Chocolate Cream And Home Made Meringues

c5On a regular basis when visiting my grandparents as a kid, at the end of the meal a big bowl was placed in the middle of the table. Being shorter then, all I could see above the rim of the bowl was a mound of whipped cream. I would squeal with joy and excitement—I knew exactly what was soon to be scooped out and placed in a bowl in front of me. Grandma’s chocolate cream. It’s the simplest thing. Not more than 5 minutes to throw together, then a few hours rest in the fridge. 

A velvety smooth, almost pudding like, chocolate. Not too sweet. Fluffy whipped cream is a must. The key ingredient to make this dessert complete: meringues. The sweetness and crunchiness brings it to a whole new level. We used to crush the meringues in our hand and carefully, like a calm snowfall, let the bits of meringue coat the chocolate and cream. Nostalgic much? You bet. Yum.signaturec2

Chocolate Cream

3 tbsp corn starch

4 tbsp cacao

4 tbsp sugar

3 cups whole milk

1 tbsp vanilla essence

In a large sauce pan, mix together all the dry ingredients, then add the milk. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 3 min. Stir constantly.

Add vanilla. Stir and transfer to a bowl or individual dishes. Sprinkle the surface with sugar (to prevent skin forming on the surface). Let the mixture cool slightly then cover in plastic wrap and move to the fridge to let it set for at least 2 hours.

Meringues

Meringues Suisse – is a lovely and professional method of making meringues by beating an egg white mixture in a double boiler. It creates a less brittle meringue, useful when they are small and delicate. It also helps ensure the sugar is properly dissolved, to prevent a crunchy final product. 

 

4 egg whites

250 grams icing sugar (2 cups)

1 teaspoon vanilla

Half fill a medium sized saucepan with water and heat until simmering.

Separate the egg whites and place in a large metal bowl – preferably unlined copper. Rest the bowl over the simmering pan and begin whisking the eggs.

Combine the sugar, one tablespoon at a time, while whisking. Continue beating the eggs at high speed until stiff peaks form and the mixture has a glossy texture. Mix in the vanilla.

Pipe the mixture on parchment paper into your favourite shape. Bake in a very cool oven, less than 100°C, for 2 to 4 hours, depending on the size of meringue.

Serve with whipped cream and meringues. Serves 4c1c4c3

Strawberry Trifle with White Chocolate & Saffron Ganache

s8An afternoon spent by the lake? For me, that is sadly a rare occasion. The hours in the day are simply not enough and my ‘to-do’ list keeps growing longer and longer. It’s easy to bury yourself in work, doing things that seem important but, in the grand scheme of things, it might not make a big difference whether they get done today or another day. s1

Your own self being on the other hand, well, that is important. There’s only one of you. Take care of yourself. Spoil yourself once in a while by giving yourself time – even if it’s not there. Find it, and do something you really want to do. 

Yesterday was one of those days for me. I felt I needed a ‘me’ day. Well, a half ‘me’ day anyway. I got up early, did some painting on the house to make sure I had accomplished something productive, then, after lunch, I exhaled and smiled. It was time to go. s2

On a sunny day, spending it by the water is what I enjoy the most. There is nothing more tranquil and relaxing. Soothing for your soul. I interact with a lot of people every week, so for me this is a great way to zen out. It’s amazing how easy it is to forget about the rest of the world, when all you hear is the waves making their final crescendo against the shore.

I was still able to hunt down some county strawberries, so a fresh strawberry trifle was a marvellous addition to a sun filled afternoon by the water. For this recipe I replaced the vanilla custard, which is usually used, with a white chocolate ganache with saffron. 

Have you ever had strawberries and saffron before? I hadn’t but sure will again!s5

White Cake:

3 egg

1 1/4 cup sugar

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour

3 tsp baking powder

1/2 tbsp vanilla extract

2/3 cup cold milk

Ganache:

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1 pinch saffron strands

200g white chocolate

2 1/2 cups sliced strawberries

2 cups cream, whipped

Cake:

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a blender, whisk egg and sugar until white and fluffy. Sift flour and baking powder in a separate bowl and add slowly to the egg mixture. Add vanilla and milk and mix on low until just blended.

Pour into a greased springform pan and bake in the middle of the oven for 30 min, or until golden and centre of the cake is set. Leave in pan while cooling. 

Ganache:

While the cake is in the oven, make the ganache. 

In a medium sauce pan, bring cream and saffron to a boil. Remove from heat and add the white chocolate. Stir until melted. Let cool.

Assembly:

In a large glass bowls or 6 individual glasses, repeat layers of cake, ganache, strawberries and cream. Finish off with a layer of whipped cream and a drizzle of ganache. 

Can be made a few hours in advance if kept in the fridge.

*Before assembling, taste the ganache to know the level of saffron. Remember it’s fairly pungent, so add the ganache accordingly.s7s6s3

Chocolate Balls – For all ages

c7Once in a while, the sweet tooth aces for attention and I suddenly feel the urge to whip up something sweet and tasty. When ever this phenomena occurred growing up, these chocolate balls was an often recurring star. It takes minutes to throw together and is made with ingredients already often found at home. 

You might think it’s more of a kid’s treat than an adult’s but I beg to differ. I am pretty sure my parents ate as many of these as my sisters and I did. They might absolutely, totally and 100% disagree, but who would you believe anyway? 

As a great addition to a kid’s party, roll them in colourful sprinkles and sparkles. For the adult party, add a splash of your favourite rum or cognac, and cover them in the traditional coconut flakes or pearl sugar, or why not try chopped pistachios? 

For those of you who still think this is not for me, well, listen to your inner child. Don’t deny it, we all have them. Listen carefully. I think it’s time to give him or her a treat! 

Jens

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100g butter, room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup oats

3 tbsp cocoa

1 tsp vanilla extract

4 tbsp cold coffee

shredded coconut or pearl sugar as garnish

In a bowl, beat together butter and sugar. When well mixed, add the cocoa, vanilla and coffee. Blend until smooth. Stir in the oats.

Roll into small 1″ balls, and roll in shredded coconut or pearl sugar.

Makes 15-20

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