Salted caramel, chocolate ganache, hazelnuts

For those of you who follow my blog and have been checking back for new posts thinking that maybe your email was broken, aka my mom – hi mom, I want to say a massive sorry for being so absent recently. You see I love writing my blog but I also want it to look good (for a full discussion on this topic go here) and in order to take pretty pictures you need natural light. Which brings me on to the excuse section of this blog post: I am at law school during all daylight hours, which is annoying in many more ways than one. For example, there was absolutely no need for a halloween costume this year. But it’s getting a bit ridiculous now, I miss my blog. I’ll try and get back to taking foodgawkery photos but I still believe the most important thing is that my recipes taste great.

This bad boy is a recreation of a dessert I had at the Electric Diner in Notting Hill. From the top all you see is a layer of chocolate and some nuts but it beholds a magical mystery: salted caramel. SALTED CARAMEL. To me that’s kind of like saying “bacon”, mmmm bacon.

What I love about this recipe is that it’s stupidly decadent and a really fun, communal dinner party dessert. You just plonk it in the middle of the table and everyone can scoop and chat and not realise that they’re consuming thousands of calories… I mean this is in no way healthy; it’s basically just sugar, fat, salt and chocolate… Although it wouldn’t break a #glutenfree diet. It is also super quick to make if you don’t need to redo the caramel about a thousand times (which I did). If all else fails, Sainsbury’s have a jarred salted caramel sauce which isn’t terrible but my adapted version of Nigella’s caramel recipe will work if you don’t get cocky and play around with it, like I did initially. FYI, the golden syrup is there for a reason; it stops the sugar from crystallising. I tried to subsitute it for more sugar and I ended up with a grainy mess. Anyway, it all worked out in the end and was completely delicious, if I do say so myself. Enjoy! Make! Be merry! Eat this, own it, then go running.

Oh one more quick note, never make desserts with Green & Black’s chocolate. There’s something distinctively ashy tasting about it.

Ingredients (serves 6)

For the salted caramel

75 grams unsalted butter

50 grams light  sugar

50 grams golden caster sugar

50 grams golden syrup

125 ml double cream

1 big pinch of sea salt flakes

For the chocolate ganache

240g of best quality 65% chocolate (or use 120g of 75% and 120g of 50%) (Valrhona is my preference)

160ml of double cream

To top

A small handful of hazelnuts

1 big pinch sea salt flakes

To serve

Thin nut based biscuits, tuille or biscotti

Method

  • Start by making the caramel. Add the butter, sugars and syrup to a heavy bottomed pan and set over a medium heat.
  • Simmer for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally and making sure not to burn the sugar.
  • When all the sugar has melted, add the cream. Stir to incorporate then add the salt.
  • Wait for it to cool a little then try your sauce; it should be fine but if it is grainy take it back to the heat and cook a little longer then pass through a sieve.
  • When the caramel is ready, pour it onto your serving plate.
  • Get to work on the ganache. Finely chop the chocolate and place in a bowl.
  • Put the cream in a heavy bottomed pan and bring to the boil. Boil for about 10 seconds then pour the cream over the chocolate.
  • Quickly start stirring the cream and chocolate in small, concentric circles starting from the middle and moving outwards. The stirring should be brisk and “spirally” – it will strain your wrist and forearm a little.
  • After a minute or two your ganache will become smooth and glossy and not lumpy and oily. If the ganache is oily/grainy put it in a pan with a little milk and stir it until it looks right.
  • When the ganache is ready, pour it over the layer of caramel.
  • Leave the caramel/ganache plate for an hour so that the ganache can set.
  • Right before serving heat the hazelnuts in a pan so that they’re toasted on all sides – this will take about 2 minutes.
  • Roughly chop the hazelnuts or put in a sealed bag and give them a good whack against the kitchen counter.
  • Scatter the hazelnuts and sprinkle the salt over the chocolate.
  • Serve alongside your biscuit of choice.
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