Recipe: Make our very very naughty Death by Chocolate dessert
PUBLISHED: 12:36 19 February 2019
If you want to impress your guests, this fiendishly good chocolate pud will do the trick.
I had planned, dear readers to make a colourful ode to spring this week. A lemon-infused Madeira cake with a rhubarb mojito sauce. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be.
My trip to the spare fridge in the garage where I was keeping my hoard of ballerina-pink sticks of forced rhubarb, had somehow been turned off (I blame the husband) and its contents were pretty disgusting, requiring several trips to the brown compost bin and about half a bottle of anti-bacterial spray to make good the shelves. Yuck.
Oh well, back to the drawing board, and it was my daughter who set me the challenge to make the “most chocolatiest, chocolatey dessert of all time”.
The gauntlet had been thrown at my feet. Chocolate is pretty much my go-to cake option but actually I favour fruity desserts – perfection being a crisp-bottomed, mouth-puckeringly sharp filled lemon tart, maybe with a jaunty swirl of blow-torched Italian meringue.
A cursory glance in the (plugged in) kitchen fridge showed we had cream and butter, and miraculously several bars of dark chocolate remained intact in my baking drawer, alongside not one, not two, but three pots of cocoa powder. Honestly, whenever I usually bake with cocoa I find myself scrapping the merest dustings from the tub because I’m running low. God knows when I bought this lot!
And so to work, which produced perhaps the most seductively delicious chocolate pud ever to have passed my lips. A melange of crispy, dark, sweet, salty and smooth.
Admittedly, I got the portion size wrong, using 6cm wide rings to cast the dessert on my tray. Noone, not even I, could eat a whole one of these delicious beasts, so I’d advise serving them as a pud to share, or seeking out smaller, 3-4cm round moulds.
What you’ll end up with is a crocante (crunchy to you and I) base layer of chocolate, butter, crushed Amaretti and booze-plumped sultanas, which go all chewy and toffee-like. Layered on this is a salted Madagascan vanilla cream (which might sound odd but in much of Asia, vanilla is used as a seasoning in savoury dishes and associated most with salt). Then there’s a thin layer of fatless sponge, a thick frosting of dark chocolate mousse, and an unnecessary but nommy dollop of hazelnut chocolate spread. Oh my. Go forth and indulge!
Death by chocolate
(makes 4 6cm or 8 3-4cm desserts)
For the base:
150g 70% dark chocolate
1tbsp golden syrup
2tbps dark rum
10 mini amaretti biscuits, roughly crushed
For the sponge:
3 large eggs
75g dark brown sugar
For the salted vanilla cream:
100ml whipping cream
1tsp vanilla bean paste (or 2tsps vanilla extract)
2tbsps icing sugar
Salt to taste
For the chocolate mousse:
175g 70% dark chocolate
200ml whipping cream
30g dark brown sugar
To finish: Chocolate hazelnut spread (I used Gu) and mini amaretti biscuits
You’ll need deep, bottomless presentation rings to make these
Get the sponge on the go first. Pre-heat the oven to 180C and line a swiss roll tray. Whisk the eggs until they begin to go frothy. Add the sugar and continue to beat until a little moussy – it will take up to 10 minutes. Sieve in the cocoa, stir and pour into the prepared tray. Bake for eight to 10 minutes until firm, use your presentation rings to cut out four (large) or eight (small) circles.
Make the bases now. Melt the butter, chocolate and syrup in a small pan on a low heat with the sultanas. Add the rum once it’s all melted and set aside to cool for a few minutes. Crumble in the amaretti and add a pinch of salt.
Line a tray and pop your presentation rings on it. Evenly spoon in your crunchy base mixture and press with the spoon to make an even layer. Pop in the fridge to set for 20 minutes.
To make the vanilla layer, whip the cream with the icing sugar and vanilla until it’s thick and holds its shape. Add a pinch of salt and taste. You want to be able to taste the salt to cut through the richness of the dessert so add it, little by little until you’re happy with it. Set aside in a bowl.
For the chocolate mousse, melt the dark chocolate and allow to cool a little. Whip the cream to soft peaks with the brown sugar. Fold in the cool dark chocolate.
To assemble, all elements must be cool, but don’t put the creams in the fridge for longer than 30 minutes or they’ll become hard to work with.
Evenly spoon the vanilla cream over the set crunchy bases, top with a layer of cut out sponge, then evenly spread over the chocolate mousse. Finish with a dollop of hazelnut spread, a mini amaretti biscuit and maybe a grating of chocolate. Set in the fridge for about one hour before serving. Use a blow torch to loosen the edges to remove from the moulds.