Great Winter Dessert with Chocolate and Caramel-infused Bananas

Ingredients

1 sheet ready-to-bake all-butter puff pastry
all-purpose flour, for dusting
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
3 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 cinnamon sticks
5 firm bananas, cut into large chunks

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease an 8-1/2-inch diameter flameproof tart pan or ovenproof skillet.
  2. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface to a circle 1 inch larger than the pan. Put to one side.
  3. Put the sugar and butter into the pan and cook gently over medium heat until it forms a dark blond caramel.
  4. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate, stirring until melted. Drop the cinnamon sticks into the center of the pan.
  5. Arrange the banana chunks tightly in the pan. Place the pastry over the top, tucking in the overhanging edges of the pastry between the fruit and the pan.
  6. Using a small knife, pierce the top of the pastry to let the steam escape.
  7. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the pastry is puffed up and golden. Turn out onto a serving dish immediately. Serve with creme fraiche or ice cream.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: Chocolat

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Chocolate Banana Tart

Ingredients

3/4 cup spelt flour
1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup unsalted butter, cubed and softened
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons evaporated cane sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons agave nectar
3 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons finely chopped plus 1/4 cup chopped raw Brazil nuts
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 ounces 70% organic dark chocolate, broken up into small pieces
3 bananas, thinly sliced

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 300ºF. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
  2. Stir the flours, oats, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl.
  3. In a standing mixer, combine the butter and 1/2 cup of the sugar. Cream the mixture until light in color and smooth, about 4 minutes.
  4. Add the agave and blend. Add the eggs one at a time, blending between each addition. Add the vanilla. On low speed, add the flour mixture and mix until the batter is the consistency of cookie dough.
  5. Using a spatula, fold in the 3 tablespoons finely chopped nuts by hand. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  6. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to a 1/4-inch thickness. Using a 3-inch round cookie cutter, cut out 6 pastry bases. Using a large spatula, place the dough on the prepared baking sheets and bake until golden brown, about 8 minutes.
  7. Transfer the pastry rounds to a wire rack to cool.
  8. To make the ganache, bring 1/4 cup of the cream to a boil in a saucepan. Remove from the heat. Add the chocolate to the cream and let sit for 3 to 5 minutes so the chocolate melts. Whisk together until smooth. Set aside.
  9. Preheat the oven to broil.
  10. To assemble the tarts, place the pastry rounds back on the baking sheets and divide the ganache among the pastry rounds, using an offset spatula or dinner knife to spread the ganache to the edges.
  11. Arrange the banana slices on top of the ganache in a pinwheel pattern. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar over the bananas and put the tarts under the broiler for 30 seconds to brown the tops. Watch them carefully so they don’t burn.
  12. Whip the remaining /2 cup cream to soft peaks, and add a spoonful to each tart. Garnish with the 1/4 cup chopped nuts before serving.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: True Food

Light, Flaky and Buttery Mille Feuille with Chocolate and Blackberry

Ingredients

1 (1-pound) package ready-to-bake all-butter puff pastry
all-purpose flour, for dusting
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2-3/4 cups blackberries
confectioners’ sugar and unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting

Chocolate Cream

4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup light cream
2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons creme de cassis, plus extra for drizzling

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to a large rectangle and sift half of the cocoa powder over it. Fold one end of the rectangle into the center and repeat with the opposite end, so that each end meets in the middle. Repeat the process, adding another dusting of cocoa powder, then roll out the pastry to a thin rectangle, about 13-1/2 x 11 inches.
  3. Place the pastry on a large baking sheet and trim to fit if necessary. Prick the pastry all over with a fork, cover with a sheet of parchment paper, and weigh the pastry down with a second baking sheet.
  4. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the pastry begins to brown.
  5. Remove the top baking sheet and parchment paper, then return to the oven for another 5-10 minutes, or until cooked. Let cool.
  6. To make the chocolate cream, put the chocolate into a large heatproof bowl. Put the light cream into a saucepan and heat to just below boiling point.
  7. Pour the cream onto the chocolate, stirring gently until smooth. Let cool.
  8. Whip the heavy cream to soft peaks. Mix the cooled chocolate mixture into the whipped cream, then fold in the creme de cassis.
  9. To assemble, cut the cooled pastry into 16 small rectangles. Using a pastry bag or spatula, pipe or spread a thick layer of the chocolate cream onto all the pastry rectangles.
  10. Arrange the blackberries on half of the rectangles, reserving eight for decoration, then add a little more chocolate cream between the berries.
  11. Sandwich the cream-covered pastry rectangles on top of the berries and dust with confectioners’ sugar and cocoa powder.
  12. Cut the reserved berries in half, drizzle with cassis, and use to decorate the mille feuille.

Makes 8 servings.

Source: Chocolat

A Moist and Fudgy Chocolate Cake

Ingredients

1/3 cup vegetable oil
8 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
3/4 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
10 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup chopped nuts, optional

Method

  1. Heat oven to 350°F (180°C).
  2. Heat oil and chocolate in an 8-inch square cake pan in oven for about 4 minutes, until melted.
  3. Add water, sugar, egg, flour, salt, baking soda and vanilla. Beat with a fork until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes.
  4. Stir in 1 cup chips. Spread evenly in pan. Sprinkle with remaining chips and nuts. Bake at 350°F (180°C) for 40 minutes or until tester inserted in centre comes out clean. Cool.

Makes 8 servings.

Source: Canadian magazine

Black Forest Cake

Ingredients

6 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1-1/4 sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus extra for greasing
5 ounces semisweet chocolate
3 tablespoons raspberry preserves
40 fresh black cherries, pitted (or canned cherries, drained)
confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Syrup

1 cup water
I cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons kirsch

Kirsh Cream

3 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup superfine sugar (or the same quantity of granulated sugar processed in a food processor for 1 minute)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons kirsch

Method

  1. First make the sponge. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease three 8-1/2-inch diameter cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, vanilla, and sugar, using an electric handheld mixer, until thick and the beaters leave a trail when lifted above the mixture. Sift together the cocoa powder and flour, then fold in. Stir in the melted butter.
  3. Divide the cake batter among the prepared pans and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until springy to the touch. Let cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
  4. Meanwhile, shave the block of chocolate by using a vegetable peeler or by carefully scraping the blade of a large kitchen knife across the surface of the chocolate. Keep the chocolate shavings in the refrigerator until needed.
  5. To make the syrup, put the water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil, then boil for 5 minutes. Let cool, then add the kirsch.
  6. To make the kirsch cream, whip the cream and sugar to firm peaks, then fold in the vanilla and kirsch.
  7. To assemble the cake, level the tops of the sponges, if necessary, using a sharp knife. Place a little kirsch cream on a serving plate and secure one of the sponges on top. Brush the sponge with some of the syrup, then spread over the raspberry preserves. Sandwich together with a second sponge and brush again with the syrup. Spread over a thick layer of the kirsch cream, about 1/2-inch deep. Cover with the cherries, reserving eight for decoration. Spread a little more cream over the cherries to secure them, then top with the final sponge, upside down to create an even, flat surface. Brush with the remaining syrup.
  8. Spoon 1/3 cup of the kirsch cream into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip and set aside. Using a spatula, cover the top and side of the cake with the remaining cream. Carefully stick the chocolate shavings all over the side of the cake with the palm of your hand. Pipe around the edge of the cake and eight swirls in the middle, then place the reserved cherries on top of the swirls. Serve dusted with confectioners’ sugar.

Makes 10 servings.

Source: Chocolat