Spring seems to have arrived in West Kerry. And isn't it pretty?
It's very welcome too. The brighter mornings mean that I'm not (quite) as reluctant to get out of bed when the alarm rings. The longer evenings mean that my dog now gets a walk when I've finished work for the day - something that makes him ridiculously happy.
And much more unexpectedly, the hint of green growth in the air and the (admittedly slight) upturn in temperatures have made me miss my stall at Dingle's Farmers' Market.
At the end of October last year, I was glad to pack my stall away. I was exhausted and needed a rest from the back-breaking work of baking. But months have now gone by and I'm itching to return to the kitchen. I miss the chatter of the customers and the banter of the other stallholders. It's time for Little Miss Cupcake to return.
Thus inspired, I decided yesterday was a day for experimenting with new products for my stall. This was the end result:
Mini chocolate and raspberry tarts (taken from the Avoca Café Cookbook) and little chocolate and raspberry pots (made with leftover chocolate mixture)
Here's how I made them:
225g/8oz plain flour
150g/5oz butter, diced
25g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
190g/7 and a half oz raspberries
350ml/12 fl oz double cream
15g/half an ounce caster sugar
250g/9oz dark chocolate, grated
1 tablespoon rum (optional)
Raspberries to decorate
I had some chocolate mixture left over and decided to use it to make chocolate pots. I put some raspberries in little espresso cups and then covered them with chocolate, placed them in the fridge to set and put a pert little raspberry on top.
My verdict? These tarts and pots would appeal to customers with sophisticated tastes; those who like their chocolate strong and bitter and their desserts tangy and tart. I can think of several who will love them but I know lots have a sweeter tooth. I'll have to come up with a variation that will appeal to them too. I'm thinking chocolate honeycomb tarts and pots. Watch this space!