Monday, 28 April 2014

A Matcha made in heaven: Matcha and white chocolate puds with sticky pecan brittle and berries

Glimmers of sunshine peaking through the dark clouds every now and then can only be good signs that better weather is on the way. My office has floor to ceiling windows, overlooking glorious Regent's Park, and can really have an effect on the office mood and how the day whizzes (or crawls) past. Since booking my summer holiday, it's been the kick up the ass to get back to a relatively less noodle, rice and chocolate shaped body. And what better way to do it than fully take advantage of the park and go on a run round the park to clear my mind and burn a few calories as opposed to attempting to work and eat "al desko." 

A slight snag along the that I'm so proud I've gone on my run, I think my metabolism is invincible for about an hour later and really go to town on treating myself, or should I say fooling myself into food I don't really need. Dangerous, given that in my old job a tricky weekly client meeting was almost always rewarded by an Eat matcha chiller- (ie a green tea creamy frapuccino) - and this mental conditioning of warmer weather and treating myself at work has slightly spiralled into a matcha / green tea obsession. 
I love anything with green tea matcha powder - ice cream, frapuccino, cookies, name it, I'd probably eat it. Matcha powder can be pricey, but a little goes a long way, and a lot of Asian grocery stores sell smaller pouches of the fine powder, perfect for this recipe! Another easy make ahead dessert, hugely satisfying and the flavours balance each other perfectly. Smooth mellow matcha pudding, sweetened with soy milk and white chocolate which is cut through with a slight zing from mixed berried and a brittle pecan crunch for texture. You obviously don't have to make all the elements of this dessert, but it's a well rounded pud if you're making the effort. Give yourself about 20 to 30 minutes to prepare this, and you'll be glad you made the effort. A beautiful spring green and bright red colour, it's sure to brighten your day. 

Matcha white chocolate puddings with summer berries and pecan brittle
Makes 3 servings (or two generous servings...)

30g corn flour
15g sugar
3g matcha powder 
2 tbs water 
450ml soya milk ( if you want regular milk you can, just add 5g of sugar more)
100g white chocolate, roughly broken into small pieces

70g frozen mixed berries
10g sugar

40g crushed pecans
50g caster sugar 

In a large mixing bowl, combine the corn flour and sugar. In a separate bowl, pour a tablespoon of water in with the matcha powder. Mix into a wet paste with a teaspoon (adding another tablespoon of water if you need) and try to get rid of any lumps. Add this to the flour and sugar, and whisk in the milk. 
Place this over a pan of bubbling water on a medium heat. Cook this for fifteen minutes, making sure you stir constantly to avoid lumps - it will start to stick to the sides and in the last five minutes will thicken up a lot. Once it's thickened to a medium custard consistency, add the white chocolate in and stir over the heat for 3 minutes. Transfer to small glasses or ramekins and leave in the fridge to firm up. 

Add the berries and sugar in a small pan and leave on a medium heat till the berries have broken down and create a sauce. If you have fresh berries, just keep heating till the juices come out and start to thicken. 
Leave to cool slightly and add to the matcha puddings. 

To make the brittle, add the sugar in a pan on a low heat. Shake the pan a little as it starts to melt - don't stir it otherwise it will clump and crystallise. The sugar will slowly dissolve and turn into a light caramel colour. Here is when you have to keep an eye on it, as it will quickly change to a dark mahogany. Once you see this, add the pecans and take it off the heat. Stir until the nuts are mixed in well and quickly pour out onto grease proof paper. 
Be careful, the sugar is extremely hot, so don't be tempted to dip a finger in there unless you fancy trying to burn your fingerprints off (well, almost). 
With a spoon, spread the mixture out and leave to cool. Once cool it will harden and you can break off pieces into shard to dip into your puddings.
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