A rich treat that's not too sweet

INDULGENT, NOT SICKLY: Chocolate crema fritta with fresh figs and honey.
INDULGENT, NOT SICKLY: Chocolate crema fritta with fresh figs and honey.

The balance of using unsweetened chocolate with 70 per cent cocoa content gives this pastry cream a stunning depth and richness without being too sweet. Once chilled, crumbed and fried until golden, it's perfect with the ripe figs and fragrant floral honey.


oil for deep frying
1 cup plain flour
2 eggs, whisked
3 cups fine, soft white breadcrumbs
10 small figs, thickly sliced
5 tbsp floral honey
Chocolate pastry cream
50g custard powder
25g cocoa powder
70g egg yolks (about 3-4 yolks)
80g castor sugar
500ml milk
30g unsweetened dark chocolate (100 per cent cocoa), finely chopped
170g dark chocolate (70 per cent cocoa), finely chopped
50g unsalted butter
Cinnamon sugar
50g pure icing sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon

1. To make the pastry cream, mix the custard and cocoa powders together.

2. Add the yolks to a mixing bowl and whisk. Slowly rain the castor sugar into the yolks while whisking. Continue to whisk for a few minutes until pale. Whisk in the custard powder and cocoa until incorporated. Add the milk and mix until incorporated.

3. Tip the mix into a medium saucepan and cook over a low heat while stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until substantially thickened. Swap the spoon for a whisk and whisk constantly, so as not to catch, and cook for a further three to four minutes. Add the chocolate off the heat in two additions, whisking in until melted. Add the butter and whisk (not too vigorously) until incorporated. Pour into a 20-centimetre-long container lined with cling film, making sure you cover the top of the mix with cling film to stop a skin from forming, and refrigerate.

4. Once the pastry cream has cooled completely, place in the freezer for one hour. Carefully tip out of the container, slice into 10 pieces and keep refrigerated.

5. Preheat the oil in a large pot or deep fryer to 170C.

6. Working one at a time, dip each piece of pastry cream in flour, then egg and finally in crumbs, coating well - you can gently shape it into a cylinder at this stage for presentation - and place back in the fridge as soon as each one is crumbed.

7. For the cinnamon sugar, mix the cinnamon and icing sugar together on a small plate.

8. Arrange the figs on your plates and drizzle over some honey.

9. Fry the crumbed pastry cream until golden brown, about two to three minutes. Drain on a paper towel, roll through the cinnamon sugar and serve with the figs.


1. Instead of figs, try this with poached quinces or fresh raspberries.

2. The pastry cream will keep for at least five days in the fridge, so you can make it well ahead of time.

3. Use the pastry cream to fill pastries or layer a sponge.