A Bit on the Side…

When you go to fine dining restaurants or you’re watching an episode of Masterchef, there are always these fancy, complicated elements to a dish.  There’s a foam or a gel, and when it comes to desserts, there are often ‘soils.’  So last week, when I decided to make my Cranachan Parfait for Burns Night, I thought I would jazz up the presentation and add a little bit of texture with some Chocolate Soil.

Cranachan Parfait

Like creating the parfait recipe, I did a lot of shopping around online at current recipes and approaches to creating this special element and built on them.  If you think it looks too complicated or intricate for you, think again!  Making your own chocolate soil is so easy and takes only minutes, yet on the plate it will look really elegant and special.

Chocolate Soil

Easy | Cook: 10 minutes | Serves 10-12


  • 100g caster sugar
  • 75g dark chocolate
  • 2 tbsp water


  1. In a food processor or a sandwich bag, chop the chocolate into small pieces.
  2. Put the sugar and 2 tbsp water into a pan over a high heat.  Bring to the boil, then boil rapidly until just beginning to turn brown.  Remove from the heat.
  3. Tip the chopped chocolate into the sugar and whisk.  The sugar should crystallise and turn into lovely chocolate soil!
  4. Tip the soil out onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper to cool.  Once cooled it is ready to use, or you can store it in an airtight container for about a week.

Wasn’t that easy?  It’s so simple!  This is a very uncomplicated version, and you could always jazz it up by adding flavourings if you like, but it really only takes about 10 minutes to create a tasty and impressive looking element for your dessert.

What you will notice is the pan you use is very, very messy afterwards.  Here’s my tip for cleaning it: fill it with boiling water, put it back on the hob and boil it rapidly for a few minutes.  Pour the water away and you’ll find a lot of the sugar/general mess has come off. You might need to do it a couple of times to get it all off but this trick always works!

Chocolate Soil!

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