These are the only recipes you’ll need to celebrate Chocolate Week

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  • The best foodie week of the year has arrived …

    Calling all chocoholics, if you ever needed a reason to indulge in an extra square (or two) of chocolate, this is it.

    It’s Chocolate Week.

    What better way to celebrate than by tucking into these tempting recipes from master chocolatier Paul A Young, former Great British Bake Off winner Edd Kimber, chocolate and patissier Will Torrent and Homes & Gardens.

    It’s time to indulge.

    Paul A Young’s sea salted chocolate and pecan tart

    This is one for a special dinner party. With its sophisticated, sweet chocolate pastry crust, unctuous ganache filling, and caramelised salted peanuts, this tart will stop conversation for all the right reasons.

    Serves: 8

    You will need

    For the crust:
    175g butter 75g golden caster sugar 2 egg yolks 250g plain flour 20g cocoa powder

    For the filling:
    200g Madagascan 64% dark chocolate, broken into pieces
    200ml whipping or double cream (whipping cream gives a slightly lighter texture)
    200g light muscovado sugar 10g Maldon sea salt

    For the topping:
    100g caster sugar 1 teaspoon Maldon sea salt 100g pecan halves

    1. To make the crust, cream together the butter and sugar with a wooden spoon until light and creamy. Add the egg yolks and 35ml water and mix well until all the liquid has been incorporated. Gradually add the flour and cocoa powder until a paste is formed. This can all be done in an electric mixer or food processor if you prefer.

    2. Wrap the pastry in foil or clingfilm, flatten it with your hand and refrigerate for 1 hour. The pastry can be made 2 days ahead, or even longer since it freezes well, though in this case you may want to knead the pastry to soften it before rolling.

    3. Sprinkle your surface with flour and roll out the pastry until it is about 5cm bigger than your tart ring or tin. I recommend using a ring that is 24cm in diameter and 2.5cm deep.

    4. Carefully line the ring or tin, pushing the pastry well into the bottom edges and folding the excess over the top. Trim off the excess. Refrigerate for 15 minutes to relax the pastry and to help prevent it from shrinking during cooking.

    5. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Line the tart with a sheet of parchment paper – scrunch it up first to soften it – then tip in baking beans, rice or lentils and bake blind for 20 minutes. Lift out the beans and bake for a further 5 to 8 minutes, until the base is dry. Allow to cool.

    6. To make the filling, put all the ingredients in a glass or metal mixing bowl – place it over a pan of very hot water and allow them to melt together until glossy and thick.

    7. Pour into your cold, baked crust and refrigerate for 2 hours.

    8. For the topping, heat a saucepan until warm and add the sugar, gradually mixing until you have a golden liquid caramel. Add the salt and mix well. Pour in the pecans and, mixing thoroughly, quickly pour the mixture on to a parchment sheet and spread out with a spatula. Allow to cool thoroughly, then break or chop up into shards or chunky pieces to sprinkle over the ganache.

    9. Cut the tart with a hot, wet knife for perfect, restaurant-quality slices. Serve alone with a glass of Banyuls or Maury wine.

    Recipe, Paul A Young’s Adventures with Chocolate (Kyle Books), photography Anders Schønnemann

    Salted dark chocolate caramels

    These soft and velvety morsels, with their optional shell of dark chocolate, are sleek and sophisticated. Perfect for serving with a cup of coffee.

    Makes: about 60 small caramels

    You will need
    1 tsp vegetable oil 200ml double cream 3/4 tsp vanilla bean paste
    1 tsp flaky sea salt 175g golden syrup 220g caster sugar 70g salted butter, cubed, at room temperature

    1. Line a 23 cm square baking tin with foil and oil lightly with vegetable oil. Heat the cream with 30g of the butter in a small saucepan with the vanilla and half the sea salt until the mixture begins to boil. Remove from heat, cover, and set aside in a warm place.

    2. Gently heat the golden syrup with the sugar in a heavy-based saucepan, stirring to melt the sugar. Once the mixture is melted together, stop stirring and only swirl the pan from time to time to prevent hot-spots forming. Attach a sugar thermometer to the pan. Boil the mixture until the syrup reaches 155C or 310F.
    3. Remove from the heat and immediately stir in the warm cream mixture to form a smooth toffee sauce. Return the pan to the heat and boil steadily until the mixture reaches 127C or 260F.

    4. Take the thermometer out of the pan and stir in the cubed butter off the heat. Once the mixture is smooth, pour into the oiled tin and set aside for 15 minutes. Scatter with the remaining sea salt and leave the caramel to cool completely. Carefully lift the slab of caramel out of the tin and peel the foil away. Slice into little squares or rectangles with a sharp knife. Serve the caramels as they are, or cover them in chocolate.

    5. Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over (but not touching) simmering water, or in the microwave. Drop the caramels in one by one, retrieving them with a fork and allowing the excess chocolate to drip off before sitting on a platter or a wire rack to set. The caramels will keep for a week in an airtight container kept in a cool place.

    Recipe, Alice Hart

    Paul A Young’s ultimate chocolate martini

    There are many versions of a chocolate martini, but how many are made with real chocolate? Most use flavoured syrups or liquers to add the chocolate flavour, but Paul believes that only real chocolate keeps the martini’s clean, crisp taste; and if you like your martini extra dry, then the chocolate does not detract.

    Makes: 2

    You will need

    For the chocolate liquor:
    100g 70% dark chocolate, broken into pieces 100g golden caster sugar

    For the cocktail:
    Crushed ice 4 x 25ml measures gin or vodka 2 x 25ml measure vermouth (Nolly Prat is my prefernce)
    Cocoa powder, for dusting

    1. To make the chocolate liquor, put 150ml water, the chocolate and the sugar in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over a low heat, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and allow
to cool.
    2. Place 2 large martini glasses in the freezer for 1 hour.
    3. Half-fill a cocktail shaker with crushed ice, then add 4 measures of the chocolate liquor and the other liquids and shake well. Pour into the frozen glasses, dust the top with cocoa powder and serve.

    Recipe, Paul A Young’s Adventures with Chocolate (Kyle Books), photography Anders Schønnemann

    Edd Kimber’s chocolate and amaretto baked Alaska

    The combination of chocolate and amaretto is one of Edd’s favourites, and used in a baked Alaska it turns an old-fashioned dessert into something completely different. Although there are a few more steps of preparation than is usual for a basic baked Alaska, this version is so much more rewarding both in looks and, of course, in taste.

    Serves: 6

    You will need
    Butter, for greasing 4 large eggs 100g caster sugar 60g plain flour 40g cocoa powder 500ml tub of chocolate Ice cream, softened

    For the amaretto syrup:
    50g caster sugar 2-3 tbsp amaretto

    For the amaretto Swiss meringue:
    80g egg whites (about 2 large eggs)
    190g caster sugar
    ¼ tsp cream of tartar 2 tbsp amaretto

    1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan oven) mark 4, then grease a 27 °- 39cm high-sided baking tray and line with baking parchment, greasing the parchment too. Put the eggs and sugar into a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Whisk constantly until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is just warm to the touch.

    2. Remove the bowl from the pan and, using an electric mixer, whisk for 5 minutes on high speed, then reduce the speed to medium and whisk for a further 3 minutes. By this stage the mixture should have tripled in volume, and when the whisk is lifted from the bowl it should form a slowly dissolving ribbon.

    3. Sift in the flour and cocoa powder, and gently fold together, making sure all the dry ingredients are combined but trying to keep as much volume as possible. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and very gently level it out. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cake is risen and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

    4. To make the syrup, put 50ml water and the sugar in a small pan and bring to a boil, then simmer for about 2 minutes or until the sugar is fully dissolved. Remove from the heat and add the amaretto to taste. Take a 1 litre (16cm wide) pudding bowl and line with a piece of clingfilm, leaving a large overhang.

    5. Cut out two discs of cake, one to fit the top and one to fit the base of the bowl, and use the remaining cake to cut out a strip to line the sides of the bowl. Line the bowl with the base and side sponge pieces and brush liberally with the syrup.

    6. Fill with the ice cream and put the larger sponge disc on top, then press firmly to seal. Fold over the clingfilm and freeze for about 1 hour or until the ice cream is firm.

    7. To assemble the dessert, put the egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar for the amaretto Swiss meringue into a grease-free heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water. Using an electric mixer, whisk constantly until the sugar has dissolved. Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk until the meringue forms stiff, glossy peaks. Add the amaretto and whisk to combine.

    8. Remove the ice cream-filled cake from the freezer and unwrap, then turn out onto a serving plate. Pour the meringue onto the sponge and spread evenly to cover completely. Use a blowtorch to brown the meringue, or brown it in the oven preheated to 230°C (210°C fan oven) mark 8 for 3-4 minutes.

    Recipe, Say it with Cake by Edd Kimber (Kyle Books), photography Georgia Glynn Smith.

    Will Torrent’s salted brown sugar caramel truffles

    When boiled with cream and poured over a sticky toffee pudding, this is Will’s idea of food heaven. And mixed with dark and smoky chocolate it gives you a completely different taste experience. Here instead of a traditional salted caramel recipe, Will blends the flavour of deep, rich and treacly muscovado with cream and makes it into a ganache with dark chocolate – a little bit different, but a new experience for all you legions of salted caramel lovers out there!

    Makes: about 50

    You will need

    For the ganache:
    100 g dark muscovado sugar 25 g unsalted butter 250 ml whipping cream Seeds from 1⁄2 vanilla pod or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 250 g dark chocolate, chopped 1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt flakes

    To finish:
    50 dark or milk chocolate spheres
    250 g dark chocolate, tempered 4 tablespoons cocoa powder

    A disposable piping bag 2 baking sheets, 1 lined with baking parchment

    1. To make the ganache, put the sugar into a small saucepan or pot set over a low heat. Add the butter and when the sugar begins to melt, add the cream and vanilla. Bring the mixture to the boil slowly, stirring until smooth.

    2. Tip the chopped chocolate into a bowl, add the salt and pour over the hot cream. Set aside for 30 seconds to allow the chocolate to melt in the heat of the hot cream, then stir until smooth. Set aside to cool at room temperature for about 15 minutes before scooping into a disposable piping bag. Snip the end to create a nozzle/tip, pipe ganache into each truffle sphere.

    3. Chill the truffles in the fridge for about 30 minutes to set firm.

    Temper the dark chocolate according to the instructions below:

    1. Sift the cocoa powder onto the unlined baking sheet, ready for rolling.

    2. To finish, dip each of the filled truffles in the tempered chocolate to coat. Remove them using a dipping fork, tapping the fork on the side of the bowl to allow any excess chocolate to drip back into the bowl. Drop each truffle into the cocoa powder and roll to coat. Repeat with the remaining truffles, then transfer the coated truffles to the lined baking sheet to set firm before serving.

    Recipe, Chocolate at Home by Will Torrent (Ryland Peters & Small), photography Jonathan Gregson

    Paul A Young’s hot chocolate and basil fondant

    A deliciously fragrant twist on a classic chocolate fondant recipe.

    Makes: 4

    You will need

    For the filling:100ml double cream 15g basil leaves 200g white chocolate

    For the fondant:
    85g butter 75g Caribbean 66% dark chocolate or nearest alternative, broken into pieces 3 medium free-range eggs 75g golden caster sugar 70g plain flour

    For the moulds:
    25g butter 25g plain flour, for dusting

    1. Bring the cream and basil to a simmer. Remove from the head and blend with a hand blender, pour over the white chocolate and whisk well until melted. Pour into a plastic container and refrigerate for at least an hour. Scoop teaspoon sized balls ganache.

    2. Melt the butter then add the dark chocolate and mix well until melted. Whisk the eggs and sugar lightly and pour onto the chocolate, whisking well. Add flour and mix until smooth.

    3. Brush 4 ramekins with melted butter and dust with flour. Fill each by one third and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Place a ball of ganache into each ramekin, fill with the remaining chocolate mix. Chill for 1 hour.

    4. Cook in a pre-heated over 180C/350F/gas 4 for 9 minutes. Serve immediately by turning each fondant out onto a serving plate.

    Recipe, Paul A Young’s Adventures with Chocolate (Kyle Books), photography Anders Schønnemann

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