Not only is it National Dessert Day, it’s also National Chocolate Week. Wild horses couldn’t stop Claire Goodwin from going all out.
OK, first things first: if you’re from the darkest depths of the north, you absolutely do not use the term ‘dessert’. It’s pudding or afters. Not quite as refined, but it can generally mean anything. (Except fruit. Fruit is not pudding or afters unless it has been sugar coated, wrapped in meringue or custard and made significantly more likely to cause oral cavities.)
My husband asked me what I was doing for this recipe and I answered very quickly, “Chocolate pud.”
“That’s not very elegant,” he said.
“Nope. Nothing is elegant about chocolate pud when it’s this good, Carl,” I said, emerging from my task of licking out the parfait bowl.
There are a couple of options for the topping, depending on what you prefer: whipped cream or Italian meringue. Both are awesome, so I’ve popped down the recipes for you to choose between. I used individual trifle bowls, about three and a half inches in diameter and around two inches deep. This is a large, bountiful recipe. In my house, it serves six. In non-greedy/non-compulsive residences, it would probably serve eight to 10. You could easily do this in one large trifle bowl, but I would suggest that you construct more cake and parfait layers than for the individual puds.
For the cake base
85g self-raising flour
35g cocoa powder
50g white chocolate
125ml amaretto (optional)
6 x muffin cases or a 6-inch cake tin, greased and lined
Preheat the oven to 180°C and place your muffin cases into a muffin tin/prepare your baking tin.
Cream the butter into the sugar until light and fluffy. Beat the eggs and add little by little, beating as you go, until combined with the sugar and butter mix. Sift in the flour and fold into the mix until all is incorporated and you have a silky mix.
Spoon or pipe into the muffin cases/the tin and bake for around 12 minutes for the muffins or 18–20 minutes for the cake, or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
Once cool, break the muffins up and layer in the bottom of the trifle glasses.
Spoon approximately 1.5 tablespoons of amaretto over the cake in each glass bowl.
Chop the white chocolate into tiny little pieces and sprinkle over the cake.
150g good quality dark chocolate (I used 75% Moser Roth from Aldi which is fab value and quality)
500ml double cream
115g caster sugar
6 egg yolks (keep hold of your whites for the meringue later. If you aren’t doing the Italian meringue topping, freeze your egg whites for use at a later time. Don’t waste them: that’s a quiche, mousse or pavlova in the making.)
Whip the cream so that it holds in soft peaks, put to the side. Whisk your egg yolks until they are thick and pale and fluffy.
Place your water and sugar into a pan and heat to a rolling boil until the sugar has fully dissolved – don’t let it brown.
Add the sugar syrup into your egg yolks and keep whisking; you will achieve a thick, cloud-like mix.
Melt your chocolate in a bain marie. Add the chocolate to your fluffy egg mix. It will deflate slightly, but you can avoid this by doing it a little at a time.
Fold the cream into the chocolate mix. Pour the parfait over the cake layers, then set in the fridge for at least two hours.
Once set you can whip up more cream to pipe on the top, or you can make an Italian meringue topping (which is fooking awesome and really sets it off).
This recipe will generously cover all six trifles. Any leftover mix can be piped and then cooked on a low heat to make meringue nests or a pavlova base.
6 egg whites
75g sugar for the egg whites
450g granulated or caster sugar for the sugar syrup
Pinch of cream of tartar
You will need a sugar thermometer.
Whisk egg whites with the 75g sugar and cream of tartar until they form soft peaks.
Heat 450g sugar with the water and heat to a soft ball stage – 240°F. Dribble the sugar syrup into the bowl slowly, whisking rapidly while doing so. Be careful, it really does hurt when molten sugar dissolves your flesh.
Once all the sugar syrup is added, continue to whisk until the meringue forms stiff peaks and is lovely and glossy (fnar fnar). It should be cool now.
Load into a piping bag and pipe circles over the top of the set parfait, until it forms a sort of beehive structure. You can just spoon it on in a glorious fashion if you’re not a big piper.
Using a blowtorch, toast the meringue for a lovely golden finish.
Et voila!4886 Views
Claire is a speech therapist, baker, cake decorator, sometime radio guest and writer. She writes about food, being fat and living with mental health problems @bake_therapist; www.baketherapy.co.uk; www.facebook.com/CakeChemistryUK