luscious chocolate

Chocolate

photo Marina Oliphant

Indulge yourself with a little chocolate. A few simple ingredients can be turned into something special with the addition of really good quality chocolate; even chocolate crackles. A friend recently gave us his version of this childhood treat made all grown up by using great chocolate and ditching the copha completely. They were an instant hit.

For another adult take on a simple recipe, classic chocolate mousse shows just how few ingredients you need to showcase wonderful chocolate. More indulgent than in your childhood memories, this rich mousse has a marshmallow-like texture without being overly sweet.

And finally, for a particularly wicked treat, there’s the chocolate tart.

No need to bake a separate crust, however, this delicate beauty does require a light touch. I have tested it several times (I know, but someone has to do it!) with different results, all equally delicious. Cook the tart for 35 minutes until just set and you will be rewarded with a soft mousse-like texture. Five minutes longer and the texture changes to slightly more dense, almost fudge like. Both need refrigerating to help set the tart and make it easier to unmould from the tin. Of course, all oven temperatures vary, so you may need to keep an eye on it, too.

My tip for melting chocolate is to use a bowl over a pot of boiling water. Turn off the heat once the water reaches the boil, so the chocolate doesn’t get too hot. If this happens, it will go hard and become unmanageable (the same reason you don’t want the bowl to come in contact with the hot water). This can also happen when you melt it for too long or on high power in the microwave.

In my opinion, you can never have too many chocolate recipes. I hope you cut these out and add them to your own collection.

Geoff’s Chocolate Crackles

photo Marina Oliphant

Geoff is renowned for his adult version of chocolate crackles. He has kindly shared his recipe with me (and you).

Makes about 16

200g Milk Chocolate – ~40% cocoa

100g Dark Chocolate – min 70% cocoa

3 cups Rice Bubbles (not home brand – they’re not as ‘inflated’ and don’t crunch when you eat them)

1 cup shredded or flaked coconut (McKenzies Moist Flakes are best)

Place all the chocolate in a large bowl over a saucepan of water and bring to the boil, then remove from heat. Make sure the bowl isn’t in contact with the water.

Stir occasionally to combine and prevent it from sticking.

In a separate bowl, combine the rice bubbles & coconut.

Next get a tray, rack or platter that will fit on a shelf of your fridge and lay out 16 patty pans – a baking tray with a lip is perfect to prevent them sliding off as you carry the tray! Place them so that they touch, as the mix has a tendency to drip and any excess will fall into the next patty pan.

Once the chocolate is completely melted & uniform in colour, remove from the heat, and add in the dry ingredients. Using a heat proof spatula or flat metal serving spoon, combine the mixture by repeatedly sliding the spoon down the edge of the bowl under the mix, and then drawing towards the center, turning the bowl as you go. This sliding motion prevents you from crushing the rice bubbles, preserving the ‘crackle’!

Continue until all the dry ingredients are coated in chocolate.

Take two spoons to distribute the mix – a dessert & teaspoon, or two teaspoons, depending on the size of your patty pans. Scoop some mix onto the spoon in your favoured hand, and use the second (smaller) spoon to scrape it into the patty pan. You might also need to use the second spoon to occasionally scrape clean the base of the main spoon to avoid excess drips.

Fill the pans in two passes so that you get an even distribution.

It also allows the mix to settle into the pans, so you can fit more in!

Once all the pans are full – add more pans if you need to – place the tray into the fridge for about 30-60 mins, or until set – depending on your fridge. Remove from fridge about 5 mins before serving.

rich chocolate mousse

photo Marina Oliphant

This is a classic recipe that everyone should try. It is very rich. Even chocoholics will only need a little. Don’t stir the chocolate as it melts, to retain its sheen.

200g couverture chocolate

6 large free range organic eggs, separated

100g caster sugar

Place a glass bowl over a saucepan of water and bring to the boil. Make sure the bowl isn’t in contact with the water. Add chocolate pieces and remove from heat. Allow the chocolate to melt, without stirring.

Place egg yolks and sugar in an electric mixer and whisk for 5 minutes until the mixture is pale and creamy and doubled in volume. Combine with the chocolate.

Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold gently through the chocolate mixture in two batches.

Pour into individual glasses and cover with cling film. Refrigerate for 1 hour until set.

Serves 6.

chocolate tart

photo Marina Oliphant

This dense and fudgy chocolate tart has an intense flavour; definitely not for the fainthearted. An elegant dinner party dessert made simple without the need for a tart crust.

butter to grease the pan

1 tbs flour + 1 tbsp cocoa, mixed

200g good quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)

300ml thickened cream

4 organic free range egg yolks

100g caster sugar

Preheat oven to 140C.

Butter an 11cm x 34cm rectangular tart tin with a removable base and lightly flour with a mix of flour and cocoa.

Place a glass bowl over a saucepan of water and bring to the boil. Make sure the bowl isn’t in contact with the water. Remove from heat and add chocolate pieces. Allow the chocolate to melt, without stirring. Once melted, remove bowl from saucepan and stir in the cream. Allow to cool slightly.

Place egg yolks and sugar in an electric mixer and whisk for 5 minutes until the mixture is pale and creamy and doubled in volume. Slowly pour the melted chocolate onto the whisked mixture, stirring gently.

Place the tart tin on a flat baking tray and pour in the chocolate mixture.

Bake in oven for 35 -40 minutes until lightly set.

Remove from oven and set aside to cool, then refrigerate for 1 hour.

To unmould, use a thin tipped sharp knife to loosen the edges from the tin, then gently remove. (I suggest serving still on the tart base, as it is really delicate).

Serves 8-10.

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