Lemon Sorbet Chocolates

It’s gift-giving time, and these homemade chocolates make for a wonderful, personalised gift – and the best thing about them? Once you have the mould, you can create a multitude of different chocolates – whether they’re solid, oozing with a caramel centre, filled with some kind of ganache…whether they’re fruit, chocolate or nutty…the possibilities are endless.

These lil’ guys are my Lemon Sorbet chocolates. A milk chocolate shell filled with a layer of lemon curd and a layer of lemon white chocolate ganache, these guys are finished with a gold dusting because, well…because it’s Christmas and everything needs that extra sparkle, right?

lemon sorbet chocolates 3

So easy to make, and so impressive to give as a gift.

INGREDIENTS:

Yields: 24 chocolates

SHELL
200g Milk Chocolate

FILLING
100g white chocolate
50ml double cream
Lemon extract
zest of 1 lemon
2 tbsp lemon curd


SHELLS

First, dust the moulds with gold lustre dust. Next, you need to temper the chocolate. I do this without a thermometer, and it’s pretty simple. Break the milk chocolate into chunks and heat 130g of it over a bain marie. Wait until 1/3rd of the chocolate is melted and then stir continuously to melt the the rest. Once the rest has melted, remove from the heat and add the remaining 70g. Stir until the rest of the chocolate has melted and it’s become duller in colour and thicker in consistency. This could take up to about 20 minutes. Test the temperature by putting a spot of chocolate just under your bottom lip. If it’s cool to the feel, it’s ready.

Pour the melted chocolate into the prepared mould and swirl around to cover all sides of each crevice. Once done, turn over and tap the side with a wooden spoon over greaseproof paper so most of the chocolate falls out. Turn back over and place in the fridge to set for at leats half an hour.

lemon sorbet chocolates 2

FILLING
Mix the zest and the lemon extract with the cream and pout over the broken up white chocolate. Place in the microwave for 30 seconds and mix. Another 30 seconds and stir again until the white chocolate is fully melted and glossy. Leave to cool for 10 minutes and place in the fridge for half an hour.

Once done, remove from the fridge and with a hand mixer, beat the ganache until it’s pale and fluffy. Decant into a piping bag fit with a plain nozzle.

FINISHING
Remove the shells from the fridge and place a spot of the curd in each. Top with a little of the ganache, leaving room at the top for the base chocolate. Once all shells are filled, pour over the remaining chocolate and scrape all the excess chocolate away with a bench scraper. Leave to set for a further 30 minutes to an hour.

To realise from the moulds, all it takes is a good hard tap against a counter and they should come out with ease.

lemon sorbet chocolates

Fluffy American Pancakes

So this is a mixture of Great Bakes of America and Christmas. Why? We all have that little bit more time during the holidays – many of us are off work and so have time to enjoy a more substantial breakfast than a banana in the car on the way to work. What…just me?

Continue reading “Fluffy American Pancakes”

Gingerbread Ski Resort Cake

The countdown to the big day continues – can you believe it’s almost December? You may have seen these cute little houses I posted earlier in the week and this is what they were for. A fruit cake is a wonderful thing, and as traditional as a Turkey and cranberry sauce, but it’s also divisive and many a member of the family would rather have something else … well here it is – the alternative Christmas Cake!

gingerbread house cake 4

A light spomge is flavoured with all the scentes of Christmas – nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, mixed spice and orange – inbetween each layer is the smoothest of orange Swiss meringue buttercreams and it’s finished with a glossy, toasted Italian meringue. Atop sits a gingerbread ski resort, completing the festivities!

INGREDIENTS:

Serves: 15

CAKE
280g plain flour, sifted
170g butter, unsalted and softened
200g soft brown sugar
100g golden caster sugar
300ml buttermilk
3 eggs
3 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp cocoa powder
salt, pinch

SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM
2 egg whites
175g sugar
150g butter, cubed, unsalted and softened
juice of 1 orange

MERINGUE
4 egg whites
240g sugar
60ml water
pinch of creamn of tartar

GINGERBREAD HOUSES
See recipe here.

Preheat the oven to 170c fan and line two 6” cake tins.

CAKE
Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one by one and mixing inbetween each addition to ensure the mixture doesn’t curdle. Add the spices and orange zest.

Sieve the flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder into a bowl and add a third of it to the batter before mixing for a few seconds and then adding half the buttermilk. Repeat the process and then add the final third of the flour. Scrape the bowl down and beat everything together to incorporate it. Split evenly into the cake tins and bake for 35-40 minutes on the middle shelf. Once baked, leave the cakes to cool before leveling off and cutting halfways so you’re left with four even layers.

gingerbread house cake 5

SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM
Put the eggs and sugar into a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Continuously mix until all the sugar dissolves – approximately 10 minutes. To test, take some of the mixture and rub it between your fingers. If you don’t feel any sugar granules, you’re done!

Off the heat, whisk with a balloon whisk on high until the mixture is completely cool and you get stiff peaks. Add in, a cube at a time, the butter while the mixer is still whisking. Continue until all the butter is incorporated and then add the orange juice. Once that’s mixed together nicely, it’s ready.

MERINGUE
Mix 30ml of water with the sugar and heat to approx. 115°C – the sugar should be dissolved and it should start forming a syrup. Start beating the eggs whites until foamy and then pour the syrup – a slow and steady stream – into the egg whites. You need to go slow as otherwise it’ll cook the egg whites and that’s never good!

 

 

ASSEMBLY
Place the first cake layer on a board or turntable and spread some of the buttercream on top. Even out and repeat with each layer. Once all layers are stacked, give the whole thing a crumb coat to trap in any crumbs and put in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.

Once set a little, spread on the meringue and level off with a cake scraper. Torch lightly with the blowtorch. Set atop the gingerbread figures and houses and any other decoration you’d like.

gingerbread house cake