Weekend Bites: Chocolate treats for all the family to make at home
If you've managed to go the distance with Lenten abstinence, you'll be looking forward to some Easter chocolate indulgences.
Baking with chocolate always yields popular results, so why not get creative at home and produce a show-stopping DIY treat?
This pretty chocolate slab would be a fun project to make with the kids at mid-term. Like an edible spring garden, with flowers and butterflies, imagine the fun children will have making the green chocolate.
For something far more grown-up, turn to this impressive-looking terrine. You'll find that when the melted darker chocolates are combined with the cream, the mixture stiffens quickly, so use the chocolate when it's warm and the cream at room temperature in order to achieve a smooth texture.
For chocolate curls, the chocolate needs to be just at the right texture; ideally you want it to be slightly under-set to remain pliable.
Try to avoid chilling any chocolate you want to use in this way as it becomes brittle and can splinter.
If you do have to refrigerate your chocolate, it's best to allow it to return to room temperature before making decorations.
Melt 50g of Dr Oetker Milk Chocolate then spoon it on to a clean board and spread out very thinly using a spatula or palette knife; leave in a cool place to set.
When the chocolate begins to set, hold a large knife at a 45-degree angle to the work surface and pull gently through the chocolate so that it curls up along the knife blade. Work quickly so the chocolate doesn't harden. Put the curls on a board lined with baking parchment in a cool place.
Store dessert in the fridge until you're ready to serve it.
Recipes from Dr Oetker. For more baking ideas see www.oetker.ie
Easter Chocolate Slab
150g Dr Oetker Fine Cook’s Dark Chocolate
150g Dr Oetker Fine Cook’s White Chocolate
Dr Oetker Lime Green Gel Food Colour
Dr Oetker Wafer Daisies
Dr Oetker Sugar
Dr Oetker Sugar Strands
1. Break the dark chocolate into a heatproof bowl and place over a saucepan of barely simmering water to melt.
2. Line a baking tray with parchment. Once the chocolate has melted, scrape it out of the bowl on to the centre of the paper using a spatula. Spread the chocolate to form a rectangle about 18 x 23cm (7 x 9 inches). Leave to set.
3. Melt the white chocolate in the same way. Remove the bowl from the water and mix in about 35 drops of the Gel Food Colour to make a pale green shade.
4. Once the dark chocolate layer has set, pour the green chocolate out of the bowl on to the dark chocolate. Using a spatula carefully spread the green chocolate to almost cover the dark chocolate.
5. Working quickly before the green chocolate sets, decorate the top with Dr Oetker Wafer Daisies, Sugar Butterflies and Sugar Strands, then leave to cool.
6. Once the chocolate is firm, break into pieces and either serve as they are or pack pieces into boxes for gifting.
Four Chocolate Terrine
100g bar Dr Oetker Premium Fine Cook's Chocolate 90pc Dark
475ml (16 fl oz) double cream, at room temperature
150g bar Dr Oetker Fine Cook's Chocolate 35pc Milk
150g bar Dr Oetker Fine Cook's Chocolate White
125g Dr Oetker Fine Cook's Chocolate 72pc Extra Dark
To decorate: Milk chocolate curls
Serves 8 to 10
1. Smoothly line a deep 500g (1lb 2oz) loaf tin with cling film. Break the 90pc Extra Dark into a heatproof bowl and place over a saucepan of barely simmering water to melt. Remove.
2. Measure out 125ml (4 1/2 fl oz) cream in a jug and stir into the chocolate until blended - it will thicken quickly. Pile into the base of the tin and spread out evenly. Chill in fridge for 20 to 30 minutes until firm.
3. Repeat this process with the milk chocolate, this time using 100ml (3 1/2 fl oz) cream to make another layer on top. Make up the white chocolate layer using a further 100ml (3 1/2 fl oz) cream and leave to set. The milk and white chocolate layers take longer than dark to set firm.
4. For final layer, melt the 72pc Extra Dark as above, but this time add the remaining 150ml (1/4 pint) cream to the mixture and spread thickly on top of the white layer. Chill for 2 hours to make sure it is completely set.
5. To serve, invert the tin on to a serving plate or board and peel off the cling film. For a very smooth finish, gently run the blade of a knife heated in hot water over the top and sides. Decorate with chocolate curls.
Ask the Expert: Dearbhaile Sheils
How do you decide what to stock in the food hall?
We stock everything from edible flowers to salted caramel honeycomb, ras-el-hanout to ancho chillies in the Exchequer Street venue.
When it comes to choosing products, first and foremost it’s about great taste.
After that, price/quality ratio, packaging and timing all play a very important role.
These days we are fairly inundated with samples from producers and often, even if we love a product, we simply may not have enough space for it in a given category.
We constantly review our range, look where we could be doing better as well as keeping an eye on wider world trends.
At the end of the day, though, it always comes back to taste. It’s important to involve our team in this process as we all have different likes and dislikes.
We have never, and would never, put something on our shelves that we haven’t tasted and genuinely wouldn’t buy as a customer.
There is a fixed-price dinner menu, Sunday to Thursday, at Fallon & Byrne, People’s Park restaurant, Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin. Telephone 01 230 3300. E: email@example.com