Saturday 20 January 2018

Hot Chocolat

Her novel tinkled the tastebuds of chocolate lovers worldwide and now Joanne Harris has shared some of her sweetest recipes

P'tite Mere's Chocolate Truffles
P'tite Mere's Chocolate Truffles
Chocolate Fudge Squares
Peanut Chocolate Brittle
Bairbre Power

Bairbre Power

As Easter is just around the corner, we thought we'd give you some ideas for creative and delicious gifts using chocolate – and there's not an egg in sight.

We found plenty of inspiration in 'The Little Book of Chocolat' by Joanne Harris.

The author's 'Chocolat' trilogy has long enchanted readers, and a large part of that fascination is down to her evocative descriptions of chocolate.

To celebrate the 15th anniversary of the first publication of 'Chocolat', which was subsequently made into an Oscar-nominated film starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp, Joanne teamed up with chef and author Fran Warde to create a wicked feast of chocolate recipes from around the world.

Taking inspiration from Vianne Rocher's deliciously decadent chocolaterie, they have compiled 50 mouth-watering recipes in their new book, everything from roulades to tarts, ice cream to shortcake and lots of delicious DIY sweets.

The book is a love letter to chocoholics around the world. Indulge yourself in it.

P'tit mere's chocolate chesnut truffle

My French grandmother (or P'tite Mere, as we called her) hated all fruit and nuts except for chestnuts, which she adored.

I think she would have enjoyed these chestnut truffles, combining the earthy scent of autumn with the silky sophistication of chocolate.

Takes 2 hours/makes 50

YOU WILL NEED

200g dark chocolate, broken into

small, even-sized pieces

100g chestnut puree

200g double cream

75g unrefined light brown sugar

25g cocoa powder

Method

Line a baking tray approximately 20x16cm with baking parchment.

In a bain-marie, place the chocolate, chestnut puree, cream and sugar and heat gently until melted.

Then remove from the bain-marie and mix until evenly blended.

Place in the fridge until firmly set (at least 1 hour).

When set, use a teaspoon to scoop out evenly sized balls and roll them between your palms one at a time.

Put the cocoa in a shallow bowl and toss each truffle in the powder. Repeat until all are coated.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Chocolate Fudge Squares

Fudge, a sweet, rich compound of sugar, butter and milk, seems to have originated in America near the end of the 19th century.

This chocolate fudge is very easy to make and is also great served warm, over ice cream.

Takes 1 hour/makes 50 pieces

YOU WILL NEED

400g dark or milk chocolate, broken into

small, even-sized pieces

25g butter

397g can condensed milk

100g icing sugar

30g cocoa powder, sifted

Method

Line a 20cm square, shallow tin with baking parchment.

Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie. In a non-stick saucepan, melt the butter and gently warm the condensed milk, then add the melted chocolate and mix until smooth.

Beat in the icing sugar until blended and smooth.

Put the mixture into the prepared tin, spread evenly into the corners, smooth over the top and place in the fridge to set for at least 1 hour.

Remove and cut into small squares and dust with cocoa.

Peanut chocolate brittle

Fran likes to use unsalted peanuts for this recipe, although I rather like the salty kind.

Serves 12

YOU WILL NEED

200g peanuts, unsalted

200g granulated sugar

100g chocolate, broken into small, even-sized pieces

Method

Heat the oven to 150°C/gas mark 2.

Place the peanuts on a baking tray and cook for 10 minutes until a light golden brown.

Remove from the oven and set to one side.

Put the sugar in a heavy-based non-stick saucepan over a medium heat and shake until all the sugar has melted evenly into a golden-coloured caramel. Do not leave it, as it burns very quickly.

Add the peanuts and stir quickly with a wooden spoon. Pour out on to a sheet of baking parchment, flatten and leave to cool.

When the brittle is completely cool, melt the chocolate in a bain-marie and spread over the top of the brittle. Leave to set. Or, if you prefer, melt a small amount of contrasting chocolate as well and then quickly drizzle both of them Jackson Pollock-style over the top and leave to set.

Cut into small chunks using a sharp knife. This works well on its own or with ice cream.

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