Surely one of the best flavour combinations ever is chocolate and orange. This recipe combines the acid of the orange and the bitter of the cocoa into something that is just magical. And the texture of crunchy dark chocolate spelt shortbread topped with lusciously tender and juicy blood orange jelly is almost sensual.
For the chocolate spelt shortbread:
225g spelt flour
50g cocoa powder
140g caster sugar
200g unsalted butter. This needs to be very soft.
You will also need a loose bottomed 20cm square tin, buttered and lined.
Pre heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4
Whizz all the dry ingredients in a food processor and then add the softened butter. Pulse the mix until everything comes together in a dough.
Tip the dough into the tin and press down with the back of a spoon. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until firm to the touch.
Allow to cool completely in the tin.
For the Blood orange jelly:
1 blood orange (seville orange is also a substitute )
300ml blood orange juice
500g granulated sugar
1 tbsp butter
175ml liquid pectin
Add the whole blood orange to a pan of boiling water and boil for a minute or two. Remove from the water & allow to cool until you can touch the orange. Cut off both the ends and then into eighths. Pulse in a food processor until finely chopped. Then add about half the juice and whizz again until smooth. Strain through a sieve.
In a medium saucepan, mix the orange puree with the rest of the juice and sugar. Bring to a boil and continue to boil for 2 1/2 minutes, taking care not to allow the pan to boil over. Add the butter, return to the boil and continue to boil until a sugar thermometer reaches 230F. Stir in the pectin and boil for one minute more.
Allow to cool until the mixture is beginning to set, it should be almost cool by that point. Pour over the chocolate shortbread, place in the fridge and chill overnight. Remove from the tin and cut into cubes using a knife dipped in hot water.
Our historical inspiration:
Though jelly has fallen out of culinary favour in the last decades, both savoury and sweet jellies certainly were a culinary presentational feature in the 16th century. There are records of jellies in the shape of animals and castles being served at Henry VIII’s court and one particular historical entry notes a jelly on the menu for a Garter celebration served to Henry and Catherine of Aragon in 1520.