Gateau de l’ambassadeur
This is an excellent party sweet which actually improves by being made one or two days in advance. If made with rum soaked raisins or sultanas, the gateau will keep for a week to 10 days. If made with fresh grapes, it will keep in perfect condition for 4/6 days. The gateau is rich and the recipe will serve eight good portions.
60g seedless raisins or sultanas OR
60 – 100g fresh green grapes, skinned, halved and de-seeded.
2 tablespoons rum
125g petit beurre biscuits, roughly crushed
125g plain chocolate
125g unsalted butter
125g caster sugar
2 eggs, separated
4 tablespoons cream, preferably double
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons water
Pour boiling water over the raisins and sultanas and leave for 2 minutes, then drain. Pour the rum over and leave several hours or overnight to soak. (If using fresh grapes, prepare about 30 minutes before making the gateau and leave in the rum.)
Line the sides and bottom of a loose bottomed cake tin (6.5″-7.5″ diameter) with baking parchment
Crush the biscuits roughly with a rolling pin.
Chop up the chocolate and put into a pan with the water. Heat VERY GENTLY to melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally. Leave to cool.
Slice up the butter into a warmed bowl and heat until softened, then add 60g caster sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time. Beat in the cooled chocolate gradually. Stir in the cream, vanilla essence, crushed biscuits and soaked fruit.
Finally whip the egg whites to a peak with a small pinch of salt or cream of tartar. Gradually whisk in the remaining 65g caster sugar until the meringue again peaks. Cut and fold this meringue into the chocolate mixture.
Turn into the prepared tin and spread evenly. Leave in refrigerator or cold larder for 12 hours or longer. The gateau is best after 48 hours.
To serve, remove from the tin by pushing the loose bottom. Invert onto a cake board and carefully peel away the paper. Decorate with cream and flaked or grated chocolate.