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Posts tagged ‘Caramel’

Chocolate Caramel Pie – made with ingredients from The Herdsman

I have blogged this recipe before, but when I saw the good quality chocolate and cream at the Herdsman, I was inspired to make it again. I made the caramel using the Dulce de Leche method.

Chocolate caramel pie

I used Gippsland cream (which is the closest thing to Clotted cream that I have seen in Australia, so thick and luscious) and Hachez 77% chocolate. It is important that the chocolate is a high percentage cocoa because it needs to contrast with the sweet caramel.

choc and cream choc

Pastry:

1 1/4 cups or 190g of plain flour

1/4 cup or 40g self raising flour

1/4 cup or 50g caster sugar (I use brown sugar and pass it through a sieve)

90g unsalted butter

1 egg

Pinch salt

1. Sieve the flours and sugar into a food mixer.

2. Cut the butter into small cubes and add it to the flour/sugar. Start the food mixer and mix until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs (you can rub the butter in using your fingers if you like, but I have warm hands, so I use a food mixer).

3. Pour the mixture into a bowl and add the egg and a pinch of salt. (My photo shows a double quantity which is why there are two eggs). Mix with a spatula or wooden spoon until it comes together, then using your hands, lightly knead and shape it into a round (keep handling to a minimum, and if you have warm hands like me, rinse them in cool water first so that you start off with cool hands).

4. Roll the pastry out into a round and use it to line a flan tin or dish. Put the pastry lined flan dish in the fridge for approx 30 mins if you have time – this will stop it from shrinking away from the edge in the oven.

5. Cut a circle of baking parchment slightly bigger than the middle of the flan dish, and put some ceramic baking beans in the middle. Bake for 10 minutes at 190 deg C, then remove the baking beans and bake for a further 10 minutes. (The baking beans just stop the middle of the tart case from rising too much, you can get away without using them, but you will need to prick the base with a fork, and you may find it will rise a little).

6. Remove the dish from the oven and leave the pastry to cool to room temperature.

The caramel (dulce de leche method):

1 tin of condensed milk (must be condensed – not evaporated) Check that the tin is in good condition, do not use if dented – the lid must be unopened and not damaged.

1. Using an old saucepan, place the unopened tin of condensed milk in the saucepan, cover with water.

2. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 3 hours. You can cover it with a lid to stop the water from evaporating too much. Check it every hour to make sure that the water is not boiling dry – top the water up as necessary.

3. Carefully remove the tin from the water and leave it to cool thoroughly – it can be stored in the fridge until needed. Do not attempt to open it while it is still warm – I have heard stories of some tins exploding when opened, but I have never had a problem – be sensible just in case – cover it with a cloth when opening.


Regular Caramel:

300g golden caster sugar

175g butter

200ml double cream

1. Place the sugar in a pan with2 tablespoons water. Heat until it dissolves but do not stir.

2. Boil until amber.

3. Stir in the cream – add a pinch of salt if you like salted caramel.

4. Stir in the butter and simmer for a further 3 minutes.

Chocolate Mousse:

200g good quality dark chocolate, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons icing sugar

1 1/2 cup (375ml) of whipping cream, whipped with the icing sugar

1. Place the chocolate  in a bowl and melt by placing the bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water (the base of the bowl must not dip into the water) – or use a microwave if you are confident that you can melt it perfectly. Personally I use the saucepan double boiler method – I am not a fan of microwaves.

melt the choc

2. Cool the mixture for 5 minutes.

3. Fold in half of the whipped cream/icing sugar mixture – it will look claggy at first but keep folding with a spatula, then add the rest and fold again.

whipped cream

To assemble:

When the pastry case is cooled, you can add the caramel to the base of the pastry case. If you like salted caramel you can add a few scant flakes of sea salt on top of the caramel (if you have not already salted it).

pastry case

Put the caramel coated pastry case in the fridge so that it is completely cool before adding the mousse. This will help to keep the layers nice and separate.

caramel

Top the cool caramel with the mousse mixture and leave to set in the fridge. 3-4 hours should do it.

Chocolate caramel pie

 

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Stack

Choc peanut stack Choc peanut stack Choc peanut stack

The inspiration for this cake recipe comes from a similar item that I had in Starbucks in Singapore a few years ago. The Starbucks version was yummy but also sickly sweet, and I was reminded of it when a friend at work asked me to make a cake with nuts in it. Originally I thought of making a coffee and walnut cake, but then I thought why not try the stack ? I haven’t made a many layered creation like this before, so I knew it would be a worthy challenge.

I used an 8 inch square (20cm) cake tin with a removable bottom. I am sure it can also be made with a round tin and served as wedges, but I think that the rectangles look nicer. I lined the tin with baking parchment in both directions so that when the cake was done, I could lift it out with the parchment. This makes it adaptable to a square tin without a removable bottom too.

Make the chocolate cake a day in advance. Like bread, it is much easier to slice if it is not fresh out of the oven. I sliced my cake into three horizontal slices, but on reflection, maybe I should have used 4 slices. Use your favourite chocolate cake recipe, the darker the better. If you go for a packet mix, choose one without filling and frosting, and preferably one that uses oil as an added ingredient. Vegetable oil will make the cake very moist.

I also made my caramel a day in advance – I chose to make dulce de leche, where you simmer a can of condensed milk (just place the whole tin in the water, don’t open it) for 3 hours. This is a fairly simple method, just check to make sure that it doesn’t boil dry.

Use the same baking tin to assemble the cake – I re-lined mine with parchment for ease.

I made the base from digestive biscuits and melted butter – like a cheesecake base. You can use dark choc biscuits if you like, but I thought that oaty digestives would give another texture. You need approximately half the weight of butter to biscuits e.g. if using 150g biscuits, melt 75g butter. Whizz up the biscuits to crumb consistency using either a food processor or by bashing them with a rolling pin while they are in a plastic bag. Slowly mix in the butter and line the base of your tin with the mixture – use the base of a glass or cup to push the mixture down – push it into the corners, then put the whole tin in the fridge so that the base sets more firmly as the butter hardens.

Next slice the cake so that it is ready to layer – be careful because each layer will be quite flimsy – you can put parchment between the layer if it helps to lift them.

Now make the mousse and buttercream – each amount should make enough for two layers.

Chocolate mousse:

200g dark chocolate (70% at least)

1 1/2 cups thick cream

2 tablespoons of icing sugar

Using an electric whisk, whisk the cream and icing sugar in a chilled bowl preferably until the cream is stiff rather than runny. While you are doing this, melt the chocolate in a bowl over a double boiler.

Once the chocolate has melted, fold half of the cream into it, it might go a bit stiff and claggy at first, but keep folding and it will smooth out. Then fold in the rest of the cream until it is an even consistency.

Peanut buttercream:

1 cup unsalted butter – soft

1 heaped cup of smooth peanut butter

2 cups of icing sugar sifted

1/2 cup thick cream

a pinch of salt

Using an electric whisk, whip the butter and peanut butter until light and fluffy. Next whisk in the icing sugar. Now whisk in the cream and salt – if it is too stiff to spread, add a little more cream.

When I assembled my cake, I placed choc mousse over the biscuit base, followed by a layer of cake, followed by a layer of peanut butter cream, followed by a layer of cake, then a layer of mousse. I carefully placed some peanut butter cream on top of the mousse (this is why I could have done with another cake layer), and finished off with a layer of cake.

I lightly whisked the dulce de leche with a fork and spread that over the top with a spatula. Then I sprinkled salted peanuts on top. I placed it in the fridge for a few hours before removing from the tin and slicing.

Chocolate Caramel Pie

I had my first chocolate caramel pie at Soda Cafe in North Beach – it was so perfect that I kept going back, just for coffee and a slice of that pie. The pastry was thin and crispy, the caramel was smooth and sweet, and the dark chocolate mousse had a lovely firm consistency so it stood up in the slice, but was soft and light when you bit into it. It also seemed to have a top layer which was maybe a very thin layer of ganache. Last year they stopped serving it, and my visits to Soda dwindled, so I have been desperately trying to recreate this treat, and I have come pretty close.

What follows is a recipe of my best effort so far. For the caramel, you can slave over a hot stove trying to make caramel the traditional way with sugar, butter and cream, or you can make dulce de leche, which is far easier. If doing this, I recommend making the dulce de leche a day or two beforehand – you can store it in the fridge all ready to go.

As for pastry – I have always had problems with pastry – I remember my Home Economics teacher, Miss Milner saying “Oh dear Susan, your pastry looks grey like clay”, but in recent years I have found a few combinations that work for me provided that I don’t handle the pastry too much with my warm pastry-unfriendly hands. I use the cup measures (Australian cups), but I have put the gram equivalents for anybody who does not have a set of Australian cup measures. To be honest you can use a teacup if you like so long as you are consistent with the proportions. If you make a lot of pastry it is worth buying a bag of ceramic baking beans or beads (also called pie weights) – they stop the pastry case from rising in the middle.

Pastry:

1 1/4 cups or 190g of plain flour

1/4 cup or 40g self raising flour

1/4 cup or 50g caster sugar (I use brown sugar and pass it through a sieve)

90g unsalted butter

1 egg

Pinch salt

1. Sieve the flours and sugar into a food mixer.

2. Cut the butter into small cubes and add it to the flour/sugar. Start the food mixer and mix until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs (you can rub the butter in using your fingers if you like, but I have warm hands, so I use a food mixer).

3. Pour the mixture into a bowl and add the egg and a pinch of salt. (My photo shows a double quantity which is why there are two eggs). Mix with a spatula or wooden spoon until it comes together, then using your hands, lightly knead and shape it into a round (keep handling to a minimum, and if you have warm hands like me, rinse them in cool water first so that you start off with cool hands).

4. Roll the pastry out into a round and use it to line a flan tin or dish. Put the pastry lined flan dish in the fridge for approx 30 mins if you have time – this will stop it from shrinking away from the edge in the oven.

5. Cut a circle of baking parchment slightly bigger than the middle of the flan dish, and put some ceramic baking beans in the middle. Bake for 10 minutes at 190 deg C, then remove the baking beans and bake for a further 10 minutes. (The baking beans just stop the middle of the tart case from rising too much, you can get away without using them, but you will need to prick the base with a fork, and you may find it will rise a little).

6. Remove the dish from the oven and leave the pastry to cool to room temperature.

The caramel (dulce de leche method):

1 tin of condensed milk (must be condensed – not evaporated) Check that the tin is in good condition, do not use if dented – the lid must be unopened and not damaged.

1. Using an old saucepan, place the unopened tin of condensed milk in the saucepan, cover with water.

2. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 3 hours. You can cover it with a lid to stop the water from evaporating too much. Check it every hour to make sure that the water is not boiling dry – top the water up as necessary.

3. Carefully remove the tin from the water and leave it to cool thoroughly – it can be stored in the fridge until needed. Do not attempt to open it while it is still warm – I have heard stories of some tins exploding when opened, but I have never had a problem – be sensible just in case – cover it with a cloth when opening.


Regular Caramel:

300g golden caster sugar

175g butter

200ml double cream

1. Place the sugar in a pan with2 tablespoons water. Heat until it dissolves but do not stir.

2. Boil until amber.

3. Stir in the cream – add a pinch of salt if you like salted caramel.

4. Stir in the butter and simmer for a further 3 minutes.

Chocolate Mousse:

200g good quality dark chocolate, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup (60ml) water

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 egg yolks (a handy hint for separating eggs is to break them on to a saucer, use an egg cup to cover the yolk, and tip the white into a separate container)

2 tablespoons sugar

1 cup (250ml) of whipping cream, whipped

1. Place the chocolate and butter in a bowl and melt by placing the bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water (the base of the bowl must not dip into the water) – or use a microwave if you are confident that you can melt it perfectly. Personally I use the saucepan double boiler method – I am not a fan of microwaves.

2. Cool the mixture for 10 minutes.

3. In a small saucepan whisk the egg yolks, sugar and 1/4 cup water. Cook and stir over a low heat for approximately 1-2 minutes (if you have a thermometer, it should reach 160 deg F/70 deg C).

4. Remove from the heat and whisk into the chocolate/butter mixture (get somebody to pour while you whisk). Cool down quickly by placing the bowl in  some cold water or ice and continue to stir for about 5 minutes.

5. Fold in the whipped cream. It will look quite a lot paler now, but it will go dark again as it sets.

To assemble:

When the pastry case is cooled, you can add the caramel to the base of the pastry case. If you like salted caramel you can add a few scant flakes of sea salt on top of the caramel (if you have not already salted it).

Put the caramel coated pastry case in the fridge so that it is completely cool before adding the mousse. This will help to keep the layers nice and separate.

Top the cool caramel with the mousse mixture and leave to set in the fridge. 3-4 hours should do it.

If you want to add a further ganache layer (I haven’t tried this yet), I would recommend a mixture of dark chocolate and cream in the ratio of 100g chocolate to 70mls cream – if it seems too stiff you can always add more cream. When I make chocolate and cream mixtures, I break the chocolate into really small pieces, then heat the cream to almost simmering, and quickly pour it over the chocolate, stirring all the time. The warm cream melts the chocolate and you get a lovely shiny mixture.

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