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Recipe Of The Month: Chocolate


For the caramel filling:
30g unsalted butter
120g dulce de leche
¼ tsp Maldon sea salt, finely crushed
20g white chocolate, finely chopped

For the ganache:
100ml double cream
20g unsalted butter
220g dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 tbsp brandy

For the coating:
150g dark chocolate
150g milk chocolate

1- Over a medium heat, combine the butter, dulce de leche and salt, and heat until the mixture is smooth. Add the white chocolate, mix well until it has melted, then set aside to cool. Line a 20cm x 20cm oven tray with baking parchment, pour in the caramel mix and freeze for two hours.

2- For the ganache, heat the cream and butter to boiling point. Pour the mixture over the chocolate and stir until the chocolate melts. Add the brandy and stir well. Leave to cool (this may take a few hours), then hand-roll into 30 balls, each around 1.5cm in diameter. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

3- Place the chocolates, 8cm apart, on cling film. Lay another sheet of cling film on top and carefully flatten the chocolates using a small rolling pin to make 5cm-diameter circles, around 1.5mm thick. Refrigerate again, for 15–30 minutes.

4- Place ¼ teaspoon of the caramel mixture on each chocolate disk. Using your hands, quickly wrap the truffle, forming a ball. Once all the chocolates are done, put them in the fridge for 15 minutes. (If needed, you can re-mould them at this point.)

5- For the coating, melt the dark and milk chocolate in separate bowls. Dip each truffle into one type of chocolate, then put it on a sheet of baking parchment. Leave to set, then pipe the remaining melted chocolate over for decoration. The truffles can be kept in the fridge for up to five days.

ORANGETTES (Makes approximately 20)

3 small oranges (about 200g each)
550g granulated sugar
300g dark chocolate

1- Put the oranges in a pan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Take them out, place them in cold water and, using a cloth or sponge, scrub the skins to remove the waxy coating. Cut them into 5mm-thick slices and set aside.

2- Over a medium heat, dissolve 250g sugar in 300ml water. Place the orange slices in the pan and cover with a “lid” of baking parchment. Once the liquid starts to boil, turn the heat right down. Cook for a further 20 minutes, then turn off the heat and allow to cool for half a day/overnight.

3- Remove the orange slices from the pan and set aside. Re-heat the syrup, adding 150g sugar; once it has dissolved, add the orange slices, turn off the heat and leave to cool for around three hours.

4- Repeat step 3; again leave to cool for three hours.

5- Separate the orange slices and syrup, then boil the syrup on a high heat for 15 minutes to reduce it. Put the orange slices back in, turn off the heat, and leave to cool for three hours.

6- Over a high heat, bring the syrup – covered by the parchment “lid” – to the boil, then cook on a very low heat for 40 minutes. The orange skins will be translucent and the fruit will look shiny. Cool for six hours/overnight, then place on a wire rack.

7- Cook the orange slices at 100°C/225°F/Gas ¼ for 60 minutes, turning a few times, then allow to cool completely.

8- Melt the chocolate, then dip the halved slices. Cool on baking parchment and serve within a week.


For the panna cotta:
3 sheets gelatine (add 1 more sheet for aquicker setting time)
275ml cream
125ml milk
60g sugar
100g dark chocolate, finely chopped
¼ tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp espresso coffee
1 tbsp vegetable oil

For the sauce/garnish:
2 blood oranges
Juice of 3 oranges
6 tbsp Seville marmalade
6 tbsp Cointreau
Fresh organic rose petals for decoration (optional)

1- Soak the gelatine in water; leave for 5 minutes, then squeeze gently to remove excess water.

2- Heat the cream, milk and sugar over a low heat. Add the gelatine, mix thoroughly and keep heating until the gelatine and sugar have dissolved. When the mixture starts to boil, turn off the heat.

3- Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and add the milk mixture. Stir with a spatula until the chocolate has melted, then add the vanilla extract and coffee.

4- Lightly apply the oil to the inside of the moulds. If using moulds with a flat surface on the top, line them with baking parchment (this makes it easier to get the panna cotta out). Fill the moulds with the liquid, leave to cool for 20–30 minutes, then put in a fridge to set for three hours/overnight.

5- Peel the oranges and cut into 5mm-thick slices. Pour the juice into a pan, add the marmalade and the Cointreau, and put on a medium-to-high heat, stirring well to melt the marmalade. Reduce to about two-thirds the volume and leave to cool.

6- To serve, dip each mould into hot water for five seconds and turn it upside down on a plate. If the panna cotta doesn’t come out, give the mould a further five seconds in the water. Serve with a few slices of orange and drizzle some sauce on the top.

Rose petals add an extra finishing touch.

Please note: you will need 6 panna cotta moulds.


For the base:
75g plain flour
3 tbsp cocoa
50g icing sugar
55g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 egg
2 tbsp Kahlua (plus extra for adjusting consistency)

For the filling:
450g cream cheese, at room temperature
100g caster sugar
2 egg yolks
20g plain flour
2 tbsp espresso coffee
1 tsp vanilla paste (or 1 vanilla pod)
75g dark chocolate, finely chopped
75g white chocolate, finely chopped

1- Line the base and sides of a 20cm springform cake tin with baking parchment.

2- Finely sieve the flour, cocoa and icing sugar together. In a separate bowl, cream the butter, then mix in the egg and Kahlua. Combine with the dry ingredients to make a dough, wrap it in cling film, flatten it slightly and freeze for 20 minutes.

3- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Roll out the dough and cut it to fit the base of the cake tin. Place the dough in the tin, prick with a fork, then cook for 10 minutes until firm. Leave to cool briefly, then brush it all over with Kahlua.

4- Mix the cream cheese and sugar, add the egg yolks, sprinkle in the flour and mix thoroughly. Add the espresso, vanilla paste and a large pinch of salt. Put one third of the mixture in a separate bowl.

5- Melt the chocolate in separate bowls. Mix the dark chocolate with the smaller mixture, the white chocolate with the bigger mixture. If one is stiffer than the other, add a little Kahlua or espresso. Spoon the mixtures into the tin, alternating the colours, then create the marble effect with a skewer.

6- Cook at 220°C/425°F/Gas 7. After 10 minutes, when the top of the cake is sealed, turn the heat down to 120°C/250°F/Gas ½ and cook for 20 minutes, then turn off the oven and cool for three hours/overnight with the oven door ajar. Keep the cake in the fridge and eat within three days.

Recipes written by Seiko Hatfield.

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