A Rare Evening Post...
I'm usually in la-la land right about now, but I just got done watching a scary movie (I just love Halloween, don't you?) so therefore I must think happy thoughts for at least a half hour before I'll be able to sleep! ha!
Nothing makes me happier than chocolate! Okay well yeah, some other things do.. but tonight - it's chocolate! And my first post of a recipe I've made from Dorie Greenspan's new cook book, Baking: From My Home To Yours.
When the very sweet Sara of i like to cook asked me if I'd like to participate in another Cookbook Spotlight event, I was just tickled pink, as I really enjoyed participating in the first Cookbook Spotlight featuring Kitchen Sense by Mitchell Davis. And then I read a lil more of her e-mail and saw that Dorie Greenspan's new book was being featured - I was more than excited! Before I discovered food blogs I had never heard of Dorie. I had never even heard of Pierre Herme. I know!! Where the hell had I been? Ahh well, I'm use to being the last to know about a lot of things.. such as life.
So back to my excitement. I couldn't type YES! fast enough. I sat in front of my PC just waiting to hear back from Sara letting me know my e-mail got to her. And Sara? It's probably a good thing you are way up north, cuz if you were any where within reaching distance you would have gotten a great big smooch from moi for thinking of me! :D It wasn't too long after that night that I received what I thought was a nice sized slab of marble inside a cardboard box, sitting on my door step. Holy crap is this book heavy! Practically tripping over the kids when I rushed into my house to tear the box off, I could not wait to flip through the pages and commence in drooling. And ohh.. did I drool. Seriously? I need to have that looked at. Anyhoo.. deciding on two recipes to try was pretty damn close to impossible. So I went with 4 *blush* - keeping in mind I finally decided on 4 after making a list of at least 20. :P
The first two recipes I tried, I'm not going to share the recipes for, since I am really only allowed to blog about 2. But I will tell you the Korova or "World Peace" Cookies are fanfarkingtastic. And my first batch didn't even turn out right! Completely my fault though. I had a very hard time cutting the dough so they turned out "rustic" looking, to say the very least. I saved the 2nd half of the dough for another day, but wrote to Anita of Dessert First (bless her!) and asked her if she'd mind telling me what I was doing wrong. Her diagnosis? I might have cut them too thin and I didn't let my dough sit out long enough to soften properly before cutting. Thank you so much, Anita! My go at the 2nd log of dough turned out beautifully. But that is just aesthetics - the taste of these cookies is truly the main attraction. A deep, deep chocolate flavor with hits of salt throughout. I'm kind of thinking that these cookies should be renamed yet again.. "A Girl's Best Friend" cookie is more like it. ;) I'll be making these quite often!
The 2nd recipe I tried was my very first attempt at tarte Tatin. It was simply beautiful and tasted even better. My apples were fanned out perfectly, my puff pastry was puffy in all the right places and I did not burn myself while inverting it onto a plate! 'kay well, that would be because Hubbs did it for me. But he didn't burn himself either. ha! I thought this dessert was complicated to make when I first heard of it, but was nicely surprised that it's very simple and easy - especially with Dorie's instructions to guide me. I didn't even mind peeling and slicing all those apples! The only difference in my tarte Tatin and Dorie's was that I sliced my apples and fanned them out in the skillet, where she quartered hers. Something tells me though, that she wouldn't mind. =)
Now this brings me to the third recipe.. Almost Fudge Gâteau. A flourless (almost!) chocolate cake that will send shivers down your spine. Dorie's recipe was quite different from the other flourless chocolate cake that I've made as it calls for meringue to be folded into the chocolate batter. That was my one and only problem with making this cake. The chocolate "batter" is quite stiff and dense and when I tried to gently fold in the light meringue it took quite a bit of effort to incorporate it. The batter did get nice and fluffy, but I'm not quite sure if I depleted most of the air that was whipped into the egg whites in my "folding" as the cake did not raise too much. Actually, I'm not sure it was suppose to raise much. I've only got the other cake I previously mentioned to compare it to, and that cake was very dense and probably about as thick as a single layer cake. So I'm not sure if this cake turned out correct or not. But! As for taste.. wow. Just.. wow. The bittersweet chocolate made a not very sweet cake, which I adore. The chocolate is very intense in flavor and in scent. My kitchen smelled heavenly. Or at least, what I'd like to imagine heaven smelling like. The texture was slightly dry, but still quite fudgy. I am guessing that my oven runs hot, as I took the cake out at the minimal time recommended for baking, which might have caused it to over bake a bit. Regardless though, the pure chocolate rush along with the melt in your mouth texture would take much more than a few moments of over baking in a too hot oven to ruin this cake. By the by, I did opt for the bittersweet chocolate ganache poured over top.. I'm a firm believer in there can never be too much chocolate! A beautiful and decadent treat for the serious chocolate lover, for sure!
Adapted from Baking: From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan, Houghton Mifflin Company, November 2006
5 large eggs
9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 c. sugar
5 TBS. unsalted butter, cut into chunks
2 TBS. coffee or water (I used coffee)
1/3 c. all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
For the Glaze (optional)
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 c. heavy cream
2 tsp. light corn syrup
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350º F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, butter the paper, dust the inside of the pan with flour and tap out the excess. Place the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.
Separate the eggs, putting the whites in a mixer bowl or other large bowl and the yolks in a small bowl.
Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and add the chocolate, sugar, butter and coffee. Stir occasionally until the chocolate and butter are melted; the sugar may still be grainy, and that's fine. Transfer the bowl to the counter and let the mixture sit for 3 minutes.
Using a rubber spatula, stir in the yolks one by one, then fold in the flour.
Working with the whisk attachment of the mixer or a hand mixer, beat the egg whites with the pinch of salt until they hold firm but glossy peaks. Using the spatula, stir about one quarter of the beaten whites into the batter, then gently fold in the rest. Scrape the batter into the pan and jiggle the pan from side to side a couple of times to even the batter.
Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the cake has risen evenly (it might rise around the edges and you'll think it's done, but give it a few minutes more, and the center will puff too) and the top has firmed (it will probably be cracked) and doesn't shimmy when tapped; a thin knife inserted into the center should come out just slightly streaked with chocolate. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let the cake rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
Run a blunt knife gently around the edges of the cake and remove the sides of the pan. Carefully turn the cake over onto a rack and remove the pan bottom and the parchment paper. Invert the cake onto another rack and cool to room temperature right side up. As the cake cools, it may sink.
To make the optional glaze:
First, turn the cooled cake over onto another rack so you'll be glazing the flat bottom, and place the rack over a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper to catch any drips.
Put the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl.
Melt the chocolate over a pan of simmering water or in a microwave oven - the chocolate should be just melted and only warm, not hot. Meanwhile, bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir very gently with a rubber spatula until the mixture is smooth and shiny. Stir in the corn syrup.
Pour the glaze over the cake and smooth the top with a long metal icing spatula. Don't worry if the glaze drips unevenly down the sides of the cake - it will just add to it's charms. Allow the glaze to set at room temperature or, if you're impatient, slip the cake into the refrigerator for about 20 minutes. If the glaze dulls in the fridge, just give it a gentle heat from a hairdryer.