Make restaurant-quality desserts at home with Indulge by Claire Clark, including recipes for Almond Roches, Hibiscus Jellies with Red Berries, and Black Forest Trifle; plus tips and techniques like Tempering Chocolate.
This is a fun twist on a classic dessert. Typically a Black Forest gateau consists of several layers of chocolate cake soaked in Kirschwasser, a cherry-based spirit, plus whipped cream, cherries and chocolate shavings. This brilliant recipe allows you to make a stunning-looking dessert quite simply.
For the chocolate sponge
For the cherries
For the kirsch syrup
For the cream
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C/325 degrees F/Gas Mark 3. Lightly grease a 15cm/6-inch square cake tin and line the base with baking parchment.
Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and cocoa powder into a large mixing bowl. Add the caster sugar and mix well to combine, then make a well in the centre. Combine the white wine vinegar, water, coffee, oil and vanilla in a small bowl and pour into the well in the dry ingredients. Mix well with a wooden or plastic spoon to give a smooth batter. You can do this in an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment but take care not to overmix the batter.
Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake in the centre of the oven for 20-30 minutes, until the surface springs back to the touch and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin.
Drain the juice from the cherries and pour two-thirds of it into a small saucepan. Add the orange juice, kirsch and cinnamon stick and bring slowly to the boil. Mix the sugar and cornflour together in a bowl. Gradually add enough of the remaining cherry juice to make a smooth, loose paste. Pour the boiled cherry juice on to the paste and whisk until smooth. Return the mixture to the pan and bring back to the boil over a low heat, whisking continuously. Lower the heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes, until thickened. Pour the thickened sauce over the cherries in a bowl and leave to cool completely. Once the cherries have cooled a little, cover the bowl with cling film to stop a skin forming.
To make the kirsch syrup, put the sugar and water in a small pan, stir well to dissolve the sugar, then bring to the boil. Remove from the heat immediately, add the kirsch and leave to cool.
For the cream, soak the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water for about 5 minutes, until completely softened. Remove them from the water, squeeze out excess liquid and keep to one side. Bring 50ml/2fl oz of the cream to the boil in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat, add the softened gelatine and stir until the gelatine has dissolved. Leave until the cream is just warm, then add it to the remaining cream with the icing sugar and whisk to firm peaks.
To assemble the trifles, cut the chocolate sponge into 2.5cm/1-inch cubes. Place a couple of pieces of sponge in each of 8 serving glasses or dishes and, using a pastry brush, soak them well with the kirsch syrup. Place a large spoonful of the thickened cherries on top of the sponge. Using a piping bag fitted with a 1 cm/1/2-inch plain nozzle, pipe the whipped cream into the glasses: keep the piping tip next to the side of the glass and pipe several vertical lines up to the edge of the glass. As you pipe, press the tip into the cherries so some of the thickened juice moves up the sides of the glass.
Place more thickened cherries into the glass, especially between the lines of piped cream. Place another cube or two of sponge into the centre of the glass. Finish by piping cream over the top of the cherries and sponge and smoothing it flat with a palette knife. Decorate with chocolate curls, a few fresh cherries and a little of the thickened cherry juice. Dust with icing sugar.
Once you have made the basic products for the trifle, you can assemble it very quickly. The sponge can be frozen for up to 3 weeks and the thickened cherries and kirsch syrup will keep in the fridge for 3 days.
This page created April 2008
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