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Maria Crispy Cooks Again

dark-chocolateMaria Crispy not only can’t cook but hasn’t even been trying to cook in about six months. To catch up, I decided to make a couple of desserts for a party, chocolate soufflés (courtesy of my friend Anna) and an apple and blackberry crumble (courtesy of Rachel Allen). The greatest thing about both of these is that you can pre-prepare, cookery show style, and then concentrate on more important things like swanning about in an apron, martini or similar in hand like a 1950s housewife, getting mildly tipsy.

Souffles

Serves 4-5 depending on size of ramekins
200g dark chocolate
2 egg yolks
3 egg whites
2+1+1 tablespoons of sugar
4 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon water
Some butter for greasing the ramekins
Step one: Prepare the soufflés. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees if you’re going to be cooking them right away. Use butter to grease about five ramekins. Then use two tablespoons of sugar to coat the insides of the ramekins – if two tablespoons aren’t enough, I say just use more. Break up 200g of dark chocolate and melt over a low heat with one tablespoon of water.
When this is melted in the middle, take it off the heat and add four tablespoons of milk and a tablespoon of sugar. Mix until smooth and glossy and, when a little bit cooler, stir in two egg yolks. While the chocolate is melting, beat three egg whites with a tablespoon of sugar until they’re exuberantly fluffy. Then fold the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture.
Divide the whole thing between the ramekins and bung these into the oven for ten minutes (or until visibly rising towards the heavens). If you’re not cooking the soufflés right away, stick ‘em in the fridge and allow for a couple more minutes of cooking. Stick a few berries on the side, maybe some icecream, and listen to unjustified praise, hurrah!
Even if, like me, you misread the recipe, realise you don’t have all of the ingredients half way through and, ultimately and due to the aforementioned tipsiness, manage to overcook everything, so the soufflés don’t turn out quite as well as they ought, they should still be warm and rich and chocolatey.

Crumble

Serves 6

4 large cooking apples, peeled, cored, and cut into big chunks

1 tablespoon water

2-3 tablespoons sugar

225g blackberries (frozen is okay)

175g plain flour

75g butter

75g Demerara sugar (I used dark brown sugar)

Some chopped-up almonds/ walnuts/ pecans (all optional)

Step 2: Prepare the apple crumble: Roughly chop up four large cooking apples and stick them in a saucepan with a tablespoon of water and two or three tablespoons of sugar over a low heat to stew for about ten minutes, stirring to stop it sticking. To be honest I left them stewing for about twenty minutes, due to wandering off and losing track of time, but everything seemed to turn out ok.

Combine 175g of white flour (would wholemeal be even nicer?) and 75g of butter til they’re roughly crumbled. Add 75g of brown sugar and, if you like, some chopped almonds and walnuts (more of the former than the latter in my opinion because walnuts can be a bit overwhelming in the flavor department.

Also, Rachel suggests pecans, which I couldn’t get but sound like a lovely idea). Pour the softened apples into an oven dish and then pour 225g of blackberries (frozen are fine says Rachel and I can second that) on top. Top it all off with the crumble mixture. When you feel like everyone’s about 45 minutes away from crumble withdrawal symptoms, stick it in the oven at 200 degrees and prepare for crumbly goodness.

Maybe the reason why I don’t cook is because it can’t always be desserts?

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