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Posts tagged ‘Chocolate’

How to temper chocolate

I just read The Pioneer Woman’s latest blogpost – Chef Lia’s dark chocolate truffles. She does some amazing things with chocolate, but one thing that stuck with me was the necessity of tempering your chocolate. This of course led to a Google search, which led to Youtube.

And so dear readers, here is Jacques Torres explaining how to temper chocolate, all in his wickedly delicious French accent.

Velvety Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake

Julia Child, Miami Book Fair International, 1989

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve been in the mood for something rich, intense and chocolate. I’ve had this Julia Child recipe for Reine de Saba (chocolate and almond cake) that I’ve been wanting to make, and I wanted to adapt it to be gluten-free. Why? Because I know some people with gluten intolerance. Because it’s Gluten-Free Diet Awareness Month, and… being a food adventurer… I just wanted to!

With me and Mimi (daughter #3) relaxed and on the threshold of a 5 day Thanksgiving vacation, I decided to tackle it. I got out Mastering the Art of French Cooking and plunged in.

Ingredients –

4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate melted with 2 T rum or strong coffee

1/4 lb., or one stick, softened butter

2/3 cup granulated sugar

3 egg yolks

3 egg whites

pinch of salt

1 T. granulated sugar

1/3 cup pulverized almonds

1/4 tsp. almond extract

1/2 cup rice flour

Butter and flour an 8-inch round cake pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt the chocolate and rum or coffee and either slowly in a double boiler,or at 10-second intervals in the microwave. Watch closely in the microwave – chocolate can burn very easily.

Cream the butter and sugar together for several minutes until they form a pale yellow, fluffy mixture.

Beat in the egg yolks until well blended.

Beat the egg whites and salt in a separate bowl until soft peaks are formed;

sprinkle on the sugar and beat until stiff peaks are formed.

With a rubber spatula, blend the melted chocolate into the butter and sugar mixture, then stir in the almonds, and almond extract. Immediately stir in one fourth of the beaten egg whites to lighten the batter. Delicately fold in a third of the remaining whites and when partially blended, sift on one third of the flour and continue folding. Alternate rapidly with more egg whites and more flour until all egg whites and flour are incorporated.

Turn the batter into the cake pan, pushing the batter up to its rim with rubber spatula. Bake in middle level of preheated oven for about 25 minutes. Cake is done when it has puffed, and 2 1/2 to 3 inches around the circumference are set so that a needle plunged into that area comes out clean; the center should move slightly if the pan is shaken,and a needle comes out oily.

Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan, and reverse cake on a plate or rack. Allow it to cool for an hour or two, it must be thoroughly cold if it is to be iced.

I have to admit… Mimi and I didn’t wait for the cake to cool. She didn’t want to. I didn’t want to. We were wanting instant gratification. We sliced the cake and ate it warm. This cake *sounds* moist when you cut into it. It’s one of the homliest looking cakes I’ve ever seen.  Without any icing or nice presentation, it should be called Ugly Cake. But one bite tells an entirely different story… the beauty lies within. The cake is intensely chocolate, velvety, rich, smooth… almost unctious. If you choose to do icing, I’m including Julia’s chocolate-butter icing recipe. She also recommends pressing a design of almonds over the icing. Maybe I’ll put icing on it next time.

Glacage au Chocolat (Chocolate Icing)

Ingredients –

2 ounces (2 squares) semi-sweet baking chocolate

2 T rum or strong coffee

5 to 6 T unsalted butter

Melt the chocolate and rum or coffee and either slowly in a double boiler,or at 10-second intervals in the microwave. Watch closely in the microwave – chocolate can burn very easily. Beat in the butter a tablespoon at a time. Then beat over a bowl with a trace of ice cubes and water to cover them until chocolate mixture has cooled to spreading  consistency. At once spread it over your cake with a spatula or knife.

 

Schwarzwald Torte – Black Forest Cake

As we say goodbye to Oktoberfest, I feel compelled to share one of my mother’s most treasured recipes. Treasured by those of us who love to eat it, anyway! The good news for my readers is, it’s a semi-homemade recipe for Black Forest cake. With just a little patience, pretty much anybody can make this cake. There are fancier, more involved recipes out there… but this is my Mom’s. And she’s German. So those of you who know Germans know… You’d better put their recipes out there *their* way!

Start by baking one chocolate (or German chocolate) Duncan Hines cake mix in round pans, according to directions. Add 1 tsp. kirschwasser (german cherry brandy) to the mix before baking.

Let cake cool, then slice each cake layer horizontally. This will leave you with four thin layers of chocolate cake.

Ingredients for cake assembly:

1 large container Cool Whip (personally I think Cool Whip is sacrilege, but nobody seems to want to whip up their own whipped cream so I grudgingly concede)
1 tsp. kirschwasser
1 can cherry pie filling
1 can sweet dark cherries, drained

Mix the cherry pie filling, drained sweet dark cherries and kirschwasser. Between both split layers, spread some whipped cream, then some of the cherry filling. To assemble these two layers, spread a layer of whipped cream and stack the two layers that you’ve sandwiched with the cherry filling. Reserve some of the cherry filling for the top of the cake (see photo).

Finish frosting the cake with whipped cream, then top with remaining cherry filling. A WORD OF CAUTION: The whipped cream can be tricky… meaning, the layers can tend to slide without warning. I don’t know how many German swear words I’ve heard because the cake layers “slid.” If you are at all concerned about that, I would utilize a couple of cake dowels.

Note: You can use a tablespoon of kirschwasser but it will give your cake a strong flavor. I strongly recommend using 1 tsp. to begin with and increase the amount in your next cake if you feel you want more cherry brandy flavor.

Black Forest Cake

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