Thursday, March 25, 2010

Molten Chocolate Cakes

Another delicious treat from the baking class I took. Excuse the messy plate pictured, this was the last of our many desserts that day and we were re-using our plates. I'm happy to report that this is another recipe that I've been able to "master" post-class and create at home. It's surprisingly easy and you can prepare up to step 5 in advance and freeze for future cravings. 
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 6 ounces bittersweet good-quality chocolate (I think I used about 72% cacao)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 T flour

1. Grease 4 baking dishes - you can use ramekins or coffee cups. "Flour" the dishes with a coco powder/sugar mixture or just be boring and use regular flour.
2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
3. Chop your chocolate up into small pieces and combine with the butter in a large metal bowl over a pot of near-boiling water (bain-marie). This mixture will melt over time so just give it a stir once in a while.
4. Beat the eggs, yolks and sugar until pale and you can start to see beater marks in the mixture.
5. Combine a small portion of the egg mixture with your chocolate. Then fold this chocolate mixture and the flour into the remaining egg mixture. Do not over mix - just FOLD in until barely combined! Divide the mixture evenly between the ramekins.
6. Bake for 12 minutes, until the sides of the cake are done but the centers are soft. Let the cakes cool for 1 minute and then invert onto a plate.  Let stand for 10 seconds and unmold. The longer they sit the less "molten" they will be, so if you like yours a little more cooked just let it sit for a bit. Top with fresh whipped cream and your choice of fruit. 

^click for detail^


Monday, March 15, 2010

Tarte Tatin

I recently took a baking class. I learned how to make a few really awesome things. Above is the Tarte Tatin we made, which is a very classic and delicious dessert. It's basically an apple tart that you cook and then flip when you take it out of the oven. I love it so much.
  • Peel about 8-9 apples. I chose Red Delicious because that's what my teacher suggested, but I'm pretty sure you can use any kind of apple you want. Core the apples and slice into thick chunks. As you peel and slice, keep the apples in a bowl of lemony water so they don't get too brown.
  • Place half a stick of butter (cut up) and half a cup of sugar into a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the apples and cook them slowly, turning and flipping as needed, until they are soft and turn a caramel-ly brown. If you're using a cast iron pan, you can arrange the apples within that pan and add your puff pastry crust on top, folding over the edges as needed and slicing a few air holes in the top. Then you can just pop it in the oven at 375 until the puff pastry is a deep golden brown.
  • I chose to rearrange the apples in a separate 9 inch circular cake pan. For the crust, roll out a sheet of puff pastry slightly. Take whatever pan you're going to use and cut a piece of puff pastry around the edge of the pan. Then just follow the instructions above. Doing this, I think I lost a bit of my heat by transferring the apples and it took a bit longer to cook, but it came out just as delicious, if not just as pretty.
  • When you remove the pan from the oven, let it sit for a minute or two, but not much longer. Place a large plate over the pan and flip. Let the pan rest upside down on the plate for 10 seconds before lifting off. Your tart should come right out. Slice up and serve with some fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. 
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