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Friday, 1 November 2013

Swedish Black Forest Gateau

The past month has flown by.  Soon it will be Christmas ( I have already seen my first Christmas tree) and won't be long until I am breaking up for Easter.  Last month wasn't the best of months for me and is the main reason why I only managed to post one recipe.  Hopefully now things can start to get back to normal and I can continue with my goal of two posts a week!

October is my birthday month, and as a present I received the IKEA cookbook Fika.  Described in the book as "a break for coffee and a bite to eat...a moment's relaxation with friends, family or colleagues'  It is a unique book with regards to layout, each recipe has its own ingredients page where each element is carefully presented in a very IKEA sort of way.  

This recipe is the very last in the book and is my first venture in to cooking Swedish style cakes and food.  I have been lucky enough to visit Sweden and have sampled some of the fantastic, yet overpriced, cakes.  This recipe is far from the German version of Black Forest Gateau - there isn't a cherry to be found - but instead its a light meringue layer cake sandwiched with thick vanilla infused cream and topped with shavings of chocolate and cocoa powder.  Hazelnut, meringue, cream and chocolate, not a bad combination and perfect to eat with friends.  Gluten free too.

Swedish Black Forest Gateau
from the IKEA cookbook, Fika.
serves 12

150g whole hazelnuts
4 egg whites
140g caster sugar

500ml whipping cream
1 tbsp vanilla bean paste (or extract, I like the tiny beans mixed in to the cream)

100g chocolate (70%)
2 tbsp cocoa powder

Pre-heat the oven to 150C.

Prepare the baking sheets by lining with greaseproof paper and marking out (I used a cake tin base) four 20cm rounds.  You should get two per baking sheet.  

In a frying pan, over a high heat, toast the hazelnuts for about 2 minutes until you start to see the skins flaking off.  Keep them moving around as you do not want to burn them.

Transfer on to a clean tea towel and rub to remove the skins.  It is doubtful you will remove every last bit of skin but try and remove as much as you can.  Its best to RUB strongly and keep the hazelnuts close together as the friction between them will rub off the skins quickly.  


Transfer to a food processor and blitz for 1 minute until fully chopped - see image for level of grind.


In a free standing mixer, fitted with the whisk, beat the egg whites until stiff - it took 1.20 minutes in my machine.  You do not want to over beat them, this isn't like making meringue. 


With the machine still running tip in all the sugar and beat for 5 seconds - just to mix in, again you do not want a glossy mixture.

Tip in the chopped nuts and fold in quickly.


Divide the mixture between the drawn out cake rounds - about 2 large spoonfuls each.  Use a palette knife to shape in to flat discs. 


Bake for 25 minutes until lightly golden.  They will still be soft although the edges will start to crisp.

Remove from the oven and leave for 1 minute.  Use a spatular to carefully work around the edges to free from the paper.  (it may be easier to cut the baking paper so you have four individual pieces).  Turn over and remove the paper by folding over and pulling in a fluid motion.  Keep the fold crisp and you should get a clean removal.  If it should break don't worry too much as the cream will hold everything together later.


Leave to cool completely!

Whisk the cream until thick, add in the vanilla paste.


Sandwich together the layers using the cream.  Finish by covering the top and sides with the remaining cream.  Dust with cocoa.



Melt all but four pieces of the chocolate in the microwave.  I heated for 1 minute on medium.  Chop the four pieces and add to the molten chocolate.  Stir until you have a smooth molten liquid.



Pour on to a piece of greaseproof and spread thinly in to a large rectangle shape.  Leave to cool (do not put in the fridge, it will set in 30 minutes or so)

Use a knife to mark out 14 small rectangles, a little higher than the sides of the cake.  Remove from the baking sheet and stick to the sides of the cake.

Break up the remaining chocolate and sprinkle over the top.  If you wanted you could use more chocolate and grate it over the top or buy chocolate curls.