MY TOPLESS VALENTINE’S CHOC LAVA HEARTS
I asked my rather lovely friend The Topless Baker to put his muscles to work, and here’s what he whizzed up. (It always does the trick when I fancy imagining Geoffrey’s a bit hunkier than he really is.)
|Preparation time:||45 minutes|
For the caramel
- To make the caramel, place the sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat – and keep stirring so it doesn’t go lumpy. Once the sugar is a light golden colour, begin to whisk it together while carefully keeping on the heat.
- Once you have a deep copper colour, remove the pan from the heat immediately and whisk in the cream, salt and the butter. Careful – the mixture will bubble up all over the place.
- Keep whisking until any lumps have dissolved and you’re left with a smooth caramel. If you do have any lumps left, just pop the pan over a low heat until everything has melted. Finally, pour the caramel into a glass jar and keep it at room temperature, ready to use.
For the chocolate crémeux
- Place the eggs and sugar into a medium bowl and whisk together for about two minutes, until they’re thick and pale.
- Add the finely chopped chocolate into a separate bowl.
- Heat the cream and milk in a pan until it’s hot and steamy (not boiling). Slowly pour it over the egg mixture, whisking constantly. (Make sure not to pour too fast or the eggs might scramble.) Then pour the whole mixture into the pan and whisk constantly for a further 20 seconds.
- Remove it from the heat immediately and pour the mixture through a sieve onto the chocolate. Allow it all to sit for two minutes.
- Whisk the mixture together until smooth, then cover the surface with a sheet of clingfilm. Chill for 2-3 hours in the fridge, until it’s thick and pipeable.
For the chocaroon base
- Preheat the oven to 175°C / 150°C (fan) / Gas Mark 3.
- Place the Big Choc Macaroons into a blender and blitz for about a minute, until you have a fine crumb.
- Pour in the egg whites and stir the mixture. When you squeeze the mixture between your fingers it should stick together.
- On a tray, grease and line 2 heart-shaped tart rings with parchment paper. Take a few tablespoons of the mixture and press a thin layer into the base of the tart rings. Then press the mixture against the side of the tart rings to create a thin wall – not too thick though, as it’ll puff up in the oven.
- Place the tray into the preheated oven and bake the tart shells for 12 minutes. Once cooked, remove them from the oven and if they’ve puffed up, gently press them down with your finger. Allow them to cool for 30 minutes. If the mixture looks like it’s stuck to the tart ring, gently run a knife around the edge to loosen it while it’s still hot.
For the chocolate heart
- Place the chopped chocolate into a bowl, and sit it on top of a pan of gently simmering water. Stir together until melted.
- Pour the melted chocolate onto a love heart chocolate transfer sheet, and spread it as thin as possible using an offset spatula.
- Just before the chocolate has set, firmly press a heart-shaped cookie cutter into the chocolate to create two heart shapes.
- Allow the chocolate to set completely before carefully lifting off the hearts. Place them in the fridge to chill.
For the chocolate lava
- In a medium bowl, beat the egg and sugar with a hand whisk until the mixture appears light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Place the chocolate and butter into heatproof bowl and place it over a pan of simmering water, making sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl. Stir the mixture occasionally for 1-2 minutes, until completely melted.
- Remove the bowl of chocolate from the heat and slowly pour over the egg mixture. Whisk until combined. Sift in the flour and stir the mixture together gently with a spatula, until all the flour is incorporated.
- Preheat the oven to 1200°C / 180°C (fan) / Gas Mark 6.
- Add two or three tablespoons of your caramel to a piping bag. (If it’s stiffened up, just loosen the mixture by popping it in the microwave quickly or gently heating it in a pan until runny.)
- Pipe a thin layer of caramel into the base of the cooled tart.
- With a spoon, add a layer of chocolate lava mix on top, spreading it to the edges of the tart shell. Be sure to only fill the tart about four-fifths of the way up, as it’ll puff up in the oven.
- Bake for 11-12 minutes – when it’s done, the batter should be crusted over but feel slightly gooey if you gently press it with your finger.
- Once you’ve removed it from the oven, allow to cool for 3-4 minutes while you add the chocolate crémeux to a piping bag fitted with a round-tipped nozzle.
- Very carefully lift the tarts onto your serving plate with a spatula, and pipe dollops of crémeux across the entire tart. Place the heart chocolate decoration on top. Serve immediately so that it’s nice and gooey in the middle!