TWD-Marquise au Chocolat w/ Kahlua Crème Anglais

Cocoa and Raspberries

Marquise au Chocolat with Cocoa and Raspberries

Alternate post title: HOW I RUINED MY STOVE MAKING MARQUISE AU CHOCOLAT W/ KAHLUA CRÈME ANGLAIS.  More on that later.

This is the first February baking challenge from Tuesdays with Dorie and it is the perfect seductive, chocolate dessert to serve your Valentine! This recipe is a basic, frozen Chocolate Mousse, that can be dressed up any way you choose. Whipped cream, chocolate curls, fresh fruit, orange peel, liqueur…basically anything you think complements chocolate!  I chose to make a Kahlua Crème Anglaise and to add some raspberries, as it was one of Dorie’s suggestions for this recipe from her latest cookbook, Baking Chez Moi. The Kahlua was my call!

This recipe begins with a lot of chopped chocolate, melted with creamy butter, over a Bain-Marie–how French!

Pile of chopped semi-sweet chocolate melting with butter

Pile of chopped semi-sweet chocolate melting with butter

I stirred until the chocolate was smooth and glossy, then folded in the egg yolk mixture.

Folding in the egg yolks

Folding in the egg yolks

I love the trippy swirl!

The last step is folding in whipped cream, which creates a lovely, thick batter.

I made sure I left no white streaks

I made sure I left no white streaks

Once it is combined the batter is transferred into a loaf pan lined with cling wrap. As usual, I did not have the patience to keep trying to smooth the cling wrap in the pan. I told myself the batter would smooth and flatten it. I carefully tried to smooth the top, but as you can see in the picture below, it looks like a monkey tried to smooth it! I’m really trying to improve my skills, but I often give up too easily, thinking the task impossible. Eh, I’ll cover the top with cream and berries!

I am blind to imperfection. I really thought this was fairly smooth!

I am blind to imperfection. I really thought this was fairly smooth!

The loaf pan was tightly wrapped and set in the freezer. Four hours later, it was time to unmold the Marquise. It was stubborn and did not want to come out. I put a casserole dish with warm water on my stovetop (all counter space was taken) and set the loaf pan inside to loosen things up. It worked!

Here is a pic of the bottom of my wrinkly loaf, due to my poor cling wrap smoothing skills!

Seriously, I can do better than this.

Seriously, I can do better than this.

RIP MY STOVE

I didn’t realize it at the time, but as I was trying to loosen the mold on my stove, I must have sloshed some water over the side of the casserole pan into the lower right gas burner. This would prove fatal to my stove when I was at minute four of continuously whisking my Crème Anglais for 7-10 minutes, in a warm pan, on the aforementioned burner.

I was whisking away, when suddenly, the  flame on my burner flared and WHOOSHED and the lights in the kitchen went out. My husband flipped the breaker and the lights returned, but two of the knobs on the stove started spewing black smoke as the wiring sizzled. The burners were clicking and I was sure there would be a glass explosion. I yelled for my husband, who crawled under the smoking stove and turned off the gas. On the bright side,  I now have a nice, new stove.  Clean, no scratches and burners that heat evenly.

I stood off to the side continuing to whisk the Crème Anglais. The stove was dead and the house reeked of burning wire, but I was able to save the crème! I continued to whisk it in the cooling pan, on the still hot burner, but it wasn’t thickening. Okay, so don’t tell The French, but I finished heating it in the microwave! Mon Dieu! Blasphème! I heated it for 20 seconds then stirred. I repeated this a number of times until I had a thick, pourable, delicious sauce!

Microwaved Crème Anglais. Look at all that lovely vanilla! Can you smell the Kahlua?

Microwaved Crème Anglais. Look at all the lovely vanilla! Smell the Kahlua?

The chilled Crème Anglais was so good I wanted to eat it with a spoon.  So I did…just a few spoonfuls! I’m glad I did because the flavor of the rather bold crème was totally overpowered by the rich chocolate of the cake.  Even though I poured quite a bit onto the cake, the flavor was just swallowed up by the chocolate. The crème was better paired with the raspberries.

The finished product. Anyone who eats this rich and decadent dessert will instantly fall in love with you! Or love you more than they already do!

Marquise au Chocolat with Kahlua Crème Anglais and Raspberries

Marquise au Chocolat with Kahlua Crème Anglais and Raspberries

Advertisements

TWD-Brown-Butter-and-Vanilla-Bean Weekend Cake

imageimage

I made this simple, but delicious cake this weekend. It had a really dense crumb and was bursting with buttery, sugary goodness. It was fragrant with Madagascar vanilla bean and the house smelled wonderful while it was baking. And what a gorgeous golden color when sliced! It was a little dry, but perfect with a cup of coffee to moisten things up on the palate. I would definitely make this again and try out some different flavor profiles. The recipe called for rum, but I wanted the butter and vanilla flavors to be the star of the show!

image

The cake was very easy to make and called for simple ingredients and techniques. I wanted to make sure that the cake had a lot of flavor, so I used European butter with a higher fat content. I also used an extra long and plump vanilla pod to get as much vanilla flavor as possible.

image

The batter was loaded with vanilla bean specks and the aroma when I folded in the beautiful liquid browned-butter was spectacular. And what a lot of butter it was! I was worried I had used too much as the batter was just drowning in it. However, once it was all folded in, the batter was thick, smooth, glossy and perfect.

Once the batter was in the pan, I baked it for 60 minutes.  I tented the pan with foil about 40 minutes in to prevent the cake from browning too quickly.  The finished product was a rich golden brown color.

image

So there you have it! Weekend Cake! A staple in the repertoire of every French baker. Always on hand for impromptu guests, family snacking or a sweet reward for the happy baker. Bon Weekend!

TWD-Granola Energy Bars

This week’s baking challenge for Tuesdays with Dorie was a recipe for Granola Energy Bars.The recipe can be found in Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan. I have to admit I wasn’t too excited about making granola bars when there are so many decadent recipes in the book. I associate granola bars with the dry, brittle, “healthy” bars from the 70s, before they started dipping them in chocolate.

I did make the granola bars and I was surprised at how good a homemade, fresh granola bar can be. Especially when it’s loaded with nuts, dried fruit, chocolate chunks and coconut, all held together by thick, sweet rice syrup and lightly flavored with almond extract!  I can’t stop eating them.

These were simple to make, especially after the time consuming Buche de Noel we made last month.  I started making them after I put my grandson to bed at 8 and they were already cooling as I settled in on the couch to watch Downton Abbey at 9!

Here are a few pix I took with my camera phone throughout the process.

Getting ready to toast the oatmeal and nuts. I used cashews, almonds, walnuts and pepitas.

Getting ready to toast the oats and nuts.

I used cashews, almonds, walnuts and pepitas.

Oats, nuts, coconut and dried fruit.

Oats, nuts, coconut and dried fruit.

I chopped the nuts in my food processor, but a few of the almonds escaped whole.

And some semi-sweet chocolate chunks for good measure. Just in case they were dry, brittle or too "healthy".

And some semi-sweet chocolate chunks for good measure.

Just in case the bars turned out dry, brittle or too “healthy” tasting.

Fresh from the oven, a little ragged around the edges. I admit I did not have the patience to try to make a nice, neat rectangle with the buttered parchment paper. I kinda jammed the paper in as best as i could.

Fresh from the oven.

A little ragged around the edges. I admit I did not have the patience to try to make a nice, neat rectangle with the buttered parchment paper. I just jammed the paper in as best as I could. The upside is that I got to eat all the jagged edges after I cut the bars into rectangles.

GRANOLA ENERGY BARS

GRANOLA ENERGY BARS

I was not able to use the pictured tool to cut the granola bars. In the end I used a giant butcher knife. I had to apply a lot of pressure to cut the granola into bars and was seriously concerned I might lose a finger!

Overall, I’m glad I made these and I see so many possibilities for changing up the ingredients and flavorings. I’m thinking blueberries and white chocolate. Or maybe pecans with maple extract. Yum!

Coming soon: Brown Butter and Vanilla Bean Weekend Cake! Doesn’t that sound perfectly comforting on a cold, winter’s night? All cozy with a book and a hot mug of something? I think so!