Last weekend, we hosted one of Blai’s good friends for lunch. He’s a serious chocoholic and I knew we had to have quite a chocolatey dessert. After a simple fresh tomato and sausage spaghetti, I warmed some brownies in the oven, scooped some vanilla ice cream, and drizzled over homemade hot fudge sauce. Hot fudge chocolate brownie sundaes! Thank you to the Amateur Gourmet for the original idea! I served a bowlful of strawberries and raspberries on the side to decorate one’s own sundae.

If you’re able to bake your own brownies and churn your own ice cream, this would be superb. However, we the time-pressed must opt for some quite ready made products. The ice cream was Green and Black’s vanilla while the brownies were Homestyle Two Bite, a brand I quite like from Canada and available from Whole Foods.

Chocolate Brownie Sundae

I first saw this recipe for hot fudge sauce over at Smitten Kitchen but I’ve tweaked it here for ingredients more easily found in the UK. It’s a tremendously thick and fudgy (almost chewy) sauce that’s wonderful on ice cream! Or even eaten cold with berries.

Sundae and Berries

Hot Fudge Sauce
adapted from Smitten Kitchen

100g 85% cacao dark chocolate
3 tbsps unsalted butter
2/3 cup water
1/3 cup sugar (I used golden caster)
6 tbsps golden syrup
Pinch of salt

Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler (I set a bowl over a pot of water – then used the pot again for the next step). In another pot, boil the 2/3 cup of water. Stir in the melted chocolate and butter and mix until it’s all homogeneous. Stir in the sugar, golden syrup and salt. (I’ll let you in on something: I didn’t really measure the butter or golden syrup. I cut off three tablespoon sized chunks off my block of butter and as for the syrup, I squeezed in six tablespoonish dollops.) Boil for about 9 minutes, stirring from time to time. When the time is up, the sauce should be quite thick and fudgy. Serve on ice cream!

Did anyone else watch that episode of A Taste of My Life with Nigella Lawson, hosted by Nigel Slater? Did anyone crave profiteroles after watching the both of them gobble up a bowlful of them? Am I a greedy guts? (Don’t answer that last one.)

Choux Puffs

This was my first attempt at making choux pastry and a successful attempt it was too. It’s very satisfying making the pastry, especially when it gets all glossy and starts pulling away from the sides of the pot. They make for a fantastic dessert – and I bet they’d be go filled with a savoury mousse too.

Profiteroles

Profiteroles
adapted from both a Nigella Lawson recipe and a Delia Smith recipe
serves 4 (or 2 very greedy people who will regret it)

Choux Pastry
50g butter
150mL water
65g plain flour, sifted
2 free range eggs

Cream Filling
150mL double cream
1/2 tsp vanilla essense or paste
2-3 tbsp icing sugar

Chocolate Sauce
60g dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa)
2 tbsps double cream

For the choux puffs
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Put the water and butter in a pan and heat until the butter has melted. Turn off the heat just when the mixture boils, add all the flour at once and beat it in with a wooden spoon until it’s smooth and pulling away from the sides of the pot. Crack in the eggs one at a time, beating it in with the spoon after each addition. When both eggs have been beaten in, the mixture will be smooth and shiny.
Line a baking sheet with baking parchment and lightly dampen it. Drop heaping teaspoons of paste one inch apart on the tray. I got exactly 20 puffs out of the mixture. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the puffs are golden brown. Do not open the oven while it’s baking or else your puffs could collapse! When they’ve come out, pierce the sides of each puff to let the steam out and return the tray to the oven for another minute or two to dry out. Take them out again and cool the puffs on on a rack.

For the filling
Place the cream and vanilla together in a bowl and whisk until soft peaks are formed. Add the sugar and continue to whisk until it’s a little stiffer. Make sure the choux puffs have cooled completely before filling. You can either split the pastries in half and then sandwich them back together with lots of cream or pipe the cream into the puff through the hole you created to let out steam (I did the latter). The best part about the second method is that if your puffs collapse, you essentially reinflate them with the cream!

Filled with Cream

For the sauce
Place all the ingredients into a double boiler to melt. Stir in water a bit at a time to get it to the thickness/thinness that you desire. After the addition of the water, the chocolate will seize and almost seem to set but keep with the stirring and it will all be incorporated.

Serving
I piled all my filled choux puffs into a shallow bowl and then drizzled chocolate sauce very generously over the lot- I like that look of excess! If you’d rather plate them for individual desserts, I’d suggest placing 3-4 filled choux puffs on each plate and drizzle them with some chocolate sauce.