Tag Archives: Meringue

Hilda Gerber’s Chocolate Sauce

20 Dec

Hilda Gerber’s chocolate sauce is amazing.

It’s amazingly naughty and amazingly rich and for me an amazingly strong memory of Christmas and Hogmanay from my childhood.  It’s also ridiculously easy to make.  And once you can make Hilda Gerbers (the sauce is always just called Hilda Gerbers in our family) you can make the infamous Meringue Mountain, all gloriously seventies.

Hilda Gerber was a cookery writer in the 30s and 40s in South Africa.  Her manuscript for Traditional Cooking of the Cape Malays was found and published after her death in 1954.  Cape Malays are the descendents of slaves and political exiles, mostly from Indonesia and Bengal, who were brought to the Cape of Good Hope in the 17th and 18th century by the Dutch East India Company.  Their name derives from the trader language they spoke, called Malayu.  During the apartheid years any Cape Malay who converted from Islam to Christianity was reclassified as Cape Coloured. Their spices and condiments from the East, which arrived on the ships on their way back to Holland, pepped up the bland Dutch recipes in their colonial kitchens.

I intend to seek out some Malay recipes – I think the only one I have is Bobotie from my Aunt Joyce.  But surely I can get a Bredie recipe from my Aunt Astri?  And I’ve wanted to make mebos (delicious nuggets of salty-sweet dried fruit) for AGES but I suspect Scotland does not have the climate for drying fruit.

Anyway, Hilda Gerber used to ask local Malay women for recipes, so she could record them for posterity and compile a recipe book.  Some of the Malay women silently sabotaged her efforts to create an indigenous cookbook, and would miss out a key ingredient, such as the milk in potato pudding, so any efforts to make it will end up with potato scrambled eggs.  Hmmm, I’ll bet you’re not wanting to make this chocolate sauce now?

Anyway, all of that I have discovered in the last 24 hours, but Hilda Gerbers (the sauce) has been known to me all my life.  I wasn’t exactly weaned on it (although if I was it would go some way to explaining my current size) but it was always there on special occasions.  I suspect the recipe came via my grandmother who lived for many years from the 30s through to the 80s in South Africa.  So, here we go:

Hilda Gerbers Rich Chocolate Sauce

4oz dark chocolate

4oz icing sugar

4 eggs

8oz butter

  1. In a bowl over a pan of water, melt the chocolate.  Make sure the bowl is big enough to take everything, as all the other ingredients will be added to this later.
  2. Once melted, add the icing sugar.  You’ll think it’s all gone badly wrong, when it turns into rubble, but trust me, it’s ok.
  3. Add eggs and beat in, one by one.  Keep warm, but do NOT boil. It’s looking a bit better now, huh?
  4. Now take off the heat and cut the butter into chunks into the mixture.  Stir a bit, but leave to melt in and then stir a bit again
  5. That’s it.
  6. Leave it somewhere cool. Then eat.

Or, instead of just eating it by the spoonful, make a Meringue Mountain.

Make some meringues, the more the better.  Big ones, little ones, medium ones.  Crunchy ones and chewy ones.  Just lots.

And beat some cream, with a wee bit of sugar and vanilla if you want, but it’s not really necessary.

Now make the mountain. Stick some meringues to the bottom of your dish with a dab of cream.  Now squidge some cream on top of the meringues, so you can add another layer.  And keep going with layers of meringue and cream until you have a mountain.  Then pour the chocolate sauce over the top.  You’ll need to have taken it out of the fridge a while before pouring, or it just won’t pour.  Think about it, it’s mostly butter and chocolate which are quite solid in a fridge.

You can do all manner of other things with it other than the Meringue Mountain, but remember it is incredibly rich – so you won’t need much of it.  I suspect it would be good with a teeny tiny chocolate brownie and some vanilla icecream.  Or have I just gone too far?

Oh, and don’t even think of giving this to pregnant women. Or getting pregnant while you’re eating it.  DANGER.

I’m about to go make a batch to have on Christmas Eve.  Nom nom nom.

Daring kitchen challenge

29 Mar

Do you know the Daring Kitchen website?  If you like a challenge, and you love cooking, then this is the site for you.  Go google it. (i’d put in a linky thing, but I seem to have lost the ability to do that).

Anyway, the March 2011 Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Ria of Ria’s Collection and Jamie of Life’s a Feast. Ria and Jamie challenged The Daring Bakers to bake a yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake.

It was awesome.  It was something I would NEVER have attempted, but in reality it was actually pretty straightforward to make. So, thank you Daring Kitchen for encouraging me to make this scrumptious cakey thing.

My instruction was to make two cakes, but I just made the one.  This is the recipe for making the one cake, approx 10” in diameter.   I have included the alternative filling ingredients at the end… and I think I might try this alternative version in the next couple of weeks.  After I’ve moved flat.

 

The Daring Baker's finished product

 

FILLED MERINGUE COFFEE CAKE

Not sure why it’s called a coffee cake, there is no coffee in it. Perhaps it’s a technical term for a cake made with yeast?  Any thoughts anyone?

Ingredients

For the yeast cake dough:

2 cups (300 g / 12oz) flour
1/8 cup (25 g / 1 oz.) sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½  sachet (1 tsp) active dried yeast
3/8 cup (90 ml / 3 fl. oz.) whole milk
1/8 cup (30 ml / 1 fl. oz. water (doesn’t matter what temperature)
¼ cup (65 g / 2.5oz.) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 large egg at room temperature

For the meringue:

2 egg whites at room temperature
pinch of salt
½ teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup (55 g / 2 oz.) sugar

For the filling:

½ cup (55 g / 2 oz.) chopped pecans or walnuts
1 Tbsp (15 g / ½ oz.) granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup (85 g / 3 oz.) dark chocolate, chopped roughly

Egg wash: 1 beaten egg
Cocoa powder (optional) and confectioner’s sugar (powdered/icing sugar) for dusting cakes

Directions:

Prepare the dough:

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 1/3 cups of the flour with the sugar, salt and yeast.
  • In a saucepan, combine the milk, water and butter and heat over medium heat until warm and the butter is just melted. Ria’s version: add the 10 saffron threads to the warmed liquid and allow to steep off of the heat for 10 minutes. This will give the mixture a distinct aroma and flavor and a yellowish-orange hue.
  • With an electric mixer on low speed, gradually add the warm liquid to the flour/yeast mixture, beating until well blended. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes. Add the eggs and ½ cup flour and beat for 2 more minutes.
  • Using a wooden spoon, stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a dough that holds together. Turn out onto a floured surface (use any of the remaining flour) and knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes until the dough is soft, smooth, sexy and elastic, keeping the work surface floured, adding extra flour as needed.
  • Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until double in bulk (probably about 45 – 60 minutes). The rising time will depend on the type of yeast used and the temperature of the room

 

Beating the dough

The lovely smooth, silky dough, before it's started rising

Prepare your filling:

  • In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon and sugar for the filling. Chop your chocolate and nuts, and keep them in separate bowls.

Once the dough has doubled, make the meringue:

  • Beat the egg whites with the salt, first on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high and continue beating until foamy and opaque.
  • Add the vanilla then start adding the sugar, a tablespoon at a time as you beat, until very stiff, glossy peaks form.

Assemble the Coffee Cakes:

  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Punch down the dough and divide in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a 20 x 10-inch (about 51 x 25 ½ cm) rectangle.
  • Spread the meringue evenly over the rectangle up to about 1/2-inch (3/4 cm) from the edges.
  • Sprinkle the filling evenly over the meringue.
  • Now, roll up the dough jellyroll style, from the long side. Pinch the seam closed to seal.
  • Very carefully transfer the filled log to one of the lined cookie sheets, seam side down. Bring the ends of the log around and seal the ends together, forming a ring, tucking one end into the other and pinching to seal.
  • Using kitchen scissors or a sharp knife (although scissors are easier), make cuts along the outside edge at 1-inch (2 ½ cm) intervals. Make them as shallow or as deep as desired but don’t be afraid to cut deep into the ring.
  • Cover the cakes with plastic wrap and allow them to rise again for 45 to 60 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  • Brush the top of the cake with the egg wash.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes until risen and golden brown. The dough should sound hollow when tapped.
  • Remove from the oven and slide the parchment paper off the baking sheet onto the table. Very gently loosen the cake from the paper with a large spatula and carefully slide the cake onto a cooling rack.
  • Allow to cool.
  • Just before serving, dust the top of the cake with icing sugar and cocoa powder if using chocolate in the filling. I forgot to do this and it didn’t seem to mar the enjoyment of the cake.

These cakes are best eaten fresh, the same day or the next day, although I quite liked it as it got slightly chewier after a day or two.  But ok, best on the day it’s made.  Warm with ice cream.  Oh yes!

For the other version you will need 10 strands saffron for the dough.  (Saffron might be hard to find and it’s expensive, so you can substitute with ½ – 1 teaspoon of ground cardamom or ground nutmeg.)

Ria’s version filling:
1 cup (130 g / 5 oz.) chopped cashew nuts
2 Tablespoons (30 g / 1 oz.) granulated sugar
½ teaspoon garam masala (You can make it at home – recipe below – or buy from any Asian/Indian grocery store)
1 cup (170g / 6 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips ( I used Ghirardelli)

 

**Garam (means “hot”) masala (means “mixture”) is a blend of ground spices and is used in most Indian savory dishes. It is used in limited quantities while cooking vegetables, meats & eggs. There is no “one” recipe for it as every household has a recipe of their own. Below, I am going to share the recipe which I follow.

4 or 5 sticks (25 g) Cinnamon Sticks (break a stick and open the scroll)
3 ½ tablespoons (25 g / less than an ounce) Cloves, whole
100 g. (3.5 oz.) Fennel seeds
4 tablespoons (25 g / less than an ounce) Cumin seeds
1 ½ tablespoons (10 g / less than half an ounce) Peppercorns
25 g (less than half an ounce) Green Cardamom pods

In a small pan on medium heat, roast each spice individually (it hardly takes a minute) until you get a nice aroma. Make sure you stir it throughout so that it doesn’t burn. As soon as each spice is roasted, transfer it to a bowl to cool slightly. Once they are all roasted, grind into a fine powder by using a coffee grinder, or pestle & mortar. Store in an airtight container and use as needed.

 

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