110 g butter, softened
100 g caster sugar
1 free-range egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
150 g flour
30 g cocoa powder
Icing sugar, for dusting
Peppermint meringue filling
275 g caster sugar
4 free-range egg, whites
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
A few drops of pure peppermint extract
100 g 70% cocoa chocolate, broken into pieces
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Recipe by Georgina Hayden
1. Beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Whisk in half the beaten egg (you only need half) and the vanilla extract, then stir in the flour and cocoa powder until just combined. Divide the mixture in half, shape each into balls, wrap both in clingfilm, then chill for a couple of hours until the dough has firmed up.
2. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4, and grease and line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper. Dust a work surface with icing sugar and roll out 1 batch of dough to 5mm thick. Cut out rounds using a 5cm cutter (re-roll and cut any trimmings), then transfer the biscuits to the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes till cooked through. Cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the second batch of dough.
3. To make the peppermint meringue filling, place the sugar, egg whites, cream of tartar and 1½ tablespoons of water in a large heatproof bowl. Beat with an electric whisk till fluffed up, about 1 minute. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water set over the lowest heat possible, and continue to beat at high speed for 10–12 minutes, until stiff peaks form. Remove from the heat, add a few drops of peppermint extract and beat for 2 more minutes, until the meringue has thickened even more.
4. Fit a 1cm plain nozzle to a piping bag and fill the bag with the peppermint meringue. Pipe onto the biscuits in an upward spiral, working from the outside in; leave a small border around the edge – aim for a swirl around 3–4cm tall. Place the biscuits on a tray and leave to set in the fridge while you make the chocolate topping.
5. Place the chocolate pieces and oil in a small heatproof bowl and gently melt over a pan of simmering water until completely smooth and glossy. Transfer to a small, deep bowl and leave to cool at room temperature for about 10 minutes.
6. To finish the teacakes, hold the chilled biscuits by the base and gently dip the meringue into the melted chocolate, swirling so it's completely covered. Or, place the biscuits on a wire rack with greaseproof paper underneath and drizzle over the chocolate until each biscuit is covered. Chill the biscuits for a few hours until the chocolate has completely set, and serve.
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Buying sustainably sourced fish means buying fish that has been caught without endangering the levels of fish stocks and with the protection of the environment in mind. Wild fish caught in areas where stocks are plentiful are sustainably sourced, as are farmed fish that are reared on farms proven to cause no harm to surrounding seas and shores.
When buying either wild or farmed fish, ask whether it is sustainably sourced. If you're unable to obtain this information, don't be afraid to shop elsewhere – only by shopping sustainably can we be sure that the fantastic selection of fish we enjoy today will be around for future generations.
For further information about sustainably sourced fish, please refer to the useful links below:
Marine Stewardship Council