From Paris with … Chocolat Chaud

I’m back. ‘Finally’ – I hear you cry. Oh you guys!! *blushes* and I’m married –double yay! So no longer do I have to spell out my surname ‘Kreczmer’ numerous times to people I can now simply go ‘Carter’ and pretend I’m an American news reporter. Badass.

We went to Paris for our honeymoon and I have to be brutally honest and say, although it was lovely- we did have a few issues and in retrospect we wished we just went for a lazy beach scenario. Our first hotel although it was good for a base hotel, didn’t quite have the romantic charm or attentive service that we needed for our honeymoon so we did a swift move to another which was better located in the 1st arrondissment and near to Pierre Herme’, the latter pretty much sealed the deal for me.

It was an expensive holiday, and the most affordable (and most enjoyable) for me was going to the supermarket. Yes. Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Arc d’Triomphe -forget it, the supermarkets is where it’s at. Particularly in the Galleries Lafayette Gourmet. It was foodie heaven. I could have spent hours trying all the delicious produce but alas we was on a tight schedule and I had a feeling the husband was getting nervous with the amount of money I was spending on chocolate. I seem to however go into this ‘money-no-object’ state when I’m in foreign supermarkets; I think it’s because you never really know what things cost unless you have an amazing ability to convert instantly.

My best purchase wasn’t found in the supermarket (although they also sold it there) but in one of the most famous tea rooms in Paris – Angelina. Their hot chocolate is arguably (but debated consistently on trip advisor) as one of the best in Paris. I bought a box then…naturally.

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My return home to England was depressing to say the least, we only had a 5 day honeymoon which went a bit fast (we hope to go somewhere longer next year) and I STILL didn’t think I bought enough food back with me. Disaster! On the upside though I’m now back to share with you this recipe, which I put together in my mind on the flight back. A bit weary of cooking cake with chocolat chaud but let me tell you…this did not disappoint.

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There’s something very child-like about messing around with hot chocolate in the kitchen, I remember mixing all kinds of cream/milk/caramel syrup concoctions when I was young. This went all through university as well. You just can’t grow out of that indulgent simplicity.

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This Hot chocolate maderia cake though is not recommended for children however, it involves Crème d’Abricot (Apricot Liqueur) and I did get drunk in the process of testing. You can use any Liqueur really but I found this one a bit different and it also gives it an almondy taste that is lovely with sweet chocolate.

Either put the icing on top or use it as a side cream- this cake is particularly nice when heated up! Either way Ash loved it.

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Hot Chocolate Maderia Cake with Creme d’Abricot Mascapone Icing

225g butter, softened

200g caster sugar

4 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

175g gluten free plain flour

25g Ground Almonds

2tsp of Xanthym Gum

2 tsp baking powder

50ml milk

100g hot chocolate powder (at least 50% cocoa)

2 Tablespoons of Apricot Liqueur (and a drizzle extra)

Mascapone  100g

Cream Cheese  200g

2 tablespoons of icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Butter the sides of a loaf tin and grease well with butter.

Cream the butter in a large bowl or in an electric food mixer until soft then add the sugar and beat until the mixture is light.

Gradually add the eggs and vanilla extract to the butter mixture, beating all the time.

Sift in the flour, almond flour, Xyanthm gum, Baking powder, milk and mix slowly.

Fold in the sifted cocoa powder.

Place the mixture into the loaf tin

Bake in the oven for 45 minutes – 60 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Turn the cake out and leave to cool.

(Optional) Once cool, use a pastry brush and brush the top with liqueur evenly.

Top cake with icing :)

Icing:

Mix the Mascapone with the Cream Cheese and beat together.

Add the icing sugar.

Add the liqueur bit by bit till its to your taste.

Next blog post I’ll do something healthy :P Promise.

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In a sea of honey.

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It’s Sunday again and no matter how much I have going on I can always manage to squeeze in a bit of baking during the day. Having Ash has meant that we’ve had an abundance of visitors scheduling in to see him and today was a busy one. I had an hour to make something and as usual, music (Kate Bush) and reading about food had inspired yet again.

Kate Bush is a massive inspiration to me, and not just because I like to listen to her music but in the way that when I listen to her gorgeous words, they appear as photographs in my mind. They play out stories that are so immensely creative and interesting, that at first you have no idea what she’s going on about- then you just, ‘get it’. Her music always comes together better with time. A bit like pastry really…

So that was my train of thought this morning. Kate bush and pastry, a winning combination I feel.

Her song ‘Sunset’ from Aerial begins with these beautiful lyrics.

‘Could be honeycomb
In a sea of honey
A sky of honey
Whose shadow, long and low
Is slipping out of wet clothes?
And changes into
The most beautiful
Iridescent blue’

Imagine a sea of honey? Mmm. Obviously that would be a mean feat of a task, so I opted for honey, apples and pastry.

‘In a sea of honey’ and apple tartlets

(with a dark, olive oil and buckwheat tart crust)

tart, almonds,apples,honey,buckwheat,olive oil

[Subtitution notes: For the pastry I would most likely subtitute the buckwheat for more of the gluten free flour blend, or brown rice flour. If you want to cut out some of the sugar in the filling, do replace with agave nectar or maple syrup.]

Dark Olive oil and buckwheat tart crust
Makes 4 tartlets

60g 1/2 + 2 tbsp all purpose gluten free flour blend (with x gum in)

60g 1/2 a cup of buckwheat flour

Teaspoon of cinnamon

80g butter
(15ml) 1 tbsp olive oil
(45ml ) 3 tbsp water
14g  brown fine sugar
1/4 tsp salt

 

Honey and Apple filling

 3 Green Apples

50g of brown sugar

Tablespoon of water

Teaspoon of cinnamon

4 dollops of honey

Vanilla extract

 

Crumble top

 Some gluten free oats, sliced almonds and a bit of flour mixed into some caster sugar

 Instructions:

In a medium saucepan, combine all tart ingredients except flour over low heat.

Cook for 15-20 minutes, allowing the mixture to simmer and cook, until butter mixture begins to brown slightly.

Pop in the dry ingredients all together at once and stir very quickly until all of the dough comes together while removing from the heat.

Take the dough out and let it cool for 5-10 minutes.

Press into the tart tin/tartlet tins you wish to use and pop in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to cool.

Preheat oven to 200c

Prick the bottom of the tartlets/tart all over with a fork.

Bake for 10 minutes and press down if the tart base puffs up.

Take the tarts out of the oven and set aside.

Make your apple filling. Core peel and cut the apples and place over a medium heat with the rest of the filling mixture.

Simmer until the mixture is glossy and the apples are soft.

Put the apple filling into the tart cases.

Top with the crumble and bake for 15 minutes more until brown.

Serve warm with mascarpone or double cream.