Chocolate Christmas tree

Serves 10
200g dark chocolate drops
600g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
100g caster sugar, plus extra to sprinkle
1 tsp salt
30g dried yeast
125g milk
3 eggs
100g butter, softened

Place the flour in a large bowl and mix in the sugar and salt. Make a well in the middle and pour in the yeast. Heat the milk in a plastic jug in the microwave for 20 secs, then beat in the eggs. Add the milk and egg liquid to the well, then mix together with a fork, until it comes together to form a dough. Dust a clean work surface with flour and knead the dough for 10 mins. Then knead in 80g of the butter, a bit at a time. Place the dough into a clean bowl covered with cling film and a tea towel. Leave in a warm place to rise for at least 3 hrs.

Knock back the dough by pushing the air out with a fist. Place it on a work surface and divide into three equal-sized balls. Roll each dough ball to a rectangle, measuring 30 x 40cm, then place one on a large sheet of baking paper. Scatter with half the chocolate drops and cover with the second piece of dough, then scatter the remaining chocolate drops over, followed by the last piece of dough. Lightly mark out a central tube for the tree trunk, then cut a triangle from the top middle to the opposite far corners. Make two incisions about 4cm up in the middle of the bottom, to make the bottom tree trunk. From the top to the bottom, on each side, cut strips coming away from the middle trunk, cutting further in higher up the tree. Transfer to a baking tray and twist each strip to form a spiral pattern. Cover with a clean tea towel and put in a warm place to rise for 15 mins. Preheat the oven to 190°C/gas mark 5.

Melt the remaining butter and brush it over the bread. Bake for 15-20 mins, until golden and risen. Sprinkle with sugar and serve.

Other breakfast dishes in our Christmas 2016 issue:

  • Rich scrambled eggs and smoked salmon
  • Cranberry and orange sparkler
  • Christmas pancakes
  • Kipper kedgeree
  • Sticky cranberry sausage sandwich
  • Trio of mushrooms on toast

For back issues click here, or to subscribe to LandScape click here.

Chocolate and cherry roll

Serves 8
175g plain chocolate, 70% cocoa solids
400g can cherries
3 tbsp water
4 tbsp brandy
5 eggs, separated
175g golden caster sugar
50g ground almonds
300ml double cream
2 tbsp golden icing sugar, plus extra to dust

Line a 35cm x 25cm baking tin with baking parchment and lightly oil. Break the chocolate into pieces and place in a heatproof bowl. Add the water and 2 tbsp brandy and stand over a pan of hot water over a low heat. Take care not to let the water touch the bottom of the bowl. Allow to stand for 2 mins then stir in the melted chocolate until smooth. Remove from the heat.
Whisk sugar and egg yolks together until very pale. Fold in the melted chocolate, followed by the almonds. In another bowl whisk the egg whites until they stand in stiff peaks. Fold a few spoonfuls of the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture to loosen it, then gently fold in the remaining egg whites. Pour into the prepared tin and spread level. Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C/gas mark 4 for 15 mins until springy to the touch. Remove from the oven and cover with a sheet of parchment and a damp tea towel. Leave in the tin until completely cold.
Drain the juice from the cherries and discard. Place the fruit in a bowl with the remaining brandy and marinate while the chocolate base is cooling.
Turn out the chocolate base onto a sheet of parchment dusted with icing sugar. Carefully peel off the lining paper. Whip the cream and icing sugar together until standing in soft peaks. Spread the cream over the chocolate base and scatter the marinated cherries on top. Roll up the base, starting at a short end and lifting the parchment to help with the rolling. Carefully transfer to a serving plate and dust with icing sugar. Chill for several hours before serving.

Other Easter chocolate recipes in our Spring 2015 issue: 

• Chocolate mousse
• Chocolate truffle cake
• Egg nog and chocolate burnt creams
• Chocolate, pecan & apple pudding

For back issues click here, or to subscribe to LandScape click here.

Light and dark mint chocolate stars

300g plain chocolate (70 per cent cocoa solids)
75g white chocolate
½ tsp. natural peppermint extract

Line a baking sheet with non-stick baking parchment. Break 200g of the plain chocolate into squares and place in a small heatproof bowl. Finely chop the remaining plain chocolate and set aside. Place the bowl over a pan of gently simmering water. The bottom of the pan should not touch the surface of the water. Heat gently, stirring until the chocolate has almost melted. Remove from the heat and wipe the bottom of the bowl dry.
Continue to stir until all the chocolate has melted then gradually stir in the chopped chocolate. Pour the chocolate on to the parchment and, using a palette knife, spread out into an even layer measuring 30 x 24cm. Break the white chocolate into squares and place in another small heatproof bowl, stand over the hot water, stirring until melted. Stir in the peppermint extract then, working quickly, pipe or drizzle the white chocolate in lines on top of the plain chocolate. Using a cocktail stick, drag the chocolate in lines in the opposite direction to feather the white chocolate into the dark. Keep in a cool place until just firm but not fully set, then using a metal cutter, cut the chocolate into star shapes. Allow to fully set before moving.

 

Other chocolate recipes in our Christmas 2013 issue:

• Rose, violet and white chocolate discs
• Lemon and white chocolate truffles
• Chocolate dipped dried fruits
• Salted caramel chocolates

For back issues click here, or to subscribe to LandScape click here.

White chocolate trifle with gingerbread

Serves 8
300g white chocolate
1½ tsp ground ginger
200g self-raising flour
100g light muscovado sugar
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
100g butter
125ml whole milk
3 tbsp black treacle
2 eggs
350g marscapone
400ml double cream
zest of 1 large orange

 Grease and line a 20cm square tin. Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Melt the butter and add to the bowl, with the milk and treacle. Stir well until blended. Leave to cool then beat in the eggs. Add this mixture to the dried ingredients, beating until smooth. Pour into the prepared tin. Bake in a preheated oven at 160C/gas mark 3 for 35 mins until cooked through and springy to the touch. Cool in the tin before turning out and cutting into cubes.
Chop the chocolate into small pieces and put in a bowl with the marscapone. Place over a pan of gently simmering water. Cook without stirring until the chocolate has melted. Remove from the heat and cool for 5 mins, then stir gently. Whip the cream until it stands in soft peaks and fold into the chocolate mixture.
Scatter a third of the gingerbread in the base of a trifle bowl. Top with a third of the white chocolate mixture. Repeat the layers, finishing with the white chocolate. Sprinkle with the orange zest.

Other chocolate dessert recipes in our Christmas 2014 issue:

• White chocolate and cranberry tart
• White chocolate & clementine cheesecake with pomegranate seeds
• Double Chocolate orange meringue

Every issue of LandScape magazine features a range of delicious seasonal recipes - click here to subscribe.

Pear and chocolate pudding

Makes 4
125g softened butter,  plus extra for greasing
125g golden caster sugar
2 free-range eggs
100g self-raising flour
2 tbsp. cocoa
2 ripe pears

For the chocolate sauce
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. cocoa
4 tsp. cornflour
400ml milk
50g plain chocolate

Grease and line the base of 4 x 200ml pudding basins. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat the eggs and sift together the flour and cocoa. Add the eggs, a little at a time, to the butter and sugar mixture, beating well between each addition. If the mixture starts to curdle, mix in a little of the cocoa and flour. Fold in the remaining flour and cocoa. 
Peel, core and cut the pears into chunks. Gently fold the pear chunks through the sponge mixture and then divide between the prepared pudding basins. Cover each pudding with a square of baking parchment then a square of foil, and tie firmly in place with string. Place the puddings in the top of a steamer or in a large saucepan. Pour boiling water into the base of the steamer or the pan so it comes halfway up the sides of the basins. Cover and steam for 1 hour or until firm to the touch. Remove from the pan and allow to stand while making the sauce.
Combine the sugar, cocoa and cornflour together, and then add 2 tbsp. of the milk and mix to a smooth paste. Heat the remaining milk until almost boiling. Pour some of the milk on to the cocoa mixture, stirring well, then return to the pan. Cook, stirring constantly until the mixture has boiled and thickened. Remove from the heat, coarsely chop the plain chocolate then stir into the sauce to melt before serving.


Other pear recipes from the Nov/Dec 2013 issue include:

• Pears roasted in cider
• Pear, apple and blackberry compote
• Pear in the hole
• Pear and ginger loaf
• Baked pear dumplings

Every issue of LandScape magazine features a range of delicious seasonal recipes - click here to subscribe.