It’s time to tackle the piping bag terror! The last time I attempted to do ‘proper’ icing, it didn’t work out terribly well. Today, I had more time to spare so decided to take a deep breath and give it another go…
Chocolate custard muffins
- 50g cornflour
- 3 level tbsp cocoa
- 100g dark soft brown sugar
- 225ml cold water
- 75g unsalted butter, cubed
- 125g dark chocolate, broken small
- 75ml sunflower oil
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 125g caster sugar
- 125g plain flour
- 2½ tsp baking powder
For the chocolate meringue buttercream topping
- 75g egg whites
- 110g caster sugar
- 150g unsalted butter
- 100g chocolate, melted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- First make the custard: put the cornflour, cocoa, brown sugar and water into a saucepan and whisk together over a medium heat until boiling, very thick and smooth. Remove from the heat, beat in the butter and chocolate until melted and absorbed, then add the oil, vanilla and one of the eggs, and beat again until combined. Add the remaining egg and the caster sugar, and beat again until smooth and thick.
- Measure the flour and baking powder into a bowl, stir together, then sift directly on to the custard and beat through until combined. Spoon into a dozen paper muffin cases sitting in the pockets of a muffin tray; heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4 and bake for 25 minutes.
- Leave to cool.
Chocolate meringue buttercream method
- Place the whites and the sugar in a saucepan and stir over a moderate heat until the mixture is hot and the sugar dissolved. The sugar and heat kill off any bacteria and effectively sterilise it.
- Then tip the mixture into a mixing bowl and beat with an electric whisk for about five minutes until very thick and cool.
- Beat in the chocolate, about 50g at a time, and then the butter, about 50g at a time, and if the butter is still a little cold you can beat this in first to lower the temperature of the icing. Stop whisking as soon as all of the butter is evenly mixed through.
- Finally, beat in the vanilla.
- With great trepidation, pipe over half of the muffins!
I don’t think I’ve got the hang of piping quite yet! Feedback has suggested that I was maybe a bit mean, piping only a thin line of a topping that didn’t have much of a texture – I need to crack the ‘American style’ of flamboyant piped rosettes, rather than these wimpy-looking efforts.
Still, in nice bright sunshine, I don’t think this looked too bad for a second attempt!
However, it did add a good hour to the time taken to make these muffins – making the topping, cooling it down enough to use, filling the bag, doing some test pipes, piping the real versions, cleaning the bag… not something I can do for my every-week after-work rush-jobs!
So, for now the piping bag is being ceremonially hung up, and I’ll stick to more basic fare!