Friday, 23 October 2015

James Martin

The TV chef divulges some of his delicious dishes from his new book Sweet

Written by James Martin

Chocolate Hazelnut Dacquoise with Figs 

Serves 8-10


For the dacquoise
10 egg whites
275g caster sugar
50g cocoa powder
250g ground hazelnuts

For the filling
750ml double cream
1½ tbsp vanilla bean paste
75g icing sugar
10-12 figs

To decorate
Twisted willow, or other decorative twigs
Sugar spiral (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/ gas mark 4 and line 2 baking sheets with silicone paper. Draw a 23cm circle on each sheet of paper, then flip them over.

Make sure your bowl and whisk are very clean, free of grease and dry, as any water or grease will affect the meringue.

Place the egg whites in the bowl and whisk with a food mixer or an electric whisk on high speed to soft peaks. Add the sugar, a spoonful at a time, whisking until the mixture is smooth and glossy.

Sift in the cocoa powder and whisk until combined. Fold in the ground hazelnuts, taking care not to knock the air out of the meringue. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm plain nozzle. Lift the paper up and pipe 4 blobs on the corner of each tray then press the paper to them to stop it moving.

Pipe concentric rings to fill the circle on each of the lined trays. Next, pipe 6 small discs around the trays (you will have some mixture left over). Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden and just firm to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile, whisk the cream, vanilla bean paste and icing sugar together until you have firm peaks. Place one of the meringue discs into a 23cm metal ring on a cake stand or serving plate, trimming it if necessary, then spread a layer of cream 1cm thick on top. Cut 10 figs in half from top to bottom. Place these upright into the cream around the edge of the ring, cut side facing out. Continue all the way around until you have made a border of figs around the edge of the cream. Fold the small discs of meringue into the remaining cream, along with 2 quartered figs. Pile the cream into the centre, pressing it lightly so that it holds the figs in place against the ring.

Place the second meringue disc on top, trimming if necessary, then press down lightly. Lift the ring off the dacquoise. To help you do this cleanly, warm the ring very quickly with a blow torch, or dip a cloth into hot water and run it around the ring.

Decorate with twisted willow and fig wedges, and a sugar spiral, if desired.

Chocolate Beetroot Roulade with Chocolate Cream

Serves 8-10


200g dark chocolate (53% cocoa solids), roughly chopped
200g butter
300g packet cooked beetroot, juices reserved, roughly chopped
100g icing sugar u 150g cream cheese
5 eggs
175g light brown soft sugar
75g self-raising flour
10 cherries, stalks left on

For the chocolate cream
300ml double cream
200g dark chocolate (53% cocoa solids)

Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/ gas mark 5 and line a 23cm x 33cm Swiss roll tin with a sheet of silicone paper.

Put the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering (not boiling) water. The bowl should not touch the water. Heat to melt, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are smooth. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Place the chopped beetroot and juices in a food blender and blitz to a fine purée. Pour all but 125ml of the puréed beetroot into the warm chocolate.

In a separate bowl, beat the icing sugar and cream cheese together until smooth, then beat in 75ml of the puréed beetroot. Set aside with the 50ml puréed beetroot in the fridge while you make the cake.

Whisk the eggs and sugar in a kitchen mixer, or in a large bowl with electric beaters, until very thick and pale in colour. Carefully pour in the cooled chocolate-and-beetroot mixture and whisk until just combined. Sift the flour into the mixture then gently fold in, making sure it has all been incorporated.

Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 10-15 minutes until risen. The sponge should spring back when pressed lightly. Lift the sponge out of the tin and leave to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, for the chocolate cream, heat the cream in a saucepan until just simmering, then remove from the heat and add the chocolate, stirring all the time until the mixture is smooth. Pour into a large bowl to cool. When the mixture is at room temperature, whisk until it just holds its shape.

Spread the chocolate cream over the cooled sponge, leaving a 2cm border around the edge. Score a line 1cm in from one of the longest edges and bend this border over gently. Spoon all but 2 tbsp of the beetroot cream in a line 2cm wide inside the border. Using the silicone paper underneath, roll up the sponge quite tightly, making sure the filling stays inside. Pull the paper towards you as you roll the sponge away from you.

Roll the sponge onto a serving plate – the bottom will be uppermost, giving a smooth finish. Pipe or drizzle over the remaining beetroot cream and puréed beetroot.

Finish with a line of cherries down the centre.

Sweet, by James Martin, with photography by Peter Cassidy, is published by Quadrille, priced £20.

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