HELPING FAMILY FARMS FLOURISH. HELPING FEED THE HUNGRY.
Showing posts with label Chocolate Desserts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chocolate Desserts. Show all posts

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thanksgiving Way Out West, Dessert Round: Nick Maglieri's Chocolate Hazelnut Tart



        
Several weeks ago, Andrew went to the Institute of Culinary Education, a great cooking school on 23rd St. in Chelsea (www.ice.eduwhere he had signed up with one of the masters of the baking arts, Nick Maglieri.  The class was small – just 9 students – and the night was an intensive Pastry Making session.  The course was called “Perfect Pastry” and Chef Maglieri really put his small class through its paces. The class featured the making of three essential doughs: Olive Oil dough for savory pies and tarts, “Quickest” Puff Pastry and Classic Sweet pastry dough for dessert pies and tarts.  The class was broken up into teams who divided the savory pie fillings—Spinach and Bacon, Gruyère and Scallions—and the sweet pie fillings –Pecan and Chocolate Hazelnut—and then they all made a Bistro Apple Tart and Puff Pastry Straws.  He came home absolutely exhausted, mostly from having worked all day and then standing all night. But he also came home triumphant because he felt he’d really knocked pastry making. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Red Eye Devil's Food Cake...fit for the White House and Our House

         


I know Andrew is good, I mean really good. But his baking skills really hit an all-time personal best with the making of this sinfully rich, fudgy, bittersweet cake.  As Melissa Clark, who co-wrote “The Perfect Finish” (W.W. Norton and Co. (2010) the cookbook it came from wrote, “If this is not the ultimate birthday cake, I can’t imagine what is.”  Its inventor is a pastry chef named Bill Yosses. While his may not be a household name, in one household, he was the king of all pastries. That household was the White House, where he presided as Pastry Chef for both the Bush Family and the Obamas.  Chef Yosses trained in France and then was scooped up by Daniel Boulud and later, Thomas Keller.  From there he went on to work at Bouley Restaurant and Bakery.  Chef Yosses left the White House in June, a departure he says was “all Michelle Obama’s fault.” The First Lady, it seems, piqued his interest in the relationship between food and health. “Mrs. Obama’s quest to improve the way children eat was done “ with humor and good will, without preaching, just the way you would hope the ‘Mom-in-chief’ would do,” he said. Yosses said Mrs. Obama is “definitely an inspiring boss, a combination of spontaneity and seriousness.”  She inspired the Chef to such an extent that he’s headed back to New York to educate children about nutrition.  But I am sure he’ll be forever remembered there for his Red Eye Devil’s Food Cake alone.  Why “Red Eye”, you may wonder ?

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Andrew's Gougeres and Chocolate Eclairs from Joanne Chang's "Flour"



        
Mark Bittman
Recently Mark Bittman used his Sunday NY Times Food pages to extoll the virtues and utter simplicity of making Pate a Choux. This dough is the basis for both Gougeres, bite sized cheese puffs that melt in your mouth and Chocolate Eclairs, my absolute favorite French pastry growing up.  Now Gougeres could not be all that hard to make because my Mother, challenged as she sometimes was in the kitchen, made them with some frequency.  But perhaps because the Eclairs of my memory involved a trip across town to a Montreal Patisserie, it was inconceivable to me that these could possibly be made at home.   So after Andrew had stuffed us all with Gougeres at Christmas Dinner, I was taken aback when he told me he was making Eclairs for New Year’s Eve Dinner.  Not only were they better than any éclair I have ever eaten, he pronounced them a cinch to make.  Frankly, I never quite believe him when he says something is easy but I’ll take his word for it.  Especially after it was seconded by Mr. Bittman.  These two pastries are so impressive they will dazzle anyone so if you want to sweeten your Super Bowl party or dazzle your Valentine, you've got it made.   As long as you don’t let on how easy they were to make. 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Triple-Chocolate Cheesecake from Abigail Johnson Dodge in Fine Cooking Magazine

        

I needn’t tell you the Sweets Factory at our house has been in overdrive ever since we arrived here for the holidays.  There have been dozens of cookies, a Red Velvet Cake, even a Norwegian “Fyrstekake” a Cardomon Almond confection, beautifully decorated with star-shaped pastry.  But I would have to say that the piece de resistance so far this season has been a Cheesecake that combined three kinds of chocolate – cocoa powder, bittersweet chocolate and chocolate graham cracker crust.  It was a cheesecake lovers dream. But Andrew still managed to gild the lily by topping the cake with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.  This cake serves at least 16 people.  It was taken to a dinner party and then brought home and it’s been steadily diminishing in size ever since.   It is the perfect thing to bake for New Year’s Eve because it will actually taste even better tomorrow.  Andrew assures me it is easy to make.  I’ll take his word for it.  And also pass on a couple of hints he wanted to share with you. And here they are. Thanks to Andrew and Abigail Johnson Dodge who shared the recipe in Fine Cooking, one of our go-to sources for great recipes.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Fudgy Walnut Brownies that just happen to be Gluten-Free


        
Andrew and I watch a fair number of cooking shows on TV.  In the baking category, we’re tuned into “Cupcake Wars” and “Unique Sweets”.  For quite a while now, we’ve scoffed, more than saluted, the number of bakers who turn out Gluten-Free items. We simply could not imagine anything Gluten-Free matching up to the sheer decadence of Baked’s Brownies (http://www.chewingthefat.us.com/2011/01/baked-brownies.html)
or Lisa Yokelson’s “Dark Shadows” (http://www.chewingthefat.us.com/2012/02/they-may-look-like-brownies-to-you-but.html), both of which are outstandingly rich and irresistible.  But, as readers of Chewing the Fat know, we’ve got more than one friend who didn’t just choose to be Gluten-Free, she had to be.  So when Andrew volunteered to bring dessert to a recent party, he pulled out all the stops to find a truly fudgy, nutty brownie that could pass Gluten-Free muster.  And boy, did he succeed.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thanksgiving Baking...Chocolate Babka from Martha Stewart



            One day last summer, Andrew was in a huge rush to catch the Jitney out to Bridgehampton.  Starving, he ran into a gourmet shop on Lexington Avenue.  Prior to this occasion, Andrew’s only encounter with Babka was on an episode of Seinfeld in which Jerry and Elaine were thwarted in their attempt to buy a Chocolate Babka and had to take a Cinnamon Babka instead.  Andrew was much more fortunate and was soon tucking into this glorious over-the-top indulgence with obscene amounts of chocolate miraculously held together by Brioche-like bread.  And something more:  A great Babka not only contains masses of chocolate, it combines all that chocolate with, yes, Cinnamon!  And as if the whole piece wasn’t already flawless, the Babka Andrew ate was covered in streusel.  I don’t think he was off the Jitney five minutes before he headed straight to the cookbook library we keep in our kitchen.  In very little time, he landed on a recipe calling for staggering amounts of chocolate, tablespoons full of cinnamon, streusel topping and no less than 5 sticks of butter.  Eureka!  Martha Stewart’s Mother’s Babka was coming to our kitchen.  And as I started to think of Thanksgiving recipes, I thought back to that Babka. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Classic Chocolate Mousse from The SoNo Baking Company Cookbook




John Barricelli
the baker behind
this Classic Recipe 
         More often than not, when Andrew is baking I am dumbstruck by the effort he takes.  One recent project involved making three different cupcakes, getting up at 7:30 to do so and finishing the last of the icing with just enough time to hop in the car at 5:30 and take them to the party he made them for.  Phew.  But it’s not just the time, it’s the almost scientific way in which his desserts come together.  As a savory cook, my cooking times seem so much more fluid.  You can compensate for all kinds of kitchen screw-ups.  But when Andrew bakes, he does so with almost military precision.  So as I was in the second hour of cooking dinner recently, I was amazed to hear him say he’d decided he wanted to make a Classic Chocolate Mousse for dessert.  How earth could he do that? With a little help from a third generation baker named John Barricelli.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Peppermint Filling from One Girl Cookies


Our Taster couldn't get enough of
Andrew's take on these Whoopie Pies 
         Some of the nicest people on earth are food people.  I realize this every time I do a personal appearance for Monte's Ham at The Artisan’s Market at Williams-Sonoma. When I do one of these, Andrew scopes out all the other Artisans and has a terrific time sampling what's on offer--particularly the bakery items.   My fellow vendors are a giving and caring lot who share their recipes and their samples with great pleasure.  Even then, David Crofton of the Brooklyn bakery/cafes called “One Girl Cookies” stands out. That is not only because he is extraordinarily tall, he has a great sense of humor.  When I kidded him about standing under a banner reading 'One Girl', his retort was "Some Girl, huh?". (Some success "One Girl" is too.  After starting out in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn (68 Dean Street, Brooklyn 11201 Tel (212) 675-4996), there's a new One Girl at 33 Main St. (Corner of Water)(Tel: 347-338-1268) in Dumbo, which in case you don't live in New York, is a fantastic newly gentrified neighborhood "Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass".)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

They may look like brownies to you... but they're Dark Shadows to me.



         Since Valentine's Day is fast approaching, here's a perfect Valentine to give your amour.  It's chocolate, of course, because chocolate is said to have aphrodisiac properties.  Going back to the Aztecs, there’s been a link drawn between the cocoa bean and desire. But even if you're cynical about that connection, see if you don't find this description irresistible: " The following recipe is what happens when chocolate is used to its fullest capacity: dark, rich squares of buttery sweetness, wrapped in underpinnings of vanilla, are interrupted with miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips.” Take it from one who has eaten one of these superb treats: they’re almost as good as you-know-what.  Not quite. But almost.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Ultimate Hampton Classic Cookies




         As promised earlier this week, this Chewing the Fat is all about the phenomenal cookies Andrew baked for the Hampton Classic, our annual Horse Show that’s a fixture of our summer calendar.  People raved about them!  And small wonder.  Andrew went all out to find the best-in-class recipes for everything he baked.  And by the incredibly small number of cookies that were left over that afternoon, he was a roaring success.  But then, who among us can resist a Chocolate Chip Cookie?  Who can turn their nose up at something with both chocolate and cream cheese in a one cookie.  And please let me know if you know anyone without a nut allergy who wouldn’t devour a cookie that comes close to the best Peanut Butter and Jelly you’ve ever eaten?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Kat McCleland’s Unbelievably Delicious Almond Cake With Marscapone Whipped Cream


Almond Cake with Slivered Almonds and Marscapone Whipped Cream
Almond Cakes in their "Hurri-Cakes" incarnation 
         The first time Andrew made this magnificently moist, indescribably rich almond-to-the-core cake, it was one of two birthday cakes he provided for a friend’s very Big Birthday.  The second cake was a Chocolate Devil’s Food cake with Chocolate filling. The ultimate complement he was paid was by our friend Peter, an inveterate chocoholic if there ever was one.  Peter said, upon tasting its almond companion, “I never thought almond would trump chocolate but this one does”.   It is that good.  And there’s a story behind getting the recipe that’s a lot of fun too.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Andrew’s Flourless Chocolate Cake with the greatest accolade ever and a Meringue Topping to boot!



Roan and the Birthday Girl, Blythe.

         Andrew has quite the reputation for providing a great birthday cake.  Last weekend, he outdid himself by making three! Two were for a seventieth Birthday Party and one was for our lovely friend Blythe, who turned eleven. 
         The day after having a piece of this incredibly rich chocolate confection with its gorgeous meringue topping, Blythe’s 7 year old brother, Roan, was quoted as saying: “One of Andrew’s cakes is worth 10,000 birthday presents.”   Now if that is not a complement of the highest order, I don’t know what is.  But I do think it’s justified.  Andrew went all out on this one.      
         The author of this recipe, Sherry Yard, has an illustrious career. She’s the Executive Pastry Chef for Wolfgang Puck Worldwide.  As such she’s responsible for the sweet end of every meal at Spago, Chinois and Cut.  And for the celebrity mad among us, you may interested in knowing that her desserts are prominent features at the Academy Awards, the Grammy Awards and the Emmy Awards.  The Flourless Chocolate Cake recipe came from her second cookbook “Desserts by the Yard", (Houghton Mifflin 2007).
         The reason Andrew chose this recipe is that Blythe, Zoe and Roan’s mother, Monique has recently discovered that she is much better off eating gluten-free.  So in order for everyone in the family to enjoy Blythe’s birthday cake, Andrew went for a gluten-free recipe. Now if gluten-free sounds like a turn-off to you, you’ll be robbing yourself of an amazing treat.   
         Gluten-free is big these days because thousands of people have discovered that their tummy issues are linked to gluten, a protein that is commonly found in rye, wheat, and barley. Therefore, it is found in most types of cereals and in many types of bread. Not all foods in the grain family contain gluten. You’re safe with wild and brown rice, corn, buckwheat, millet, amaranth, quinoa, teff, oats, soybeans, and sunflower seeds.  

I’ve been aware of the gluten issue for a very long time. My college roommate, Michael Cox, went through agony before he was finally diagnosed with celiac disease which is a gluten allergy gone wild.   In the end, Michael became such an expert on the subject that he’s written not one but two Gluten-Free Cookbooks!  You can order them here. I likely should too since I just gave my copy to Monique.

Sherry Yard, meanwhile, writes “if there is one recipe in this book that you must make, this cake is the one.  High praise indeed!  She gives full credit to Charlotte, the owner of a tiny London restaurant called Charlotte’s Place which was across Ealing Green from the cooking school Sherry attended in London. All hail Charlotte!  Andrew offers one final word of advice.  This cake is only as good as the chocolate you use to make it.  So spring for the good stuff and stay away from low-end supermarket chocolate.  Here is the recipe:
Here's a high-sided (2 in.)
10 inch tart pan made
by "Fat Daddio's"--
How appropriate!
Recipe for Flourless Chocolate Cake with Meringue Topping courtesy of Sherry Yard
Equipment:  You must have a 10 inch fluted pan with side at least one inch deep or a 9 inch springform pan.  Anything less and the batter will overflow.





For the cake:

8 ½ ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped or in pistole form (238g)

1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces (4 ounces or 112g)

5 large eggs

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar (236g)

½ cup cocoa powder (20g)





For the meringue topping:

8 large egg whites (~240g)

¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

1 ½ cups sugar (315g)

1
. 
For the cake base: Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 10-inch diameter tart pan (at least one inch deep) or a 9-inch diameter springform pan, place on a foil-lined baking tray, and set aside.







2

. Place chocolate and butter in a double boiler or microwave-safe bowl and heat until completely melted, stirring often to avoid scorching the chocolate.



3
. Meanwhile, place eggs in a bowl and run under warm tap water for a few minutes until eggs no longer feel cool to the touch. Crack eggs into the bowl. Add sugar. Using the mixer's whisk attachment, whip the eggs and sugar on medium speed until mixture is light and thick and falls in a ribbon from whisk - about 2 minutes.












4. 
Add cocoa powder and mix on low speed until combined. Add melted chocolate mixture and mix until well combined.



5. 

Pour batter into prepared pan, and bake for 12 minutes. Rotate tray front to back and bake for an additional 8-10 minutes, until surface of cake is just firm to the touch but still looks wet in the center and has a bit of jiggle. Place on a cooling rack and cool to room temperature.











6. 
For the meringue topping: Preheat oven to 375F. Place egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer and allow whites to come to room temperature.

7. 

Continue whipping the whites, while adding the sugar little by little, until meringue is thick and glossy and stiff peaks form.



















8. 
Pile meringue onto cooled cake. Spread meringue to within an inch of the outer edge of the cooled cake base, twirling and fluffing the meringue into attractive peaks and curls.



















9. 
Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, until meringue is lightly browned. Serve directly from baking pan. Refrigerate leftovers.