Thursday, 9 December 2010

Gold snap

TV chef Heston Blumenthal's latest recipe for this age of austerity is a pudding made of gold. The Spiced Popping Candy Chocolate Tart was created by Heston especially for supermarket chain Waitrose and features a hazelnut shortbread base with orange chocolate ganache on top.

The dessert is decorated with gold leaf, gold lustre and that horrible popping candy that was popular back in the 1970s when it was called Space Dust. For those who don't have any spare gold lying around in their larder, a sliver of gold leaf is available from Waitrose for a very reasonable £3.99, while gold lustre will set you back just £2.49 and Space Dust is priced at a mere £2.99.

Neil Nugent, Waitrose executive chef, said the gold leaf was an affordable way of adding a touch of Blumenthal's magic to home-made desserts. 'For those who missed out on the sell out Hidden Orange Christmas pudding, this is great way to stamp the Heston hallmark on your Christmas,' he said.

'The gold leaf is something that is fun and innovative – and a great way to recreate some of Heston’s theatricality and spectacle in your own home. It is an affordable luxury for Christmas when people want to add a bit of sparkle and glamour.'

I doubt NHS patients will get to taste Heston's little confection which costs as much to make as four days' worth of food budget per patient. Still, if you feel like a 24-carat Christmas then here's the recipe:

For the spiced chocolate popping candy tart:
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground nutmeg

¼ tsp ground ginger
100g dark chocolate (minimum 60% cocoa solids), broken into small pieces
25ml grapeseed oil
50g popping candy

To decorate the tart:
Spiced chocolate popping candy (see above)
2 tbsp cocoa powder
½ tsp Rainbow Dust Gold Lustre
1 sheet edible gold leaf

Measure out the ground spices into a bowl and mix them all together thoroughly.

Put the chocolate and oil in a bowl and place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Using a spatula, mix the chocolate until it has fully melted and is well combined with the oil. Take the chocolate off the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Once cool, add the popping candy and mix well. Pour the mixture through a sieve in order to remove the excess chocolate and then spoon the popping candy on to a parchment-lined tray and spread with a spoon. Transfer to the freezer for 10 minutes to set.

Break the set popping candy into small pieces and add the spice mix. Toss them together in the bowl. Keep in an airtight container until needed.

To decorate the tart:
Sprinkle the spiced popping candy generously over the surface of the tart. Place the cocoa powder and gold lustre in a sieve and dust over the tart. Add the gold leaf for a really glitzy finish.


  1. How decadent, and suitable only for tossers and pretentious arrogant showoffs!

    However before you all get totally carried away. Converting 3.99 to USD gives $3. Given one ounce of gold is currently trading at US1400, at the max the leaf would weigh around 1/500 of an ounce. Given packaging etc maybe the actual weight would be 1/3 of this, or 1/1500 of an ounce, or 1/50 of a gram.

    So all you 50 million poms (sorry Englishmen) buy one pack, and help the world gold industry by adding 1 ton of gold production this Christmas!!

    On a serious note again - what a totally pretentious product!

    From an anonymous mining industry employee.

  2. Heston Blumenthal is a total wanker who has never experienced the "real world". I would not eat the crap he produces if I were starving.

  3. Chris in Melbourne13 December 2010 at 08:57

    And while we are at it we might as well blame the UK for the price of petrol in Australia. How dare you be cold and put the spot price for oil in Singapore up? No excuses~own up!

    Actually, I saw a series recently here which I think was the Heston chap you mention, cooking pre-historic things (at least his take on what it would have been like) and dishing it up to a selected group.

    I had a glance in whichever newspaper reported the Waltrose cake thing~some of the respondents commenting sound like they need a humour transplant!

    Hope all is well for you and family,

    Chris in Melbourne.(a cool 20c this evening so far).

  4. That's a huge amount of cinnamon. I assume you buy the tart. I'm sorry to say it sounds disgusting, almost up to NHS standards.

    Hope you're still improving, have a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

  5. I've been trying to buy the ingredients for this in two local Waitrose shops - you can't buy them in either! (Or on-line from Ocado). I asked a manager in one branch and he said they have not had - and are unlikely to receive - either the gold lustre, or the gold leaf. So, why did Waitrose give so much publicity to this dish, if their customers can't buy the ingredients? Another Xmas mystery! (Oh, you can't get a Heston Blumenthal Christmas pudding in the shops, or on-line - except from re-sellers - either.) I really wanted to try making this, as an adventurous cook, so Waitrose, you've spoilt what was to be the highlight of my Xmas lunch and traction man, I think you should take this recipe off the site, since the ingredients aren't available to normal shoppers. Merry Xmas and a healthy New Year, anyway,

  6. I like to make sure I have the vitamins and minerals that I need, but I'm not sure gold is one of them. I do think it faintly disgusting when humans think about eating gold when some people don't have enough to eat.