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Black Forest Crumpets

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Simple yet stunning, these Black Forest crumpets take the cake.

The holidays call for grandeur—for glitz, and glamour, and edible gold. But who has the time? For this playful deconstruction of a Black Forest cake, chef and author Ixta Belfrage makes a strong case for minimal effort, maximum impact. “Despite it being my dream dessert on paper (chocolate, sour fruit, booze, cream), I’ve never actually tried Black Forest cake,” writes Belfrage. “With these crumpets, I’m even further away from having tried the real deal (purists, forgive me). This dessert is the definition of a quick fix, in my opinion.”

The recipe comes from her new book—and, as a longtime protégé of Yotan Ottolenghi, her first solo project—Mezcla: Recipes to Excite. And this one is sure to excite when it hits the holiday table. “Feel free to add more booze, and for a Christmasy version, you could add spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, or clove,” advises Belfrage in the instructions. And to really gild the lily, as it were? “Spray them with edible gold dust to make them look like fool’s gold—completely unnecessary, but quite fun.”

Ingredients

Yield:4
  • Black Forest Fruits
  • 1 cup (140g) frozen mixed berries, thawed
  • 1/2 cup (60g) frozen sweet cherries, thawed
  • 1 Tbsp. superfine sugar
  • 2 tsp. kirsch (optional, or sub with regular brandy or another booze)
  • 1/2 tsp. tangerine or orange zest
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla bean paste
  • ____________________________________
  • Caramelized Crumpets
  • 4 Tbsp. (60g) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup (50g) sugar
  • 4 crumpets or English muffins
  • ____________________________________
  • For Serving
  • 5 oz. (150g) cooking chocolate (I like to use a mix of milk and dark)
  • whipped cream
  • superfine sugar
  • 4 cherries, stems on (optional)
  • edible gold dust (absolutely optional and really quite unnecessary)
  • Tools:small saucepan, medium bowl, baking sheet, potato masher/whisk, heatproof bowl, pan
  • Garnish:cherry, edible gold dust (optional), cocoa powder (optional)

Preparation

First make sure to thaw the frozen fruits. Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).

For the crumpets, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, then remove from the heat and stir in the sugar. Transfer to a medium bowl with the crumpets and mix to coat them completely. Place the crumpets on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, or until crisp, golden-brown, and caramelized.

Put the thawed fruits into a bowl with the sugar, kirsch, tangerine zest, and vanilla. Roughly crush the fruits with a potato masher or whisk, then mix well.

Put the chocolate into a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of gently simmering water until melted, then let cool so it doesn’t melt the cream.

Top each crumpet with a quarter of the fruit mix, followed by a large spoonful of whipped cream. Sprinkle the cream with some sugar. Spoon on the chocolate, top with a cherry (and some gold dust if you’re feeling extra), and serve.

Make ahead:Prepare the Black Forest fruits up to 2 days ahead and keep refrigerated.

Note:I like to dust these with cocoa powder to offset the sweetness.

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