But I adapt myself to the seasons in the country I chose to live in, as well as I did when I lived in Australia.
So, after a bit of 'Spring' cleaning, I decided to create a delicious sweet tartlet that remind me of sunny times and beautiful things.
The second person is my good friend R. with whom I also shared a house before I left for Australia. She absolutely loves white chocolate and she was always delighted when I brought some back for her or put my hands on a packet of white chocolate powder for hot drinks. And the few times I ate white chocolate since the very start of 2013, I thought of her even more as her new little family grew bigger. So I really want to dedicate this article and recipes to R. and her small family, and especially to her little boy who decided to discover the world we live in 8 weeks early. Welcome little one!
The other memory that I have about white chocolate and sun is a discovery I made a week before leaving Australia. Summer was starting then, and we were trying to spend as much time as we could with our friends and E.'s family, as well as getting a bit of sun before returning to wintery Ireland. A few of us eventually wandered in the most fabulous shop you could think about: Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio. This place is pure sweet food heaven!
And since the day I have stepped in this shop, I have had an obsession for one of their product in particular: the caramelised white chocolate. They sell it as a chocolate bar with puffed quinoa through it. Or you can also taste it in one of their delicious cakes.
The problem is: what do you do when you want something really badly but live thousands of kilometres away from it?
Well, I guess you just have to make it yourself to satisfy your needs. I do not eat a lot of white chocolate as I am more of a dark chocolate addict, but sometimes I have flavours in my head that I really want to taste to be reminded of people or moments of my life.
So, I give you here my version of caramelised white chocolate after a few tries, a few burns (because I seem to be impatient when it comes to tasting melted chocolate) and fingers covered in the delicious stuff (that would be the clumsy part of me).
And keep scrolling down for the recipe of a delicious raspberry and caramelised white chocolate tartlet.
400g good quality white chocolate (pastilles or chopped - minimum 30% cocoa solids)
Preheat the oven to 125ºC.
Pour the white chocolate into a baking dish (approximately 20cm x 20cm or as in the photo above).
Put the dish on the middle shelf of the oven. After 10 minutes, take it out and stir the melted chocolate really well with a spatula or a large spoon. Flatten the chocolate mixture and put the dish back in the oven.
Repeat this action every 10 minutes until the chocolate is caramelised and has the texture and colour of smooth peanut butter. It took me 50 minutes altogether to get the result I was looking for.
If you feel you do not need as much as 400g for your recipe, use less chocolate but cooking time may vary.
It took me a few tries to get this result. First, I used store bought white chocolate. I had to leave it a bit longer as it became really dry at some stage. It was lovely at the end but quite grainy as it did not contain enough cocoa solids. After that, I used Callebaut white chocolate pastilles and it was much better as I got a really smooth texture. The quality of the chocolate is indeed quite important for this recipe.
I poured the chocolate in little moulds and kept it in an airtight container in room temperature as I planned to use it for a few other recipes during the week.
You can use the chocolate afterwards for tempering and create homemade chocolates and bonbons; I used it for a ganache (see recipe below) and it melted beautifully. You could use it for a mousse, tarts, chopped in muffins or brownies, etc. I guess there are many possibilities.
Ingredients (makes 8 tartlets)
For the sweet dough
90g unsalted butter (diced)
50g fine caster sugar
1 free range egg
160g buckwheat flour (plus extra for dusting)
20g almond meal
For the raspberry coulis
250g frozen raspberries (thawed - or fresh ones if in season)
1 tbsp caster sugar
For the caramelised white chocolate ganache
100g double cream
100g caramelised white chocolate (chopped - see recipe above)
15g unsalted cold butter
1. The dough needs to be made early on. Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl. Add the egg and beat well until the texture is fluffy.
Add the buckwheat flour and almond meal. Work the dough until it comes together. Flatten it and wrap in clingfilm . Leave in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
2. When the dough has rested long enough, roll it out on a flat surface dusted with buckwheat flour.
Cut 8 round shapes using a 10cm diameter cutter. Fit them in tartlet tins (10cm diameter). Leave in the fridge for 1 hour.
3. Preheat the oven to 160ºC.
Take the tartlets out of the fridge. Prick the dough with a fork, put the tartlets on the middle shelf of the oven and blind bake them for 15 to 20 minutes, until you get a lovely golden crust.
In the meantime, put the raspberries and sugar in a small saucepan over a medium heat. Let it simmer for 15 to 20 minutes and stir every now and then.
4. When the tartlets are baked, take them out of their tins delicately and put them on a tray. Divide the raspberry coulis between them and set aside.
5. To make the ganache, pour the cream in a small saucepan over a medium heat. When it is boiling, add in the chopped chocolate and stir well until you get a smooth texture.
Take it off the heat, add the butter and stir again until it has melted and you are left with a silky smooth ganache.
Pour the ganache over the raspberry coulis in the tartlets. Leave them on the tray in the fridge for at least one hour before serving.
If you feel like making caramelised white chocolate is too much for you, this recipe will be as delicious with plain white chocolate or some good dark chocolate.