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Boozy Chocolate and Hazelnut Pie

Boozy Chocolate and Hazelnut Pie

Boozy Chocolate and Hazelnut Pie; plenty of festive spirit in this one!

This week was the December meeting of the Bake Club I’m part of and the theme was Boozy Bakes – helpful for getting us all in the festive spirit (sorry, I’m a bit of a pun fan)! Though I rarely drink, I have a fairly extensive array of liqueurs that mostly get used This week was the December meeting of the Bake Club I’m part of. Our theme was for baking. When deciding what to make I recalled making grasshopper pie a while back and thinking there were endless possibilities for other flavour combinations; after a little deliberation I settled on hazelnut and chocolate.

This isn’t a pie in the classic sense of the word, certainly it’s more US inspired than GB, but calling it a tart didn’t seem right somehow. Regardless of the name, it’s delicious; the marshmallow cream gives the filling an incredible texture and the liqueurs make it a distinctly grown-up dessert. My top tip when making this is to melt the marshmallows slowly – too much heat can mean the gelatine from the marshmallows doesn’t work its magic and the filling doesn’t set properly. Other than that, this is super easy to make so give it a go!

Boozy Chocolate and Hazelnut Pie

For the base:

  • 300g bourbon biscuits
  • 50g dark chocolate
  • 50g butter, softened

Chuck all the ingredients in a food processor and whizz them up until they begin to clump. Tip into a tart tin and press down with the back of a spoon, smoothing into the edges and up the sides, trying to make it as even as possible. Place in the fridge and chill until your filling is ready.

For the filling:

  • 125ml full-fat milk
  • 150g mini marshmallows
  • 60ml (4 tbsp) creme de cacao blanc (or other chocolate liqueur)
  • 60ml (4 tbsp hazelnut liqueur (Frangelico or similar)
  • 375ml double cream
  • a few grams dark chocolate to decorate (optional)

Put the milk and marshmallows in a saucepan and melt slowly on a low heat – the milk should never boil, just begin to foam, and you’ll be able to hear the marshmallows foaming as they melt. I can’t stress enough that you should take your time with this stage; keep taking the milk off the heat and stirring the marshmallows to get them to melt without letting the temperature get too high. Once the marshmallows are completely melted, remove from the heat and stir in the liqueurs. Transfer the liquid to a heat proof bowl and leave to cool.

Once cooled, whisk the cream in a large bowl until it’s getting to soft-peak stage. Add the boozy marshmallow mixture and continue to whisk until smooth and thickened – it should be the texture of very soft (Mr Whippy) ice cream. Pour into the biscuit base and smooth out to the edges. Finely grate a little dark chocolate over the top and chill in the fridge for a few hours or overnight before serving.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Orange Christmas Pudding

Gluten-Free Chocolate Orange Christmas Pudding

Gluten-Free Chocolate Orange Christmas Pudding – the BEST Christmas pudding ever!

I’ve always loved Christmas pudding, even as a kid and this is the BEST I’ve ever had; think traditional Christmas pud crossed with a Terry’s Chocolate Orange (in a good way, naturally). Because the boozy back notes are being provided by liqueurs rather than brandy or rum, the chocolaty, fruitiness is amplified to delicious effect. If you’re not concerned about making this recipe gluten-free, you can simply use regular breadcrumbs and flour.

Making this is actually dead simple, but the cooking requires some knowledge of how to properly steam a pudding so this post is a bit longer than usual with extra pictures that will hopefully be helpful; whilst I already knew how to steam a pudding, I was banging on about making my pud over on Twitter and the friendly folk from Mason Cash sent me this video which you might find useful if you’ve never done it before.

A few things to bear in mind before embarking on making this pudding: creme de cacao isn’t the easiest liqueur to get hold of, but there are online retailers that sell it, or you could see if you can buy a couple of shots from your local cocktail bar (I got my bottle of the stuff whilst on holiday), or if you can find another chocolate liqueur (not cream based) then use that; you’ll need to be at home for eight hours while your pudding steams in order to make sure that the pan doesn’t boil dry, so plan ahead when you’re going to do this and steep your fruit the day/night before; you’ll need a 1.5 litre pudding bowl, either plastic or a heat proof glass bowl (Pyrex or similar); you’ll also need a large enough saucepan for the pudding bowl to fit in, with a little extra room so you can rest it on a trivet or jam jar (to keep the bowl off the bottom of the pan) and still get a lid on it; so yes, you also need a small metal trivet or a jam jar too; to cover your pudding bowl you’ll need greaseproof paper and foil, and some string to secure it to the bowl.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Orange Christmas Pudding

Ingredients:

  • 150g glace cherries, chopped
  • 100g dried apricots, chopped
  • 100g sultanas
  • 20g dried, mixed peel (if you happen to have it, don’t buy it especially for this recipe)
  • 1 tbsp orange liqueur (I used Cointreau, but Grand Marnier or similar is fine)
  • 4 tbsp creme de cacao
  • 2 oranges
  • 100g butter, softened
  • 100g soft dark brown sugar
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 75g gluten-free bread crumbs
  • 75g gluten-free plain flour
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 200g dark chocolate, chips or chopped into small chunks
  • 50g chopped almonds

The day or night before you’re going to steam your pudding, put the cherries, apricots, sultanas, peel (if using), finely grated zest and juice of both oranges and the liqueurs in a bowl. Cover and leave to soak overnight.

On the day of pudding making, put the butter and sugars in a large bowl and cream together. Then beat in the eggs, followed by the breadcrumbs, flour and remaining ingredients, mixing together until well combined. Add the boozy fruit to the bowl and give a final mix. Your raw pudding mixture is now ready for steaming.

Preparing to steam – you’ll need:

  • 1.5 litre (or larger) heat proof pudding bowl
  • a little butter or oil
  • greaseproof paper
  • tin foil
  • string
  • scissors
  • a small metal trivet or clean jam jar lid
  • large saucepan with lid

Lightly grease the inside of your pudding bowl and put a small disc of greaseproof paper in the bottom – this will help the pudding to come out of the bowl when it’s cooked.

Greaseproof paper in the pudding bowl

Greaseproof paper in the pudding bowl makes it easier to get the pudding out when cooked

Pour and scrape your pudding mixture into the bowl, smoothing it out as much as possible. Take a large sheet of greaseproof (big enough to comfortably cover the top of your pudding bowl with an over-hang all around) and a sheet of tin foil around the same size. Lay the foil over the greaseproof and make a pleat down the centre of both – this is to allow room for expansion as the pudding steams (see the video for a demonstration of how to do this). Place the paper/foil over the top of the bowl and secure tightly with the string. Trim any excess paper and foil.

Place your trivet or jam jar lid in the centre of the bottom of the saucepan – this is to keep the bowl off the bottom of the saucepan. Tear off a long strip of tin foil, long enough to go under your pudding bowl with over-hang – you’re going to use this a bit like a sling to lift the pudding out of the saucepan eventually. Fold the foil lengthways several times to make it stronger and lay it in the saucepan across the centre so it rests on top of the trivet or jam jar lid.

Saucepan prepared for pudding steaming

Saucepan prepared for pudding steaming; a jam jar lid or trivet to keep the bowl off the base of the pan and a strip of foil to lift the bowl out once the pudding is cooked

Carefully place the pudding bowl in the saucepan, on top of the lid and foil. Fold the edges of the foil sling over the top of the pudding bowl so that you’ll be able to get the lid on the saucepan. Boil a kettle full of water and pour the hot water into your saucepan so it comes to around two thirds up the pudding bowl, turn the heat on under the saucepan and put the lid on, bringing the water to a boil again.

Pudding in the saucepan

Pudding in the saucepan, boiling water in and lid on and it’s ready to steam for 8 hours!

Your pudding is now steaming! Steam for 8 hours, regularly topping up with more boiling water so that it never boils dry (aim to keep the water level between a quarter and two thirds up the bowl, not less or more – I topped up around every 45 minutes).  After the eight hours steaming are up, you can remove the pudding from the saucepan using the foil sling. Allow to cool completely before removing the greaseproof/foil lid.

To store your pudding, cover with clean, dry greaseproof or foil and secure tightly with string. Leave in a cool, dark place (it doesn’t need to be refrigerated) until you need it.

To reheat, you can: steam again, following the same instructions as before, for around three hours, or; remove it from the pudding bowl, put it in an oven proof tray, loosely covered with foil and heat in moderate oven (around 150C) for about an hour, or; remove from the pudding bowl, place on a microwavable plate, cover with cling film with a couple of holes pierced in and heat on medium, in bursts of 2-3 minutes until piping hot all the way through (don’t just whack it on high or leave it in for ages, it could burn easily as it has such a high sugar content).  However you choose to reheat it, always ensure it’s hot all the way through before serving and never reheat more than twice.

I know this sounds like hard work, but it isn’t really. The most complicated bit is the greaseproof/foil lid and that’s hardly rocket science. The rest is just being around to keep an eye on things. This pudding is so much nicer than even the most luxury of puddings we’ve had from supermarkets and I think making it yourself for such a special occasion is incredibly rewarding. But if you think it’s just a little too much work, check out some of my other Christmas recipes and give one of those a go.

The making of the Christmas Pudding!

The making of the Christmas Pudding!

Boozy Pineapple Turnovers

Boozy Pineapple Turnovers

Boozy Pineapple Turnovers

I got a bit of a bargain from the greengrocer yesterday – three ripe pineapples for a pound! I gave one to a friend, I’ve kept one for eating raw and decided I’d do some baking with the other. I’ve had an urge to make rough puff pastry for a little while so I came up with the idea of making pineapple turnovers. To take a short cut with this recipe you could either use ready made puff pastry or tinned pineapple, drained and cooked with the other ingredients for long enough to infuse the flavours.

Boozy Pineapple Turnovers

For the rough puff pastry:

  • 225g plain flour
  • pinch sea salt
  • 190g cold butter, cut into cubes
  • 125ml cold water
  • 2 tsp lemon juice

Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter and use a spoon or fork to toss it around in the flour so it gets coated. Mix the water and lemon juice together and pour it in with the flour and butter mixture. Use a butter or dinner knife (something that isn’t sharp) to cut across the flour and butter; keep cutting and turning the bowl and eventually it will all come together.

Once the dough has formed into a big lump, tip it onto a well floured surface and form it into a rough brick shape (be as quick as possible to avoid the heat of your hands melting the butter). Roll the dough into a rectangle, about 30x20cm. Fold a third of the dough into the middle, then the other third over that. Turn 90 degrees and then roll out again to the same dimensions and repeat the folding process. Keep rolling, folding and turning until you’ve done this about 6-8 times. You should be left with a fairly soft dough that you can still see flecks of butter in. Wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for several hours (preferably overnight).

For the boozy pineapple filling

  • 1 medium/large pineapple
  • 4 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp orange liqueur
  • 2 tbsp vodka
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp caster sugar to finish

Heat the oven to 160C. Use a sharp knife to remove the skin from the pineapple, cut into quarters lengthways and remove the hard core. Chop into small chunks (about the same size as you’d get in a tin of pineapple) and put in an ovenproof bowl or dish. Add the remaining ingredients and give it a stir. Bake, uncovered, for an hour, stirring from time to time to ensure everything is coated and no bits of pineapple are drying out. Remove the cooked pineapple from the liquid and leave to cool completely.

When you’re ready to cook your turnovers, heat your oven to 200C and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Take the pastry out of the fridge and on a floured surface roll out to about 1/2 cm thick. Cut into squares and put a heaped spoon of the pineapple in the middle of each square. Fold one corner to the opposite and press the sides down so they stick. Brush the top with a little milk or egg wash, sprinkle a pinch of sugar over each turnover and snip a couple of slits in the top to allow steam to escape. Place on the prepared baking tray and bake for 20-25 minutes. They’re done when they’re golden and puffed up.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool a little if you’re serving warm; or cool on a wire rack if you’re planning to have them cold.

Any left over pineapple is delicious served with plain yogurt or vanilla ice cream, as is the liquid the fruit was cooked in. If you wanted to omit the booze, use a splash of orange juice as your cooking liquor.

Baileys Profiteroles

Baileys Profiteroles

Profiteroles filled with Baileys cream and smothered in boozy chocolate sauce made with Baileys

Another weekend, another excuse to do some baking and eat with friends. One of the friends I was eating with this weekend is an absolute fiend for profiteroles, so that’s what I made. These are all the more decadent with a boozy splash of Baileys added to the cream and chocolate sauce. You can easily leave the alcohol out if feeding kids, although if that’s the case I would suggest you add a teaspoon of vanilla extract to the whipped cream.

Profiteroles with Baileys Cream and Baileys Chocolate Sauce

For the profiteroles:

  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 150ml water
  • 150g plain flour
  • pinch salt
  • 4 eggs

Heat the oven to 200c and line a couple of baking sheets with greaseproof paper. In a saucepan, melt the butter with the water and bring to the boil. Turn off the heat and add the flour and water and mix vigorously with a wooden spoon until you get a thick paste that sticks together and comes away from the sides of the pan (be sure you’ve not got any little lumps of flour that haven’t mixed in). Transfer to a large bowl and leave to cool for a few minutes.

Whisk your eggs together in a jug or bowl.  Add a little of the egg to the flour and butter mix and beat with the wooden spoon until blended, repeating until all the egg has been mixed in.

Now, if you’re reasonably confident of your piping skills you can put the mix in a piping bag and pipe blobs on to your prepared baking sheets. If not, then use a couple of teaspoons to do the job. What you’re aiming for is blobs about the size of a walnut, spaced well apart as they’ll expand quite a lot (I got 12 on each tray). Dip your (clean) finger tip in some water and smooth the top of each blob – you’ll get a better shape and crisper top.

Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes until golden brown and firm. Take them out of the oven, turn them over and pierce a hole in each ball with a skewer or small, sharp knife. Put them back in the oven for 5 more minutes – this helps to let the steam out and ensure they don’t go soggy later. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.

For the Baileys cream:

  • 300ml double cream
  • 2 tbsp Baileys
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar

Put everything in a bowl and whisk until the cream holds to the whisk; you want quite a firm texture but be careful not to whisk to the point of it turning to butter.

Again, your confidence in your piping skills depends on how you want to fill the profiteroles. You can make a small hole in each and pipe the cream in, or cut each one in half and spoon the cream in. Either way will taste just as delicious!

Keep the filled profiteroles in the fridge until about 20 minutes before you’re ready to serve (get them out when you’re serving dinner and they’ll be perfect by the time it’s dessert).

For the chocolate sauce:

  • 150ml double cream
  • 100g milk chocolate
  • 50g dark chocolate
  • 50ml milk
  • 1 tbsp Baileys
  • pinch salt

Put the cream and chocolate in a saucepan and heat gently so the chocolate melts. Add the remaining ingredients and keep stirring until well mixed. Allow to cool a little before serving warm to be poured over the profiteroles.