There's always room for chocolate - desserts from Catherine Fulvio and Neven Maguire
If Easter eggs aren't enough to satisfy your chocolate cravings, try these rich desserts from Catherine Fulvio and Neven Maguire
Catherine Fulvio's chocolate Mousse Cake
All I can say is that this is a proven favourite among our resident guests at Ballyknocken Farmhouse. Many have asked for the recipe, so here it is! (For a taller chocolate mousse, use a springform tin rather than a flan tin and simply increase the quantity of cream - anything up to 700ml will work nicely.)
For the base: 15 digestive biscuits, finely crushed
50g ground almonds
100g melted butter, plus extra for brushing
For the filling: 350g dark chocolate (70pc cocoa solids), broken into small pieces
2 tbsp golden syrup
1 tsp coffee essence (or 2 tsp coffee granules dissolved in 2 tbsp hot water)
¬ tsp ground cinnamon
500ml double cream
Cocoa powder, toasted flaked almonds, chocolate curls, to decorate
1. Brush a 20cm loose-based deep flan tin or springform tin with butter. Line the base with parchment paper.
2. To make the base, combine the biscuits and ground almonds and add enough melted butter to bind (the amount needed will depend on the size of the biscuits). Spoon the biscuit mix into the base and flatten. Place in the fridge to set for 30 minutes.
3. To make the filling, heat the chocolate, golden syrup, coffee essence and ground cinnamon in a medium saucepan over a very low heat. When the chocolate has melted, remove from the heat and allow to cool.
4. Meanwhile, whip the cream to soft-peak stage. Fold the cooled chocolate mix into the whipped cream and pour over the biscuit base. Leave to set in the fridge for at least 5 hours.
5. To serve, unmould from the tin and slide onto a cake stand. Dust the top with cocoa powder. Carefully pat toasted flaked almonds onto the sides of the cake and dust the excess off the cake stand. When you're ready to serve, place the chocolate curls in the centre of the cake.
Catherine's Chocolate Mint Liqueur
Confession time: I am a little fond of a) chocolate, b) a liqueur every now and again and c) mint, so I can't go wrong with this one!
Makes about 700ml
10 large sprigs of mint
5 tbsp chocolate syrup
397g condensed milk
½ tsp almond extract
½ tsp vanilla extract
To make the liqueur, warm the cream and mint in a medium saucepan to scalding point (when little bubbles start to form at the edges) then leave to cool. Pour the infused cream through a sieve, using a spoon to push the oils from the mint into the cream before removing the sprigs. Gently whisk in the chocolate syrup, condensed milk, whiskey, almond extract and vanilla with the cream. Using a funnel, pour into a sterilised bottle. Store in the fridge - it will keep for three to four weeks. Serve over ice for a refreshing drink.
Neven Maguire's Celebration chocolate box cake
This cake looks absolutely stunning and makes a wonderful centrepiece for any celebration. It's particularly good if you're short on time or don't feel you're the best cake decorator but still want to produce something with a real wow factor. You'll also need a decent length of ribbon to go around the edge of the cake, or if you're feeling really fancy, try tying it in a big bow.
Groundnut oil, for greasing
375g (13oz) butter, diced
375g (13oz) plain chocolate, broken into squares
6 large eggs
225g (8oz) caster sugar
125g (4½oz) self-raising flour, sifted
125g (4½oz) ground almonds
For the frosting: 450g (1lb) plain chocolate, broken into squares
225g (8oz) butter, softened
150g (5oz) icing sugar
2 tbsp sifted cocoa powder
To decorate: About 100 chocolate cigarellos or thin chocolate finger biscuits
1 assorted chocolate box (or use a selection of your favourite chocolates)
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/gas mark 4). Lightly
oil and line 2 x 20cm (8in) square cake tins with non-stick baking paper.
2. To make the cake, melt the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Leave to cool.
3. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and sugar with an electric whisk until pale and thick. Add the cooled chocolate mixture, then fold in the flour and ground almonds. Divide the mixture between the cake tins and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until cooked through. Cool in the tins for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
4. To make the fudgy chocolate frosting, melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Allow to cool for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, sieve the icing sugar and cocoa powder into a separate bowl. Add them gradually to the chocolate mixture, beating with a hand-held electric mixer until smooth.
5. Once the cakes are cooled, cut each cake in half and sandwich them back together with some of the frosting between each layer, then transfer to a board or plate. With a palette knife, spread more icing around the edges of the cake. Add a thin layer to the top, then stick the chocolate cigarellos or fingers around the sides of the cake. Tie with a ribbon, which will also help to keep everything secure, then fill the top in sections with the assorted chocolates. Present to the table with a flourish!