NOT only is Rory O’Connell a master chef who teaches people about the joy of preparing, cooking and eating food at Ballymaloe Cookery School in Shanagarry, East Cork — he has also turned his hand to doodling!
by Rory O’Connell is in all good bookshops and is available on Amazon for €24.99.
- Pre-heat the oven to 170%. Paint the sides of the cake tin with a little melted butter and line the base of the tin with a disc of non-stick baking paper.
- Place the eggs and the sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk until the mixture is pale and light. This will take about five minutes to achieve. The mixture should be firm enough to hold a figure of eight if lifted up with the whisk.
- Using a long-handled flexible spatula, fold in the melted butter followed by the ground almonds, dates, figs, pistachios, orange flower water and orange or vanilla extract. Pour the butter into the prepared tin and smooth the surface.
- Bake in the pre-heated oven for 50 minutes, by which time the cake should be well coloured and beginning to come away from the sides of the tin.
- Remove from the oven and place the cake, still in the tin, on a wire rack to cool. After 30 minutes run a blunt table knife around the inside of the tin and turn out the cake. You will notice that the fruit and nuts have fallen to the bottom of the cake, which is perfect as you will be serving the cake upside down. I like to leave the disc of baking paper on the cake until it is completely cool.
- To make the icing, place the chocolate in a Pyrex bowl and sit the bowl over a saucepan of cold water. The water must not be touching the bottom of the bowl. Bring the water to a simmer and immediately turn off the heat. The chocolate will not be fully melted, but will still continue to melt over the residual heat in the saucepan.
- When the chocolate is melted, remove the bowl from the saucepan and allow to cool until barely tepid. This is very important as if the chocolate is too warm as you beat in the butter, you may end up with a sauce rather than a spreadable icing.
- Using an electric hand whisk, whisk the butter into the chocolate a few pieces at a time until all the butter is incorporated to yield a glossy, spreadable icing. If you have whisked in the butter too quickly oar if the chocolate was too hot as you added the butter, the icing may become runny and more like a sauce. If this happens place the bowl in the fridge and allow it to become cold. Whisk it again and it should firm up to a spreadable consistency.
- Remove the disc of the baking paper from the cake and place it fruit side up on a large flat plate. Using a spatula or flexible palate knife, spread the icing over the top and si
des of the cake. The cake is now ready to serve with whipped cream of crème fraiche.