Previously, on Pudding Club…
Back to our friends for a New Year’s extravaganza lasting all afternoon and into the night, and up until the change of decade if we’re not flagging by then.
Today’s pudding will be a chocolate/chestnut torte, made like this: blind bake a pastry case made from 8oz flour, 4oz butter, 1oz sugar, 1 egg and enough water to bring the breadcrumbs into the necessary paste. Chill the dough for an hour then press into a greased or lined tin, and blind bake at 180 deg C until golden brown.
For the filling, heat 200 grams of dark belgian chocolate with half a tin of chestnut purée, 125 grams of sugar and 100mls of double cream. Heat in a glass bowl over a pan of boiling water or in a double boiler, so as not to burn the chocolate. Do the best you can to desolidify the block of chestnut, since it comes out of the tin looking worryingly like cat food and is pretty tricky to get to break up.
Once the mix is smooth and lovely, pour it into the pastry case and allow to cool. If there is spare chocolate sauce, pour it into a jam jar – it will work as a toast spread for a few days, or can be reheated as chocolate fondue.
Posh people who know how to garnish can manage something amazing by putting a spot of cream in the centre of the cooling tart, and making swirly patterns. I’m not very good at the old presentation. When I do it, it looks unspeakably awful:
Beef Wellington Canapés
Although this is a pudding club post, there will be savouries as well. There will be a raclette! And I am contributing another recipe I just made up: beef wellington canapés.
Beef Wellington is something I’ve had at posh functions, but never actually cooked myself. It tends to be a little disappointing when it’s being cranked out by the hundred by the rubber chickeners, so one day I must try and make it myself. As far as I understand it, it’s a slice of beef steak, with either pâté or mushrooms duxelles, wrapped in pastry and baked. One day, I shall have to have a go. So to make canapés, after reading around a bit, I settled on thin slices of beef intended for sandwiches, a pot of Co-op Ardennes pâté, and homemade mushrooms duxelles all neatly (!) wrapped in filo.
For the mushrooms duxelles: first prepare about 200grams of mushrooms by chopping off the hard stalk bottoms and slooshing under the tap. Melt a big knob of butter in a frying pan and grate in some nutmeg. Add a little olive oil to stop it burning. Finely chop 50grams of streaky bacon into the pan with scissors and stir until cooked. Using the “slice” side of a box grater, finely slice the mushrooms into the butter / bacon mix. Stir occasionally to stop it from sticking. When all the mushrooms are in, keep stirring until they are cooked and given up their juices. Add a generous teaspoon of Bisto gravy granules (what? what made you think this was posh?!) and stir until dissolved. Add a good measure of sherry or port, and keep on a medium heat until almost all the liquid has boiled away. Don’t burn them, but don’t leave them too moist, or they will soak through the pastry.
To make the canapés, unfurl the filo pastry. Chop up the sandwich beef slices so that there is a portion of beef for each filo sheet. This meant quartering three slices to make 12 pieces, in my case. Fold two opposite corners of the sheet into the middle so they overlap to make 3 layers of pastry underneath the filling. Smear with pâté, add the slice of beef, and spoon a teaspoon of mushrooms on top. Close up the filo sheet so it is reasonably waterproof. Continue until the ingredients run out.
At this point they can be stored in the fridge for a day until they are needed. When they are, cook for 8-12 minutes on greaseproof paper. Try not to get the greaseproof and the filo mixed up when they come out of the oven.