My Garden Club came for their first meeting of the fall and I thought you'd like to see my table (You may have expected a fall tablescape, but remember I live in Florida and it's still stifling here!) and what I ended up serving.
Blogger-like, I snuck in before anyone came and took photos.
Most of the treats will be linked to recipes online but the Sticky Chocolate Loaf recipe from my Ottolenghi book will be included here in full. We had to do a lot of refilling of platters, so I deem this a big success.
1. Peach Shortbread, Smitten Kitchen
2. Creamy Lemon Bars, Martha Stewart
( These were the #1 favorite. We ran out!)
3. Financiers, Adapted from Francois Payard of Payard Patisserie
4. Espresso Chocolate Shortbread Cookies, Smitten Kitchen
(These were my personal favorite!)
5. And last:
Sticky Chocolate/Prune Loaf
From Ottolenghi, The Cookbook
7-3/4 ounces dried, pitted prunes (Agen prunes are nicest if you can get them)
1/2 cup Armagnac or Cognac
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup sunflower oil
1 large egg
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons treacle (I used Lyle's but you can use Karo syrup)
1 cup + 2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1/8 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
150 g. dark chocolate, chopped
For the syrup:
1/3 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons Armagnac or Cognac
Preheat oven to 340°. Butter two small loaf pans and sprinkle with fine bread crumbs or line with parchment paper.
Place half the prunes in a pan with the Armagnac; warm and then set aside to let the prunes steep.
Put the remaining prunes in a blender or processor along with the buttermilk and sunflower oil. Process until the mixture resembles a thick mayonnaise. Remove to another bowl, add whisk in the egg, both sugars and the treacle.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder and slowly, with a spatula, mix the dry ingredients with the wet.
Fold in the chocolate and divide between the two prepared pans. Level the tops.
Cut the Armagnac-soaked prunes in half and using your fingers, press them below the surface of the cakes.
Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a cake testor comes out clean.
Prepare the syrup while the cakes are baking: mix the ingredients together in a saucepan and bring to a boil. When the sugar is dissolved, remove from heat and allow to cool.
As soon as the cakes come out of the oven, pierce them through with a skewer and using a pastry brush, soak them with the syrup.
Allow to cool in the pan before removing.