When making this, I had to search my blog in case I’d made something like this before. I have a severe weakness for ‘black forest’-flavoured things and I appear to have 4 separate choc-cherry desserts in my collection!
This one has been back and forth with In Search of Heston and me, we’ve noticed how obsessed Heston Blumenthal is with both Black Forest things. and trifle. There was one made for Waitrose but to be honest it sounded weird (lime?). This version is not likely one that Heston would make – not quite enough genius touches – but a tribute nonetheless. A Heston version would no doubt spherify intense cherry compote into cherry shapes and impale them with a stick of dark chocolate for the stem. This version is dead easy to do, kid-friendly (if you skip the Kirsch) and great fun to assemble.
I also hadn’t planned on sticking a biscuit in the top, but a friend had brought these smashing things from Border and they were tremendous. I could’ve skipped making this and just eaten the biscuits instead, they were that good.
Black forest trifle (serves 4):
1 chocolate swiss roll
1 jar black cherry jam
Kirsch (a couple of tablespoons I guess)
500g chocolate custard
1 meringue nest
Dark chocolate (for grating)
- Put swiss roll slices at the bottom of your trifle bowl or individual serving dishes. Douse with Kirsch. Slather the swiss roll with jam.
- Halve nine of the cherries and stone them. Bury the cherries in the jam. Steep the remaining 4 cherries in a little Kirsch until time to serve.
- Top the jammy cherries with chocolate custard and refrigerate until serving. Top with crumbled meringue nest, squirty cream, a grating of chocolate and a final boozy whole cherry.
If there’s a dessert I’m guaranteed to go giddy for, it’s Black Forest Gateau. The combination of cherry, chocolate and cream is just perfect. And so if I see an opportunity to reinvent it, I’m there.
I wanted to reuse one of my favourite recipes of this year was Russian honey cake. It’s such an enjoyable technique I knew it had legs. And this black forest version proves it: the ‘cake’ is quite biscuity, but if you can stand to leave it in the fridge for a couple of nights, you will have a dense, squidgy and super moreish cake. So good.
Black forest cake (makes a cake about 20cm x 10cm):
For the dough:
3 large eggs
A big pinch of vanilla salt
220g caster sugar
70g black cherry jam (I like Tiptree)
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
For the cream:
700ml double cream
180g caster sugar
The rest of the jar of black cherry jam
Dark chocolate (I found Co-op did a marvellous one with cranberries in that was perfect)
- Preheat the oven to 170°C. Line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper, then give that a little extra grease. Melt together the butter and jam until fluid and then turn off the heat.
- Whisk together the eggs, salt and sugar until pale and fluffy. Gradually whisk in the cherry jam butter a trickle at a time, and then sift in the bicarb, cocoa and flour. Stir until combined to a dough – this will be quite firm, more like a biscuit dough than a cake batter. Using wet hands press this mixture in to your baking tray, as thin as you can. Bake for around 8 – 10 mins, until the it is golden on top and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Peel off the paper and leave to cool.
- While it cools make the cream. Whip the cream and sugar until soft but still a touch runny, then incorporate the mascarpone and keep beating until it just holds its shape.
- When cool, slice the cake into long thirds. Then proceed to cut in half horizontally, by placing your hand on top and slicing across with your sharpest bread knife. You want a thickness of about 5mm.
- Slather one side of the cake slices with jam, and the other with cream. Sandwich together to make a giddy tower. Be generous with the cream as it is going to get absorbed by the sponge. Smooth some more cream over the top and sides of the cake and leave to set in the fridge for about 12 hours.
- Before serving grate over some dark chocolate.
At the risk of sounding like a raging sycophant, I haven’t yet come across a Jamie 30 Minute Meal that isn’t a) extremely doable in the time, and b) darn tasty to boot. But they just are!
This chicken pie is no exception. A rich and tasty pie that ticks all the “chicken pie please” boxes. There’s supposed to be peas & lettuce simmered in stock with this too, but the carrots were enough for me.
Dessert was a rapid and shameless quick switcheroo from a different 30 minute meal, but just what I fancied. Thick, creamy and sweet too.
30 minute chicken pie, smashed carrots and mascarpone cherries (serves 2):
For the pie:
2 skinless chicken breasts, sliced into 1 cm pieces
1 red onion, peeled
7 – 8 chestnut mushrooms
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon English mustard
1 tablespoon creme fraiche
200ml chicken stock
A few sprigs of thyme, leaves picked
1 sheet of pre-rolled puff pastry
For the smash:
4 – 5 carrots
Handful of parsley, roughly chopped
For the mascarpone cherries:
½ tin cherries
150g tub mascarpone
A little milk
1 heaped teaspoon icing sugar
Some shortbread biscuits
- Get the oven on 200°C, the kettle full and boiling, a big frying pan on a low heat, a large lidded saucepan on a low heat and chuck the thick slicer disc in the food processor.
- Add a little oil and butter to the frying pan, add the chicken and fry for a couple of minutes. Throw the mushrooms and onion into the food processor, slice and add to the pan. Stir in the flour, work it around the pan then add the mustard, creme fraiche, stock, thyme and nutmeg. Leave to simmer.
- Slice the carrots in the food processor and add to the saucepan. Cover with water from the kettle and bring up the heat – simmer for 15 minutes until tender.
- Check the chicken mix for seasoning, then tip into a baking dish. Cover with a sheet of puff pastry and slice liberally with a knife, then brush over the beaten egg. Pop in the oven for 15 minutes or until golden and puffed up.
- For the dessert, crumble some biscuits in the bottom of a serving bowl. Mix the mascarpone with some milk to slacken to a creamy paste, then stir in the sugar. Plop this on top of the biscuit and dot with cherries, tipping on a little of the tin juice with it. Put to one side until dinner’s done.
- Back at the carrots, if they’re tender drain, season, add a splash of oil and seasoning, then stir through the parsley. Get the pie out of the oven and start eating!