Ever tried making something from a cookbook that looks really cool and really simple but just doesn’t turn out right? Or, as happened to S and me just a few days ago, right-side up?
A great friend of ours had recently given us a copy of Modern Spanish Cooking by Sam & Eddie Hart. She and her husband had eaten at the Harts’ Fino restaurant in London and loved their meal. Knowing that we didn’t yet have a copy of their book and that the yummy dishes in it would inspire us to get back in the kitchen (a place, sadly, that because of work we’ve been spending less and less time in recently), she kindly carried one back home for us.
It really is an inspiring text. S and I literally drooled over the pages as we flipped through them together. (The fact that we are soon making our very first trip to Spain has also re-ignited an interest in and passion for Spanish cuisine.) David Loftus’ pictures are also quite nice, enhancing the saliva-factor of the book tremendously. Stand-out dishes that we can’t wait to try include jamon croquetas, potato and chrorizo chips, arroz negra, white beans and clams, chicken with red peppers, roast suckling pig, crisp pork belly, ensaladilla russa, pedro ximenez ice cream, and churros and chocolate.
The one dish that we thought looked super-yummy and strikingly simple to make was the Harts’ shots of white and dark chocolate. From the picture, which I have scanned and placed to the right, these shots are compositions of chilled white chocolate soup over which warm whipped dark chocolate cream is spooned. Using a straw, you then slurp the whole thing up in one lusciously rich and chocolately mouthful.
The recipe looked easy enough (we’re reprinting it below). We made the white chocolate soup first and let it chill in our fridge for several hours. Then S made the dark chocolate cream. Following the instructions in the book, we poured the white chocolate soup into a couple of shot glasses. Then we carefully scooped up some of the dark chocolate cream and ever so gently placed some on top of one of the shot glasses. Only to watch it disappear into the white chocolate soup and plop onto the bottom of the glass.
We tried it again with the same results. Each time, the dark chocolate plonked to the bottom of the glass. The chocolate cream was simply denser and heavier than the white chocolate soup. Unless we added some gelatin or other thickener to the soup — or conversely, thinned out the dark chocolate cream — there was no way we were ever going to create the shots pictured in the book.
The components, though, tasted fantastic. So, instead of wasting them, S decided to just do the logical thing and invert the shots. She spooned some of the dark chocolate on the bottom of each shot glass, over which we poured the white chocolate soup. We then happily devoured these.
We’re thinking of making these shots again soon. There are basically two scenarios. Either the recipe doesn’t work quite right or somehow while making these, S and I screwed up. Either way, we want to know what happened. Of course, if some of you want to give this recipe a try, please do. And please tell us if it works for you.
Shots of white and dark chocolate
from Modern Spanish Cooking by Sam & Eddie Hart
for the white chocolate soup
100g best quality white chocolate
150ml single cream
100ml whole milk
for the dark chocolate
100g best quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
10g cocoa powder
150ml double cream
4 tbsp whole milk
For the white chocolate soup, break up the chocolate and melt in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of hot water on a very low heat. Take the bowl off the pan. Pour the cream and milk into a bowl. Slowly add the warm melted chocolate, stirring well until smooth, and set aside to cool. Refrigerate the white chocolate soup for 3 hours and then skim off the impurities from the surface.
For the dark chocolate layer, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Add the cocoa powder and mix well until smooth. Pour the double cream into a large bowl and whisk until it just starts to thicken, then slowly pour in the melted chocolate, stirring well. Finally, stir in the milk to achieve a lighter consistency.
To assemble, pour the chilled white chocolate soup into 4 shot glasses, to 2-3cm from the top. Carefully spoon the dark chocolate on top of the white soup and serve, with straws.