Monday, 18 January 2016

Fruits and nuts cassata

This is a very simple dessert. This frozen Italian dessert is easy to make and full of tasty fruits, nuts, chocolate and orange.

  • 2 litres soft scoop vanilla ice cream
  • 200g fruits and nuts mix
  • 100g dark Belgium chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 oranges, zest of 1 for the cassata, plus extra for decoration

Line a 2 litre loaf tin with a double layer of cling film, making sure there is plenty overhanging the sides.
Take the ice cream out the freezer and allow to soften slightly for a few minutes, then transfer to a large mixing bowl. 
Gently stir the fruits and nuts mix, chopped chocolate and orange zest through the ice cream until evenly distributed.
Spoon the ice cream into the lined loaf tin and cover with the overhanging cling film. Freeze for at least 4 hours.
To serve, remove from the freezer and unwrap the cling film. Turn the tin onto a serving platter and use the cling film to help unmould the cassata from the tin. Top with the extra sext and cur into slices.

Cook's tip: This is a great dessert to make for guests as it can be made in advance and kept in freezer until ready to serve. You could also vary the fruits and nuts depending on your personal favourites. 

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Pavlova wreath with chocolate sauce

Ingredients :

For the meringue :
  • 6 egg whites
  • 300g castor sugar
  • 11/2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1tsp cornflour 
For the chocolate sauce:
  • 100g plain chocolate
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 100ml double cream
  • 100g castor sugar
  • 5 tbsp golden syrup
For the topping :
  • 300ml double cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp caster sugar
  • 200g raspberries (defrosted from frozen)
  • Icing sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 170C or 150C for fan oven.

To make the meringue: beat the egg whites in a clean bowl with electric whisk for 4 minutes until they form soft peaks. Add the sugar, 1 tbsp at a time, beating after each addition until it is all combined. Whisk for 3 minutes more, then add the white wine vinegar and cornflour, and then whisk for a further minute more.
Line a baking tray with nonstick baking paper and using a pencil, mark out a circle 25cm in diameter in the middle. Spoon large, equal dollops of meringue mix along the circle line to form a wreath shape. Put the meringue in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 140C or 120C for fan oven. Bake for 1 hour 30 minutes, then turn off the oven and leave the wreath in there to cool completely (overnight). Carefully peel off the baking paper and transfer to a serving plate.

To make the chocolate sauce : melt the plain chocolate, butter and double cream in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir the chocolate until smooth, then add the sugar and golden syrup and heat for a further 5 minutes, stirring all the time, until thick and glossy. Set aside until needed.

To make the topping: whip the cream with the vanilla and sugar for 2 minutes, using an electric whisk, until it is soft and thick. Spoon the whipped cream over the meringue wreath in a thick layer until evenly covered. Then arrange the raspberries on top of the cream around the wreath.

Just before serving, reheat the chocolate sauce until just warm, drizzle over the wreath with a spoon, then dust with a little icing sugar.