Cakes, confectionery, pastries and desserts; fondant and sugar art – are all important members of the chocolate industry – because although chocolate is just one of the many ingredients these chefs use, it is the one ingredient that no well-rounded menu or serious dessert table would be without. Chocolate is not only the star of its own show, it is an essential ingredient in many cakes, biscuits, tarts, ice cream and puddings. Many wedding cakes are chocolate cakes underneath all that fondant finery! Chocolate is so often the ‘cherry on top’ and is a perfect accompaniment to most fruit, nuts and artisan confectionery – nowadays even to fresh veggies and fragrant/ edible flowers. If you are not sure what to do – enrobe it, dip it, or drizzle chocolate on top of it! We will post a variety of cakes, pastries and puddings etc. in the coming weeks – some without chocolate and many accompanied by or made entirely with chocolate – just to show how versatile this speciality food can be!
Recipe courtesy of the FOOD & TRAVEL Magazine.
75g orange flavour Chocolate
4 L Egg whites
Pinch of salt
225g Castor Sugar
1 tbsp. Corn flour
1 tsp white wine vinegar
½ tsp Vanilla Essence
For the Topping
4tbsp. caster sugar
1 tbsp. orange flavour brandy liqueur such as Grand Marnier
1 L Orange, zested, peeled and segmented, plus a little of the juice
300ml double Cream
Icing Sugar to serve
For the Chocolate Bark
50g Dark Chocolate – 70%
Method Serves 4 large or 8 small Pavlovas
Preheat oven to 190 C and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper
Break the orange chocolate into small pieces in a glass bowl. Heat over a pot of gently simmering water. Make sure the glass bowl fits the pot snugly so that no escaping steam can touch the chocolate and making sure that the bowl does not touch the simmering water beneath it. Leave for 5 minutes then remove from stove and stir until all the chocolate has melted.
PREPARING THE PAVLOVAS
Whisk the egg whites and salt in a bowl until soft peaks form, slowly adding 80% of the sugar. When stiff gently stir in the corn flour and then fold in the rest of the sugar, vinegar and vanilla essence.
Place 4 tablespoon-size piles of mixture onto the tray. Drizzle with a little melted chocolate over each pile – and swirl into each meringue to form a 9cm circle. Repeat with another tbsp of meringue on top of the circles with additional chocolate. Swirl into 12cm circles, making a slight dip in the centre of each circle.
Cook for 5 minutes and then lower temp to 110 C and cook for 45 minutes.
Remove Pavlovas and allow to cool on racks. Then place in fridge until completely cold. Store in an airtight container until use.
MAKING THE TOPPING
In a pot, heat the cranberries, sugar, orange liqueur, zest and juice of the orange, stirring until the sugar is dissolved and just before the cranberries start to burst. Continue to cook until the mixture is no longer wet and then cool for at least an hour.
MAKING THE CHOCOLATE BARK
Melt the dark chocolate as per the orange chocolate above. When melted pour the melted chocolate onto a metal or marble surface and spread with a spatula. When it has just set cut into shard shape and slice off the surface with the knife and store in an airtight container.
Whisk the double cream until it just holds its shape but is still floppy. Pile cream onto the centre of each Pavlova on arrange the cold cranberries on top. Top this with shards of chocolate bark and a dusting of icing sugar. They can be eaten immediately or left up to 2 hours if you like them slightly squidgy!