This rich dark chocolate sponge makes a great alternative Christmas cake, or dinner party dessert
- 225g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
- 250g dark chocolate (70% cocoa), broken into squares
- 5 large eggs
- 225g light muscovado sugar, squished through your fingers to remove any lumps
- 85g ground almond
- 50g plain flour, plus an extra 1 tbsp
- 150ml double cream
- 100g bar dark chocolate (70% cocoa), roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp icing sugar, sifted
- handful pomegranate seeds
MethodHeat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Put the butter and chocolate in a medium bowl and gently melt together, either over a pan of simmering water or in the microwave. Stir until smooth, then set aside.
- a little oil
- 8 chicken thigh fillets, skin and bones removed, each cut into 2-3 pieces
- 2 tbsp ras-el-hanout or Moroccan tagine spice mix
- 500ml hot chicken stock
- 350g bulghar wheat
- 2 x 100g tubs pomegranate seeds
- bunch mint, chopped, plus a few leaves to serve
- Heat a little oil in a large casserole dish (with a tight-fitting lid). Coat the chicken pieces with some seasoning, and half of the spice mix and add to the pan, brown well on all sides.
- Add the remaining spice mix and cook for 1 min. Pour over the stock, season and stir, then cover and cook for 25 mins over a low-medium heat.
- Remove the lid, increase the heat to a medium simmer and add the bulghar wheat. Cook for 10 mins, then re-cover, turn off the heat and leave to stand for a further 10 mins.
- When all the liquid has been absorbed and the bulghar wheat is tender, stir through the chopped mint and scatter over the pomegranate seeds.
- 2 x 7g sachets fast-action dried yeast
- 600g '00' flour, sponge flour or plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 50g golden caster sugar
- 400ml warm milk
- 50g melted salted butter, plus extra for greasing and to serve
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 200g jar Nutella, plus extra to serve (optional)
- 200g raspberries
- 1-2 tbsp chopped hazelnut
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- raspberry jam, to serve
- Up to 3 days before you want to bake (and best if at least 1 day), mix the yeast, 400g of the flour, the sugar and 1 tsp salt in a big bowl. Whisk together the milk, melted butter and egg, then tip into the dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon. Cover tightly with greased cling film and chill at least overnight or up to 3 days.
- When you’re ready to finish the bread, heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Add the remaining flour to the dough and use your hands to mix in. Tip onto a lightly floured surface and lightly knead to completely bring together. Roll out with a little more flour to a 50 x 30cm rectangle. Spread the Nutella all over the dough. Scatter the raspberries evenly over, then press lightly with your hands so they stick into the dough a bit.
- With a long side facing you, roll up as tightly as you can (like a Swiss roll). Use a sharp knife, dusted with a little flour, to cut the roll in half down the length – but not quite through at one end, so the 2 strips are still joined. Twist the 2 strips together, then bring the ends together to make a wreath, pinching the ends together to stick. Lift onto a baking sheet, scatter with the hazelnuts and granulated sugar, and bake for 30-40 mins until browned and crusty.
- Cool until just warm. Serve with butter, raspberry jam and extra Nutella, if you like.
- 375g pack sweet pastry
- 200g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
- 2 tbsp double cream
- 1 tbsp Disaronno or brandy (optional)
- 2 large eggs, plus 1 yolk
- 50g caster sugar
- 85g macadamia nut, chopped
- icing sugar, to decorate
- Heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Roll out the pastry to the thickness of a £1 coin and line 4 tartlet cases (about 10 x 3cm). Trim the excess off by rolling a rolling pin over the top of the cases to make a neat edge. Firm up in the freezer for 30 mins. Line with greaseproof paper and baking beans, then cook on a baking sheet for 15 mins. Remove the beans and paper, then cook for 3-5 mins more until the pastry is pale golden and biscuity.
- While the pastry is cooking, melt the chocolate, cream and alcohol, if using, in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs, yolk and sugar until light and frothy. Briefly whisk the melted chocolate into the eggs and fold through most of the chopped macadamia nuts.
- Divide the chocolate mixture between the cases and scatter with the remaining nuts. Uncooked tarts can now be frozen. Bake for 12 mins or 20 mins from frozen. The tops of the tarts will soufflé up and they should still be soft in the middle. Serve sprinkled with icing sugar.