I was extremely lucky to be invited to a very special event recently. Cooking brunch with Gizzi Erskine
food crush alert. Learning from one of my favourite chefs in such a close and personal environment was priceless, and I definitely picked up a fair few handy hints and tips when it comes to cooking the perfect brunch.
Hosted by Nescafe Dolce Gusto (who do pretty epic coffee by the way), we we challenged to re-create two of Gizzi’s recipes which could be teamed perfectly with coffee. Being a big coffee fan, the combination of the two was a recipe for a very exciting day indeed.
First up we were divided into teams of four and taught the magic of Gizzi’s Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart (cue extreme drooling). Please note that the tart is not gluten free. If your allergy isn’t too severe however, I’d recommend just eating the top and centre and leaving the base – still tastes very very good indeed! Or instead make your own gluten free pastry. Gizzi admitted that although she’s a chef, she doesn’t specialise in baking, so if you’re looking for an easier option to creating pastry, roll-out is the way forward.
My team consisted of the very lovely Helen
of The Crazy Kitchen, Sophie
of La Fashion Folie and Alice – a nutritionist from Necafe.
Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart
Serves: 16 (or far less if you’re as greedy as me)
Prep time: 1:15 – 1:30
Cook time: 1 hour
Here’s what you need
For the chocolate tart:
150g unsalted butter
1 x pack of ready to roll short crust pastry (based on 200g pastry used for tart-25cm)
160g good quality chocolate (Lindt or Green & Blacks 70%)
8tbsp cocoa powder
Small pinch of salt if required.
180g caster sugar
3tbsp golden syrup
3tbsp single cream
Grease a tart tin (25cm) with butter and then dust flour inside, place the pastry inside and blind bake in the over on 170°C for 30-35 minutes.
Tip from Gizzi: when attempting to fit the pastry into the tin, don’t tear off the excess before baking. Bake first and then use the side of a large knife to scrape off the edge. This will leave your tart fitting perfectly to the edge (see photos below).
Cook the tart without the blind bake for the last 5 minutes of cooking.
When the pastry is cooked and starts to get a little brown take it out and leave to cool. In the meantime, make the caramel by melting the sugar and a splash of water in a saucepan on a medium heat until it is a light golden colour, then whisk in the butter and then the double cream. Finish with the salt.
Pour the caramel into the cooked tart and place in the fridge to set for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 140°C.
When the caramel has almost set, start making the chocolate mix by melting the butter, chocolate, cocoa powder and salt in a bain marie (a bowl held above a saucepan of simmering water) stirring until it’s smooth.
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and sugar together until light and well creamed, followed by the golden syrup and double cream. Add the chocolate mixture and mix well.
Pour the mix into the tart on top of the set caramel and bake in the oven for 40-45mins.
While the tart baked in the oven and the sweet smells of chocolate and melted caramel filled the kitchen, it was time to start our brunch. I was thrilled to discover the sweetcorn fritters with roasted chorizo, tomatoes and avocado were actually gluten free (hooray!) as cornflour and polenta are used to bind the fritta.
Sweetcorn Fritters with Roasted Chorizo, Tomatoes and Avocado
Pre time: 15 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
200g sweetcorn, freshly cut off the cob
2 spring onion, finely sliced
1 green chili, halved seeded and thinly sliced
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
15g corn flour
Oil for frying
4 cooking chorizos
250g cherry tomatoes on the vine
1 avocado, sliced
The juice of lemon or lime
Heat the oven to 200°C. Rub the chorizo with oil and pop in the oven to roast for 20 minutes for the last 10 minutes add in the cherry tomatoes drizzling them with some oil too.
Mix together the corn, spring onion, chili, egg, buttermilk, polenta, corn flour, and seasoning in a large bowl. Now leave covered in the fridge to rest for 15 minutes.
Heat a frying pan and add a little oil.
Spoon into the hot pan a half of the fritter mixture into 2 -4 dollops (they will spread out), and cook it for 1-2 minutes until it is golden underneath, and it starts to bubble up. Using a wide spatula, flip it over carefully and cook on the other side for a minute, then remove to a warm plate while you cook the rest.
Serve the fritters between 4 plates. Top with chorizo, roasted tomatoes, avocado, squeeze over the lemon juice and serve with fresh coriander.
After enjoying the frittas – one of the best brunches I’ve ever had BY FAR – it was time to sit back, relax and hear a little more about Nescafe Dolce Gusto, of course whilst sampling some of their delicious coffee. A favourite of mine was the cappuccino which was the perfect sweetness with an excellent combo of both coffee and froth. It’s pretty cool how simple the coffee can be created in the comfort of your own home.
I prefer my coffee best with something sweet, so indulging in the deliciously rich melt-in-the-middle salted caramel tart whilst enjoy a coffee after a mornings’s work in the kitchen, was perfect.
Check out Nescafe Dolce Gusto’s fab new website where you can find out all about the great variety of hot drinks available or like them on Facebook for lots of up to date coffee news.
Now tell me you don’t want a slice of that?