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Kitchen Queries

Welcome to Kitchen Queries, where the nigella.com team will answer your cooking or food related questions.  We’d love you to submit some of your recipe problems, dilemmas or queries for us to get our teeth into!

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  • Chocolate Meringue Truffle Cake

    Hi, I made Nigella's Chocolate Meringue Truffle Cake but when I melted the chocolate, rum and golden syrup together it turned into an incredibly thick, gooey mess that wouldn't go back to how it was before - it was like cookie mixture. I took it off the heat because I thought it was getting too hot.  Also, the only thing you could taste was the rum, and not much else. I put it back on the heat and it softened a bit, but still had a very thick consistency. When I had given up entirely, I just mixed it with the cream and it was perfect but it still had the very overpowering taste of rum in it. Is it supposed to be like that or did I do something wrong?

    From the nigella team:

    Nigella's Chocolate Meringue Truffle Cake (from Feast) has a filling made from melted chocolate, rum and golden syrup that is mixed with softly whipped cream. From the description of your chocolate turning thick and gooey we suspect that it was overheating. If you are melting chocolate over a pan or hot water then make sure that the bottom of the bowl isn't touching the water as this will heat the chocolate too much. The water only needs to be hot, not boiling, as chocolate doesn't need a high temperature to melt. If you are using a heatproof glass (Pyrex) bowl then this will also retain heat so the chocolate won't necessarily cool down quickly once the bowl is removed from the pan of water. We would suggest in future removing the bowl from the saucepan of hot water while there are still some small lumps of unmelted chocolate left. These will melt as the bowl of chocolate stands and reduces the risk of the chocolate overheating.

    Fortunately the chocolate can be saved sometimes by cooling it quickly, and we suspect this is why adding it to the cream helped to correct the problem. If you are worried that the chocolate has overheated then immediately transfer the chocolate to a clean bowl to help to cool it quickly. If it still remains thick then sometimes if you stir in a teaspoon of flavourless vegetable oil this will make the chocolate smooth again.

    The rum in the mixture is 60ml/4 tablespoons/1/4 cup. If you find the flavour to be too strong then do redcue the amount, or use a liqueur of your choice. The alcohol can also be omitted completely if the cake is to be served to those who cannot have alcohol, and you can instead add a teaspoon of vanilla extract when you combine the chocolate and cream.

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