Sunday, 1 February 2015

Choc Chip, Fig, Pistachio & Almond Brown Butter Financiers



Just saying all those ingredients you know these are going to taste good. This was a bake of firsts for me. I’ve never made my own financiers before and I’ve never made a cake using brown butter (beurre noisette) before either. After baking these tempting little cakes I can safely say I’ll definitely be making both again.

I decided to bake financiers as I had two egg whites leftover after making a lemon tart and wanted to use them up. I’m not much or a meringue fan and all my other egg white cakes I’ve made in the past required more than two egg whites, so I went blog browsing and stumbled upon financiers.

These cute mini cakes are often served as part of an afternoon tea or after dinner treat due to their size and pretty presentation. You can buy oval shaped financier tins, but I decided to use some petit fours tins I had recently rediscovered in a dusty corner of my cupboard. I think their little fluted edges make them look very dainty.

They are quite dense little cakes, but this doesn’t mean they are heavy. They are simply moist, soft almond packed little cakes that reminded me almost of marzipan. The use of egg whites keeps them moist and light with an elegant pale coloured crumb.

The browned butter enhanced their natural nuttiness and gave them a greater depth of flavour. It was subtle, but definitely made a difference. I’m going to have to try it again in some other bakes.

A slice of fresh fig and a scatter of chopped pistachios made for an elegant finish. There is something about figs that just scream luxury. The other half were topped with slivered almonds and dark choc chips which stayed wonderful soft and melty after baking. When presented together I was really pleased how they turned out, and I loved the flavours of both.

Next time you have some leftover egg whites, bake financiers!

Choc Chip, Fig, Pistachio & Almond Brown Butter Financiers

Ingredients
60g butter, plus extra for greasing
60g icing sugar
75g ground almonds
25g rice flour
2 egg whites
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 fresh fig
10 pistachio nuts
20 dark chocolate chips
2 tsp flaked almonds

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C. Melt some butter and brush the insides of 8 petit four tins or financier tins.
Put the butter in a small pan and heat gently, allowing it to melt and then come to a gentle simmer. Keep watch while it turns from pale yellow to a pale golden amber colour. Do not let it burn. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
Put the pistachio nuts and icing sugar into the bowl of a food processor and process until finely ground. 
Mix together the ground almonds, flour and icing sugar in a bowl. 
Lightly beat the egg whites until they foam, but not hold their shape. Add to the flour mix along with the vanilla and beat together whisk a whisk.
Mix in the warmed brown butter a little at a time, until combined.
Divide the financier batter evenly between the tins, filling three-quarters full.
Cut the fig into quarters or sixths (depending on size) and add a slice to the top of half of the financiers. Roughly chop the pistachios and scatter around the fig.
Top the other half of the financiers with dark chocolate chips and flaked almonds.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the tops look ‘set’ and very pale brown around the edges. They do not brown much. (I found the choc chip ones took 12 mins and the fig took 15 mins).
Cool in the tins for 5 minutes before carefully tipping out of the tins and leaving to cool completely.
Lightly dust with icing sugar before serving. Best eaten within 24 hours.
Makes 8 financiers

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Selfridges, Beyond Bread Bakery and Cookies & Scream: A Gluten Free Day in London

I’ve had a list of gluten free places to visit in London for a while, and last weekend I persuaded my mum to come with me on a gluten free day trip to London to investigate. We set off bright and early and arrived in London just after 9am accompanied by a flurry of snow. Our first stop was Selfridges, the posh department store known for their gourmet food section. I’d heard tell that they now offered a range of gluten free cakes and pastries so it was with eager anticipation that we set off.

On arrival at Selfridges we spent a happy half an hour taking in their glorious chocolate and confectionary displays. Everything was so nicely presented and ranged from French macarons in beautiful pastel shades to individually wrapped bars and brightly coloured bonbons.

Next up was the cakes and pastry section. The smell as you entered the room was wonderful. Freshly baked bread and stunning displays of delicate French pastries and glossy fruit topped cakes. I could only look on enviously as my mum purchased some delicious looking bread to take home. I was eager to see what the gluten free offerings would be and asked an assistant to point me in their direction. I had high hopes after seeing the ‘normal’ displays.

So imagine my disappointment when I was shown the gluten free selection…

Well that about sums it up. Not much of a display at all! A few chocolate sandwich cakes, that looked a little haphazardly put together with no decoration or attention to detail given to them at all. There wasn’t even any icing on top! Underwhelmed (and undervalued) is an understatement!

The assistant could see I was disappointed and said they were going to get some more in later in the day, but that’s no good to me. It was mid morning on a Saturday – I expected more than this. I left cakeless.

They did have a small display of fresh gluten free pasta – which I was tempted by as I’ve never seen gluten free ravioli in my life, but as it was the first stop on our journey and they needed to be kept chilled, I decided not to buy any on this occasion.

I love this display of Heinz tomato soup though. What a genius idea. A perfect little cheer up gift for a loved one who’s feeling under the weather.

Next stop was Beyond Bread. A brand new, entirely gluten free bakery and café that only opened this month. The minute I heard about it and saw their baked treats I knew I had to visit.

It’s a lovely little bakery hidden down a side street not too far from Goodge tube stop. On entering you are greeted by the delicious aroma of freshly baked breads and cakes. The shop has a collection of little tables and chairs as well as a long counter displaying the freshly baked tarts, cookies, cakes and breads on offer.

We decided to stay for cake and coffee. We couldn’t decided what to get so decided to share half each of two cakes. I selected the chocolate muffin and my mum went for the orange & almond cake.

The chocolate muffin had a slightly misshapen appearance which hides an almost gooey chocolaty middle. It was still warm from the oven – yes that’s right, a chocolate muffin so freshly baked it was still warm, soft and melty inside. Wow.

The texture was part muffin, part brownie, part soft centered chocolate cake. It had a soft, slightly chewy outer edge with a moist rich middle that was ever so slightly squishy, not uncooked, more like a softly set chocolate brownie. We both agreed it was delicious and you’d never know it was gluten free.

The orange and almond cake was quite dense but had a delicious zingy orange flavour. It was studded with chunks or almonds which gave it a nice bite rather than being made with solely ground almonds. There was a zingy orange icing sugar glaze on top which finished it nicely. It was slightly crumbly, but not dry, more like a cross between cake and shortbread.

While we finished out tea I had a look at the other things on offer and was very impressed to see gluten free baguettes on offer. I’ve never seen a freshly baked gluten free baguette in my life. It had the proper slashes on it and even the little dimpled bottom markings where it had sat on its tray – just like regular baguettes. I was so impressed. I bought one to take home and it was delicious.

It had a proper chewy springy outer crust while the middle was light and airy. I had some for tea and then toasted the rest the next day and it was fabulous. I’d love to know how they made it. It even smelt like real bread. Gluten free breads can often smell strongly of vinegar or molasses, but this smelt wonderfully yeasty and bready. I can’t wait to go back to try some more of their offerings. I’ve even seen photos of gluten free Danish pastries – DANISH PASTRIES!!! I can safely say I’ll be returning as much as possible.

Next on our whirlwind tour of London was Camden Lock Market. I’d never been before and it is an amazing display of just how multicultural and exciting London can be. Walking through a brick built entrance from the main street you are suddenly immersed in a whole different world of little shops, street food traders, interlocking underground passageways and great swarms of people. (If you’re one of those people who don’t like crowds, this isn’t the place for you).

We spent a happy hour wandering around taking in the sights, sounds and smells. We even got a little lost down some of the alleyways and couldn’t find our way out again. It was so exciting. Some of the little shops displayed carved wooden antiques while others had swaths of brightly coloured shawls and shoes that wouldn’t have looked out of place in the souks or Morocco.

When we found our way out again and came across the street food market we decided to have lunch. There were at least 4 places offering gluten free options and if you have no dietary restrictions you would be spoilt for choice – everything from dim sum, stir fired noodles, gourmet toasted sandwiches, burgers, burritos, mediterranean salads, Turkish falafel, cupcakes and even a dedicated mac n cheese stall. The assortment of smells, and wafts of smoke was so exciting.

After wandering round each stall at least 3 times I finally decided on a hot salad box from a stall called Feed Me Primal. It was all Paleo and Gluten Free. I chose the vegetarian box which included a warm stir fry of cauliflower, beetroot and carrot with lemon and herbs that was topped with fresh spinach, cheese, spicy salsa, picked chilies and a little almond and coconut pancake wrap. It was all very tasty and lovely and fresh.

My mum went for a gourmet toasted sandwich from Toastits. This had sun dried tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, spinach, avocado and basil sandwiched between 2 slices of toasted sourdough bread. She loved it and said the bread was particularly delicious. It was so big she couldn’t quite finish it. Despite the cold we sat outside on communal picnic benches, watching the hustle and bustle around us which made for a great atmosphere.

After lunch it was treat time again and we managed to find Cookies & Scream, a gluten and dairy free vegan bake shop. It was a tiny little shop front hidden in the market. There was a selection of 2 pies and 3 cookies when we visited.

We decided to share a chocolate chip cookie and a slice of Chico Pie which was a fat slice of peanut butter cookie dough, studded with chocolate chips and shaped into a pie.

The chocolate chip cookie was ok. It had a lovely strong vanilla aroma, but I found the texture to be a bit lacking. It was quite firm, neither chewy nor crispy. Perfectly nice, but nothing special.

The Chico Pie was much better. It really was a thick slab of peanut butter cookie dough, and was just as delicious as it sounds. Very rich, but not too sweet with a great natural peanut flavour. I loved the chunks of chocolate in it too. We were quite full after our lunch and so bought this home with us and enjoyed it the next day.


So all in all a wonderfully food filled gluten free day. The gold star goes to Beyond Bread for creating gluten free heaven with real innovation of the treats and breads they offer. I can’t wait to try some more of their baking.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Mini Batch Buttermilk Sultana Scones

I love a freshly baked scone, you can’t beat them when they are still warm from the oven and are most certainly best devoured the day they are made. However, this can sometimes prove a problem when there is only 1 or 2 of you in the house. Typical scone recipes make at least 8 scones, and yes you can freeze them or reheat them, but they are never quite the same.

Recently when the scone cravings called, I decided to do some experimenting and create sultana scones for the single girl. A small batch perfect for devouring while still warm and fresh from the oven.

5 batches of scones later (I’m not kidding) I had created not only a small batch scone recipe, but also a greatly improved, tastier, fluffier and taller scone recipe than my previous attempts. Hurrah. I admit I did use a pre-made flour blend, something which I tend to avoid these days, but for such a small batch of scones, quick and simple is the way to go.

The secret to the scones is the drop of vanilla and buttermilk, which I am convinced help create light and fluffy scones with a delicious flavour. I also decided to add a few sultanas which add a lovely sweet and juicy addition, but they are of course optional. You could add choc chips, chopped nuts or simply leave them plain if you prefer.

Savoured warm from the oven, spread with your favourite jam (and lashings of cream if you like) these scones are hard to beat. They can be made from raw ingredients to freshly baked scone in 20 minutes – what more could you want? Plus, the small batch means you can enjoy freshly baked scones every day!

Mini Batch Buttermilk Sultana Scones
Ingredients
40ml milk
45ml buttermilk
¼ tsp vanilla extract
100g gluten free plain flour (I used Doves Farm)
1 tsp gluten free baking powder
10g caster sugar
¼ tsp xanthan gum
20g sultanas
20g cold butter

Method
Preheat the oven to 220C. Line a baking tray with a sheet of greaseproof paper.
Stir together the milk, buttermilk and vanilla extract in a small bowl and set aside.
Add all the dry ingredients, including the sultanas, into a bowl and stir together. Cut the butter into small cubes and add to the dry ingredients. Rub the butter into the flour mix using the tips of your fingers, lifting it and letting it fall back into the bowl as you rub them together until the mix resembles breadcrumbs. A few larger clumps of butter is fine.
Pour over the milk mixture and mix into the flour briefly using a round bladed butter knife until it begins to form a dough.
Tip the mixture out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead gently to form a soft dough, don’t overdo it, it will be a little sticky.
Pat the mixture into a thick rectangle, around 1inch thick. It should be just big enough to stamp out 2 scones using a 5cm/2inch round cutter. Press the cutter down straight and do not twist or else they may rise wonky. Gather the scraps together and form them into a final scone by patting the mixture into the cutter to form the shape (no leftovers!)
Place the scones on the baking tray and brush the tops with a little milk. Don’t let it run down the sides.
Bake in the oven for 10 minutes until risen.
Transfer to a cooling rack to cool for 10 minutes before serving. Best eaten on day of baking. Re-warm any leftover scones in the microwave for 10-15 seconds before eating.

Makes 3 scones

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Udi’s Gluten Free Pizza Base Mix Review

Udi’s are an American gluten free company, and their products became available in the UK a couple of years ago. I was aware of them before they came to the UK, having tasted some of their bagels when visiting a friend in California a few years ago. I loved the bagel and so was delighted when they were one of the first products they introduced to the UK market. I have tried quite a selection of Udi’s products now, and they are introducing more and more due to increasing demand. I’ve found some to be a bit hit and miss, but their bagels are probably one of my most regular purchases (especially the choc chip and savoury ones!)

Anyway, enough about bagels. Udi’s have just launched a whole selection of baking mixes and asked if I would be interested in trying some out. Being a good home baker, baking mixes are not something I have bought before, but I was interested to see how they would compare. I was sent a pizza base mix, bread mix, cake mix and flour mix.

Making bread and pizza is quite difficult to achieve gluten free, as breads rely so prevalently on gluten to help give them their texture and structure. It just so happened that the time the mixes arrived, I was looking after my younger brother and so together we decided to try out the pizza base mix for lunch.

I found the ingredient list and method to be a little disjointed across all the range. As I’ve previously mentioned they are an American company, but I would have expected the packaging to have been made more UK friendly, as the extra ingredients required were stated in tablespoons and cups rather than grams. However the total weight of the mix is given in grams and has been given a coeliac UK accredited logo, so they must have updated the packaging for this. The cooking times too were not consistent, with the pizza base mix being stated in Gas Mark and Degrees Celsius, whereas the white bread mix was provided in Ferinheight only. Another thing I thought was slightly odd is that the instructions tell you use to use the whole bag of pizza mix (570g) which then makes 9 x 6inch pizzas – who needs that many in all in one go?!

Nit picking about packaging aside, I got to work, using only half the mix and was pleased with how quick and easy it was to put together. A bag of flour mix is provided along with a sachet of yeast. Water and oil are the only additional ingredients required.

The instructions state to use a stand mixer, which I don’t own, so I used a spoon and my hands which worked fine. After a short prove I had a lovely soft pizza dough. The instructions say “let rise in a warm area for 40 minutes. Bake for 16-20 minutes at 200C” No mention of when to add toppings (before or after baking), so I went for adding toppings on raw pizza dough and then baking on a preheated baking tray to ensure a crisp base. I suspect this was the right thing to do but I would have liked the instructions to be a little clearer.

I topped my pizza with some leftover tomato salsa, cauliflower, courgette and mozzarella, and finished it with some fresh mint when cooked. Meanwhile, my brother went for a meaty feast of leftover smoked ham, bacon and mozzarella. Both pizzas turned out well. The edges crisped up nicely and turned pale golden brown.

The middle and base of the pizzas were cooked, and had a slight chew which was nice. It was sturdy enough to hold without crumbling apart and wasn’t gritty to eat. Potato and tapioca starch are some of the main flour ingredients in the mix, so I suspect this helped the chew and binding properties. The flavour was good, not too salty, although I did find it slightly sweet for my tastes.

My brother happily devoured his pizza, so it passed the non coeliac eater test. He said it wasn’t quite ‘bready’ enough, but he’d happily eat it.

For ease and convenience I was impressed with the Udi's pizza mix and it’s the kind of thing I would consider buying if I wanted to host or was invited to a mid week pizza making evening with friends. I do however feel more care should have been taken over the units of measure for the ingredients (grams rather than cups) and more consistency given to the cooking temperatures across the range. They should at least be consistent with each other and ideally more geared for the UK market.

I look forward to seeing what other products Udi’s develop. I’ve seen on their American website that have cinnamon rolls – please can we try those in the UK too!

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Lemon & Ginger Crunch Tart

To see the New Year in, I hosted a bring and share supper night with my friends. I love hosting parties like this, it takes the pressure off hosting for everyone and means you can enjoy a selection of little bits of lots of different dishes. My friends pulled out all the stops and made sure everything they brought was also gluten free, which was a lovely gesture. We ended up with far too much food, but this creates the joy of leftovers for lunch the next day.

This lemon tart was my offering to the dessert selection. It’s one of my favourites, I can’t believe I haven’t blogged about it before. It’s very quick and simple to put together but results in a dessert that’s a cross between cheesecake and tarte au citron. It uses only 5 ingredients, 2 for the base and 3 for the topping, yet tastes like you have slaved away for ages.

The lemon topping is made from sweetened condensed milk, double cream and lots of lemon. The acidity in the lemon juice reacts with the cream, causing it to thicken almost instantly as you mix it together, creating a thick and zingy mixture that sets into a soft yet sliceable topping after a short chill in the fridge. It’s creamy, sweet and also extremely zingy which makes for a very refreshing tart.

The base is made of ginger biscuits, which is a lovely flavour pairing and adds gentle warmth against the zesty lemon topping. If you can find stem ginger biscuits, it’s even better as the little chunks of stem ginger adds a nice occasional chewy bite to the base when you come across one. Crunchy ginger base and zingy lemon topping, so simple yet so delicious.

Lemon & Ginger Crunch Tart
Ingredients
200g gluten free stem ginger biscuits
40g butter
1 x 397g tin sweetened condensed milk
125ml double cream
Zest & juice of 2 lemons

Method
Line the base of an 8inch/20cm springform tin or tart tin with greaseproof paper.
Blitz ginger biscuits in a food processor until they are broken into crumbs.
Melt the butter in a pan. Add the ginger biscuits to the pan and mix well to combine. Press the mixture into the base of the tin and press down well. Transfer to the fridge to chill.
Finely grate the zest off the lemons and add to a bowl along with the condensed milk and cream. Add the juice from both lemons and whisk together using a handheld whisk until thick and creamy. It should start to thicken up almost instantly into a smooth pourable cream.
Pour the lemon mix over the biscuit base and return to the fridge to set, around 6 hours.
Garnish with a slice of lemon before serving.

Makes 1 x 8inch/20cm tart

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Snowflake Joconde Imprime Torte filled with Dark Chocolate Mousse & Cranberry Compote, topped with Chocolate Glaze

This torte was this years alternative dessert offering for those (strange) people who don’t like Christmas pudding. The non Christmas pudding eaters of the family are devout chocoholics and so any dessert must involve copious amounts of chocolate and this dessert doesn’t disappoint.

I wanted to create something with a bit of wow factor, to fit in with the Christmas celebrations and decided a joconde imprime torte would be the way to do it. It sounds a bit daunting, but it’s actually quite a simple yet very effective technique. You pipe a design onto your parchment using a special cake batter and freeze it before putting a swiss roll batter of a different colour over the top of the frozen cake batter and baking it. Freezing the design stops the two batters mixing together before you bake it. Then when you turn it out, you have a perfectly piped design on the underside of the sponge. Clever!

This joconde sponge is very flexible and it is used to line the sides and base of a ring mould which you can then fill with whatever takes your fancy. I decided to use a rich dark chocolate mousse with a layer of fresh cranberry compote for a festive flavour.

My joncode sponge was decorated with a piped snowflake design to make it extra Christmassy. I think it worked well although I was annoyed my silicone paper crinkled slightly in the oven after being transferred from the freezer, so the finished underside of my sponge was a little crinkled in places. I’ll make sure to use one of those stiff silicone mats next time. The effect was still good though.

I topped the torte with a hot water ganache which gave a lovely glossy finish. The finished torte was divine. Moist, light sponge filled with an airy, creamy, rich dark chocolate mousse with a hidden layer of the tart and tangy cranberry sauce. The fudgy chocolate glaze added an extra chocolaty hit. It tasted amazing! It was completely indulgent and intensely chocolaty but not in the least heavy or stodgy, perfect after a big Christmas meal.

All my family loved it and there were actually arguments over the leftovers the following day. I’ll be making this again for sure! It takes a little bit of time to make, as there are quite a few processes and the mousse has to chill in the fridge overnight, but don’t let that put you off. You could just make a plain joconde sponge and not bother with the design and then use a shop bought cranberry sauce to make things simpler.

I’ve already been asked to make it again for New Year! Tell me, what festive pud did you serve for the non Christmas pudding eaters of the family?
Oh and for people who wondered what my Christmas pudding looks like when its steamed and served – here’s a photo. Moist fruity boozy loveliness.

Snowflake Joconde Imprime Torte filled with Dark Chocolate Mousse & Cranberry Compote, topped with Chocolate Glaze
White Snowflake Sponge Paste
35g unsalted butter
35g icing sugar
1 egg white
40g rice flour

Chocolate Joconde Sponge
2 egg whites
15g caster sugar
60g ground almonds
60g icing sugar
2 eggs
20g cocoa powder
20g unsalted butter, melted

Cranberry Filling
200g fresh cranberries
2 tbsp caster sugar
Juice of 1 clementine

Chocolate Mousse
200g dark chocolate
120ml water
3 eggs, separated
40g caster sugar
150ml double cream

Chocolate Glaze
50g dark chocolate
2 tsp cocoa powder
2 tsp caster sugar
100ml hot water

To decorate
20g white chocolate

Method
Print out your chosen design for your sponge on a couple of A4 sheets of paper. Cut them so they line the base of a 33x25cm (13x10inch) swiss roll tin. Cut out a piece of silicone paper to line the base and sides of the tin and lay it over the top of the design.
For the white decorative paste, cream softened butter and icing sugar together until light and fluffy. Gradually add the egg white, beating continuously. Fold in the flour until combined. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a small tube nozzle. Pipe out your design onto the silicone paper, tracing over the printed out design beneath.
Transfer the silicone paper to a flat baking tray and place in the freezer for 10 minutes to freeze the design solid. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220C and make the chocolate joconde sponge.

For the chocolate joconde sponge, whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl to stiff peaks stage. Add the caster sugar, one teaspoon at a time, whisking between each addition to make a glossy meringue. Set aside.
Add the ground almonds, icing sugar and eggs into a new clean bowl. Whisk together for 3-5 minutes, or until doubled in volume, a stand mixer is useful here, but not essential. Sift over the cocoa powder and fold it in gently. Add one-third of the whisked egg whites and fold in to lighten the mixture. Add the rest of the egg whites and fold in more gently until just incorporated. Melt the butter, and pour it down the inside side of the bowl and fold in, until incorporated.
Remove the silicone sheet with the decorative paste from the freezer and place into the base of the swiss roll tin.
Tip the joconde sponge mixture over the top and gently spread into an even thin layer. Bake for 7 minutes, or until slightly risen and lightly springy to the touch.
Place a sheet of baking parchment over a cooling rack and turn the cake out onto it. Carefully peel off the silicone paper from the base of the cake, revealing the piped design. Lay the paper back on top of the sponge and leave to cool completely.

To make the cranberry compote, place all the ingredients into a pan and heat gently. The cranberries will start to pop and released their juice. Simmer for 10 minutes until the cranberries have broken down and thickened into a thick compote. You should be able to drag a spatula along the base of the pan without any excess liquid flooding the space. This happens quite quickly. It will taste very sharp at this stage, but you need this to cut through the rich chocolate later. Set aside to cool.

Line the inside of a 20cm/8inch ring mould with a strip of acetate and place it onto a sturdy baking tray that has been covered with clingfilm. Trim off the sides of the sponge before cutting a long strip of sponge, 6cm tall from the long side of the sponge. Cut a similar sized strip from the shorter edge of the sponge and use them to line the inside edge of the ring mould. Make sure to have the design facing outwards, so it will show off the outside of the dessert once the ring is removed. Push the edges of sponge together to join them together and trim off any excess. Cut out a circle from the leftover sponge, slightly smaller than the diameter of the tin, and use it to line the base of the ring mould, design facing down. Spread the cooled cranberry compote evenly over the base of the sponge inside the ring.

For the chocolate mousse, break the chocolate into pieces and place into a small pan along with the water. Heat on the lowest heat, stirring occasionally until the chocolate is melted and combined with the water.
Separate the eggs, putting the whites into a clean bowl. Beat the yolks into the chocolate mixture and set aside.
Whisk the egg whites to the soft-peak stage, then whisk in the sugar, about a third at a time, whisking until the whites are glossy. Fold one-third of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to loosen it; then carefully fold in the rest. Whip the cream until it just starts to hold its shape but is still very soft. Carefully fold this into the chocolate mixture.
Pour all the chocolate mixture into the ring mould, over the top of the cranberry compote. Don’t worry if it rises and fills the mould above the rim of the cake, this is fine. Carefully cover the top of the ring mould with clingfilm and place in the fridge to firm up and set for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.

The following day, make the chocolate glaze. Break up the chocolate and place it into a small pan along with the cocoa powder, sugar and water. Heat over a low heat, stirring continuously until everything is melted and combined into a glossy sauce. It should be of a pouring consistency. If too thick, add a little boiling water from the kettle and stir to create the desired consistency. Do not add cold water or the mixture will seize.
Remove the torte from the fridge and pour the chocolate glaze over the top. Use a small pallet knife to spread it out to the edges. Give it a gentle shake to smooth the top.
Melt the white chocolate and drizzle or pipe it over the top of the torte to decorate.
Return to the fridge and chill for a further 2 hours before serving

To serve, carefully lift the torte off the baking tray and transfer to a serving plate. Remove the outer ring mould, this should lift off easily due to the acetate sheet beneath. Carefully peel away the acetate from the torte and serve. Use a sharp knife to cut down in one swift motion to get a clean cut. It’s quite rich so you only need fairly small slices.
Store any leftovers in the fridge and eat within 3 days.

Makes 1 x 8inch torte