Saturday, 10 December 2011

Hot Chocolate with Juniper Berries

Juniper berries or baies de genévrier are often used to marinate game as it has an earthy aroma and piney flavour which complements wild meat. However, it can also be used in much smaller quantities with other meats such as chicken and fish like salmon. It is rarely used to flavour desserts but having come across a recipe for crème chocolat flavoured with Juniper in Sophie Grigson’s book 'SPICE' I thought I would try the combination of chocolate and juniper to hot chocolate instead. For my first rather shy attempt with Juniper berries I  added them in whole and found that they imparted a discreet but teasingly just there note. Feeling much more gung ho the second time round, I added the berries in crushed. The final result was spicy but tasty nonetheless. The dark chocolate used for this more than meets its match with an earthy spice like Juniper and the orange lightens the overall taste. A delightful winter warmer!

Serves 2 gourmands!
600ml Milk (full fat or semi skimmed)
A drop of cream (optional)
100g 60 -70% dark chocolate
Pinch of salt
12 juniper berries (crushed)
Squeeze of orange juice

1.  Warm the milk (and the cream) on the stove (medium heat) with the  crushed berries.
2.  Stir with a whisk continuously.
3.  Break the chocolate into pieces and add to the milk with a pinch of salt.
4.  Keep stirring with the whisk.
5.  When chocolate has fully melted, add a squeeze of orange juice.
6.  Remove from the stove. Continue whisking for a froth-like texture.
7.  Pour into cups using a strainer to remove the berry bits.
8.  Add sugar (to taste) if you like your hot chocolate sweet.
Tip: Make a little extra for later - the hot chocolate tastes much better re-heated.

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