Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Daring Bakers: Flourless Chocolate Cake and Ice Cream

The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef.

We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.

Well, except that we could make whatever we wanted for the ice cream so I deviated. I made a fabulous really dark and deep salted caramel ice cream (link to David Liebowitz recipe here) and an espresso ice cream with frangelico (link to Ice Cream Ireland recipe here - made without the chocolate and with Frangelico in lieu of Kahlua). YUM.
I think both came out well (after my first attempt was a flop, it wouoldnt freeze up... and actually the caramel would not freeze up either until late in the game I added a cup of heavy cream, whipped.) I dont think I would bother with ice cream again unless/until I have an ice cream maker... it is labor intense without!
The cake was good...I used 70% chocolate (the brand from whole foods.... I forget...) but it came out a bit dry... I didnt overwhip my whites so Im not sure if it just needed less bake time? I was looking forward to the gooey truffle-y texture but it was just... dry. Sad.
Chocolate Valentino
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
16 ounces (1 pound) (454 grams) of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons (146 grams total) of unsalted butter
5 large eggs separated
1. Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and melt, stirring often.
2. While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling. Butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment.
3. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.
4. Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry).
5. With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.
6. Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.
7. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter.
8. Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F/190C
9. Bake for 25 minutes until an instant read thermometer reads 140F/60C. Note – If you do not have an instant read thermometer, the top of the cake will look similar to a brownie and a cake tester will appear wet. (NOTE: I recommend a much shorter bake time)
10. Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold

Excuse the awful camera pic. I forgot my camera, plus it is broken anyhow.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Recipes to Rival: Ricotta

February's RtR challenge had us making our own cheese - Ricotta! Then we were to serve it as we pleased. I made mine into a gnocchi recipe I found on another RtR members blog with a bolognese, and some cheese on top. Yum! Please check out the other RtR members and past challenges at http://recipestorival.blogspot.com/
Making the cheese was much easier than I ever would have realized... just heat up milk and buttermilk, strain it, and voila! Easy peasy.
The recipe, from our host Lauren at http://www.illeatyoudelish.blogspot.com/
Fresh Ricotta
you'll need:1 gallon milk (you can use 1 percent on up, remember that the more fat in the milk, the more cheese it will yeild.)
1 quart buttermilk
cheesecloth (a good, tightly woven one, not the kind you buy at the supermarket)
If you don't have one of these, you can get by with a slotted spoon, but you may lose some of the cheese.
-a thermometer (mine is for oil and candy)
Place buttermilk and milk in a pot, heat on med-low heat until it reaches 185 degrees. It will begin to separate into curds and whey. Be sure to stir occasionally to make sure no curds stick to the bottom and burn. You will see that as the temperature approaches 185, the whey becomes clearer as the curds coagulate more.Pour the curds into a cheesecloth lined collander. Tie the ends of the chesecloth together and hang for 10-15 minutes. Remove from cheesecloth and place in an airtight container. Voila! Cheese!
Here is a link to a post about making ricotta, with pictures:http://illeatyou.com/2008/08/coming-ful%20…%20-well.html
Some tips: use can use milk that has been pasteurized, but not ultra-pasteurized. Ultra pasteurization heats the milk too much, and de natures the proteins that form curds. You will not get cheese from ultra pasteurized milk. Sorry.
make sure your pots and other equiptment are very clean before starting
you can make any amount as long as you stick to a 4 parts milk to 1 part buttermilk ratio.

Apologies for the photo - my camera is still out of commission, and I forgot it anyhow so this was a failed attempt at a camera photo!
Bolognese Recipe can be found here. It was great! I followed the reviewers recommendations and cut the cinnamon and nutmeg to 1/8 tsp each, and I added the cream after reducing the wine, and reduced it some then too. I served it the next day... yum!
Gnocchi recipe here. LOVED this! I omitted the ramps (not avail here and I figured they would get overwhelmed by the Bolognese anyhow). Made a really light and fluffy gnocchi, and a great use for the cheese!

The cheese was SO easy to make! It was a bit denser than what you get in the store but tasted great... like ricotta! :) Thanks to our host!