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Recipe Of The Month: Couverture

White chocolate brandy truffles (Makes around 25 truffles)

100ml double cream
1 tbsp brandy, such as Armagnac
1 vanilla pod
Zest of 1 lemon
100g milk chocolate, finely chopped
600g white chocolate
25g dark chocolate

1- Line a baking sheet or board with baking paper.
2- Pour the double cream into a small pan and add the brandy. Halve the vanilla pod and use the tip of a knife to scrape the seeds into the cream. Stir in the lemon zest.
3- Bring the cream mixture to the boil, then remove from the heat. Add the milk chocolate to a bowl, pour in the cream mixture and stir until smooth. Chill for around 4 hours, until firm.
4- Use a teaspoon and your hands to form the mixture into balls. Put on a baking sheet and chill.
5- Temper the white chocolate by putting 250g of it in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure the base doesn't touch the water. Put a chocolate thermometer in the side and do not allow it to go over 45°-50°C. Take the bowl off the bain-marie and stir in another 50g of white chocolate. Set aside until the temperature of the chocolate drops to 26°-27°C.
6- Dip each ball into the white chocolate and put on the baking parchment. Leave to set.
7- Temper the remaining white chocolate, as above, and coat the balls a second time.
8- Melt 20g of the dark chocolate in a bowl resting over a pan of just-simmering water. Stir in the remaining 5g. Drizzle over the balls, then leave to set until firm, and serve.

Dark chocolate, ginger and orange cake (Serves 12)

For the cake:
200g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
A little plain flour
175g soft brown sugar
Zest and juice of 1 orange
3 large eggs
200g self-raising flour
25g cocoa powder
1 tsp ground ginger
25g dark chocolate, grated

For the syrup:
50g sugar
Juice of 1 orange

For the decoration:
75g butter
125g dark chocolate, chopped
1 tsp ground ginger
25g white chocolate

Double cream, to serve

1- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Grease a 20cm ring tin and dust it with the plain flour.
2- Wisk the butter, sugar and orange zest in a large bowl until the mixture is soft, creamy and lighter in colour.
3- Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, then fold in the self-raising flour, cocoa, ginger, dark chocolate and orange juice. Mix everything together until smooth. Spoon into the tin and bake for 30-40 minutes, until the top of the cake springs back when lightly pressed.
4- Meanwhile, make the syrup. Put the sugar into a pan with the orange juice and 50ml cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 4-5 minutes, until syrupy.
5- With a skewer or cocktail stick, pierce the cake all over the top, then pour over the syrup. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
6- To decorate, melt the butter in a pan over a low heat. Take off the heat, then gradually add the chopped chocolate, followed by the ground ginger, stirring well until it has all melted into the butter.
7- Drizzle over the cake and allow to set for 10 minutes. Melt the white chocolate in a bowl resting over a pan of just-simmering water, making sure the water isn't touching the base, then drizzle over the dark chocolate and leave to set.
8- Serve with a spoonful of thick double cream.

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Recipes written by Emma Marsden.

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