Wednesday 26 December 2007

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Firstly - I hope everyone had a great Christmas yesterday!!

We always have the whole extended family over, and since I get on far better with my extended family than my immediate one, a good time was pretty much had by all. I should mention that I got a couple of stunning vegetarian recipe books, so look out for those in the near future ^__^

My mum is famous for her Christmas dinner, so rather than encroach on her noble territory I was head of puddings this year. The temptation to list everything is enormous, but since I begin to feel queasy again if I think about food too much now I'm going to cut straight to... this:

Probably the aesthetic highlight of the meal, although I can't say I'm too into chocolate cake-y things (I prefer both pure chocolate and pure cake; I don't go in for adulterating a good thing XD). Nonetheless, it got rave reviews from everyone who had some, so I recommend it - you can still make it for New Year's Eve!

Since it's unlikely I'll eat anything but leftovers for the next week (or eat anything at all, the way I feel now - about twelve times bigger than usual, for the record), I can guarrantee you'll be seeing more of the Christmas desserts soon XD

Chocolate Christmas Pudding
Good Food Magazine, January 2008 edition
Prep: 40 mins + chilling. Serves 8 (rubbish, it serves twice that, especially at Christmas when everyone's full anyway)

For the sponge:
4 eggs
100g caster sugar
100g self-raising flour
50g cocoa
85g butter, melted
50ml espresso with 2 tbsp Tia Maria (none of my family like coffee so I left this out, but added a capful or so of dark rum)

For the mousse:
3 eggs, separated
50g caster sugar
175g dark chocolate
200ml double cream

For the ganache:
142ml pot double cream
100g dark chocolate
1 tbsp golden syrup
1 tbsp Tia Maria + 1tbsp espresso (I added rum again instead)

+ some dark & white chocolate to decorate

1. Oven to 200C. Line a 22 x 31cm swiss roll tin with baking paper (we used a tin double this size and I'd recommend it; it makes the sponge thinner but gives you a lot more to work with when it comes to fitting it to the bowl). Tip a tbsp of spare cocoa powder over the tin and turn it to coat it evenly, tapping out the excess.

2. For the sponge, beat the eggs and sugar until thick enough to hold a trail. Fold in flour and cocoa powder, then swirl in the butter and fold through. Tip into the tin, bake for 10mins until just firm, then cool under a clean tea towel. Or perhaps don't.

3. For the mousse, beat the egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale. Melt the chocolate and loosely whip the cream until it just holds its shape. Quickly beat half the cream and all of the chocolate into the egg mix, then gently fold in te rest of the cream. Whisk the egg whites until softly peaked, then fold in.

4. Grease a 1.4 litre/ 2.5 pint basin or bowl with a little oil. Line with cling film, leaving some overhang. Then to build the pudding, cut a circle of sponge to fit the bottom of the basin (we used a large cookie cutter) and fit it in. Then cut about 7 x 10cm sloping rectangles (trapeziums? Man, I always sucked at maths) from the sponge and fit them tightly around the bowl. Sprinkle with the rum (or coffee/Tia Maria).

5. Fill the bowl halfway with mousse and use what's left of the sponge to top the mousse with a snug-fitting circle of cake. Spoon in the rest of the mousse then cover with the overhanging cling film. Chill for at least 4 hrs till firm (we left it overnight) then turn onto a plate.

6. For the topping, heat all the ingredients gently in a bowl over a pan of simmering water until the chocolate melts. Leave to cool, stirring occasionally, until thick and glossy (MAKE SURE IT'S THICK ENOUGH TO SPREAD PROPERLY! The worst thing would be to be too quick over it and have it run everywhere. For probably the first time in my life I actually had some patience, and left it until it was almost set). Spread over the turned out pudding in lovely swirls.

Good Food's helpfulness runs short on decorating, but you can make chocolate curls using a potato peeler against the long side of some white or dark chocolate. What looks best, however, is to make caraque (the long ones) - to do this, I melted a few squares of chocolate (white looks best, but I did a bit of both) in a bowl and then spread it over an acrylic chopping board and left it in the fridge until it had set. Then use a sharp knife and pull it over the set chocolate towards you slowly, and you should get long chocolate curls coming off. This is what the Parragon book 'Chocolate' tells me, anyway; I had trouble with it, which is why my caraque are pretty crap.


...Aaah, come on, it looks like a giant truffle! It's like chocolate, but in GIANT form!

I can't be the only person who gets excited over this sort of thing.


Anonymous said...

Head of Puddings sounds like a fine office to hold!!

i vote YOU!!

looks perfecto too

Anna said...

Thanks Aria!
It's a great title, isn't it XD! I'm hoping to make a permanent job out of it... ^__^

Pixie said...

Been looking through your yummy desserts you really should join the Daring Bakers!

and you've been tagged; want others to see your wonderful blog