Chocolate, Ginger, Almond Easter Cake

easter layer cakeI had my in laws up for Easter this year and wanted to make a really special dessert that would feed 6, 2 of which had given up chocolate for lent! I thought about warm puddings, cheesecake, torte, all sorts, so I decided to make a combo. This was a seriously amazing dessert, super indulgent, really tasty and just so naughty! A crunchy ginger nut base, a layer of chocolate torte, topped with an almond cream – this is a real showstopper. Make it the day before you plan to serve and don’t think about the calories!!

You will need: 1 pack ginger nuts, 100g butter, 300g dark chocolate, 700ml double cream, 4 tablespoons golden syrup, 3 tablespoons soft cheese, 50g ground almonds, 4 tablespoons cinnamon, 4 chocolate bunnies, cocoa for decoration.

First of all empty the pack of ginger nuts into a large bowl and crush them until they are like breadcrumbs. Melt the butter in a pan and add the gingernut crumbs to the pan, add the golden syrup and stir until everything is combined. Cut a circle of greaseproof paper the size of your tin and place it in the bottom. I used a large springform tin. Pour the gingernut mixture into the bottom of the tin and press down with the back of a wooden spoon to make a flat layer. Cover the top of the tin with clingfilm and pop in the fridge.

For the chocolate torte layer, break the chocolate into small pieces and melt in a bowl over a pan of boiling water. Measure out 500ml cream and the chocolate starts to melt stir in the cream, a little at a time. Keep stirring with a wooden spoon, add a tablespoon of golden syrup and 2 tablespoons cinnamon. When all the ingredients are combined, whisk in a large electric mixer until little bubbles start to form then pour the mixture over the gingernut base. Clingfilm the top of the in again and leave in the fridge for another hour.

For the almond cream topping add the rest of the cream to a large mixer and whisk until it starts to thicken. Add 2 tablespoons cinnamon, then the soft cheese. Keep whisking everything together, then add the ground almonds. I whisked my mixture for about ten minutes until it formed a lovely thick creamy texture.  Check in the fridge that the torte layer has set, it should be firm to the touch. Then spoon the almond cream onto the torte layer. Use a wooden spoon to flatten the top. Place your chocolate bunnies on the top and sprinkle with a little cocoa. Cover with clingfilm and leave to set in the fridge overnight.

Easter Layer CakeWhen you are ready to serve the cake, release the springform sides of the tin and lift it off. Place the cake onto a plate or a cake stand and serve!

This is one of the most complicated recipes I have created, it is also one of the best. I think it’s great to have a lovely, restaurant quality dessert for special occasions. The almonds, chocolate, cinnamon and ginger complement each other perfectly and this is a perfect Easter treat.easter layer cake

Love, Mrs Gardom

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Creamy Mushroom and White Wine Pie with Oven Baked Mash

DSCF1584I made pie for the first time a couple of months ago and since then I’ve been experimenting with different veggie fillings – I think this is the best. Oh, and it’s National Pie Week – which is definitely a reason to celebrate! My mum came up to see us for a couple of days so I wanted to make something really lovely for tea, she has cooked for me for my whole childhood after all, so it’s a bit of a trickier recipe but definitely worth a try if you want to impress!

For the Pie

You will need: 125ml dry white wine, 200g white mushrooms, 1 flat mushroom, 10g dried porcini mushrooms, (Soaked in enough water to cover them), 2 garlic cloves,  3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon aromat seasoning, 1 large onion, 500ml vegetable stock, 150g plain flour,  5 tablespoons of water, 150ml single cream, black pepper, 75g margarine/butter (+ some for brushing on the top).

To make the pastry rub the butter and flour in a mixing bowl until it forms a breadcrumby texture, then add the water and mix with a spoon. Press the pastry into a ball, adding more water if you need, cover the ball in cling film and pop in the fridge for half an hour.

DSCF1572Dice your onion and crush the garlic cloves and put in a large frying pan with 3 tablespoons olive oil. Once the onions are brown, add the stock and the white wine to the pan, turn the heat on high until it starts to bubble and then put a lid on and turn the heat to medium. Chop your mushrooms into quarters, and your flat mushroom into chunks. Add to the pan and stir. Add the porcini  mushrooms, along with the liquid they have been soaking in. Now leave to simmer for twenty five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the cream.

Put your oven onto 190 degrees. Take your pastry out of the fridge – chop a third off and keep to one side. Roll out the remaining pastry thinly on a floured surface so it is large enough to line your pie dish. Put the pastry in the dish and blind bake for 10 minutes. In your saucepan, the mushrooms should be soft and the sauce should be nice and thick, season with a little pepper and a teaspoon of aromat, if the sauce is runny still, higher the heat and cook for another five minutes.

Mushroom PieRoll out the remaining third of pastry until it will cover the top of the pie. Pour the mushrooms and the sauce into the pastry, then place the pastry lid on top of the pie. Pinch the edges shut and brush the top of the pie with some melted butter (instead of melting butter in a pan, I place a few little lumps on top and the hot pie filling will melt it for you). Put the pie in the oven and cook for 15 minutes.

For the Mash

You will need: 5 potatoes, 1 tablespoon butter, 1 tablespoon cream.

DSCF1579Peel the potatoes and boil them for 15 minutes then drain in a colander. I also served this with some sliced carrots, but I’m sure you know how to do that! Put the potatoes back in the pan, add the butter and cream, and mash everything together until it is really smooth. Put the mash into a casserole dish and pop in the oven when you put the pie in.

pie and mashThere we go, a lovely, lovely pie, perfect for a family meal or a special occasion (Easter’s coming up folks!). The flavours are really rich and earthy, it’s a great dish if you are entertaining people who aren’t used to veggie food.

Love, Mrs Gardom

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