Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Butterless and flourless chocolate fondant. I'd say it's the ultimate recipe

I loved everything about this cake: it's rich without butter in it. It tastes chocolate so it's a good fix for chocoholics.  It's easy to make. It's freezable. You could substitute sugar with a healthier option and make it even lighter.

I was thinking maybe this cake shouldn't be called fondant since it seems like a cross between a crustless cheesecake and a hard mousse: There is some indulging creaminess to it, especially if it's served 20 min after getting it out of the fridge. Then I reconsidered it: since it melts in your mouth, then it is a fondant.

Served on a bed of a good vanilla crème anglaise, It's just the perfect dessert.

All credit for this recipe goes to Garence from Talon haut & cacao. The blog is amazing and thismy 3rd recipe from the same source. It's in French.

For 8/9 '' square tin (ideally)/Serves 6 to 8 people
Prep: 20 min - baking : 25 min

  • 250g ricotta, at room temperature
  • 4 eggs at room temperature
  • 80g sugar 
  • 25g cornflour 
  • 10 g of good cocoa powder (100%)
  • 80 g of applesauce with no sugar added (I used St Dalfour orange and ginger marmalade) 
  • 180 g dark chocolate (60%), melted 
  • 40 ml of oil (eg grapeseed) 
  • 1 pinch of sea salt 


Preheat oven to 180 ° c. Cover the tin with baking paper or butter it.

Whisk the eggs with the sugar to combine. Add the applesauce/marmalade and ricotta, whisk again until the mixture is smooth.

Stir in the cornstarch, cocoa and salt. Then fold in the melted chocolate (warm is ok) followed by oil.

Pour into the tin. tap it twice against the work surface to get rid of air bubbles and bake for 20 -25 minutes. Knock off the oven while the foudant is still inside. Leave it for 10 minutes.

How do you know wether this fondant has been baked or not: Once the top is not glossy anymore and look rather "compact", then it's ready.

Transfer the fondant to a work surface. Unmold once completely cool. Leave it in the fridge for at least 6 hours. I used an small entremet-circle to cut individual servings..

Serve at room temperature over a bed of vanilla crème anglaise, with a dollup of whipped cream.

Like Garence mentioned, I also found that this dessert is best served the next day...

Version française de la recette

Je vous prie de vous rendre a la page de Garence, Talent haut & cacao pour la recette en Français...

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Moroccan almond, walnut and raisins Ghrouiba - A gluten-free recipe

Ghrouiba is a sort of round-shaped cookie which is usually compared to macaroons. They come in different varieties and range from soft to shortbread-like in term of texture.

Ghrouiba, ghreybah, ghorayeba, ghriyeba all refer to the concept of that roud-shaped cookie accross the Arab world but the recipes are so different from Morocco all the way to Lebanon.

In Morocco, we have wide array of Ghrouibas, which by the way can be gluten-free. Please check other recipes which I have posted before under "Sweet Moroccan biscuits and co". Although it's a small samplw of what Moroccan baking has to offer but It just happens that these are my favourite.

Today, we'll be talking about a Ghrouiba that could become your new energy bar. Very much indeed. It's mostly prepared with almonds, walnuts and dried seedless raisins/sultanas. Plus, It's not too sweet. It's just a treat that goes well with coffee or tea besides the goodness from its ingredients. This is my auntie Zakia's recipe.

These ghrouibas are best consumed 48 hrs after being prepared because the flavours will have time to mature and complete each other.

This is a very easy recipe where you only need a bowl or two, a food processor and a baking tray.

It's freezer-friendly (you know I like that!). However, you really need to pick good walnut halves, not the rancid or bitter stuff. And like any nut, heat your oven at 170 degrees and give them a new life by roasting them for 8 to 10 minutes without burning them.

Makes  +30 ghrouibas
Prep: 12 min (active time) - Baking: 12- 15 min

  •  500 g ground almond (blanched and skined then slightly dried with a towel), see notes
  • 250 g ground walnuts (slightly coarse and not too fine)
  • 100g powdered suga, see notes
  • 2/3 cup of sultanas/raisins to be soaked in orange blossom water then strained and mixed to form a paste
  • 2 tbsp of melted butter
  • 3 tbsp of apricot jam
  • 3 g baking powder
  • 2 egg yolks or 1 egg
  • Mastic gum, ground with a tsp of sugar (by using to bottom of a glass to crush it or a pestle & mortar)
  • 7 g vanilla sugar
  • A pinch of salt
To decorate
  • 2 egg white
  • 300 g of icing sugar layered in a tray/ plate to form a layer about 5 mm thick


Pre-soak the sultanas/raisins in orange blossom water. Set aside for at least 2hours to 24 hrs. 

Make sure you slightly roast the walnuts as mentioned above. Set it aside to cool. Rub it with your hands to get rid of excess skin.

In a food processor, whizz up the walnut to have a coarse texture (not too fine). Place in a bowl.

Use the same food processor to mix the sultanas/raisins in order to form a paste.

Bring all the ingredients together and give a few pulses to form a sticky paste/dough.

Shaping the Ghrouibas

Form dough balls between 3 and 5 cm depending how you like it (small or medium size). The dough is sticky and it might become disturbing. We usually keep a bowl of orange blossom water on the side to dip in our fingers. You could also use the back of a knife to scrape off the sticky dough.

If orange blossom water is expensive in your area, use oil or water to lubricate/humidify your hands.

Take each ball with your fingers holding it from the edges bit towards the bottom, dip the top in the egg white and then place it in the icing sugar.

Carry on with the rest of the dough.

Before getting these ghrouibas out of the icing sugar plate, make sure you slightly press them for 2 reasons:

1/ to slightly flatten them.
2/ to get more icing sugar sticking at their surface.

I didn't decorate all my ghrouibas with a walnut halve because I found out that this cause a crack. If you are ok with that, go ahead with this option.

Baking and storing

Bake the ghrouibas until you see a bit of crust forming and taking a slightly golden colour due to the egg white glazing and the icing sugar. I also pick one ghrouiba to check the texture: It should have a bit of a crust while the inside is bouncy and chewy but not runny.

Usually, it takes anywhere between 12 to 15 min depending on the size of the balls and the size of your oven.

Once cool, store the Ghrouibas in a cookie box or freeze them. Thaw them before serving.

I like these ghrouibas 2 days after preparing them. Ideally, they'll be fine within 2 weeks if the weather is not too hot.


1 / You can use almons with skin on for half of the almond quantity. 
The almonds are there as a base but not for their taste. So even if they don't taste very almond-y, do not be tempted to add almond extract.

2 / This recipe is using raisins/sultanas and jam to bring sweetness.Therefore, if the sultanas are very sweet, reduce the amont of powdered sugar in the mixed dough to 80 g.

Version Française de la recette

Pour plus de 30 ghrouibas
Prep: 15 min (temps actif)- Cuisson: 12-15 min

  •  500 g d’amandes bien moulues (blanchies, mondées et séchées)
  • 250 g de noix en poudre (corse et pas trop fine)
  • 100g de sucre glace
  • ½  petit bol de raisins trempés dans un peu de fleur d’oranger ensuite égouttés et réduits en pâte
  • 2 c.à.s de beurre fondu
  • 3 c.à.s de confiture d'abricot
  • 3 g de levure chimique
  • 2 jaunes d’œufs ou 1 œuf 
  • Gomme arabique (réduite en poudre en la mélangeant avec une cc de sucre et en l'écrasant avec le fond d'un verre, ou un mortier)
  • 7 g de sucre vanillé
  • Une pincée de sel
Pour décorer
  • 2 blancs d'œufs
  • 300 g de sucre en poudre étalée sur une couche d'environ 5 mm d'épaisseur 


Dans un robot, mélangez tous les ingrédients afin d'avoir une pâte qui sera un peu collante.

Former des boules de 3 à 5 cm de diamètre jusqu'à épuisement de la pâte.

Trempez le haut des ghrouibas dans le blanc d’œuf et ensuite dans du sucre glace. 

Aplatissez légèrement chaque boule:

1/ Afin qu'elle prenne une jolie forme de ghrouiba
2/ Afin qu'il y ait plus de sucre glace qui couvre le haut.

La pâte est collante et à un moment ça devient embêtant. Pour y remédier, gardez un bol d'eau de fleur d'oranger ou d'eau, ou alors un peu d'huile pour humecter vos mains. Vous aurez aussi besoin de les racler avec le dos d'un couteau ou une spatule en métal afin de vous débarrasser de la pâte qui aura collé.

Cuire les ghrouibas jusqu'à ce que vous voyez que ça croûte tout en prenant une couleur légèrement dorée en raison de la présence du blanc d'œuf ainsi que du sucre glace sur la surface.

Généralement, je prends une ghrouibas pour vérifier la texture : Il doit y avoir un peu de croûte. En même temps, il faut que l'intérieur soit moelleux au toucher mais pas liquide.

Habituellement, cela prend environ entre 12 à 15 mn selon la taille des ghrouibas ainsi que la grandeur du four.

Une fois refroidies, transférez les ghrouibas dans une boîte à biscuits ou les congeler.  

Décongelez avant de servir.

J'aime ces ghrouibas 2 jours après leur préparation. Idéalement, elles seront bonnes pendant 2 semaines s'il ne fait pas trop chaud.


1/ vous pouvez utiliser la moitié des amandes avec leur peau. A ce propos, les amandes sont là en tant que base mais pas pour donner un gout. Donc même si elles n'ont pas trop le gout de l'amande, ce n'est pas la peine de le renforcer avec l'essence d'amande.

2/ Cette recette repose en grande partie sur les raisins et la confiture pour renforcer l'attribut sucre. Par conséquent, si les raisins utilises sont de bonne qualité et sucrées, incorporez juste 80 de sucre en poudre au mélange de pâte.


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