Friday, 26 July 2013

Raspberry and White Chocolate Semi-Freddo - Perfect dessert for summer and this current heat wave we're enjoying

A delicious ice cool, creamy and fruity dessert.  The original recipe (from James Martin) contains nougat instead of white chocolate and is equally delicious!  I think that the frozen raspberries work very well in this as they stay suspended in the mixture better, but fresh would of course be fine, especially as they are bang in season right now.
Serves 8-10
For the semi-freddo
  • Oil for greasing
  • 4 eggs, carefully separated into 2 large bowls
  • 4 tbspn caster sugar
  • 325g mascarpone
  • 100g white chocolate
  • 150 g frozen raspberries
  • Mint sprigs
  • 24 x 13 x 4.5cm loaf tin

For the raspberry sauce
  • 200g raspberries (can be frozen and defrosted)
  • 2 tbspn icing sugar    
  • 1 tbspn water
  • Lightly grease the loaf tin with oil and then line it with cling film
  • Add the caster sugar to the egg yolks and beat until smooth and fluffy
  • Beat in the mascarpone until thoroughly mixed
  • Carefully melt the white chocolate and fold that into the mascarpone mixture
  • Using clean beaters, whisk the egg whites until they are stiff and, using a metal spoon, carefully fold them into the mascarpone mixture
  • Put the frozen raspberries into a bag (like a freezer bag) and hit them with a rolling pin to break them up a little.  This will make the semi-freddo easier to cut later on. 
  • Then fold the raspberries into the mascarpone mixture
  • Pour into the prepared loaf tin and put in the freezer until set or overnight
  • For the raspberry sauce, put all the ingredients into a food blender and whizz to a pulp, then push through a fine sieve into a bowl or wide lipped jug, pressing well with the back of a wooden spoon.
  • To serve, have the semi-freddo out of the freezer, and in the fridge for half an hour before you want it, then slice it up - about 2cm thick slices.
  • Arrange on a plate, drizzle with raspberry sauce and decorate with mint sprigs - voila!

Friday, 19 July 2013

Is it really gluten free...??!! Chocolate, pear and almond cake

We often have to look after folk who are gluten intolerant, and I really rather enjoy looking for new recipes and trying new things.  In fact, with this recipe, we didn't wait until anyone with an allergy was staying with us - it was a staple on the menu for all of last winter season!

The original recipe came form BBC Good Food website (a particular favourite of mine).  I just changed it slightly in that I did not use the hazelnuts as suggested.  I have also tried the recipe one and a half times and twice the quantities with success.

For the ingredients

  • 85g butter, plus 1 tbsp extra for tin
  • 85g golden caster sugar, plus extra for tin
  • 85g gluten-free dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 85g ground almonds
  • 4 very ripe pears, peeled, halved and cored
  • a sprinkle of lightly toasted almond flakes
  • icing sugar, for dusting
    • Cut a circle of baking parchment to fit the base of a 25cm loose-bottomed tin. Melt 1 tbsp butter and brush the inside of the tin, then line the base with the parchment and brush again with more butter. Spoon in 2 tbsp caster sugar, swirl it around to coat the base and sides, then tip out any excess.
    • Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pan of hot water, remove from the heat, and leave to cool.Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar in a large bowl until pale and thick; fold into the chocolate with the ground almonds.
    • In a separate bowl, with a clean whisk, beat the whites until they reach a soft peak (try not to whisk them too stiffly or you’ll have trouble folding them in). Stir a spoonful of the whites into the chocolate mix, then carefully fold in the rest of them in 2 additions. Spoon into the prepared tin. Level, then arrange the pears over the mixture, cut-side down.   Sprinkle the toasted almonds on top. Bake for 40 mins until the pears are soft and the cake is cooked all the way through. Leave to cool in the tin slightly before releasing it, then place on a rack to cool completely. Dust with icing sugar and serve with crème fraîche, or cream, or white chocolate ice cream!!