As St Valentines Day looms, what better a time is there to share with you some of our favourite chocolate recipes in our latest Three Ways With installation from our Cookery School team.
An absolute classic, this soufflé recipe is surprisingly simple as well as being incredibly moreish and decadent. We find people are often intimidated by the idea of making a soufflé but as soon as they’ve mastered the technique will make them again and again.
For the creme patisserie:
2 tbsp plain flour
2 tsp caster sugar
½ tsp cornflour
1 egg yolk
1 whole egg
15ml double cream
25g dark chocolate
1 tbsp cocoa powder
For the ganache:
4 tbsp double cream
50g good-quality dark chocolate
1 tbsp cocoa
For the egg whites:
6 medium egg whites
85g caster sugar
Preheat the oven to 190ºC.
Brush four small soufflé dishes with melted butter and then dust evenly with cocoa, tipping the dishes to make sure the sides are coated. Keep to one side.
To make the crème patisserie, sieve the flour, sugar and cornflour together. Beat the egg yolk and whole egg together in a bowl and beat in half of the flour mixture until you have a smooth paste. Add the rest of the flour and mix well.
Combine the milk and cream in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat, add the chocolate and beat until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.
Pour the milk onto the flour and egg mixture, beating with a whisk as you go. Return to the pan and cook over a low heat, stirring all of the time until the mixture thickens to a thick paste. Leave to cool.
For the ganache, bring the cream to the boil in a small pan. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate, beat to a smooth glossy texture, gradually adding the cocoa. Leave to cool and then mix this into the cooled crème patisserie.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks. Add 1 tbsp of the sugar, whisk to incorporate and then tip in the rest of the sugar. Whisk to stiff, firm peaks.
Add 2 tbsp of the stiff egg whites to the chocolate base, gently stirring through. Carefully fold in the remaining egg whites, taking care not to knock out the air and volume.
Spoon the mixture into the ramekins, filling the dishes to the top. Tap each dish on a worktop to fill the sides. Pull a palette knife across the top of each dish so that the top of the mixture is completely flat. Run your thumb around the rim of the ramekin to create an indent, allowing the soufflé to rise evenly from the dish without sticking to the sides.
Put the ramekins on a baking tray in the middle of the oven for 12 minutes or until the soufflés have risen, have set but are still slightly wobbly.
Serve immediately, with a jug of double cream or perhaps a drizzle of salted caramel sauce.
Our Macaron Masterclasses at our Cookery School are mornings of fun, indulgent cookery, designed to help you master a classic which you can make time and time again. These chocolate macaron are a favourite of our Head Pastry Chef, Stephen Tarling, who is leading the way on this new and exciting course.
For the macaron:
190g icing sugar
1 tbsp cocoa powder
90g ground almonds
2 large egg whites
50g caster sugar
For the filling:
100g dark chocolate, chopped
100ml double cream
1 tbsp honey
Preheat the oven to 160°C.
Sieve the icing sugar and cocoa into a large bowl and mix in the ground almonds.
Beat the egg whites to soft peaks in an electric mixer. Sprinkle over the caster sugar and beat again until you have a firm meringue.
Carefully fold the meringue into the dry ingredients, mixing well to evenly combine all of the ingredients. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle.
Line a large baking sheet with baking parchment and pipe 24 blobs onto the surface, evenly spacing and leaving a little space in between each. The blobs should be 4cm in diameter. Tap the tray on a work surface to even them out and leave to dry out for 45 minutes or until they have formed a skin on the surface.
Bake for 12-15 minutes. When ready they should feel firm and easily peel away from the baking parchment. If not, return them to the oven for a few more minutes. Allow to cool on the paper, then gently peel off.
To make the filling, tip the chocolate into a glass bowl with the honey. Heat the double cream in a small saucepan and as soon as it comes to the boil, remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate. Stir well to melt the chocolate and to form a smooth, glossy ganache.
Using either a piping bag or small teaspoon, sandwich the macaron halves together with the ganache.
Rich Chocolate Tart
Always a favourite on our Seasonal dinner party courses, this chocolate tart is a definite crowd pleaser. Both the sweet pastry and chocolate ganache filling are surprisingly simple to make, not that your guests will realise! You can serve it simply with a drizzle of cream, sprinkle over some berries or scatter a few toasted pistachio nuts on top. We also love it served with caramelised orange or spiced poached pears.
For the sweet pastry:
190g plain flour
50g icing sugar
90g unsalted butter, cubed
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp cold water
For the ganache:
300ml double cream
300ml dark chocolate, chopped
Sieve the flour and icing sugar into the bowl of a food processor. Add the cubes of butter and blend briefly until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and water and pulse until the mixture comes together to form a rough dough. Tip out of the food processor and briefly knead to a smooth dough. Wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 170°C. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to 2mm thick and use it to line a 20cm tart tin. Prick the bottom of the pastry with a form. Trim off the excess pastry and line with greaseproof paper and baking beans. Bake in the centre of the oven for 15-10 minutes until the sides are crisp and lightly golden. Remove the baking beans and return to the oven for 2 minutes to finish cooking the base.
To make the ganache, tip the chocolate into a large mixing bowl. Bring the cream to the boil in a saucepan. Immediately remove from the heat and pour onto the chocolate. Stir well until you have a smooth, glossy ganache.
Carefully pour the ganache into the pastry case, evenly distributing the mixture. Leave to cool for at least an hour before serving.
Note – should you like you can add a little brandy or orange zest to the ganache to give a variation the flavour.