I was very excited when I found that A Stranger’s House was going to be the first title published under Choc Lit’s new imprint, Death by Choc Lit. I love the slogan they’ve chosen for this line: gripping, edge-of-your seat reads, and I’ll be talking about my own literary Death by Choc Lit recipe on the Choc Lit blog next week.
When it came to thinking about how I’d celebrate publication day, my mind rather naturally turned to fizz and a sweet treat that fitted the new imprint’s name. Lots of restaurants serve puddings called Death by Chocolate, but as far as I’m aware, there’s no one, definitive recipe. Wikipedia says it can be any pudding featuring chocolate or cocoa as a primary ingredient. So, the field was wide open, and I decided to simply find the most decadent recipe I could and prepare it as part of a celebratory meal for this evening.
But after a short commune with Google, it became clear that there was only one natural choice for the occasion: Delicious Death – a recipe developed by Jane Asher for the cake of the same name that features in Agatha Christie’s book, A Murder is Announced. Asher created the recipe in 2010, in celebration of the 120th anniversary of Agatha Christie’s birth.
The moment I started amassing the ingredients, I realised it looked promising, and the association with crime fiction made it a must. (Yes, that’s right, it was that, and not the generous quantities of chocolate, cherries, ginger and brandy involved.)
I have to confess, I’m a bit of a baking wimp. Almost all of my cakes are based on Delia Smith’s all in one sponge recipe, and anything more complicated makes me feel a bit quivery. As such, Jane’s insistence on separating large quantities of eggs, and making ganache, caused a few qualms, but I couldn’t back down.
So, here’s the result, which will be consumed with fizz:
If my version tastes awful, I will ask everyone to drink all of the fizz first, to make this less noticeable.
I was interested to find the recipe uses ground almonds. My husband refuses to eat things like marzipan, and anything containing almond essence, since it smells too much like the cyanide that can be extracted from the wild nut’s kernel. (He’s a chemistry graduate, and once got a whiff of hydrogen cyanide gas, when a friend of his failed to perform an experiment inside the fume cupboard he was meant to be using. Wisely, they had bottles of antidote at the front of the lab that day…)
Given the cake is from one of Christie’s books, I feel this type of ingredient is probably quite appropriate. As it uses the fresh nut, rather than the stronger, concentrated flavouring, I’m hoping it won’t put him off!
For anyone who fancies making Delicious Death themselves, here’s the recipe.