Gnocchi with Asparagus
A traditional comfort food, gnocchi, brightened with fresh asparagus and a hint of hazelnut and sage...
375 g (2 1/2 cups) self-raising flour
30 g (1/4 cup) Dutch (unsweetened) cocoa powder
5 g (1/4 cup) dried tarragon
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
230 g (1 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
60 ml (1/4 cup) golden syrup
200 ml grapeseed oil
200 ml milk
1 large handful tarragon sprigs, to decorate
The Chocolate Icing:
125 g unsalted butter
130 g milk chocolate, broken into small chunks
185 g (1 1/2 cups) icing (confectioners') sugar
60 ml (1/4 cup) milk
Preheat the oven to 175°C (345°F). Lightly grease and line a 22 cm (9 in) heart-shaped or round cake tin with baking paper.
Add the flour and cocoa to a mixing bowl and stir to combine. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Add the tarragon to the burn chamber of a smoking gun and smoke the flour mixture according to the manufacturer’s instructions, being sure to only do this for a few seconds so as not to overdo the tarragon fragrance.
Sift the smoked flour mixture into a large mixing bowl together with the bicarbonate of soda and caster sugar. Beat in the golden syrup, eggs, oil and milk for 3 minutes, or until well combined, then pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly in the tin for 5 minutes, then carefully turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
While the cake is cooling, make the icing. Place the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of lightly simmering water and melt gently, stirring, until completely smooth. Remove from the heat, stir in the icing sugar and milk and beat until the mixture is smooth and glossy.
Place the cooled cake on a serving plate or stand and spread the top and sides with the chocolate icing. Decorate with the tarragon sprigs.
Smoking Gun. You’ll need a smoking gun to complete this recipe as it stands, but if you don’t have this sort of equipment then keep it traditional and enjoy my nan’s original version.