Paul A Young has been called the world’s most innovative chocolatier. Here, he shares three delicious but different recipes from his book Sensational Chocolate
“There is such a wonderful nostalgia when it comes to chocolate, so nothing I ever do is too removed from its origins. I still love a Kit Kat or a Dairy Milk bar and sometimes I just want that taste of a hug and the flavour of my childhood”
An award-winning chocolatier; Marco Pierre White’s former pastry chef; one-time M&S product developer and recognised as the man who made salted caramel famous, there’s not a lot that flavour-maverick Paul A Young doesn’t know about the sweet stuff.
“I worked as a product developer for M&S on Chinese dishes and Count on Us ready meals once upon a time, before I went back to professional kitchens and eventually went freelance, which is when chocolate became a focus.
“I started to incorporate my patisserie style into handmade products, which is when I created the salted caramel truffle that won gold in the Chocolate Academy Awards. Suddenly, people were calling me asking where they could buy them and I hadn’t even started making them!
“It’s very easy for us to stay in our taste comfort zone, but you don’t know if flavours work unless you try and sometimes the results can be unexpected, like my Marmite truffle. Our ethos is to be pure, and that means if I want to make a banoffee truffle then it has to have all the components of a banoffee pie – real banana, real caramel and real cream. I don’t agree with flavouring things or experimenting for the sake of it,
but I do believe in pushing the boundaries of what you can do with chocolate.
“In the UK, we tend to think that chocolate is a dessert or a treat, but if we were in Mexico we would be throwing it in our chilli every day. Chocolate is creamy, smooth and intense, and can add a wonderful depth to savoury food. One of my favourite hangover dishes is a bacon, stilton and chocolate sandwich.
“As a Children’s Air Ambulance ambassador, I wanted to raise funds my own way, so I asked friends to donate recipes and bound them with some of my own to create my book, Sensational Chocolate, that’s both usable and beautiful.” The recipes are a mix of classic favourites such as actor Emma Thompson’s chocolate-brownie pudding and baker Glenn Cosby’s chocolate and salted caramel cheesecake and more experimental ideas, like my chocolate chutney, which I urge you to try in a cream-cheese sandwich – I promise it will enrich the flavour of the cheese into something incredible.”
Recipes taken from Paul A Young’s Sensational Chocolate, published by Clearview Books in association with the Children’s Air Ambulance charity, £20.
salted caramel cheesecake
“This is a recipe from Great British Bake Off finalist Glenn Cosby and a very full-on decadent dessert – so a cheeky spoon of cold Greek yoghurt will help balance the sweetness”
Serves: 8-10 Preparation time 1 hour, plus chilling overnight Cooking time 35 minutes
You will need a 23cm cake tin with a removable base, lined with baking paper
For the base
200g Oreo biscuits
1 tbsp caster sugar
30g salted butter, melted
For the filling
500g full-fat cream cheese
100g caster sugar
150ml double cream
300g dark 70% chocolate, melted
For the salted caramel
200g caster sugar
150g double cream
1 tsp sea-salt flakes
Preheat your oven to 180C/160C fan/gas mark 4.
You’ll need to start with the tedious business of scraping off the cream from between the biscuits. Next, blitz them in a food processor. Mix with the sugar then pour in the melted butter and stir. Tip the mixture into the tin to cover the base.
Bake for 10 minutes in the oven, then allow to cool.
Place the cream cheese, sugar and cream in a bowl and combine, then add the eggs one at a time and continue to stir. You don’t want to whip it – use a mixer with a paddle attachment or a spatula, then pour in the melted chocolate and mix to combine.
Pour the filling onto the cooked base and return to the oven for about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Ideally it should chill in the fridge overnight.
To make the caramel, melt the caster sugar in a saucepan over a gentle heat, watching it constantly. Don’t use a wooden spoon, or anything else, or it will stick. Help it melt gently by swirling the pan.
Once the sugar has all melted into a golden caramel, carefully pour in the double cream. Use a wooden spoon or a spatula and stir it over a low heat until it forms a smooth sauce.
Add the salt and let it cool. When you are ready to serve, remove the cheesecake from the tin and peel off the greaseproof paper. At the last minute, pour over the caramel sauce and watch it run.
“This rich and well-balanced chutney is amazing with savoury pies and cheeses, is super easy to make and keeps for months. Experiment with different types of chocolate for a stronger or more delicate flavour”
Makes four 200g jars Preparation time 15 minutes Cooking time 45 minutes
You will need four sterilised 200g jars
2 medium white onions
2 Braeburn or Cox apples, peeled and cored
2 William or Rocha pears, peeled
4 cloves of garlic
3 whole dried chillies
2 tbsp olive oil
250ml white wine vinegar
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
200g unrefined light muscovado sugar
½ tsp five spice
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
100g 70% dark chocolate
Chop the onions, apples, and pears into 1cm dice and place into a medium saucepan. Crush the garlic and add along with the chillies and olive oil.
Sauté until all the ingredients have softened – this will take 15 minutes.
Add the white wine vinegar, tomatoes, sugar, five spice, sea salt and pepper and simmer on a low heat for 45 minutes.
Take off the heat and add the chocolate, mixing until it is melted and smooth.
Fill the jars and label with the date so they can be enjoyed within six months.
Bread and butter truffles
“Store your finished chocolates in air-tight containers in a cool, dark place. Eat the truffles within seven days”
Makes 60 truffles Preparation time 30 minutes Chilling time 2 hours
You will need a large flat baking tray, greased
For the ganache
250ml whole milk
50g unrefined golden caster sugar
25g salted butter
2 thick slices of wholemeal bread, torn into pieces
500g milk chocolate, broken into small pieces
For the truffle coating
400g tempered dark chocolate
8 slices toasted brown bread, whizzed or crushed into breadcrumbs
50g cocoa powder
In a saucepan, bring the milk, sugar, butter and bread to a simmer and whisk until smooth.
Take off the heat and add the milk chocolate pieces, whisking until melted and glossy.
Pour into a tray and cool. Refrigerate for two hours.
Using your fingers, roll the truffles into balls. Dust your fingers with cocoa powder first, as the ganache is sticky.
Now roll the truffles in tempered dark chocolate then immediately roll through the breadcrumbs.