Well it seems like a very long time since my last post, I've been making cakes for friends, catering for parties of different sorts, and then of course there's the normal mayhem of everyday life! Thankfully I've been taking photos of all the baked creations along the way so now I just need to write them all up. So here's a slice I made for the grown ups at my son's first birthday party: in its most basic and elegant guise it uses just 4 ingredients and the reaction it gets is massively disproportionate to the effort required to make it. I can't really call it "baked" as no oven is required...unless you want to make the chocolate cookies in the base yourself. As with many of my recipes, this can be made gluten free very easily, just switch the standard crumb base for a GF one. The other thing I should mention is that this can be tweaked in a number of ways depending on your preference: you could add a liqueur such as Grand Marnier or Baileys or Tia Maria; you could add ground nuts to the base; you could add the zest of an orange to the ganache; you could make a simple caramel to drizzle over the slice; or even (and this is what I'm going to try next time) make almond or hazelnut praline and sprinkle it over for a bit of extra crunch. Whichever option you choose, it'll be yummy in a really big way and people will ask you for the recipe! Now, I have a particular fondness for Willie Harcourt-Cooze (his website can be found here) and I recently found a source for his 100% cacao out here in Oz. Of course I just needed an excuse to use it, so in the recipe below you'll see that there's a total weight for the chocolate but within that weight you can mix and match as you please. I used about 100g / 4oz of the grated cacao mixed with 200g / 8oz Green & Blacks organic milk chocolate. Decadent? Possibly. To die for? Definitely!
For the base:
150g / 6oz plain chocolate crunch biscuits or cookies
60g / 2 1/2 oz unsalted butter
- Blitz the biscuits or cookies in the food processor, or place them in a roomy zip lock bag and beat them with a rolling pin until you have a fine crumb.
- Melt the butter then mix it with the crumbs until you have a damp sandy texture. Press the mixture into a loose bottomed slice tin: mine is 30x10cm (or 12x4 inches) but you could just as easily use a round one. Be sure to press the crumbs up the sides of the tin. To avoid big wads of crumb base at the edge, I use my 1 cup measure to press the crumbs down and against the sides at the same time, this seems to result in a good even thickness.
- Place the tin in the fridge while you make the ganache.
300g / 12oz chocolate (milk, dark or a mixture) chopped roughly
300ml / 1 1/4 cups double or heavy cream
- Gently heat the cream until bubble start to appear around the edge but do not allow it to boil. Remove it from the heat.
- Add the chocolate rubble to the cream and allow it to stand for a couple of minutes. Stir the mixture until all the chocolate is combined with the cream and you have a smooth glossy mixture.
- Remove the slice tin from the fridge, carefully pour in the ganache and return the whole lot to the fridge for at least 30 minutes.