Ah, Monaco. Just the name of it is enough to conjour up images of riches from gigantic houses and yachts to the pictures of the rich and famous. It is one of the richest countries on earth, has the highest number of millionnaires/billionaires per capita, and the district of Monte Carlo was described by the Encyclopedia Brittanica as an
“international byword for the extravagant display and reckless dispersal of wealth”
Grace Kelly became a Monasque citizen after marrying Prince Rainer III of Monaco in 1956. She was styled as ‘Her Serene Highness’ from this point – a title which I think is lovely, and am thinking of adopting for myself (assuming I can remember to be serene!) In a slightly less impressive way, Monaco’s refusal to levy income tax on most of its citizens means that many rich Europeans gain Monasque citizenship to take advantage of this, thus again increasing the sheer amount of million/billionaires in one country.
However today a very exciting event is taking place – The Monaco Grand Prix! Arguably the most famous and prestigious motor race in the world, it forms a third of the Triple Crown of Motor Sport (also including the Indianapolis 5000 and the 24 Hours of Le Mans) and is extremely popular in the principality. Many of the drivers own property there and the race has been described as adding
” a location of exceptional glamour and prestige”
Looking at the picture below, you can only agree.
Anyway, back to the race. I am a massive Formula 1 fan, and so later today I will be sat on the sofa cheering on Mr Kimi Raikkonnen who is my main championship hope for this season. (I also have a soft spot for Mark Webber and Jensen Button, but I have my – metaphorical – money on Raikkonnen!) Whilst I watching the race I will be eating some of this scrumptious delight, which is my Monaco-Grand-Prix-Billionnaires Shortbread.
Now you might have heard of the Millionaires shortbread which features a layer of shortbread, topped with caramel and chocolate. There is actually a level up – the Billionnaires shortbread which includes a layer of peanut butter as well. I do not get this – a ridiculously extravagant, luxurious dessert and you go and put peanut butter in it? No thank you! This is my version which includes a layer of champagne-flavoured chocolate ganache under the caramel. So much more extravagant and delicious!
So go to the TV/Radio/Internet and watch the race. Imagine yourself in very expensive sunglasses, sitting on a yacht in the sunshine. And when it’s over and reality hits, make this and live the dream.
- 150g butter
- 65g caster sugar
- 210g plain flour
- a pinch of salt
Caramel Topping (Don’t use tinned whatever you do – it doesn’t work!)
- 50g butter
- 50g soft brown sugar
- 400g condensed milk
- 100g plain chocolate
- 70g double cream
- 2 tbsp champagne
- 100g plain chocolate
- Edible gold lustre (optional)
This dish is made in several stages, but a lot of the preparation is layering up the dessert and then leaving it to chill in the fridge (so not too much hassle!) First make the shortbread. Cream together the butter and sugar before mixing in the flour and salt in two halves. Press the mixture into a lined square cake tin and prick with a fork – this doesn’t have to be too neat as it will be covered later, juts try to make it as even as possible. Place this in the fridge to chill for 15 minutes. Turn your oven to gas mark 3/325°F/170°C and leave to heat up. After the shortbread mixture has chilled, bake on the middle shelf for 1 hour until firm and golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin.
Whilst the mixture is cooling, make the chocolate-champagne ganache. Melt 100g chocolate over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally. Once the mixture is smooth remove from the heat and stir in the champagne and double cream until fully combined. Place in the fridge to chill.
Once the shortbread is completely cold, spread a layer of the ganache on the top, using a spatula to flatten the mixture as much as possible. Place back in the fridge for 15 minutes to set further.
Whilst this is setting make the caramel by heating the butter, condensed milk and sugar in a saucepan, bringing to the boil but all the time watching it carefully! Reduce the heat and cook for 4-5 minutes until the caramel starts to come away from the sides of the pan. Pour the caramel over the shortbread and ganache before again returning to the fridge. Finally, melt the remaining chocolate and spread over the top before returning to the fridge for a final 30-minute chill. Remove from the tin and cut into small squares before serving. To paraphrase Caroline, ‘Get your rich on’ and enjoy!