John Torode has a new cookbook out - it's called My Kind of Food and it features the kind of down-to-earth recipes that he likes to cook at home. Forget the complicated Mastercheffy stuff, this is all about family friendly crowd-pleasers ! We were invited to try out one of the recipes to take part in the Cook It, Vlog/Blog It, Win It competition and received a lovely bundle of kitchen goodies to start us off.
There are four recipes available to download and try out on the #MyKindOfFood website, all of which really appealed to me - Pizza Bianca or Not; Indonesian Fish Curry with Clams, Mussels and Beansprouts; Posh Curry Cutlets; and - the one I chose - Chocolate and Coconut Pie.
John Torode's Chocolate and Coconut Pie
Enough for 10–12
350g digestive biscuits
120g butter, melted
55g dessicated coconut
200g milk chocolate, broken into pieces
200g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
250ml double cream
100g soft light brown sugar
4 egg yolks (keep the egg whites for the meringue)
150ml coconut liqueur, such as Malibu
For the meringue:
220g caster sugar
4 egg whites
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
I decided to reduce all the quantities by half - that's still a lot of biscuits.
And a lot of butter !
The recipe says to place the biscuits, melted butter and half of the dessicated coconut in a food-processor and blitz until they form crumbs. I think it's much more fun to put the biscuits in a freezer bag and bash them to bits with a rolling pin, then mix the crumbs into the melted butter and add the coconut.
Just like a cheesecake, press the crumbs into a greased fluted tart tin. Make sure the crumb comes all the way up the sides too. Put in the fridge to chill.
Time to make the filling. Slowly heat the chocolates, cream, milk and sugar in a large pan over a low heat, stirring all the time, until the chocolate has melted and you have a thick mixture.
I almost wanted to throw the recipe out of the window and just grab some bananas and marshmallows for an impromptu chocolate fondue at this point !
Separate the eggs. In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks with the coconut liqueur and cornflour. I actually substituted coconut water for a non-boozy version of Malibu.
I initially followed the recipe instructions : "Set the bowl over a pan of gently simmering water (making sure the water doesn’t touch the base of the bowl). Pour the hot chocolate mixture into the bowl and give it a good stir. What you’re making here is chocolate custard. Keep stirring it for
about 5 minutes or until it becomes thick." It just wouldn't come together so I poured it all into a saucepan and heated it up, crossing my fingers that it wouldn't make chocolate scrambled eggs !
It didn't - it made a wonderfully thick chocolate custard with much less faff than using the bowl method ! Leave to cool.
Use the chocolate custard to fill the crumb pie crust.
Sprinkle with coconut. This would make a lovely dessert already but I still had a meringue top to make !
Bring the water and sugar to the boil and continue to boil for about 5 minutes (don’t stir it) until the sugar has melted and the mixture becomes a light caramel colour.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the egg whites with the cream of tartar until they form stiff peaks (an electric whisk is good for this). Well, I didn't have any cream of tartar but a quick google search revealed that you can use lemon juice instead.
I was dubious but it produced fantastically solid peaks. Time to attempt to make Italian meringue. Once the caramel has cooled slightly, slowly drizzle the hot sugar into the egg whites while still beating. Continue to beat until the meringue is shiny. Well, I'm not sure mine ever really got to the shiny stage and I couldn't get those really stiff peaks to come back.
I spooned it onto the chocolate custard and used the back of the spoon to shape it into ... well, ripples more than peaks !
Either heat the oven to 220°/gas 7 or use a blowtorch to brown the top of the meringue. If using the oven, leave it for 3 minutes or until the meringue starts to colour – keep an eye on it because it won't take long !
Well, it's a bit flat (totally unlike the towering masterpiece on the #MyKindOfFood website but how would you eat that anyway ?!) but it tasted divine. The chocolate custard went a bit ploppy after being in the oven and the meringue stayed soft and creamy but the biscuit base gave it a bit of crunch and the kids asked for seconds until they were clutching their bellies saying they'd eaten too much - just as well I'd reduced the quantities by half !
If you've tried making this or any of the other recipes, leave me a comment so I can come and check out your masterpiece. If you think you'd like to get involved, check out all the details on www.mykindoffood.co.uk and cross your fingers that you'll win the main prize - a few hours in the kitchen with John Torode !
Disclosure : I received a hamper of goodies in order to take part in the challenge.