Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Salted Pumpkin Seed Chocolates


It has been quite some time in the wilderness but I'm thinking it's time to resurrect Feast with Bron. I miss having a place to write about food adventures and keep track of new favourites and the occasional disaster. The plan is to blog from a broader base than just Borough and market days but still go with the pleasures of eating. My heart and soul is firmly rooted in the buying, making and eating of great food. I'm a greedy cow at heart - but always that's happy to share.

Ages ago I bought the Polpo cookbook and an early favourite was roasted butternut, served just warm, draped with torn proscuitto then sprinkled with a grating of salted ricotta and a handful of toasted pumpkin seeds. All the elements were individually good, together making a lovely plate of food but easily the most amazing element was the lightly toasted seeds. They taste amazing - rich and smooth and deeply savoury like a quick crunch of luxury scattered across the plate.

And so easy! Small dry pan, gentle heat, add seeds and toss occasionally for a couple of minutes till they go from green to brown and the first one or two pop and you're done.

I started adding them to other salads for a hint of richness and crunch, then as a textured finish to creamy soups and a slightly decadent tasting addition to soft pasta sauces. They were so good in every incarnation - like a little miracle flavour bomb every time. Always savoury though, their place was firmly rooted in salads and mains, pretty much where I use pumpkin flesh.

Around Halloween I came across the idea of using them in butter chocolates and I was intrigued. Very easy to see how the rich smoothness of the seeds would be enhanced to eleven blended with butter and wrapped in chocolate. I played with the recipe a bit and have found my perfect version.

Salted Pumpkin Seed Chocolates

These are a little bit fiddly but very easy and will make a fabulous addition to Christmas excess or pretty gifting to those you really do love

Makes 24

100g pumpkin seeds
40g unsalted butter
40g icing sugar
½ - 1 teaspoon sea salt crystals
350g dark chocolate

In a small frying pan dry fry the seeds over a medium heat until they are golden and smell rich and toasty. Allow to cool, then set aside a tablespoon of seeds for later.

Tip the rest of the seeds into a bowl with the butter and sugar and grind with a stick blender till you have a smooth paste. Stir through the salt crystals.

Set 24 small paper cases onto a baking tray.

Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl stays clear of the water. Spoon 2 teaspoons of the liquid chocolate into the base of each paper case then refrigerate for 15 minutes or so until the chocolate sets. 

Leave the remaining chocolate in the bowl over the pan of hot water so it stays liquid,

Once the chocolate has set put a spoonful of the pumpkin seed paste on top and smooth it to almost the edge of the set chocolate.  Spoon another 2 teaspoons of chocolate over the top and add a couple of the reserved seeds to decorate. Put the tray of finished chocolate cups back into the fridge to set.

Share cautiously, eat with gusto!