If you prefer to go off-piste when it comes to festive desserts, then high-achieving GBBOcontestant Chetna Makan has a chocolate-dipped treat for you.
But I must confess that, even with my love for food, I am not very fond of the traditional Christmas pudding.
Every year I try to find something new and exciting to make on Christmas Day and this year I am going to go for something chocolatey. I am going to call it Chocolate Heaven. It’s rich, dark and very indulgent… perfect for a Christmas dessert and a knocking bet for a new family favourite. Well, who doesn’t like chocolate?
For the cake:
150g unsalted softened butter
150g golden caster sugar
30g dark chocolate (70 per cent cocoa), melted
3 large eggs
110g self raising flour
20g cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
For the profiteroles:
1/4 tsp table salt
75g unsalted butter
100g plain flour, sifted
1 tbsp cocoa powder, sifted
For the chocolate mousse:
250g dark chocolate (70 per cent cocoa)
4 large eggs, separated
100g golden caster sugar
For the filling:
300ml double cream
4 tbsp caster sugar
For the caramel:
100g caster sugar
3 tbsp water
To make the cake preheat the oven to 180ºC. Butter and line a loaf tin. In a large bowl mix together the butter and sugar with an electric whisk till light and fluffy. Add the melted chocolate and whisk further. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Sift the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder together. Slowly add this to the egg mix and fold it all together. Pour this mix into the prepared tin and bake for 35-40 minutes until done. Once baked, leave to cool.
To make the profiteroles, increase the oven heat to 200ºC. Put the water, salt and butter into a medium pan and heat until the butter has melted. Bring to the boil and tip in all the sifted flour and cocoa in one go. Remove the pan from the heat and beat the mixture with a wooden spoon. Return the pan to a low heat and beat for two minutes to cook the dough slightly until it comes away from the sides of the pan.
Tip the dough in a large mixing bowl and leave to cool for 10 minutes until barely warm. Slowly add the eggs into the dough a bit at a time, beating well with an electric whisk after every addition. Add enough egg so that the dough is the right consistency.
Fill the dough into the piping bag and pipe one-inch circles on a lined baking sheet. Leave enough room to allow the balls to rise. Bake for 15 minutes then reduce the heat of the oven to 180ºC, open the oven door for few seconds when doing this to release some steam. Now bake for further 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and make a small hole in the bottom of the profiterole to release the steam. Bake for last five minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
To prepare the chocolate mousse, melt the chocolate and cool slightly. Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks and keep aside. In a separate bowl beat the egg yolks and sugar with an electric whisk until thick and pale. Slowly add the chocolate to it and mix well. Then fold the egg whites a little at a time into the mix.
Now it’s time to prepare the filling for the profiteroles. In a bowl whisk the double cream with the caster sugar until it’s the right consistency. Then add 2-3 tbsp of the chocolate mousse to this mix. Fill it in the piping bag and fill the profiteroles with this cream.
Now to assemble this Christmas showstopper.
Remove the cake from the tin and place it upside down. Slice it horizontally into two. Pour some of the chocolate mousse on the cake and place the other piece of cake on top. Spread some mousse on top of the cake and start placing the filled profiteroles on top of the mousse. Once you have covered the top of the cake, use the remaining profiteroles to make a tree shape on the side.
For this bit you will need to first make the caramel by heating the sugar and water in a pan until you the get the right colour of the caramel. While it’s still hot, dip the profiteroles in the caramel and start placing them in a circle and keep going till it forms an inverted cone. With the left over caramel you can decorate the cake as you like. Here I have just spun some sugar over the cake to give a festive look.
It is most delicious on its own after a lovely Christmas meal or can be enjoyed with some plain vanilla ice cream.
To find more of Chetna’s recipes – and to see her making them – visit her YouTube channel here.
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I am a fashion designer, who after becoming a mum discovered the world of baking. Also seen in the Great British Bake Off 2014. @chetnamakan