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Chocolate Hazelnut Pear Crumble

What is it with crumble that it looks so totally not sexy in photos? This Chocolate Hazelnut Pear Crumble has taken me so long to post because of the images but in the end, I gave up and these photos will have to do. All that matters is the recipe – your proof is in the pudding!

chocolate hazelnut pear crumble

This Chocolate Hazelnut Pear Crumble is so quick to make and ticks all the autumn-winter-spring pear comfort-food dessert boxes. We love this not just for dessert but any leftovers are pounced on for breakfast, weekend brunch and – typically French – for teatime too as a crrrrumbeulle with a pot of tea.

Comice pears Parisian market

All throughout Autumn and Winter, we’ve had a constant supply of ripe-firm pears at our local market, which are just right for this crumble.  In February, and now in March, they’re still going strong! For this recipe I use Comice pears but you can use Williams, Conference – any of the winter varieties.

Pears, Apples and Chocolate Heaven

chocolate hazelnut pear crumble recipe method

As I was developing the recipe, I found that adding some apple helped soak up the juices, as pears for a crumble do tend to be rather wet and juicy, which could make it a bit soggy if used on their own.  However, the mixture of the two together and cooking them lightly at the beginning will prove to be just right.

Chocolate hazelnut pear crumble method

To make this recipe a little less in gluten than my classic apple crumble, I’ve replaced some of the flour with oats and the hazelnuts just add that incredible flavour.  It’s like having a homemade Nutella crumble but much healthier.

Although I add unsweetened cacao powder to the hazelnut crumble, the real secret is hidden underneath: good quality dark bittersweet chocolate (at least 64% cacao), in cooking disks or grated, just merges in to the fruit. It’s a perfect marriage in a baking dish.

Chocolate Hazelnut Pear Crumble

This one is ready to go in the oven. Just ensure that the chocolate and fruit are hidden underneath the crumble.

Chocolate Hazelnut Pear Crumble

Chocolate Hazelnut Pear Crumble
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
50 mins
 

An easy chocolate oat crumble that's a great compromise for a family dessert with fruit - the ultimate comfort-food with extra dark chocolate and lower in gluten than the classic crumble.

Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Dessert, teatime
Cuisine: British, French
Keyword: baking with oats, chocolate crumble, chocolate hazelnut recipes, low gluten, pear recipes
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 318 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
Chocolate Hazelnut Crumble
  • 50 g (2oz) Ground Hazelnuts
  • 50 g (2oz) Plain (all purpose) flour
  • 75 g (3oz) medium oats (porridge oats)
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 100 g (4oz) butter unsalted
  • 1 good pinch salt (fleur de sel)
  • 40 g (1.5oz) soft light brown sugar (cane sugar)
Fruity Filling
  • 10 g (0.5oz) unsalted butter
  • 3 firm to ripe Large Williams or Comice pears peeled, cored, chopped
  • 5-6 Granny Smith apples peeled, cored, chopped
  • 10 g (0.5oz) vanilla sugar or cane sugar with 1/2 tsp vanilla powder
  • 50 g (2oz) dark bittersweet chocolate (min 64%) (good quality, in button form or grated)
Instructions
  1. Combine all the crumble ingredients in a large bowl, lightly rubbing through your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Set aside.

  2. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/Gas 6.
  3. Peel, core and chop up the apples and pears roughly into chunks. Melt the butter in a large non-stick frying pan, toss in the fruit chunks and sprinkle over the vanilla sugar. Leave to cook over a medium heat, turning the apples and pears now and again, for about 5-8 minutes. The fruit should not be mushy, just lightly cooked. Drain off any excess fruit juice if there is any (set aside and reduce over medium heat to serve apart with the crumble later so that there's no waste).

  4. Transfer the fruit to a gratin or pudding dish (no need to butter it) and scatter over the dark chocolate. Sprinkle on a generous amount of crumble until the fruit and chocolate are completely covered.

  5. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the top is toasted or lightly browned. Leave to cool slightly before serving.

Recipe Notes

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Replace the dark chocolate with milk chocolate according to taste.

We normally serve this chocolate hazelnut pear crumble on its own but if you prefer, add some vanilla ice cream, pouring cream or an adult boozy ice cream such as this non-churn Calvados ice cream (replace the Drambuie with Calvados).

 

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

 

More Crumble Love

If you love crumbles, have you tried these yet?

More Pear Recipes

chocolate hazelnut pear crumble

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The Hottest Paris Food Tour

Do you love your food and planning your first visit to Paris? Then a warm, tasty introduction to traditional French foods is a delicious way to start your trip. I recently discovered that The Paris Guy has an evening food tour, that’s quite literally the hottest Paris food tour in the Marais!

While most walking Paris food tours focus on markets, ingredients, bread and cheese plus the sweeter side (like I used to lead in Saint Germain-des-Prés) on chocolates, pastries and macarons while walking, discussing and tasting in and between boutiques, Le Marais Paris Food Tour concentrates on primarily sit-down restaurant tastings of oysters and Champagne, wine, cheese, galettes (savoury crêpes) with cidre, Boeuf Bourguignon, more wine and crème brûlée – and that’s not all.

HOttest Paris Food Tour

Thank you to the Paris Guy for sponsoring this post by inviting me to experience Le Marais Paris Food tour. As always, all opinions are entirely my own. Affiliate links are included in this post, as The Paris Guy has kindly offered my readers 5% off their tours in Paris if you use the unique code, MADABOUTMACARONS.

The Hottest Paris Food Tour

The Hottest Paris Food Tour in the Marais kicks off with a warm welcome early evening near the metro, République. Our English-speaking guide for the 3-hour walking tour was Erica.

Hottest Paris Food Tour The Paris Guy #parisfoodtours

Our group was made up of a maximum of 12 so, along with the food tastings, anecdotes and history thrown in, it ended up being a fun social evening too.

Oysters and Champagne

To get us in the French mood, the POP sounded as our bottle of Champagne was opened with some explanations on the French’s famous bubbly. Platters of N°4 and N°3 oysters arrived in this lovely seafood bar. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see I love flowers and so this was a perfect spot to appreciate them too.

Hottest Paris Food Tour #parisfoodtours

A touch of smoked salted butter served with the most delicious bread is delicious – but be careful: go easy on the bread in the initial stages, as you need to pace yourself on this food tour!  There’s still more to come.

Sipping on Champagne, I also loved the refreshing minty touch to their carafe water. If you know me, however, I usually prefer more Champagne than grabbing (or “crab-bing”) that bottle of water!

hottest paris food tour #parisfoodtour

Crab a bottle!

See anemones at the Parisian seafood bar?

Hottest Food Tour in Paris

See Anemones in front of this seafood bar in the Marais?

Say Cheese – French Fromage!

Normally the Paris Guy Food Tour starts with the Oyster tasting with Champagne but exceptionally, as it hadn’t yet opened at our meeting time, we started with the cheese. With over 1000 cheeses in France, no savoury tour is complete without it!

Hottest Paris Food tour

I’ll leave you to discover the cheesy stories and tips on the tour but the tasting platter had a good variety of many of my personal favourites. If you’re a couple, ensure you both have a taste of the stronger types together (just saying…), absolutely delicious served with fig jam (see my Corsican fig jam recipe here).

Hottest Paris food tour Marais #paristravel

Walking past many landmarks in the Marais, such as the Mairie of the 3rd arrondissement above, we headed for the famous rue des Rosiers in the Jewish quarter. The speciality? Falafel.

Falafels, deep-fried chickpea balls, are one of those deliciously “Did you know that they’re vegan?” types of foods that we enjoyed outside (the only tasting outdoors on the tour), with finger-licking sesame sauce coupled with a vibrant, festive ambience.

hottest paris food tour #Paristravel

Galettes – Savoury Crêpes

Next up on the tour was a walk to a cosy Crêperie. Typically served in Brittany and in Normandy, traditional wafer-thin buckwheat galettes – savoury crêpes – are enjoyed with cider served in giant cups. We tasted a couple of varieties: Forestière (chicken and mushroom) and the popular Complète with ham, cheese and egg washed down with some Cidre Brut.

hottest Paris food tour #Paristravel #Parisfood

I did tell you you need to pace yourself! Our last stop was a most relaxed setting in a quiet, slightly hidden Parisian Brasserie for not one but TWO finale tastings.

hottest Paris Food Tour restaurant tastings #paristravel #Parisfoodtours

As more wine was served, so was a generous tasting of Boeuf Bourguignon, a typical hearty beef stew from Burgundy, slowly cooked with mushrooms and carrots in Burgundy wine. Served with purée (also wonderful with Gratin Dauphinois), this is the ultimate French comfort food.

French culinary favourites on the hottest paris food tour

This is when Amelie Poulin would adore coming here too.  Her favourite part of this Parisian dessert, crème brûlée, is cracking the burned sugar surface and discovering the eggy vanilla cream underneath.

Incidentally, I have a recipe for a milk chocolate crème brûlée here.

hottest paris food tour creme brulee finale #paristravel

As we said Au Revoir to Erica, our cheerful Paris Guy guide, Paris by Night awaited outside. The 17th Century Eglise Saint-Paul-Saint-Louis was glistening in all its glory before heading back into the metro home on rue St Antoine.

hottest Paris food tour Marais

Hottest Paris Food Tour – 5% Reader Discount!

Looking to try traditional French food in Paris on your first trip? Prefer to sit more in restaurants than mainly eat outside? Then this is the ideal evening walking tour – indeed, literally the hottest Paris food tour for couples, solo travellers, families with older children and amongst friends – and great as gifts too if friends or family are going to Paris!

Just don’t forget to bring your appetite…

Hottest Paris Food Tour

 

DisclosureThank you to the Paris Guy for sponsoring this post by inviting me to experience their Le Marais Paris Food tour. As always, all opinions are entirely my own. Affiliate links are included in this post, as the Paris Guy has kindly offered my readers 5% off their tours in Paris if you use the unique code, MADABOUTMACARONS (also includes their tours in Italy).

Raspberry Vegan Macarons: Aquafaba French Meringue

Some friends of mine have been trying the Veganuary challenge but I’m not as brave to go the whole way. See? It has taken me until the last day of January to even post these Raspberry Vegan Macarons!

Vegan macarons

Flexitarian is my name: I rarely eat red meat, stick to poultry and fish as much as possible – in between at least a few vegetarian weekly meals. To be a vegan means carrying on eating a deliciously crispy French baguette but cutting out all that gorgeous unpasteurised French cheese, butter, milk and organic eggs etc.

I’m simply not ready to give them up yet even although I know I want to make the change eventually.  However, I do enjoy my healthy maple oat granola or spiced granola in the mornings with almond milk and, for vegan party food, make these energy bites in the form of dried fruit spicy snowballs and salted toffee cherry tomatoes, great with a glass of rosé. That’s it, really – for now.

So why am I making these Raspberry Vegan Macarons so late in the day? I love a challenge and besides, I want to see if I can make them using aquafaba.

Raspberry Vegan Macarons with Aquafaba French Meringue

Aquafaba – it is miraculous to watch how this fancy name for the brine of tinned chickpeas or beans can go from a simple thick brown reduced liquid to a whipped up, shiny, regular-looking meringue. It looks like it’s made from egg whites but it’s easy to be fooled in the looks department: it’s entirely vegan with no eggs used!

As with my regular macaron recipes in my books using egg whites, I use the French meringue method – so no candy thermometers are needed. It’s a lot easier, producing just as good results.

raspberry vegan macarons

French meringue using Aquafaba, the brine from canned chickpeas

All was going well, just as I would be making regular gluten-free French meringue macarons by my books. Once I’d completed the macaronnage (basically the mixing of the batter to eliminate air bubbles and produce a shiny texture) it looked ready to pipe out the shells, even if a bit thicker than I’m used to.

Piping out the mixture, the batter was indeed thicker and a bit grainier than for my regular macarons and, therefore, susceptible to having pointy tops (I shall refrain here from what I normally call them!). Apart from that, no problem.

raspberry vegan macarons - method

Airing Vegan Macarons

As for regular macarons, leave them to sit out and air for at least 30 minutes. Even using aquafaba for vegan macarons, the effect is the same: the outer layer becomes quite hard to the touch. Once this happens, they’re ready to bake.

Raspberry vegan macarons

Oven Temperature for Vegan Macarons

I knew that Aquafaba doesn’t like high temperatures and for making aquafaba meringue, it prefers lower temperatures much like for normal meringues. So, I reduced the oven slightly from my usual macaron temperature to 140°C fan just to try out the first batch.

Oh-oh. A totally maca-wrong move.

raspberry vegan macarons first attempt

Rasbperry Vegan Macarons – Learning that oven temp is NOT the same as for making regular macarons!

Clearly that first batch wasn’t right!  The temperature was still FAR TOO HIGH.  As with making regular macarons, I bake the trays one at a time; just as well, as at least I didn’t ruin the rest of the batter! I could easily correct it by reducing the oven temperature to 110°C fan (130°C) for the next batch.

Bingo!  It worked.  For the vegan filling, I personally find it’s not that easy to find tasty vegan ideas to sandwich the shells together, as I can’t use the normal chocolate ganaches or buttercreams. I would need a lot of time to work on this part! The easiest to hand was homemade raspberry jam – or try it with this rhubarb, hibiscus & rose jam. Another easy alternative is classic peanut butter but that would look strange with pink. When ready to eat next day, I sprinkled them with some freeze-dried raspberry powder for that extra raspberry flavour.

raspberry vegan macarons

Vegan Macarons Recipe

5 from 1 vote
Vegan macarons
Raspberry Vegan Macarons
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Resting time in cool oven
15 mins
Total Time
45 mins
 

Picture perfect raspberry vegan macarons, made with Aquafaba (brine from tinned chickpeas) French meringue and filled with lemon verbena infused raspberry jam.

Course: Dessert, teatime
Cuisine: French
Keyword: aquafaba macarons, raspberry vegan macarons, vegan desserts, Vegan macarons
Servings: 18 macarons
Calories: 115 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 100 g (3.5oz) Aquafaba, chickpea brine (reduced from a 400g tin)
  • 75 g (3oz) caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 150 g (5.5oz) finely ground almonds (almond flour)
  • 150 g (5.5oz) icing/confectioner's sugar
  • pinch powdered pink colouring or beetroot colouring (optional)
Instructions
  1. Drain the brine/liquid from a 400g tin of chickpeas into a saucepan. Reduce the liquid (uncovered) on low-medium heat for about 10 minutes until reduced to about 2/3. Leave to cool then refrigerate overnight.

  2. Using a stand mixer (or with electric hand beaters), whisk the aquafaba and cream of tartare in a large bowl, adding the caster sugar gradually once it starts to foam. Continue to whisk, gradually on high speed for 10 minutes or until the aquafaba starts to form firm, glossy peaks. If using, add a good pinch of pink powdered food colouring.

  3. Sift the ground almonds and icing sugar into a large bowl, putting aside any leftover bits of almonds for decorating desserts later. Add the whipped aquafaba and, using a good flexible spatula, mix the ingredients together until combined. Beat out any air using  pastry scraper, continuing back and forward until the batter is glossy and falls off the scraper. Transfer the batter to a piping bag with a plain tip (8mm).

  4. Line 2 flat baking trays with baking parchment (I prefer this to a silicone mat, as it's easier to produce feet). Pipe out small rounds, leaving enough space between each (they will spread in the oven slightly) .

  5. Leave the trays out to air for about 30 minutes until they are quite hard to the touch. If still too soft, leave out for longer. Preheat the oven to 130°C/110°C fan/250°F/Gas 1/2.

  6. Bake each tray separately for 15 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave the tray in the oven with the door open for a further 15 minutes (this sounds cumbersome but after experimenting was the best way for this recipe). Leave to cool.

  7. For the filling: Arrange the macaron shells into pairs and marry each couple together by piping out one half with raspberry jam, top with the other shell then set aside in the fridge for 24 hours. (I heated up a quarter of a jar of raspberry jam with a few lemon verbena leaves and left the jam to cool).

Recipe Notes

Add the leftover chickpeas to this Moroccan-style spicy Chicken & Prune Tagine, for example.

For regular macaron recipes using egg whites, see the recipes in both my books, Mad About Macarons and Teatime in Paris.

 

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

Vegan macarons

Troubleshooting Vegan Macarons

  • Like regular Parisian macarons, ensure you weigh your ingredients by the gram or ounce using a digital scale (see reasons why in my article here) and follow the recipe to the letter.  Although not difficult to make, following the recipe through exactly will achieve the right result, although the only other culprits could be your ingredients and oven, as all ovens behave differently. For this, I’d suggest an oven thermometer, just to ensure your oven is doing what it says it’s doing;
  • As with regular Parisian macarons, avoid using liquid colouring as it waters down the meringue, making it difficult to work with.  I use powdered colouring where only a quarter teaspoon, for example, is needed. For stockists, see baking chat for more information;
  • Like regular Parisian macarons, bake each tray one at a time.  It’s more time consuming – and even more so for vegan macarons – but worth it as home kitchen ovens normally just don’t like dealing with it. Leaving the vegan macarons in the oven with the door open for 15 minutes at the end of baking proved to work so much better;
  • When baking vegan macarons, it’s totally different to baking regular Parisian macarons: the vegan aquafaba meringue prefers a lower oven temperature and baked (much like meringues) for longer.
raspberry vegan macarons

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Vegan Macarons – My Conclusion

At first glance, we could be convinced that they look like regular macarons using egg whites. They’re not quite as picture perfect compared to my classic Parisian macarons. I’m happy they had feet and no hollows, even if they were slightly sticky – there’s still room for improvement. To be honest, the most important element in French patisserie is taste before looks and so I need to work on that part first before really working on the perfectly smooth appearance.

Their taste, however, is nothing like regular macaron shells – no matter how much you hear, “Don’t worry; it will taste better in the end”. I added vanilla powder and some natural raspberry powder, just to help it along the way for flavour points. The eventual taste of the shells is strange, especially with raspberry: definitely sweet but there is the “weird” sensation with the aftertaste of, well, chick peas.

Although it’s comforting to know we can produce macaron-looking treats for vegans, I’m sticking to my own traditional French-meringue macarons using egg whites – at least until I can work on perfecting the same kind of taste we’re used to from all these wonderful Parisian patisseries.

For my classic Parisian macaron recipes, you’ll find most of them in Mad About Macarons! , along with detailed step-by-step instructions and in the chapter devoted to macarons in my latest book, Teatime in Paris.

Vegan macarons recipe Aquafaba

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Butternut Walnut Gratin – Playing Winter Squash

This is my form of playing squash in Winter – with butternut squash! This Butternut Walnut Gratin is so simple, it’s not much of a recipe. When we’re craving cheesy comfort food, it’s a healthy meal in just one dish.

Butternut walnut gratin recipe

Butternut squash is great with this dish but any other kind of your favourite pumpkin will do. I often use potimarron (marron meaning chestnuts in French), known as Japanese pumpkin or Kuri – meaning chestnut in Japanese as it actually tastes of chestnuts. With a potimarron, you can eat the skin whereas butternut it’s preferable to cut it off.

How To Prepare Butternut Squash

For this butternut walnut gratin recipe, I’m lazy and find it too difficult to cut it up raw as it’s far too hard. Perhaps I don’t have good enough knives but my lazy method is to just prick the skin with a fork and pre-roast the butternut on a baking tray in a medium oven for up to 15 minutes.

This makes it much easier to remove the skin and cut into chunks for the dish (which will end up being cooked again to perfection with the other flavours). However, you could (to save time) prick the skin and place on a microwaveable dish for about 10 minutes and continue with the recipe below.

Chestnuts – the French’s Festive Favourite

As you can tell from previous recipes, such as the chestnut flour tarts and the pumpkin crumbles, the family love the association of pumpkin and leeks – and above all, chestnuts!  I know, I understand they may not be that easy to find chez vous, but the French are MAD ABOUT CHESTNUTS, especially during the festive season.

Instead of chestnut flour this time, I’m adding vacuum-packed pre-cooked whole chestnuts (I keep a store of them like a squirrel, as there’s no need to keep in the fridge). If you can’t find them, replace with mushrooms.

To top it all off, toasted walnuts add that essential crunchy texture, clinging and adding some earthiness to the cheese. I have added smoked paprika but if you prefer the real non-vegetarian thing, then if you’re a bacon lover, add some pre-fried smoked bacon slivers or lardons (bacon bits or cubes of poitrine fumé).

Butternut walnut gratin

What to do with Butternut or Pumpkin Seeds?

Don’t discard the seeds, as you can toast them with spices, salt and pepper and serve with drinks before the meal! The French are particularly into no waste (myself included), so never throw them out! I haven’t posted the recipe yet but my Scottish friend, Janice from Farmersgirl Kitchen, has a super recipe for toasted pumpkin seeds which is also just as good with squash seeds.

Butternut Walnut Gratin

Butternut Walnut Gratin
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
35 mins
Precook
15 mins
Total Time
55 mins
 

A winter comforter in one dish with pre-roasted butternut squash, leeks, ready prepared chestnuts, a subtle warming sprinkle of smoked paprika and topped with toasted walnuts for the crunch that cling to a layer of melted cheese.

Course: Main, Main Course, Supper
Cuisine: French
Keyword: butternut dishes, cheesy, gratin
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 400 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 500 g (18oz) butternut squash (weight with seeds removed), cut into rough cubes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 leeks cut into slices
  • 200 g (7oz) pre-cooked chestnuts (I use vacuum-packed but in jars or tins are good too)
  • 110 g (4oz) half fat thick crème fraîche 12% fat
  • 175 g (6oz) Emmental cheese grated
  • 50 g (2oz) walnuts
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley finely chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/Gas 6.

    Prick the butternut squash's skin and roast it whole (or pumpkin) in the oven for 15 minutes until the skin starts blistering. Remove and leave to cool slightly. Alternatively, prick the skin and put on high in the microwave for 10 minutes.

  2. Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan and gently sauté the sliced leeks for about 10 minutes until softened. Set aside.

  3. When the squash is easier to handle, peel off the skin and cut in 2 using a good knife. Remove the seeds with a spoon (don't discard) and cut the softened squash into rough chunks.

  4. In a gratin dish, throw in the slightly softened squash chunks, the leeks and cooked chestnut. 

  5. Top with the crème fraîche by dolloping on some spoonfuls in regular intervals, add a touch of salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle lightly and evenly the smoked paprika. 
  6. Top the lot with the cheese, walnuts and parsley. 

  7. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling and golden.

Recipe Notes

Serve with a good French baguette and a chilled white such as a Riesling from Alsace.

I've added smoked paprika but if you prefer, add 100g of pre-fried lardons or bacon bits.

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

Have you made any of the recipes from le blog, my books, or fancy making this butternut walnut gratin?  Please leave a comment below or take a picture and hashtag it #MadAboutMacarons on Instagram / Facebook – even better, just share it with a friend and tell them about le blog! Thanks so much – I love to see you enjoying the recipes.

Butternut walnut gratin

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Chai Tea Creme Anglaise – Light French Custard

I have this thing with custard these days. Could it be I’m turning just a little more French? The French custard ‘equivalent’ is nothing like the thicker British version so, when I first arrived in Paris, I found myself avoiding it due to its enormous difference – until I started playing with it like this Chai Tea Creme Anglaise.

Chai creme anglaise

Spoon-clinging thick vanilla custard reminds me of growing up in Scotland with classic comforting puddings such as apple crumbles – and especially, my Banana Surprise.

To my initial surprise, it totally did not rock my new French family’s gastronomic world. It was a chopped banana thrown in a bowl, hidden under a giant gloop of an instant packet mix of yellow-coloured, vanilla-flavoured custard.  Hence why I hid myself away in the custard cupboard for a while until I slowly learned to cook from scratch using good ingredients. In a nutshell, more like the French. But it didn’t mean it was all fancy and difficult to make.

Chai Creme Anglaise French sauce

Good quality, homemade custard is nothing in comparison to packet mixes. I guess that’s a given, since it’s made with a whole vanilla pod (bean) with its seeds scraped out to show the evidence: flecks of pure yet simple exotic luxury.

However, being in France for so long now has made a change to my custard ideas. For thick, hot custard fans I’m not going to upset you: British-style custard goes perfectly with British-style hot puddings. For the thinner, cooler French crème anglaise it goes perfectly with French-style chocolate desserts – especially the classic chocolate fondant cake.

chai tea creme anglaise

How to make a Chai Tea Creme Anglaise

Vanilla is never plain and simple but this is why I also love cooking from scratch: you can play with flavours and a crème anglaise is perfect to infuse the likes of tea in the milk to give a personalised touch with its accompanying desserts.  In this case, a spiced Chai tea (or other spiced tea or infusion) is perfect with our favourite Chocolate Ginger Fondant Cake.

As you can see from the above illustration, I measured out 50g sugar before mixing with the eggs.  The recipe below calls for only 40g, as while developing this, it didn’t need quite as much sugar.  The secret I’ve learned from many cool French pastry chefs is not to over sugar recipes – that way, you get all the flavour sensations and, in this case, the Chai Tea flavour shines through.

Chai Tea Creme Anglaise

5 from 1 vote
Chai Tea Creme Anglaise
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Cooling Time
45 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 

A spicy tea-infused twist to the French classic thin vanilla custard, Crème Anglaise, which is normally served at room temperature with fondant chocolate cake. Infused with spicy tea, this goes perfectly with a chocolate ginger fondant cake.

Course: Condiments
Cuisine: French
Keyword: chai sauce, chai tea, creme anglaise, custard, french custard
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 70 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 300 g (10.5oz) whole milk full fat
  • 1 teabag sachet Chai tea (or any other spiced infusion or tea)
  • 3 organic egg yolks
  • 40 g (1.5oz) sugar
Instructions
  1. Heat the milk and teabag gently in a saucepan until the milk is just about at boiling point. Remove the milk from the heat and cover, leaving the tea to infuse in the milk for 10 minutes then discard the teabag.

  2. Meanwhile, whisk the yolks and sugar in a bowl until light and creamy. Pour over the warm milk, whisking continuously then transfer to the saucepan back on a medium heat.

  3. Continue to whisk or stir the sauce with a wooden spoon until it thickens. The sauce is ready when your finger can run a line down the back of the spoon and it leaves a clean trace.

  4. Immediately remove from the heat, strain into a bowl then transfer to serving jugs and leave to cool in the fridge until ready to serve. 

Recipe Notes

Nutritional Information Per Serving:
70 calories; 2g protein; 7g fat; 4g carbohydrates

Although this uses Chai tea to accompany the Chocolate Ginger Fondant Cake, other teas can be used. As the milk has to be heated first, infuse your favourite tea to fragrance the milk and personalise this to suit your taste. I also love adding a tablespoon of Matcha green tea powder. Orange or lemon zest (unwaxed) is another delicious addition for chocolate cake.

The sauce can be stored in the fridge, sealed in a container for up to 5 days. Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before serving, so that it's at room temperature. If you prefer it hot, then reheat gently (although it will tend to curdle, be careful: in this case, strain the sauce by mixing in a blender). 

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

Incidentally, the humble crumble is popular in France but instead of serving it with British-style custard, they don’t even serve it with crème anglaise; they tend to serve the crrrum-belle on its own! Have you tried this chocolate hazelnut pear crumble recipe yet? It’s good on its own but this Chai Tea Creme Anglaise will be just right with it too.

Have you made any of the recipes from le blog, my books, or fancy making this Chai Tea Creme Anglaise?  Please leave a comment below or take a picture and hashtag it #MadAboutMacarons on Instagram or Facebook. Even better – tell your family and friends about the website. I love to see you enjoying the recipes – so THANK YOU so much for sharing!

Chai Creme Anglaise

Personal Gift

Don’t forget that both recipe books, Mad About Macarons and Teatime in Paris (my personal favourite, as it contains macaron recipes PLUS easy step-by-step pastry recipes too), are great gifts. Grab your copy now and I can send you a personalised label to stick inside either book.

Just let me know by getting in touch privately via this contact form with your address details, what you’d like me to say in particular, and I’ll send it out to you with the warmest of wishes for any occasion.

 

Chocolate Banana Marble Cake

Lucie squealed when she saw this chocolate banana marble cake peeking out from the aluminium foil in the kitchen. I squealed since that bottom layer wasn’t very marbled and the top was a bit too browned – but hey, nobody’s perfect.

Chocolate Banana Marble Cake

To see the marble effect, of course, someone had already cut a few slices before the ‘official opening’. By the opening, you’ll understand what I mean if you want to photograph a whole cake for a blog or book before it’s attacked.

Really, the girls think I’m some kind of expert French police detective but it doesn’t take much to notice when a squirrel has sneaked off with the hidden edibles in the kitchen, does it?

Chocolate Banana Marble Cake

Marble Cake

To create a marble or swirl effect like a tiger (hence its other names) divide up the batter towards the end, layer each ten make zig-zags with a fork from one end to the other – or swirl a couple of times in a figure 8 with a skewer.

Although, in this case, you could say it’s a chocolate banana cake that’s lost its marble!

Chocolate Banana Marble Cake

Normally we enjoy this for breakfast with a typical large French bowl of coffee to accompany it and take our time. However, this chocolate banana marble cake is also delicious coated in a fudgy dark chocolate glaze for teatime.

Chocolate Cake Glaze Festive Decor

If you have any chocolate macaron shells handy, then stick them on top for a soft yet almond crunch. To create an instant holiday decor, sprinkle on some edible glitter (I use edible metallic lustre powder to brush on macarons from DecoRelief in Paris – see stockists on the FAQ page) for a quick golden effect.

Chocolate Banana Marble Cake

Chocolate Banana Marble Cake

Chocolate Banana Marble Cake
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
50 mins
Total Time
1 hr 5 mins
 

A reduced sugar chocolate banana marble cake (or banana bread) perfect for breakfast or brunch, either topped with roasted banana or served at teatime with a fudgy dark chocolate ganache.

Course: Breakfast, Brunch, teatime
Cuisine: British, French
Keyword: bananabread, chocolate banana swirl, Chocolate Banana,, Chocolate Marble,, Marble Cake,
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 330 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 100 g (3.5oz) butter (unsalted) softened
  • 75 g (2.75oz) cane sugar
  • 3 eggs (organic) at room temperature
  • 170 g (6oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 (approx.225g/8oz) very ripe bananas + 1 for decor (optional)
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 100 g (3.5oz) dark chocolate chips good quality (bittersweet)
Teatime Chocolate Glaze (optional):
  • 50 g (2oz) dark (bittersweet) cooking chocolate good quality (64-74% cacao)
  • 50 g (2oz) icing (confectioner's) sugar sifted
  • 50 g (2oz) butter (unsalted)
  • 50 g (2oz) single or whipping cream at least 30% fat
Instructions
  1. Grease and flour a loaf tin, otherwise if you’re using a silicone mould there’s no need. Preheat the oven to 180°C/360°F/Mark 4/160°C fan.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until soft, light and creamy (this is even easier if you beat together in a stand mixer). Gradually add the eggs, one by one until well mixed. Incorporate the flour and baking powder until the batter is smooth.

  3. In another bowl, mash the banana with a fork and transfer half of it to the other bowl. In one of them, add the chocolate powder and chocolate chips and mix well.

  4. Pour the chocolate mix into the bottom of the tin, then pour in the banana batter, then the chocolate again then banana.
  5. Marble the cake by making zig-zags with a fork from one end to the other - or swirl a couple of times in a figure 8 with a skewer. If making this without the teatime glaze, cut the extra banana horizontally (if using) and place on top of the batter. Transfer to the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes. 

    The cake is ready when a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. If not, bake for another 5 minutes. Leave the cake to cool then remove from the mould to a wire rack to cool.

For the Teatime Glaze (optional):
  1. Melt the chocolate, icing sugar and butter in a bowl placed over a pan of simmering water (bain-marie). When melted, stir in the cream until the glaze is well blended.  Leave to cool for about 5 minutes then pour over the cake, evening the glaze with a knife and decorate whatever takes your fancy. I added some mini macaron shells and finally dusted it with gold food powder, just tapping it over with a couple of fingers.

Recipe Notes

Please resist temptation to eat this straight away, as the marble cake tastes even better the next day.  Can keep for 3 days in a cool place stored in an airtight tin or in aluminium foil (although not in the fridge) - if you're lucky not to have tigers around!

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

Chocolate Banana Marble Cake

PIN me to give me a swirl later!

Have you made any of the recipes from le blog or fancy making this Chocolate Banana Marble Cake?  Please do leave a comment below or take a picture and hashtag it #MadAboutMacarons.  I love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook. Thanks so much for popping in and for making and sharing the recipes!

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chocolate banana swirl loaf