The Stable, Fistral – review

When I first heard that a branch of the South West restaurant chain The Stable was opening in Newquay, I was pretty excited.

The concept is simple – pizza, pie and cider. LOTS of cider. And how could that not be awesome?

Although it is a chain, the menu at each Stable varies a little, using local ingredients to create different pizzas (named after local landmarks) and also featuring local ciders alongside the regulars.

The team at The Stable very kindly offered me the chance to visit and review the new Fistral restaurant last week. Before you even get to ordering, the restaurant impresses with the absolutely stunning panoramic views out over Fistral beach – it’s a great reminder of why living in Cornwall is so brilliant!

When we visited for a mid-week dinner, it was pretty busy with many of the tables reserved, and the atmosphere was lively and loud.

Normally I struggle with choosing what to eat when I’m out, but at The Stable the food was the easy bit – faced with a menu of around 60 draught and bottled ciders, deciding on a drink was much harder!

In the end I went for an Annings Pear and Peach, and my reviewing partner Becky went for a Norcotts Cider with Elderflower. Mine was light and fruity, refreshing and far too easy to drink; Becky’s was maybe a little stronger but equally delicious – I wouldn’t hesitate to have either again.

If like me you struggle to make decisions, you can order a cider tasting board – five 1/3 pints with tasting notes. The couple next to us had one and let me take a photo – definitely think I’m going to have to try this next time I visit…

For the main, I chose the Headland Herbivore pizza – roast potatoes, Cornish blue cheese, roasted Spanish onions, spinach, tomato and mozzarella. I thought it was great – the base was super thin but not overly crispy, there were plenty of toppings, and the flavours worked really well – I don’t usually like blue cheese, but on this it wasn’t at all overpowering.

Becky had the The Cribbar – free-range chicken, roasted red pepper, mushrooms, tomato and mozzarella. She was equally impressed, particularly with the quality of the chicken which was much better than you’d usually expect from a pizza.

After pizza and cider we were both stuffed, but it would have been rude to say no to dessert, so I had a baked caramelised apple and ginger cheesecake with pecan praline and Becky had the chocolate brownie with clotted cream.

I have to be honest, it is VERY rare that I am impressed by restaurant cheesecake, and more often than not think I could have done a better job myself. Not so this time – it was to die for! Perfect texture, great flavours, and just delicious. So good!

The brownie was super rich and Becky could only eat half, but any serious chocolate lover would be in heaven I’m sure.

Even though it was ‘only’ a pizza restaurant and nothing fancy, my meal at the Stable was one of the best I’ve had out in a while, and I think it’s going to prove extremely popular with both visitors and locals. I will definitely be going back – I have a lot of ciders to work my way through…

Thanks again to the lovely team at the Stable for sorting out our meal – opinions are 100% non-biased though as always! Thanks also to the bar and waiting staff who were friendly, helpful, and seemed to genuinely want diners to enjoy their experience – top service :)

Boozy billionaire’s shortbread

While there are certain recipes which I love, are always popular and are fun to bake, it’s very rare that I’ll make the same thing twice as there are just so many other recipes waiting to be tried.

Millionaire’s shortbread is a classic example – almost everyone I know loves it, and I like making it as there are several elements involved which makes it a bit more fun than a simple biscuit or cake – but I’ve done it before, more than once.

Still, when I wanted to bake something for the office a couple of weekends ago, millionaire’s shortbread was the one thing on my mind, and so I decided to turn to the universal solution to almost any problem – add alcohol.

There are quite a few variations on ‘billionaire’s shortbread’ if you search for it – salted caramel, white chocolate and peanut butter all feature – but I think I have come up with a real winning combination that seriously takes the traditional treat to a whole new level.

It starts with a shortbread base, but chocolate rather than plain. Then instead of a regular old caramel, I boozed it up with a salted rum caramel. Oh my – it was good! Then it’s finished off with a milk chocolate topping, with just a little added salt to counter the sweetness.

These are 100% better than the original, and went down very well with my taste testers. The flavour of the rum is most definitely there, but it isn’t overpowering, and ditto with the salt.

I loved these so much that I may even have to break my rule and bake them again, exactly the same…

Boozy billionaire’s shortbread (adapted from here)

For the base:

  • 130g butter
  • 150g flour
  • 15g cocoa powder
  • 55g caster sugar

For the caramel and topping:

  • 400g condensed milk
  • 115g butter
  • 40g light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2-3 tbsp rum (I used Havana Club Anejo Especial, but any golden or spiced would be good)
  • 150g milk chocolate
  • Salt to taste

For the base, rub the butter into the flour until it reached a breadcrumb-like consistency, then stir in the cocoa powder and sugar. This could also be done in the food processor if you want to speed things up! Press into the base of a greased and lined 8×8″ square tin and bake at 180 degrees for about 15-20 minutes, until just starting to crisp up.

While the base cools, make the caramel. Heat the condensed milk, butter and sugar in a saucepan over a medium heat, stirring until it starts to bubble and thicken and turn a lovely golden brown. Once it’s pretty much ready, add the salt and the rum, one 1/2 tbsp at a time until it tastes right to you – I like a fair amount of salt and rum, you might want to go more subtle. Pour the caramel over the base and leave to set.

Finally, melt the chocolate and add a little more salt to taste. Spread this in an even layer over the set caramel, then leave again. Once the chocolate has firmed up, remove from the tin and cut into squares.

Fresh strawberry Victoria sandwich

Sometimes simple really is the best.

Don’t get my wrong, I love making trashy and over the top desserts with layers of chocolate and caramel and peanut butter, rich and decadent and delicious – but there will always be a place in my heart for a simple, classic sponge cake.

Inspired by a punnet of strawberries sat in my fridge, I decided to go back to basics with a Victoria sandwich, filled with jam, buttercream and fresh strawberries.

Although I did get one comment of ‘what made you decide to make just a sponge cake’, most people loved it, me included.

Simple, to the point, fresh and tasty – perfect for elevenses, afternoon tea, or just because!

Fresh strawberry Victoria sponge

  • 115g butter
  • 115g caster sugar
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 110g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder

For the filling:

  • 30g butter
  • 60g icing sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp milk
  • 3-4 tbsp strawberry jam
  • 3-4 large strawberries, diced

Beat the butter and sugar together for about 5 minutes, or until really light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla – add a spoonful of the flour if it’s starting to curdle. Sift together the flour and baking powder then fold into the cake batter. Divide between two greased and lined 6″ tins, then bake at 170 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until risen, golden and a skewer comes out clean.

For the filling, beat the butter and icing sugar together until well combined, then add the milk and continue to beat until light and airy. Spread a layer of jam on top of one of the sponges, then scatter the diced strawberries on top. Spread the buttercream onto the underneath of the other cake layer, then place this on top. Finish with a dusting of icing sugar and serve with a cup of tea!

The BIG Cake Show

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This weekend, I was lucky enough to be invited by the organisers of The BIG Cake Show to go along as a VIP blogger and sample the many cakey delights on offer.

For those of you who don’t know, The BIG Cake Show is a brand new event in Exeter organised by local friends, event organisers and baking enthusiasts Kim and Mel. It took place over three days, following a similar format to the Cake and Bake shows in Manchester and London, which I’m sure many of you will have been to.

There were baking demonstrations, from both celebrities and local chefs, classroom workshops, children’s activities, competitions and of course lots and lots of fabulous local and national producers and suppliers selling everything from cake decorating tools to chocolates, wine and of course cake.

Although on a smaller scale than the Cake and Bake shows, there was plenty going on to make it well worth the bargain £12 entry – I was kept entertained from 11 until 5, and I don’t exactly have the longest attention span…

The big draws in terms of celeb chefs were Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood, but neither of them were there on the Saturday when I went. I really wasn’t too bothered though, as my two favourite GBBO contestants (and winners) were there – Edd Kimber and John Whaite.

John was up first, giving a demo which was half baking, half stand up comedy – he was brilliant! The butterscotch banana giant chelsea bun he made looked incredible too – I believe the recipe is in his new book which came out this week…

One of the benefits of my VIP ticket was priority seating for the demos. I was a little bit late arriving for John, so I just ran in and grabbed the first seat I saw, in the middle of the front row. It was only when John made a comment about the people sat next to me that I realised it was actually Edd Kimber and Jo Wheatley, off of actual Bake Off!

I took the opportunity to grab a quick photo with Edd – what a lovely man! His demo later in the afternoon was fab too – making a flour less chocolate and blackberry cake, he did a great job of answering all the audience’s questions and you could tell there was no blagging whatsoever, he really does know his stuff! Although I can’t help but be a little jealous of anyone who bakes for a living and classes Paul A Young as one of their best friends…

I also saw local chefs Rob Spencer and Darrin Hosegrove from Ashburton Cookery School demoing in the West Country Larder, ably (?!) assisted by local radio DJ David ‘Fitz’ Fitzgerald. The cookery school has won loads of awards and should anyone really, REALLY love me, one of their patisserie courses would make an excellent gift… Just saying!

It was great to see local producers alongside the bigger baking companies, and I enjoyed both catching up with some I’ve met at previous events and meeting some lovely new people too.

For anyone who shares the same mild obsession with blueberries that I have, the Blueberry Brothers are just amazing – they make jam, truffles, brownies, tarts and muffins, as well as a blueberry beer called Blue Yonder which I’ve been on the lookout for since Christmas.

I should explain – pre-Christmas, I met Nick from the Blueberry Brothers at a farmers’ market in Plymouth. We got chatting, and he gave me a recipe for venison seared in blueberry jam then slow cooked in blueberry beer, which I wrote up and gave to my stepdad along with a bottle of beer and jar of jam. He like the recipe so much he wanted to do it again, but sadly Blue Yonder isn’t too readily available in Cornwall – so when I saw it on Saturday I was more than a bit happy!

Not a beer lover myself, I sampled one of their blueberry and apple muffins, fuel for the long drive home, and it was absolutely delicious. Next on my list to try is their blueberry marzipan – I have a feeling I could quickly become addicted.

One of my favourite new finds of the day was Frandie Macaron. Having previously spoken to them on Twitter, I made a beeline for their stand when I arrived, to check out all the beautiful brightly coloured macarons, hand made in Devon.

I’ve always been too scared to make macarons, so it was rather reassuring to see that even the professionals don’t always get it right – Frandie Macaron sell bags of ‘maca-wrongs’ – misshapen shells that taste just as good but are a little lacking in the looks department.

I tried one of their raspberry and limoncello macarons, which were created especially for the show through a fan competition. It was lush – I really do need to have a go at making my own though. Soon, maybe…

In the competition arena was a great selection of novelty cakes, all with a South West theme. The winning cake really was outstanding, they packed everything Westcountry that they could think of into a bit tower of cake, including Yeo Valley yoghurt, Clarks shoes, Paignton Zoo and Thatchers Cider – just look at the INSANE detail, I can only dream of being able to make a cake this good!

So, The BIG Cake Show was basically brilliant, and I am so happy that Mel and Kim have managed to create something for people in the South West – as much as I love cake, the 5 hour drive/7 hour coach to London is not the most fun, and I know a lot of people will agree that with so many amazing local bakers and producers, it’s only right that the South West should have its own show!

Thanks to Tracy and The BIG Cake Show team for my VIP pass, and I can’t wait to do it all again next year.

Lemon, white chocolate and coconut blondies

Does anything say summer is coming more than delicious zesty lemon curd? Nope, thought not!

I was feeling the joys of spring the other day and, with a small jar of lemon curd to use up, decided to have a look back through Pinterest to find a suitable recipe to use it in.

As soon as I saw these lemon-vanilla dream bars from Mainly Baking, which I pinned a year and a half ago, I knew they were ‘the one’.

I did a bit of googling to see if I could find the original recipe, and although I didn’t manage that I did find a variation which used a coconut flavoured white chocolate, which then led to me adding desiccated coconut into the mix.

Although the flavour of the coconut wasn’t especially strong, it was noticeable and I thought it added a nice bite to the blondes. The lemon curd is swirled in so you get little pockets of zesty deliciousness, and the chunks of white chocolate add a nice texture contrast.

I was a fan of these, and so were all my taste testers at work – my boss even gave them a ‘wow’, and he’s not the biggest cake fan.

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These bars are summery and lovely, and I would highly recommend you make them. They’re also perfect for March’s We Should Cocoa challenge, hosted by I’d Much Bake Than… who chose coconut as the theme.

Enjoy!

Lemon, white chocolate and coconut blondies (adapted from Mainly Baking)

  • 225g white chocolate, chopped
  • 85g butter
  • 50g sugar
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 30g desiccated coconut
  • 80g plain flour
  • 75g white chocolate
  • 165g lemon curd

Start by heating the 225g white chocolate and butter in a bowl of a saucepan of barely simmering water. White chocolate needs to be melted slowly over a low heat, so don’t rush this bit! Once melted, remove from the heat and beat in the sugar, eggs and vanilla bean paste. Fold in the coconut, then sift in the flour and fold again. Finally, stir in the white chocolate chips and then spread the mixture into an 8×8″ square tin, lined with baking paper.

Spoon the lemon curd in little dollops over the top of the cake batter, then gently swirl with a butter knife or skewer, making sure not to over-mix – you want there to be little pockets of lemon curd in the baked blondies. Bake at 180 degrees (160 fan) for 20-25 minutes, or until the top is turning golden and the blondies are just firm to the touch. Leave to cool in the tin, then slice into squares and serve.

Blueberry cheesecake brownies

Along with the peanut butter cup rocky road, which went down a storm, I also made these blueberry cheesecake brownies for my American-themed party last weekend.

The original idea was something red, white and blue, so I thought that red velvet cheesecake brownies with a few blueberries thrown in would do the job perfectly.

Unfortunately, I seem to be incapable of making a red velvet anything that actually turns out red.

This time I used Dr Oetker gel colouring, in the past I’ve tried liquid food colouring and even beetroot for a natural version, but nothing seems to produce the vibrant red I’m after. If anyone has any top tips of the best colouring to use, please let me know, I am determined to crack it one day!

Anyway, despite being more mahogany than red, I was actually quite happy with these – the brownie layer was fudgy, the cheesecake layer was distinct, and the flavours all worked well together.

An added bonus of making these is that they reminded me just how amazing blueberries are to bake with, so you can expect to see a few more blueberry treats coming soon!

Blueberry cheesecake brownies (adapted from Foodtastic Mom)

For the brownie layer:

  • 115g butter
  • 55g dark chocolate
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 2 tbsp red food colouring
  • 120g plain flour
  • 1/2tsp salt

For the cheesecake layer:

  • 225g cream cheese
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 100g blueberries

Start by melting the butter and chocolate together in a small bowl. Beat the eggs, sugar, vanilla and food colouring together until light and fluffy, then add the chocolate butter mixture and beat until combined. Sift in the flour and salt, fold into the mix, and then spread into an 8×8″ square tin, greased and lined.

For the cheesecake layer, beat the cream cheese, sugar, egg and vanilla together until smooth, then pour over the brownie mix. Sprinkle the blueberries evenly on top, then bake at 180 degrees (160 fan) for about 35-40 minutes, or until the cheesecake has just set but still has a slight wobble. Leave to cool completely, then slice into bars and keep in the fridge until serving.

Peanut butter cup rocky road

Peanut butter is a pretty big deal in my house. I try and sneak some in to everything I bake. A certain other housemate likes to occasionally (very occasionally) eat it with a piece of chocolate as a spoon. And I definitely don’t judge, because if I had chocolate and a jar of peanut butter right now, I’d be doing it too.

For my birthday this year, I decided to go with an American theme for my party – largely driven by wanting to have loads of American-style food.

Reeses peanut butter cups feature heavily on a lot of the American blogs I read, so I knew they would have to be included somehow.

I bought a bag of mini regular peanut butter cups, and a bag of mini white chocolate peanut butter cups, and although I did briefly consider just putting them in a bowl for people to help themselves, I thought they could be put to better use in this twist on rocky road.

They’re joined by that other American sweet snack favourite, Oreos, to create a super chocolately, crunchy, sweet and salty bar, that was a HUGE hit with all the peanut butter lovers who tried it.

If you have a weakness for peanut butter and chocolate you probably shouldn’t make these to be honest, because they are so insanely addictive you will keep going back for more. But if you have a party to go to, you should definitely make them and instantly become the most popular person there!

Peanut butter cup rocky road

  • 150g milk chocolate
  • 150g dark chocolate
  • 125g butter
  • 3 tbsp golden syrup
  • 225g Oreos
  • 1 bag mini milk chocolate peanut butter cups
  • 1 bag white chocolate peanut butter cups

Heat the chocolate, butter and golden syrup in a heavy-based saucepan, stirring until all the chocolate has melted then set aside to cool. Bash the Oreos and stir these into the chocolate mixture, then chop the peanut butter cups into quarters and add about two thirds of them into the mix. Spread into a 9×9″ square tin, lined with foil, then push the remaining pieces of peanut butter cups on top. Chill in the fridge for a couple of hours, before cutting into squares and serving.

Salted caramel aubergine chocolate torte (GF)

Sorry for the slightly long title, but I really needed to include all the key elements of this cake so you know what we’re talking about.

First up, I lied – it’s not a cake. It it deliciously dense and squidgy, it sinks in the middle – it’s definitely a torte.

It’s chocolate. Super chocolate. But it also has probably the weirdest vegetable I’ve baked with replacing any butter or oil – aubergine.

And then there’s the salted caramel. What dessert isn’t improved by salted caramel?!

This is really a hybrid of two recipes from Green and Black’s Ultimate Chocolate Recipes – Harry Eastwood’s Heartache Cake, which I’ve made before, and a Velvet Salted Caramel Torte.

To make sure the caramel layer would stay in place and not mix in with the cake batter, I tweaked Harry’s recipe to whisk the egg whites separately and fold them into the mix last, so it would hold the weight of the caramel.

It worked – you can’t see too clearly in the photos, but there was a definite layer of caramel, and it took a great chocolate torte to another level – so, so good!

Seriously, don’t be put off by the aubergine, or the hassle of making caramel, it really is worth it – if only I could have another slice now…

Salted caramel aubergine chocolate torte (adapted from the Heartache Cake and Velvet Salted Caramel Torte in Green and Black’s Ultimate Chocolate Recipes)

For the caramel:

  • 90g caster sugar
  • 45ml water
  • 60g butter
  • 60ml double cream
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt (or more if you’re a salt fiend like me)

For the cake:

  • 1 medium aubergine (around 220g)
  • 150g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2 medium eggs, separated
  • 100g clear honey
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 60g ground almonds
  • 1 tbsp baking powder

For the caramel, heat the sugar and water in a saucepan stirring until the sugar dissolves, then leave to simmer until the syrup thickens and turns a rich amber colour. Remove from the heat and immediately whisk in the butter, cream and salt. Pour into a bowl or jug and set aside to cool.

Pierce the aubergine with a skewer or sharp knife all over, microwave for about 8 minutes on high, then leave until cool enough to handle. Peel off the skin, then puree the flesh in a food processor until no lumps remain. Stir in the chopped chocolate until melted – you might need to give it another quick blast in the microwave.

Beat the egg yolks, honey, cocoa powder, almonds and baking powder for about a minute, then add the aubergine chocolate mixture and beat again until well combined. Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks in a separate bowl, then fold these into the cake batter a third at a time.

Spread two thirds of the mixture into a greased and lined 6″ round tin. Pour the caramel on top and spread to within 1cm of the edge of the tin. Top with the remaining cake mix and try to spread it as evenly as you can to cover the caramel.

Bake on a low shelf at 180 degrees (160 fan) for about half an hour, until the cake has risen and a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool completely – it will sink in the middle, but that’s what you want. Remove from the tin, then slice and serve.

Elvis Sandwich Cake

Sun, sea, cake and coffee – I’m not sure there’s much else you need to make a mid-week day off work basically the best thing ever…

This week I treated myself to said day off, in the name of Clandestine Cake Club. Taking place at the Blue Tomato Cafe in Rock, Cornwall, the theme of course had to be ‘Rock n Roll’.

It took me quite a while to decide what to bake, mainly because I was debating the different between generic rock music, and the much more specific rock n roll. Luckily, I knew exactly who to turn to for advice – the fabulous Miss Charlotte White, of Restoration Cake.

Charlotte (who’s first book, Burlesque Baking, is out now, just in time for my birthday, hint, hint, HINT) suggested going down the Elvis route with a peanut butter, banana and salted caramel cake, in honour of the King’s favourite sandwich, and decorating it to look like a record.

I’m not sure my cake entirely lives up to Charlotte’s vision, but I was pretty happy with it nonetheless. Had it spent any longer than half a day out of the fridge the layers may well have been sliding all over the place, but it held up for long enough to look fairly respectful on the table of delicious cakey delights.

It was a pun-tastic cake club, with a Chuck Berry Bundt, Rock n Roulade, Rocky Road, Mint Aerosmith and my personal favourite, ‘Gums n Roses’ cake, adorned with wine gums and Cadbury’s Roses – brilliant!

We were also treated to some barista training from the lovely Mat, who showed us how to make the perfect coffee, create hearts on top of lattes, and even demonstrated the infamous ’12 inches of Italian pleasure’ – a thick and rich hot chocolate topped with marshmallows, whipped cream, a chocolate flake, giant meringue, more whipped cream and a malteser. Amazing!

I’m not going to write out the whole recipe for this cake – the sponge is exactly the same as this one, only increasing all of the ingredients by 50% to fill three 7″ cake tins instead of baking it in the smaller 6″ tins.

I used the caramel recipe from my Millionaire’s Shortbread, and made a peanut butter cream cheese icing by beating 200g cream cheese, 200g smooth peanut butter and 400g icing sugar together until well combined.

I spread a layer of peanut butter icing on the bottom and middle layers, topped with thin slices of banana, and then spread caramel on top. I stacked the cakes, spread more peanut butter icing all over, and then made the record by rolling out black sugar paste and using the cake tin to cut a circle. The lid of the peanut butter was used to cut a circle from the middle, and to cut another circle out of cream coloured icing, which I decorated with a gold icing pen. Done!

Big thank you to the wonderful Sean for all the good photos on this post – you can see all the other cakes on the round up over on the Clandestine Cake Club website. Can’t wait for the next one!

Chocolate pithiviers

This month, two of my favourite blogging challenges (hosted by two of my favourite bloggers) teamed up to create one behemoth of a challenge – We Should Cocoa meets Random Recipes.

Choclette at Chocolate Log Blog and Dom at Belleau Kitchen wanted us to randomly select a recipe to bake this month, but it had to be one involving chocolate. As I have three books dedicated solely to chocolate, I used a random number generator to pick one of them, and then asked my housemate to choose a page number to select my bake.

The book chosen was Green & Black’s Ultimate Chocolate Recipes, and the recipe was Simon Hopkinson’s Chocolate Pithiviers.

Initially I was a little daunted – it involved time consuming homemade puff pastry, and creme patissiere which I’ve never tried making before, but in the spirit of RR I embraced the challenge and dedicated my Sunday to baking.

I was super happy with how these turned out – the creme patissiere was easier than I expected, lump-free and lush tasting, and the pastry puffed properly, with actual discernible layers!

The only thing I felt that let it down was the filling, which could have just done with another depth of flavour, but overall they were definitely a success.

Thanks Choclette and Dom for making me try a recipe I would have never chosen otherwise!

Chocolate pithiviers (from Green & Black’s Ultimate Chocolate Recipes)

For the pastry:

  • 225g butter
  • 225g plain flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 250ml iced water
  • juice of half a lemon

For the filling:

  • 250ml milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 75g sugar
  • 25g plain flour
  • 3 medium egg yolks
  • 110g butter
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 100g chopped dark chocolate
  • 1 egg beaten, to wash

To make the pastry, finely chop the butter and mix into the flour and salt, but don’t rub it in – leave the butter in lumps. Stir in the water and lemon juice and bring together into a dough. Turn it out onto a floured work surface and roll into a rectangle, roughly 18x10cm. Fold the top third down lengthways, then fold the bottom third over that. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 10 minutes, then take it out, turn it 90 degrees, and repeat the rolling and folding. Do this 5 more times – that’s an hour of chilling, rolling and folding!

For the creme patissiere, heat the milk and vanilla in a saucepan until it reaches boiling point. Whisk the sugar, flour and egg yolks until light and fluffy, then slowly pour in the milk, whisking as you go. Return to the saucepan and stir over a low heat, until it thickens to a consistency a bit thicker than custard. Leave to cool completely.

Beat the remaining 110g sugar with the butter until light and fluffy, then add the eggs one at a time. Beat in the cocoa powder and almonds, then finally fold in the cooled creme patissiere and the chopped chocolate, and chill again.

To make the pithiviers, roll out the pastry and cit into four 10x10cm squares and four 15x15cm squares. Place the smaller squares on a baking sheet and dollop a good amount of the filling in the middle (you will have way too much filling though so don’t try to use it all).

Brush the beaten egg around the edges of pastries, then place the larger squares on top and press down to seal. Cut into circles, leaving about 1cm around the filling. Remove the trimmings, then press down all around the edges with a fork. Re-roll the trimmings into another 10cm square and another 15cm square and repeat the process, so you have 5 altogether.

Brush the pithiviers with more egg wash, then score them lightly to get the sort of spirally pattern you can see on mine. Dust with icing sugar, then bake at 200 degrees – the recipe says for 15-20 minutes but mine took nearly an hour to crisp up underneath, no idea why! Serve hot with a dollop of cream – delicious :)

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As this month’s Tea Time Treats challenge, hosted by Karen at Lavender and Lovage, is all about chocolate I’m going to enter these for that as well – three challenges in one, brilliant!

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