Saturday 7 November 2009

Bite Size Fruitcakes & Chocolate Truffle Squares for Afternoon Tea

As promised, here are the recipes for the other sweet treats I made for the afternoon tea party I had recently to accompany the macarons I made for this months Daring Bakers challenge. There was a selected of savoury sandwiches (including cucumber sandwiches with the crusts removed!), along with some of my favourite buttermilk scones served with clotted cream, jam and fruit, some bite size fruitcakes topped with marzipan flowers and some honeyed chocolate truffles served on tuile biscuit squares.

It made quite a spread and when rounded off with cups of freshly made tea and enjoyed in the company of friends and family it made for a most enjoyable afternoon. I do think it’s a shame that the tradition of afternoon tea has almost disappeared from our daily lives, but I for one vow to try and enjoy them at every possible occasion.

Bite Size Fruitcakes
You can’t have a traditional afternoon tea without the presence of fruitcake. As I was aiming for elegant food, I decided to experiment with baking the fruitcake mix in cannelé moulds in order to make them bite size. This worked a treat and when topped with a little marzipan flower I think they turned out rather dainty. You could eat a couple while still leaving room to sample other things and baking them individually meant they cooked very evenly and stayed wonderfully moist.

This is a scaled down version of my favourite fruitcake recipe. However, don’t feel you have to stick to it religiously. If you run out of one or more of the fruits, dried cranberries, peaches, pears, prunes or dates also work well. If you don’t want to use brandy then you could use a spiced fruit tea or apple juice instead.

Bite Size Fruitcakes
Fruit Mix
60g raisins
60g sultanas
60g currants
25g dried apricots
35g glace cherries
Zest of ½ lemon
Zest of ½ orange
1 tbsp brandy

Cake Mix
75g plain flour
½ tsp mixed spice
15g ground almonds
55g soft brown sugar
55g butter
2 tsp black treacle
1 egg
Zest of ½ lemon
Fruit mix (above)

Method – Fruit Mix
Weight out the raisins, currants and sultanas into a bowl. Sort through the fruit a handful at a time, removing any stalks still attached to the fruit (these won’t be nice to crunch on).Cut the apricots and cherries into small pieces and same size as the raisins. Grate over the zest of the orange and lemon.Drizzle over the brandy, give everything a stir and then cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave for at least 4hours or preferably overnight to allow the fruit to absorb the brandy and plump up.

Cake Mix
Have two cannelé trays (around 35 moulds) ready to hand (you could also use mini muffin trays). Preheat the oven to 140C.Measure the lemon rind, flour, mixed spice, ground almonds, sugar, butter, treacle and egg into a very large bowl and mix together until smooth. (It will be quite stiff)Add the soaked fruits and mix everything together using a spatula, making sure the fruit is evenly distributed.Spoon the mixture into the cannelé moulds using a teaspoon. Fill almost to the top and press down gently to ensure no large air pockets remain trapped at the base.Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the cakes are starting to come away from the sides of the pan and a small skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.Allow the cake to cool in the moulds for 15 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack and leaving to cool.
Top with small marzipan flowers or discs if desired.
They keep well for a week in an airtight container. (They can be kept longer than this as fruitcake keeps for a long time but due to their small size they can start to dry out after a week).
Makes 35 bite size fruitcakes

Honeyed Chocolate Truffle Squares on Tuile Biscuits
I had to include something rich and chocolaty for the chocoholics in my family and these little truffle squares were ideal. You can flavour the chocolate truffle any way you wish but I decided to use a little blossom honey to add a floral note and a touch of sweetness. Adding a small amount of liqueur, the zest of an orange or some strong espresso would also be good. As the truffles were being served with the rest of the afternoon tea treats, I decided to make some small tuile squares on which to serve them. This made them easier to pick up and eat, as the truffles can turn slightly soft if they are left out for more than half an hour and I didn’t want people getting chocolate over their fingers – not ideal for an elegant tea party!

If you don’t want to make the tuile biscuits, dusting the truffle squares in cocoa powder will make them the perfect petit fours to serve with coffee after a dinner party.

Chocolate Truffles
100g dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
100ml double cream
1 level tbsp blossom/runny honey

Heat the cream and honey in a small saucepan or microwave until hot, but do not allow to boil.
Break the chocolate into pieces and add to the cream. Stir gently until smooth.
Pour the mixture into a small 15cm square shallow tray or container, which has been fully lined with clingfilm.
Allow to cool to room temperature before refrigerating for 2 hours.
Once chilled, remove the chocolate truffle sheet from the tray with the help of the clingfilm. Use a long sharp knife to cut the truffle into 1cm squares. Clean your knife with a sheet of kitchen roll between each cut to get neat squares.
Chill the squares until required.
To assemble, place each truffle square on top of a tuile square and serve immediately.

(Recipe from the Daring Bakers January challenge)
30g softened butter
30g sifted icing sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 egg white
33g plain flour

Preheat the oven to 180C. Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla to a paste. Gradually add the egg white, white continuing to beat.
Add the flour, a teaspoon at a time until you get a smooth batter/paste. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 15 minutes to firm up.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cut out a small square from card to act as a stencil, making sure its about 1cm larger than your chocolate truffle squares. Place the stencil on the baking sheet and use an off sided spatula or small knife to spread over a thin layer of the paste before carefully removing the stencil. Leave some room in between your shapes.
Bake for about 4-5 minutes until crisp and golden. Watch them carefully as they can burn quite easily.
Meanwhile, prepare the next batch of tuile paste squares on a new piece of baking paper, ready to bake once the first batch is cooked (this saves time).
When the tuiles are baked, lift the baking paper off the baking sheet and replace with the next batch of tuile paste squares and bake as before.
Continue until you have enough squares.
They will keep for 3 days in an airtight container.


Snooky doodle said...

How nice! the truffles look decadent. great isea of making mini fruit cakes. look so yummy and nice

Leslie Harris said...

Oh, this is so elegant! I've always wanted to attend an afternoon tea. Everything looks delicious. I love it!

maryb said...

What a great idea to use the cannelle molds. I'm thinking (now)
also pound cake w/rum glaze,etc.) sooo pretty, and also great to have your timing for these little molds. I have both the silicone, and also the very expensive copper.
Glad to have other uses.

Johanna GGG said...

Those cakes look wonderful - I love the idea of individual fruit cakes so we don't worry about the middle drying out - and I think honey would give great flavour to truffles - as well as the whole spread looking so tempting I would just about roll home after trying everything

Anonymous said...

How lovely :)

The truffles look decadent - a job well done.

The Caked Crusader said...

How pretty - you certainly know how to rock a cake stand!!!

Choclette said...

You always make such luscious looking things. I'm envious as just don't have the patience. I bet your friends and family love you.

Monica H said...

They're so pretty on their pedestals.

SupperGirl said...

I love your mini fruit cakes. I'm thinking they would make great mini Christmas cakes to give away as gifts.

Claire Mercado-Obias said...

Little bites of heaven! Yum!

Pity said...

what a wonderful selection, everything looks so delicious, very well done! cheers!

[ Anemone ] said...

Wow, you're great! Everything is perfect!!

Anemone from Italy

thepassionatecook said...

With a spread like this, who needs to go to the ritz for high tea? Wonderful spread and beautifully presented!

oneordinaryday said...

Oh, this is all so lovely!

ADELA said...

No se escribir en inglés, pero creo que entenderas, me gusta mucho tu blog y todas tus recetas. Para lo joven que eres ....,eres muy buena cocinera.
Un saludo

Chats the Comfy Cook said...

I really do not like fruitcakes bit of you were to offer me one of yours, I would gobble it down. Beautiful.

Gigi said...

Very nice! I love how tiny and perfect everything looks!

cookeaze said...

Your truffles look so bright and cheerful all on their own, I'm sure they taste as good as the look.