans, toasted and roughly chopped

  • For the chocolate filling
  • 100g dark chocolate (70%)
  • 75g butter
  • 2 large eggs , plus 1 yolk
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp cocoa

To make the pastry, whizz the hazelnuts in a food processor until finely ground. Add the flour, icing sugar and butter, and pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and 1-2 tbsp cold water, and pulse until the dough comes together. Tip the dough out and flatten into a disc, then wrap in cling film and chill for 30 mins.

 Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. On a floured surface, roll out the pastry to line a 23cm loose-bottomed, deep tart tin. Trim the edges and prick the base with a fork.
 Line with baking parchment and fill with baking beans. Bake for 20 mins, then carefully remove the baking beans and parchment and bake for a further 5-10 mins until light golden. Allow to cool.
Meanwhile, make the salted caramel. Tip the sugar into a small pan, add 1-2 tbsp water and heat gently to dissolve the sugar. I found that the caramel was quite subtle so it may be worth double this amount if you prefer a stronger caramel taste.
 Increase the heat and cook until the sugar turns to an amber coloured caramel.
 Reduce the heat and add the butter, cream and golden syrup, and stir until the sauce is smooth and thickened.
 Roughly chop the nuts
 Remove from the heat and add the salt. 
Allow to cool for a few mins, then spread onto the tart base.
  Scatter with chopped hazelnuts and set aside.
 For the chocolate filling, melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until smooth, then remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. 

 In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, egg yolk and caster sugar for about 6 mins until thick and pale. 
 Fold in the melted chocolate and cocoa

 The pour into the tart case
 Transfer to a baking sheet and cook for 20-25 mins or until set and the top has formed a crust. Allow to cool to room temperature before serving in slices. 
You can pipe on cream at this point and decorate with fruit or serve as it is with creme fraiche and fruit coulis.