I’ve found, rather tragically, that as you get older the amount of Easter chocolate you are given dwindles.
When I was little there were Easter egg hunts in my grandfather’s vegetable patch and endless aunties and uncles and godparents who seemed determined for me and my brothers to eat our weight in chocolate.
There was even one fateful Easter when my father — convinced that we’d been given too much chocolate for our tiny tummies to handle — hid our eggs to “keep them safe”… he ate them ALL and we’ve never quite forgiven him for it!
As it’s Good Friday and I’ve got a blissful day off from my new job, I thought it would be nice to create a more grown up chocolaty treat that’s perfect for Easter indulging.
This recipe for bark uses easy-to-make cheats tempered chocolate to give it that satisfyingly brittle snap when you crack into it and is decorated with a mixture of salted pistachio brittle (one of my favourite things to make for a sweet treat) and a scattering of vibrant edible petals that are busting with Spring colour.
“Tempering chocolate is an essential step for making smooth, glossy, evenly coloured coating for your dipped chocolates. Tempering prevents the dull grayish color and waxy texture that happens when the cocoa fat separates out. Tempered chocolate produces a crisp, satisfying snap when you bite into it.”
If you’re unsure about which flowers you can and can’t eat, have a look at this pretty picture guide I unearthed on Pintrest: Image: http://www.mayesh.com/Blog/tabid/67/EntryId/287/Product-Guide-Edible-Flowers.aspx
Black & white bark with salted pistachio brittle & edible flowers
75g caster sugar
A good pinch of sea salt flakes – I love the texture and intensity of Maldon sea salt
200g good quality dark chocolate – I used a bar with 85% cocoa solids for mine
200g white chocolate
Petals from a few brightly coloured edible flowers – I used chrysanthemums for this as they are such a festive riot of colour in rich burgundy, burnt orange and sunshine yellow and they have a distinctive, peppery flavour that cuts through the dense white chocolate
- Rinse your petals in cold water and blot them dry on kitchen roll.
- Weigh out 50g each of the dark and white chocolate and chop very finely with a sharp knife, keeping the chopped shades of chocolate separate so you don’t mix up the colours. These will be the bits of chocolate you use to temper your melted hot chocolate. When added gradually, they’ll bring down the temperature of the chocolate until it turns into a rich, thick, spreadable goo that hardens with a glossy shine.
- Make the brittle by heating the caster sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan until it turns into a light caramel. Don’t stir it and be careful not to burn it. You can tip the pan from side to side gently to move the sugar around if you think it is caramelising unevenly. When it’s liquid and golden, quickly stir in the pistachios and drop the mix onto a piece of greaseproof paper. When your caramelised nuts have hardened you can bash the mix into chunky shards with a rolling pin.
- Bring a large saucepan of water up to a simmer and put a mixing bowl over it, taking care that the bottom of the mixing bowl rests above the water and not in it. Drop in your remaining 150g of dark chocolate and leave until it’s completely melted.
- Take the bowl off the water and wrap the base in a tea towel to keep warm while you begin to add in the dark chocolate shavings, mixing with a spatula at all times to keep the mixture moving – otherwise it will start to set.
- When the chocolate has all melted, pour it into one half of a lined baking tray. You can use a strip of tin foil to separate the two halves of the tray if you are worried about the two chocolates meeting in the middle.
- Scatter over the crushed pistachio brittle and the pinch of sea salt and leave in a cool place to set.
- Repeat the above steps with the white chocolate before covering it in a dusting of the edible flower petals and leaving to set.
The bark should take a good few hours to harden depending on how thickly you’ve layered on the chocolate. When it’s completely set, just break it into shards and dig in. This is a recipe that I might have to hide from my dad this Easter!