Friday, 7 January 2011

Green tea and chocolate ganache gateau with ginger ice cream and ginger biscuits

I have decided to start the new year with a little cross-posting, because one of the highlights of the end of 2010 for me was being asked to write an article for the ES Magazine on a venture of mine which I have mentioned on here before: Alphabet Soup. I am cooking my way through the letters of the alphabet and although I am currently about to embark on the letter J, I am shamefully behind in my write-ups and have just posted the letter G, but I am determine to catch up so I can stop chasing my tail.

For G night's pudding, I made a gold glittered green tea and chocolate ganache gateau with ginger ice cream topped with a ginger biscuit and I thought I'd share the recipe with you here.

I wanted to make a pudding involving green tea, as I love the bitter tang it gives sweet things as well as the extraordinary colour - which is strange really, because I've always found green tea, as a drink, a bit nothing-y. I am also particularly keen on the combination of green tea and ginger, so I thought a home-made ginger ice cream would be a winner. And I was right. The addition of the little ginger biscuit added an extra little punch of aromatic warmth as well as an extra layer of texture with its pleasing crunch.

The gold glitter top received many "oohs" and "aahs" - absolute essentials for any Guy Fawkes Night and I was thrilled we didn't miss out on making these traditional noises, even though we didn't have any actual fireworks.

Gold glittered green tea and chocolate ganache gateau

Green tea layering cake

You can make a gluten-free version of this cake, by substituting the plain flour for more ground almonds.

Preheat the oven to 180 C (160 C Fan) and grease and line a large roulade tin.

3 whole eggs
5 egg whites
A pinch of salt
2 oz/ 50 g caster sugar
1 1/2 oz/ 40 g unsalted butter, melted
2 oz. 50 g plain flour, sifted
7 oz/ 175 g icing sugar, sifted
7 oz/ 175 g ground almonds
6 tsp green tea powder (matcha)

Whisk together the whole eggs and icing sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the almonds and continue to whisk on high speed for about five minutes. Stir in the melted butter and then the flour and green tea powder until fully incorporated. In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites with the salt until they reach the soft peak stage. Add the sugar in stages, whisking in between, until you have a stiff and glossy meringue. Add a generous spoonful of the meringue to the ground almond mixture and beat vigorously to slacken it. Fold in the remaining meringue in stages and then pour the mixture out into your prepared tin. Level the top with a palate knife and bake for 10 - 15 minutes or until the cake is no longer sticky to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Chocolate ganache filling

I like a ganache to be rich and darkly chocolatey, but you can always substitute some of the dark chocolate for milk if your palate demands it. Personally, I have always felt that milk chocolate is sickly when used in cookery, so I've always felt much more at home on the dark side.

When making ganache, it's easiest to think metrically - for every 100 g of chocolate, you'll need 100 ml of cream.

400 g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)
400 ml double cream
A small pinch of salt
1 vanilla pod
Icing sugar, to taste

Chop the chocolate into small, evenly sized pieces (this is a tiresome business if you don't have a sharp knife, so get sharpening) and place in a large bowl. Place the cream in a saucepan and split the vanilla pod and scrape the seeds out into the pan. I usually throw the pod in too for good measure. Heat the cream and vanilla gently until it is barely boiling and immediately take the cream off the heat. Wait 30 seconds before passing the cream through a sieve (if you stuck the pod in, you won't need to bother with a sieve if you left it out) on to the chopped chocolate. Leave the cream to begin to melt the chocolate for one minute, before carefully stirring the mixture with a rubber spatula until all the chocolate has melted and you have a thick, smooth and glossy ganache. Stir in the salt. Sift a spoonful of icing sugar into the ganache and mix it in. Taste for sweetness and sift in more sugar if needed. Leave the ganache to cool completely. It will thicken on cooling. Once cool, whisk the ganache (an electric hand whisk is best here if you have one) to aerate it and make it more spreadable.

Gateau assembly

Trim the edges off of your green tea cake and cut lengthwise into four. Using a palate knife, spread one layer of the cake with a generous layer of ganache. Place the second layer of cake on top and repeat. Once the final layer is on, smooth the top and sides with a generous covering of ganache. Sprinkle the top of the gateau with edible gold glitter (which is available from most cake decorating suppliers). Slice the gateau and serve alongside the ice cream topped with a ginger biscuit.

Ginger ice cream

This was a real hit on the night and Jane from Really Hungry liked it so much she couldn't wait for me to write up my blog post to get the recipe. If you have an ice cream maker, don't forget to pop it in the freezer the night before you want to make this.

for the custard 

If you are making fresh custard as an accompaniment instead of as a component to this ice cream, you will only need half the amount of sugar and you should add a scraped out vanilla pod to the cream when you heat it or, failing that, a few drops of vanilla extract.

4 egg yolks
4 oz/ 100 g caster sugar
12 fl. oz/ 350 ml double cream

Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a large bowl until pale and fluffy. Heat the cream in a saucepan until it is barely boiling and pour it on to the eggs, whisking all the time. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and whisk over a gentle heat until the custard has thickened - dip a dessert spoon into the custard and once you can draw a line with your finger down the back of the spoon, the custard is ready. Transfer to a clean, cold bowl or jug and leave to cool. Popping a sheet of clingfilm over the top of the jug will prevent a skin from forming.

to make the ice cream

1 quantity of custard (as above)
1 pot (227 g) of clotted cream
The ginger syrup from 1 jar of stem ginger
4-6 stem ginger balls, finely chopped

Simply mix together the cold custard and clotted cream with the ginger syrup and place in the fridge for an hour to get really cold, before pouring it into your ice cream maker. Follow the manufacturer's instructions, but mine takes roughly 20 minutes. Once set, add the chopped stem ginger and allow the machine to churn it through. Transfer the ice cream into a tupperware container and pop in the freezer until needed. If you don't have an ice cream maker, mix together all of the ingredients and put it straight in the tupperware box and pop it in the freezer for about 4 hours, stirring every half an hour or so to prevent ice crystals forming.

for the ginger biscuits

2 oz/ 50 g icing sugar
1 1/2 oz/ 40 g butter
1 egg white
1 1/2 oz/ 40 g plain flour
2 tsp ground ginger

Cream the sugar and butter together until pale and fluffy. Sift over the flour and ginger and mix together. Fold in the (unwhisked) egg white. Pop the mixture in the fridge to rest for 10 minutes before spreading it thinly across the baking tray. Pop in the oven for five minutes and cut out circles with a pastry cutter while the biscuits are still warm. Leave the biscuits to cool completely before serving on top of a scoop of ginger ice cream, scattered with green tea powder, next to the gold glittered green tea and chocolate ganache gateau. Serve with a glass of Grappa.

After G night was over I thought it would have been an excellent thing if I had cut out mini gingerbread men for ginger "Guys", but, alas, my brainwave came too late in the day this time. Ah well, maybe next year...

For more delicious puddings and cakes, visit Sweet As Sugar Cookies for the amazing Sweets for a Saturday link up