Saturday, 24 December 2011

A Special Birthday

As mentioned in my previous post Christmas Eve is my mum's birthday and this year was a special birthday. I've been planning what cake to make for ages. I wanted something a bit special, but not a 'celebration cake' as such as she's not keen on icing. I also wanted something that would double as pudding. I was watching Raymond Blanc's Kitchen Secrets back in the summer and found just the thing! A chocolate delice with a chocolate macaroon base. I tried making the macaroon recipe in Raymond Blancs book a few months ago and whilst it was delicious they weren't a total success. The shells weren't perfect and shiny and they stuck to the baking paper a bit. Macaroons have always been my nemesis, they are so temperamental!

As a result I was a little worried about attempting them for this. I even bought some digestive biscuits for a back up biscuit base instead. I'm pleased to say though that the digestives are still sat in the cupboard in their packet, thanks to the fabulous instructions from Holly Bell.

I started by making some chocolate macaroons following Holly Bell's recipe. For this I only made the macaroons, not the filling, but I might make some filling to use up the left over macaroons.

As well as following her advice and making a template from a milk bottle top for standard sized macaroons I also drew around the base of a 8" round cake tin to make a giant macaroon to act as the base for the delice.

Her recipe only has 6g cocoa in so they turned out to be very pale chocolate macaroons but very delicious all the same! She says to use 144g aged egg whites. For me this was about 4 eggs.

In my oven I found they needed a little longer and would also recommend using magic liner instead of greaseproof paper as they came off much better. Other than those small tweaks the recipe was spot on and I'd suggest maybe even foolproof as long as the fool was reading the instructions carefully!

While the macaroons were cooling I set about making the delice. This is basically a chocolate custard. You start by heating the milk and cream and then pour over beaten egg and add chocolate. Very simple! I also added a small amount of salt to help bring out the flavour of the chocolate. I used this recipe but only made the delice not the base, nuts or foam.

Once the macaroon had cooled I placed it inside a greased 8" round, sprung form cake tin ensuring it was a tight fit and then poured the delice mixture over the top and put in the fridge to set.

Once the delice was set I dusted the top liberally with cocoa and then piled up the macaroons, finishing with a little shake of cocoa and edible glitter.

I then made a quick salted caramel sauce by melting sugar with a little water in a pan until it has formed a syrup and turned a deep golden colour. Keep your eye on it as it will turn and burn very quickly. Take it off the heat and add a good slug of double cream. Be careful as it will bubble up. Add salt to taste.

I served the delice with pouring cream and the salted caramel sauce. It was very rich but absolutely delicious and so very smooth and chocolately.

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