Friday 16 November 2018

Rachel Allen makes the most of Easter's chocolate leftovers

Transform your left over chocolate into something special with these recipes...

Hot chocolate
Hot chocolate
Rachel's clothes, Brown Thomas. Jewellery, Seoidin. Make-up by Roisin Derrane for Lancome, using the Lancome Spring 2014 Colour Collection. Hair by Amanda Darcy Sloan, Sugar Cubed

Rachel Allen

I have loved Easter ever since I was little – though I confess my affection had more to do with chocolate than religion. Like every good chocoholic, I adored Easter's annual assault of eggs in all colours and sizes.

Well, I haven't changed and I always appreciate the excuse to gluttonously gorge myself on chocolate, whether it's egg-shaped or not.

When we were young, my sister and I would carefully arrange our Easter eggs in our bedrooms, each with their beautiful, bright wrapping.

It was never too long until we became a little tired of so many chocolate eggs. Then it was time to pool our resources and put our chocolate together to make buns, cakes, cookies, and anything else we could think of.

These days, I don't receive quite as many Easter eggs. In fact, it's rare I'll have much in the way of leftover Easter eggs by Easter Monday. Thankfully, though, my children will have quite a few, so we'll be busily recycling the chocolate in a few of these different recipes.

Most of these recipes will work well with either milk or dark chocolate, but I prefer making the chocolate sauce, opposite, with dark chocolate. It's a really easy recipe that will keep in the fridge for up to three weeks. It's such a good sauce for the baked bananas, but it would be delicious on vanilla ice cream, too.

The flavour of Earl Grey actually goes wonderfully with chocolate. I love to serve this Earl Grey chocolate mousse recipe to guests at a party.

My simple hot chocolate recipe is divine, and perfect for curling up with on the sofa. The cream is enriching, the booze even more so, but both are optional.

 

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Hot chocolate

 

Earl Grey chocolate mousse

Fills about 10 small glasses.

You will need:

120ml (4fl oz) cream

2 teaspoons Earl Grey tea leaves

120g (4oz) dark or milk chocolate, finely chopped

2 eggs, separated

Put the cream in a saucepan along with the Earl Grey tea leaves and bring to the boil, then remove from the heat and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Then strain, discard the tea leaves and return the saucepan of cream to the heat.

Bring the cream up to the boil again, then turn off the heat. Add the finely chopped dark or milk chocolate, whichever you're using, to the cream and stir it around until the chocolate has melted, then whisk in the egg yolks.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they are just stiff, then stir a quarter of the egg white into the chocolate and cream mixture. Gently fold in the rest of the egg white, being careful not to knock all the air out. Put into little glasses or cups, and leave for an hour or two in the fridge to set.

Baked bananas with maple syrup and chocolate sauce

When bananas are baked, they turn beautifully sweet, which is perfect for a last-minute dessert. Serves 4.

You will need:

4 tablespoons maple syrup

4 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

4 bananas, peeled

16 toasted pecans or walnuts, halved

1 x quantity hot chocolate sauce (see recipe below) or whipped cream

Preheat the oven to 200°C, 400°F, Gas 6. In a small bowl, mix the maple syrup with the freshly squeezed orange juice.

Cut out four sections of tinfoil – each one should be long and wide enough to wrap up a banana. Place a banana in the centre of each tinfoil section, scrunching up the sides of the foil. Pour in the maple syrup and orange juice mixture and seal the tinfoil parcels. Place the tinfoil parcels on a baking tray and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.

Carefully place the tinfoil parcels on a serving plate, opening the foil wide enough to scatter over the toasted halved pecans or walnuts, whichever you're using.

Leave the bananas in the tinfoil parcels for serving or, if you prefer, you can turn the bananas out into serving bowls. Serve with hot chocolate sauce, see the recipe below, or whipped cream, whichever you are using.

Hot chocolate

For each person, you will need:

200ml (7fl oz) milk

50g (1½oz) good quality dark and milk chocolate

A splash of cream (optional)

A splash of brandy, whiskey or Baileys (optional)

Put the milk and the chopped dark and milk chocolate, and the cream, if you're using it, in a saucepan and slowly heat the mixture up, stirring to gently melt the chocolate. Add a splash of brandy, whiskey or Baileys, if you're using any of them, then pour into a cup and serve.

Hot chocolate sauce

Makes 300ml (10fl oz).

You will need:

200ml (7fl oz) double cream

200g (7oz) good-quality dark chocolate (70 per cent cocoa solids), chopped

1-2 tablespoons Cointreau, Grand Marnier, brandy or rum, or 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest (optional; see my Tip, opposite)

Pour the double cream into a saucepan and bring it to the boil. Add the chopped dark chocolate and stir until the chocolate has melted.

Add the Cointreau, the Grand Marnier, the brandy, the rum, or the grated orange zest, if you are using any of them. Remove from the heat.

You can reheat the sauce gently when it is needed.

 

Rachel's clothes, Brown Thomas

Jewellery, Seoidin

Make-up by Roisin Derrane for Lancome, using the Lancome Spring 2014 Colour Collection

Hair by Amanda Darcy Sloan, Sugar Cubed

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