A very special end to any meal; BLOOD ORANGE AND CHOCOLATE DELICE A Taste of the North with James Close, head chef of the Raby Hunt Restaurant.
N last week's Taste article I wrote about the food of love - the oyster.
IHaving heard from lots of readers, I've learned that there is no truer love than that reserved for chocolate.
It actually checks out scientifically, too. Scientists say that the brain's pleasure response can be measured through the eyes and apparently chocolate triggers the biggest reaction.
Apparently it is considered healthy in the correct quantities, and science geeks reckon one reason behind women experiencing less heart disease than men is their love of chocolate. So they say.
I've been lucky enough to visit a multitude of restaurants in Europe, including Belgium and Germany, and that's really where my love of chocolate started. The Belgians invented pralines in 1912 and if you ever visit you will see just how many shops are dedicated to selling these hedonistic treats. The world's most iconic chocolatier, Godiva, was founded in Brussels in the 1920s Ryan Bunker, our pastry chef at the Raby Hunt, has long had a passion for fine desserts. This week I managed to persuade Ryan to let me have a look inside his recipe book, where my eye fell on one of his truly gorgeous chocolate desserts.
This used to be on our menu in the early days at the Raby but now it's considered a special treat for staff lunches.
Raby Hunt Restaurant, Sum-| merhouse, Darlington, 01325 374 237, www.rabyhuntrestaurant.co.uk Ingredients: 150g Feuilletine flakes (find these in many cake shops) 200g hazelnut praline paste 490ml whipping cream 280ml whole milk 3 eggs 510g of 70% cocoa solids dark chocolate half a vanilla pod, sugar 6g of gelatine 50g of dark chocolate 500ml Blood orange juice (use normal oranges if you can't find blood) MIX together the flakes and the paline paste and press into a round cake mould. Refrigerate for an hour. Bring the milk and cream to the boil in a pan. Whisk the eggs and add the hot milk and cream.
Add in the dark chocolate (get the best you can). Stir thoroughly and add the mixture to the base you have set aside in the fridge. Put the whole thing in the fridge for 12 hours.
Add the vanilla pod, split and scraped, into the juice in a pan. Reduce the orange juice/vanilla juice by half to 250ml. Add sugar and bring back up to the boil. Add the gelatine and dark chocolate. Pour over the set mixture in the fridge. Leave to set again in the fridge for a few hours.
Then share...or eat it by yourself!
This blood orange and chocolate dessert is served up at staff lunches at the Raby Hunt restaurant