No caption Photo: Photography: Kristin Perers Food Chocolate and pecan cake with toffee crème frâiche. Photo: Kristin Perers
Most days I’m more than happy with a piece of fruit after dinner, but when guests come over, I like to go all out and indulge them with a luscious treat.
CHOCOLATE AND PECAN CAKE WITH TOFFEE CRÈME FRÂICHE
This is a great dessert and if you omit the topping and dust it with cocoa, it also suits an afternoon tea.
200g dark chocolate
125g unsalted butter
5 eggs, separated
200g brown sugar
150g pecan halves, very finely ground, plus extra for the topping
pinch of salt
for the topping
200g crème frâiche
1 tbsp icing sugar
3 tbsp thick toffee sauce or dulce de leche
Preheat oven to 180°C. Lightly grease and line a 23cm springform tin with baking paper.
Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, set aside to cool. Beat the egg yolks and sugar until pale and frothy. Fold in the melted chocolate and ground pecans.
In a clean metal bowl, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until firm peaks form. Stir ¼ of the whisked egg whites into the chocolate mixture to loosen it, then gently fold in the remaining egg whites. Tip into the prepared tin and bake for 45-50 minutes, covering loosely with foil if the top starts to get too much colour. Cool on a rack before removing from the tin.
For the topping, place crème frâiche into a bowl and stir in icing sugar. Roughly fold through toffee sauce and use a palette knife to spread over the cake. Top cake with a sprinkling of ground pecans.
BANANA TARTE TATIN WITH CARDAMOM AND LIME
There are many different fruits you can use for tarte tatin – apple, pear, plums and mango all work well.
plain flour, for dusting
200g puff pastry
juice of 2 limes
5 ripe bananas, halved lengthways
100g unsalted butter
3/4 cup caster sugar
4 cardamom pods, seeds only, crushed
crème frâiche or vanilla ice-cream, to serve
Preheat oven to 200°C. Lightly dust a surface with flour and roll out the puff pastry into a circle about 26cm in diameter. Place onto a dusted baking sheet and chill. Squeeze the lime juice over the bananas and set aside.
Melt butter in a 23cm, heavy-based ovenproof frypan. Stir in the sugar and cardamom until the mixture turns a light caramel colour. Don’t worry if the butter and sugar separate. Carefully lay the bananas, cut side down, into the pan. Cook on the stove top for 2 minutes, until the caramel is deeply coloured. Lay pastry over the bananas, tucking edges down into the pan. Prick pastry with a fork and bake in oven for 25-30 minutes, until golden.
To remove the tarte tatin, place a serving plate over the fry pan and invert the pan and the plate with a swift movement. Take care, as the caramel will be very hot. Serve warm with crème frâiche or vanilla ice-cream.
Bill’s tipIf you don’t have an ovenproof frypan, make the caramel in a pan, then pour it into a metal pie tin before adding fruit and pastry and baking.
Food preparation by Rosie Reynolds and Marina Filippelli. Props styling by Rachel Jukes.
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