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Posts tagged ‘Chocolate’

Chocolate Caramel Pie

When I saw the good quality chocolate and cream at the Herdsman, I was inspired to make choclate caramel pie again. I made the caramel using the Dulce de Leche method.

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I used Gippsland cream (which is the closest thing to Clotted cream that I have seen in Australia, so thick and luscious) and Hachez 77% chocolate. It is important that the chocolate is a high percentage cocoa because it needs to contrast with the sweet caramel.

1 1/4 cups or 190g of plain flour
1/4 cup or 40g self raising flour
1/4 cup or 50g caster sugar (I use brown sugar and pass it through a sieve)
90g unsalted butter
1 egg
Pinch salt

1. Sieve the flours and sugar into a food mixer.
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2. Cut the butter into small cubes and add it to the flour/sugar. Start the food mixer and mix until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs (you can rub the butter in using your fingers if you like, but I have warm hands, so I use a food mixer).

3. Pour the mixture into a bowl and add the egg and a pinch of salt. (My photo shows a double quantity which is why there are two eggs). Mix with a spatula or wooden spoon until it comes together, then using your hands, lightly knead and shape it into a round (keep handling to a minimum, and if you have warm hands like me, rinse them in cool water first so that you start off with cool hands).

4. Roll the pastry out into a round and use it to line a flan tin or dish. Put the pastry lined flan dish in the fridge for approx 30 mins if you have time – this will stop it from shrinking away from the edge in the oven.
5. Cut a circle of baking parchment slightly bigger than the middle of the flan dish, and put some ceramic baking beans in the middle. Bake for 10 minutes at 190 deg C, then remove the baking beans and bake for a further 10 minutes. (The baking beans just stop the middle of the tart case from rising too much, you can get away without using them, but you will need to prick the base with a fork, and you may find it will rise a little).
6. Remove the dish from the oven and leave the pastry to cool to room temperature.

The caramel (dulce de leche method):
1 tin of condensed milk (must be condensed – not evaporated) Check that the tin is in good condition, do not use if dented – the lid must be unopened and not damaged.

1. Using an old saucepan, place the unopened tin of condensed milk in the saucepan, cover with water.
2. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 3 hours. You can cover it with a lid to stop the water from evaporating too much. Check it every hour to make sure that the water is not boiling dry – top the water up as necessary.
3. Carefully remove the tin from the water and leave it to cool thoroughly – it can be stored in the fridge until needed. Do not attempt to open it while it is still warm – I have heard stories of some tins exploding when opened, but I have never had a problem – be sensible just in case – cover it with a cloth when opening.

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Regular Caramel:
Use this method if you don’t have condensed milk
300g golden caster sugar
175g butter
200ml double cream

1. Place the sugar in a pan with2 tablespoons water. Heat until it dissolves but do not stir.
2. Boil until amber.
3. Stir in the cream – add a pinch of salt if you like salted caramel.
4. Stir in the butter and simmer for a further 3 minutes.

Chocolate Mousse:
200g good quality dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons icing sugar

1 1/2 cup (375ml) of whipping cream, whipped with the icing sugar
1. Place the chocolate in a bowl and melt by placing the bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water (the base of the bowl must not dip into the water) – or use a microwave if you are confident that you can melt it perfectly. Personally I use the saucepan double boiler method – I am not a fan of microwaves.
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2. Cool the mixture for 5 minutes.
3. Fold in half of the whipped cream/icing sugar mixture – it will look claggy at first but keep folding with a spatula, then add the rest and fold again.

To assemble:
When the pastry case is cooled, you can add the caramel to the base of the pastry case. If you like salted caramel you can add a few scant flakes of sea salt on top of the caramel (if you have not already salted it).
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Put the caramel coated pastry case in the fridge so that it is completely cool before adding the mousse. This will help to keep the layers nice and separate.
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Top the cool caramel with the mousse mixture and leave to set in the fridge. 3-4 hours should do it.

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This recipe was inspired by Soda’s beautiful chocolate caramel pie at the North Beach cafe. Sadly Soda is no longer in business:


Chocolate Peanut Butter Stack

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The inspiration for this cake recipe comes from a similar item that I had in Starbucks in Singapore a few years ago. The Starbucks version was yummy but also sickly sweet, and I was reminded of it when a friend at work asked me to make a cake with nuts in it.
Originally I thought of making a coffee and walnut cake, but then I thought why not try the stack ? I haven’t made a many layered creation like this before, so I knew it would be a worthy challenge.
I used an 8 inch square (20cm) cake tin with a removable bottom. I am sure it can also be made with a round tin and served as wedges, but I think that the rectangles look nicer. I lined the tin with baking parchment in both directions so that when the cake was done, I could lift it out with the parchment. This makes it adaptable to a square tin without a removable bottom too.
Make the chocolate cake a day in advance. Like bread, it is much easier to slice if it is not fresh out of the oven. I sliced my cake into three horizontal slices, but on reflection, maybe I should have used 4 slices. Use your favourite chocolate cake recipe, the darker the better.
If you go for a packet mix, choose one without filling and frosting, and preferably one that uses oil as an added ingredient. Vegetable oil will make the cake very moist.

I also made my caramel a day in advance – I chose to make dulce de leche, where you simmer a can of condensed milk (just place the whole tin in the water, don’t open it) for 3 hours. This is a fairly simple method, just check to make sure that it doesn’t boil dry.
Use the same baking tin to assemble the cake – I re-lined mine with parchment for ease.

I made the base from digestive biscuits and melted butter – like a cheesecake base. You can use dark choc biscuits if you like, but I thought that oaty digestives would give another texture. You need approximately half the weight of butter to biscuits e.g. if using 150g biscuits, melt 75g butter. Whizz up the biscuits to crumb consistency using either a food processor or by bashing them with a rolling pin while they are in a plastic bag. Slowly mix in the butter and line the base of your tin with the mixture – use the base of a glass or cup to push the mixture down – push it into the corners, then put the whole tin in the fridge so that the base sets more firmly as the butter hardens.
Next slice the cake so that it is ready to layer – be careful because each layer will be quite flimsy – you can put parchment between the layers if it helps to lift them.
Now make the mousse and buttercream – each amount should make enough for two layers.

Chocolate mousse:
200g dark chocolate (70% at least)
1 1/2 cups thick cream
2 tablespoons of icing sugar

Using an electric whisk, whisk the cream and icing sugar in a chilled bowl preferably until the cream is stiff rather than runny. While you are doing this, melt the chocolate in a bowl over a double boiler.
Once the chocolate has melted, fold half of the cream into it, it might go a bit stiff and claggy at first, but keep folding and it will smooth out. Then fold in the rest of the cream until it is an even consistency.

Peanut buttercream:
1 cup unsalted butter – soft
1 heaped cup of smooth peanut butter
2 cups of icing sugar sifted
1/2 cup thick cream
a pinch of salt

Using an electric whisk, whip the butter and peanut butter until light and fluffy. Next whisk in the icing sugar. Now whisk in the cream and salt – if it is too stiff to spread, add a little more cream.

When I assembled my cake, I placed choc mousse over the biscuit base, followed by a layer of cake, followed by a layer of peanut butter cream, followed by a layer of cake, then a layer of mousse. I carefully placed some peanut butter cream on top of the mousse (this is why I could have done with another cake layer), and finished off with a layer of cake. I lightly whisked the dulce de leche with a fork and spread that over the top with a spatula. Then I sprinkled salted peanuts on top. I placed it in the fridge for a few hours before removing from the tin and slicing.

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Whistlers, Middle Swan

Whistler's Chocolate Company Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Whistlers is one of two chocolate factories in the Swan Valley. They offer a nice tasting selection of coconut rough, chocolate jelly snake and chocolate pretzel, and the dark chocolate orange slices are a particular favourite of mine.
On this particular visit we decide to try the cafe and I imagined that there would be a variety of chocolate cake on offer.
The cake selection was not particularly inspiring. I chose a dark hot chocolate to drink and a lemon muffin. My partner chose tea and a brownie.

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The dark hot chocolate was good, served with two marshmallows, but as I got to the bottom of it, the glass was glued up with thick chocolate that hadn’t been mixed in properly. It was a shame because the whole drink could have been so much richer.

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The lemon muffin was nice, but fairly ordinary. Same with the tea and brownie – the brownie was a little dry and not nice and gooey in the middle.

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It wasn’t bad, it was just ‘ordinary’. We had a discussion about how they could make it so much better – they could become known for the best chocolate sponge cake in the Swan Valley, or the best churros or chocolate nutella doughnuts. Maybe the management will twig this and do something differently in future. I did notice a whole table of people having fish and chips – maybe this is a secret weapon that they have, but it didn’t look special, so maybe not.
It’s well worth a visit for the amazing range of chocolates on offer, and the cafe is okay for a quick cuppa.

Visit Date – May 2018

Click here to find out more

Rich chocolate orange brownie

Many years ago I popped into Mooba coffee bar when it was in the heart of Subiaco, and had a jaffa brownie with my coffee. It was one of those brownies that was so memorable and delicious that I can still recall the flavour of it now. Today I decided to try and replicate it myself, so looked for a recipe and ended up with my variation on a few different recipes. My recipe is pretty much dairy free – there’s a little bit of milk in one of the chocolate bars, but it’s fairly small. It’s not vegan though because there are eggs in the mixture.

You can make a half serve in a loaf tin that will give you six generous slices – just halve the ingredients. The full recipe will fit nicely in a 24 x 20 cm square tin.


Ingredients (full recipe):

200g butter or dairy free spread like Nuttelex
200g Lindt dark chocolate (70% or 80%) (broken up into pieces – break each square into four pieces)
zest of 2 oranges (pick the orangiest colour ones you can find – the deeper the colour, the better the zest)
4 large eggs
300g caster sugar
100g plain flour
50g cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
100g Lindt dark chocolate orange intense (chopped into small pieces)


  1. Heat the oven to 180 deg C or 175 deg C if fan assisted.
  2. In a smallish saucepan melt the butter, 70 or 80% dark chocolate and orange zest – keep an eye on it, stirring occasionally, only heat it gently. Once melted, take it off the heat to cool.
  3. Whisk the eggs and sugar until the colour goes really pale and they increase in volume. I whisked mine for 3 minutes with an electric whisk.
  4. Stir the melted chocolate mixture into the whisked eggs, make sure it has cooled enough otherwise it will scramble the eggs.
  5. Now sift the flour, cocoa and salt into the mixture and fold it in with a metal spoon.
  6. Stir in the broken chocolate orange intense pieces.
  7. The mixture might look lumpy and rough, but don’t worry – it will be delicious.
  8. Pour into a lined tin approx 24 x 20 cm. Tap the tin on the worktop to make sure that the mixture is down into the corners and then pop it in the oven on the lower shelf.
  9. The full size will take approx 40 minutes to cook and a half serve will take approx 30 minutes to cook but it depends on the efficiency of your oven.
  10. When you insert a skewer, it will be slightly gooey in the centre, but as long as it is not too liquid – that’s fine. The top should be crispy like a brownie.
  11. Cool on a rack and serve.
  12. You can add ice cream, sorbet, fresh orange slices, crushed nuts, candied orange, or dust with a little icing sugar. The brownie is good on it’s own too.


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