Sprigs of blossom in a vase? Yes. Painted eggs? Obvs. Eggs hanging from said blossom? Deffo. Pompoms in the colours of French macarons? Affirmative. Hats made of daffodils? Oui.
The edible stuff offers the ultimate joy though. Last week I made chocolate All Bran mini egg nests that required half a tin of golden syrup and were denser than lead. They spread joy thoughout the land (well throughout my family anyway).
chocolatiers at Easter time. Legend has it that it was made by mistake in a
posh French restaurant when an apprentice dropped some chocolate into warm
cream. When these two met the former melted slowly and gently in the latter to
form a thick, glossy, chocolatey cream that cooled into a dense cocoa- and
dairy-laden delight. The chef called the apprentice an ‘idiot’ for his mistake.
The French for idiot is ‘ganache’. It’s
one of the finest substances known to humankind and it makes me do unseemly
groans. Grab lumps of it, roll them into rough balls, chuck them into cocoa
powder and you’ve made your own truffles and can pretend you’re Juliet Binoche
grinding things in a twirly fifties frock and smiling saucily at Johnny Depp.
the temperature of the cream is too high something awful happens- the chocolate
splits into a dull brown, grainy, cement-like goo with an accompanying oily
liquid. Its fancy chocolatier moment is gone forever and it will never tumble
happily in cocoa powder. It’s all too
easy to balls up ganache-making so I’ve only attempted it twice. The first time
I made a bowl of truffley joy that lasted approx. 9 minutes before it was
gobbled up by my family and I. The second time I could have grouted my bathroom
with the matter I made. It was a thick sludge of sadness (although it still
tasted pretty good).
returned from Beaver Cubs. ‘Mummy!’ she exclaimed ‘I’ve made CHOCOLATE
CONKERS’. She was clutching a paper plate covered with some dubious-looking
smears and seven wonky brown lumps in paper cases. Ever encouraging to my
offspring’s handmade endeavours I said:
proudly, then scampered upstairs.
trepidation. Several questions sprang to mind. Why has an entire troupe of
Beaver Cubs made plates of what look like small donkey poos? Was she right
about the cheese? Shall I eat one? Tea was still an hour or two off so I
decided to be brave and bit into a lump. Presently a small choir of chocolatey
angels began singing in my insides. It tasted like creamy ganache. I needed to
know the recipe immediately. After grilling my six year old she offered
‘chocolatey rectangle sandwich biscuits with little holes in and creamy cheese
in a tub.’
disappointing of biscuits. They promise so much: creamy filling encased by two
crisp rectangles, all apparently laden with chocolate, but they never deliver.
The cocoa flavour is shadowy – it’s barely there, the filling is insipid and
the biscuits taste almost dusty. I shunned this biscuit at an early age after
being duped by a bourbon in my Aunty Mabel’s biscuit tin. By eating this wonky
lump made by a six year old in a village hall I felt I had experienced
something momentous: the redemption of the Bourbon. By bishing it up with the
end of a rolling pin and mixing it with Philadelphia a sort of divine
ganache-like substance had been generated. Archela/Barn Owl/BeaverQueen is
clearly a genius.
miraculous, instant, cheaty, delicious ganache-like substance. I chilled it in
the fridge, scooped lumps out of the bowl, rolled them into (slightly wonky)
eggs and coated them in chocolate. Then I put pretty things on them and
pretended I was a swanky chocolatier with a chocolaterie in the Rue de la Doo
Dah in Paris. OH YES.
Half a pack of Bourbons (around 8
or 9 -own brand are fine)
Half a tub of cream cheese (about
120-140 g philidelphia or own brand work equally well)
cocoa powder (I used Green and Blacks)
bag (if you have one) or a big bowl. Either roll (if in bag) or bish (if in
bowl) with the end of a rolling pin until they become crushed into sand-like
bowl add the cocoa powder and start adding the crumbs, blending them with the
cheese with a spoon. Continue adding the crumbs and blending until your mixture
is a uniform creamy brown.
minutes. Remove from the fridge and take lumps of the mixture, roll it quickly
in your hands and pop on a baking sheet covered in greasproof paper. Put back
into the fridge for 20-30 minutes to harden a little. Eat straight away if
truffles/eggs melt your favourite chocolate in the microwave on low. Place one
of your truffles into the chocolate and roll it about gently using two forks.
Lift out of the bowl, allowing excess chocolate to drop back in and place onto
a baking sheet covered in greaseproof.
place decorations onto your eggs/chocolates.
the chocolate to solidify then scoff with glee