Chocolate and pecan tart

A friend with a sweet tooth was coming over to spend the afternoon watching movies yesterday, a perfect opportunity to bake something suitably rich and indulgent, something with chocolate. As I’d already had Paul Hollywood’s How To Bake book out to make sourdough, I leafed through it in search of inspiration and stopped at the description for the Chocolate and pecan tart – like a good treacle tart but more sophisticated. Beloved is a big fan of treacle tart (of anything with golden syrup really) so I thought this would do splendidly. It did:

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The recipe involved making a sweet pastry – this one has a high butter to flour ratio so it does need a long chilling time + quick rolling but it is wonderfully short. The filling I played around with a little. It includes melted butter and dark chocolate, whisked into beaten eggs; then sugar and golden syrup brought to boiling point, cooled and whisked slowly into the chocolate/ egg mix; a little vanilla extract and a whole load of chopped pecans. Despite our friend’s sweet tooth and Beloved’s love of golden syrup, I reduced the quantities a bit and increased the quantity of chocolate. I’m glad I did as the tart was still rich and sweet but not overpoweringly so. Very, very good indeed.

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White chocolate and raspberry cheesecake

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An annual tradition this, staying with Beloved’s brother in Wales for his birthday and making him a cheesecake. I’ve made a couple of cheesecakes for friends and family this summer already so the recipe I used for this one was a mash up of sorts and it worked out beautifully. It is simple and quick to do and also relatively healthy as it hardly uses any sugar and while I am not a greatest fan of white chocolate, it works very well here with the combination of fragrant raspberries and coconut in the base.

Ingredients and method

Wash and clean 225g ripe raspberries, put them in a bowl and sprinkle with 1tsp of sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice (I also squeezed a little orange juice as I found half an orange in the fridge, but this isn’t necessary). Leave to macerate while you get on with the rest of the cake. For the base: crush 150g digestive (unsweetened) biscuits in a plastic bag with a rolling pin or pulse briefly in the food processor then mix with 50g desiccated coconut. Melt 110g butter and pour over biscuit/ coconut mix, combine then press down into a 23cm springform tin lined (bottom and side) with baking parchment. Leave to cool in the fridge. ┬áTo make the filling, melt 200g white chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (making sure that the bowl doesn’t touch the water). While this is happening, mix 250g mascarpone (or any other cream cheese) and 250g Greek yoghurt to combine, then add the melted chocolate and mix well. Briefly puree the raspberries with a blender then combine with white chocolate, cream cheese and yoghurt mix. Spread over the base, working from the outer edges towards the centre, smooth the top and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

I’ve also made this cake with strawberries and think it could work well with blackberries too. Here’s a photo of a slice – I had to work fast here to take photos as the cake was quickly disappearing!

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Pears, figs and ginger

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I had some ripe pears and sort of combined elements of two Hugh FW recipes to come up with this little treat to follow Easter lunch. Very simple and now I wish there was more of it.

Peel and cut 3 pears into small pieces, add 3 chopped dried figs, 2 finely chopped blobs of stem ginger and mix with a couple of table spoons of stem ginger syrup. Leave for an hour or so. In a separate bowl whisk about 75g Greek yoghurt and about the same amount of double cream into soft peaks. Spoon the fruit and ginger into 2 bowls, top with yoghurt/cream and sprinkle with almond flakes.