Recipe: Carrément Chocolat

~ This is Day 167 ~

Although I do not have much of a sweet tooth, I do love desserts that are not sweet. Bittersweet is more my jam. So obviously I love dark, luxurious, luscious chocolate. My go-to chocolate dessert is this triple dark chocolate tart that I’ve made many times, usually during Friendsgiving. But I wanted something different today so I made this: Pierre Hermé’s Carrément Chocolat – a cake entirely made of chocolate, a play on textures and temperatures, between the soft, the smooth, and the crunchy.

However, I don’t have a square cake tin and I messed up on the chocolate sheet step but I love my ending result. I don’t have edible gold leaves but the wedge that I cut myself was very delicious!!

Forewarning: this cake takes a long time because of all the resting but you’ll be very satisfied with all your hard work!

Makes an 8-inch square or round cake.

For the Cake

Preheat the oven to 350°F and butter your 8-inch cake pan, sprinkle with cocoa powder.

In a bain marie (which is a heat-proof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water), place the chopped chocolate into the bowl and melt it. Remove from heat and whisk chocolate to completely melt it. Cut the butter into small pieces with a bench scraper and add that into the bowl, along with the sugar, eggs, and sifted flour.

Pour the batter into the prepared mold and place it in the oven for 20 minutes. The cake should look underdone. Unmold the cake onto a rack and let it cool. Clean and dry the mold, then wrap in plastic wrap. Put the cooled cake in the bottom of the mold.

For the Chocolate Cream

  • 70 g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 100 g whole milk
  • 100 g heavy cream
  • 50 g egg yolks (around 3)
  • 50 g granulated sugar

In a small saucepan, bring the milk and cream to a boil. In a bowl, beat the egg yolks and the sugar together until pale yellow. Off the heat, slowly temper the egg-sugar mixture by pouring the hot milk/cream slowly into the egg/sugar. Then transfer everything back into the pot and stir with a rubber spatula until the mixture is 185°F, be careful not to overheat or else the egg yolk will curdle.

Pour one third of the mixture over the chopped chocolate, stirring well. Repeat 2 more times then using an immersion blender, process the mixture thoroughly. Pour the cream over the cooled cake. Refrigerate for 1 hour and then in the freezer for another hour.

For the Chocolate Mousse

Melt the chocolate over a bain marie then remove from the heat. In a small pot, bring the milk to a boil. Pour the milk over the chocolate, whisking until the chocolate is smooth. Lastly, add in the egg yolk and incorporate well.

In a bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until stiff with a dash of sugar. Then as the whites begin to stiffen, add the remaining sugar. Incorporate one-third of the whites into the chocolate mixture, then carefully fold in the remaining whites.

Pour the chocolate mousse over the smooth chocolate cream in the mold. Smooth the surface with an offset spatula. Freeze this for 2 hours.

For the Thin Chocolate Sheet (or Crisps)

Melt the chocolate over a bain marie then remove from the heat. Let the bowl cool at room temperature until the mixture reaches a temperature between 88°F and 90°F. Pour the chocolate over a sheet of wax/parchment paper and spread it out. Before it can set, cut out a square (or circle) of the same size as the cake pan. Place another wax/parchment paper on top and add weights to prevent the chocolate from warping as it dries. Refrigerate this while you move onto the next step.

For the Chocolate Sauce

Place everything into a small pot and bring to a boil. Stir continuously until the sauce is thick enough a coat the backend of a spoon, nappant. Set aside.

For the Chocolate Glaze

  • 100 g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 80 g heavy cream
  • 20 g unsalted butter
  • 100 g chocolate sauce (from above)

In a small pot, bring the heavy cream to a boil and remove from heat. Slowly beat in the chocolate. Set aside to cool until 140°F before adding the butter. Once that is fully incorporated, add in the chocolate sauce and whisk completely.

To Finish

  • Maldon salt (optional)

Remove the cake from the mold and discard the plastic wrap. Put the cake over a rack lined with a sheet tray. Using a small ladle, pour the chocolate glaze over the center of the cake and tilt the cake to spread the glaze over the sides. Continue with the rest of the glaze and cover the top and sides of the cake. Using a small offset spatula, evenly coat the sides and edges of the cake.

Leave to set for a few minutes before transferring to a cake stand or plate. Remove the papers from the thin sheet of chocolate and place it on the cake. If you messed up like I did, crumple them into little chips and spread that over the top of the cake!

Set the cake in the refrigerator to defrost for 2 hours before eating. Cut with a knife dipped in hot water for clean lines! Sprinkle flaky sea salt over wedge/slice if you like that!

Disclosure: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. If you click on one and buy something, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. All opinions are my own.

Recipe: Black Forest Cake

~ This is Day 165 ~

(Sorry, no pics yet. It’ll have to wait until I get another cake craving.)

My favorite cake growing up was Black Forest. I remember it fondly. My mother would buy it from a Japanese bakery when we were living in Hong Kong. I’ve had some American variations with the sickeningly sweet maraschino cherries, and those made me sick. I hated eating those artificial flavored cherries.

This recipe, just like the ones that I used to eat from the Japanese bakery, uses fresh cherries! Not only are the cherries naturally sweet, the cake and whipped cream are not overly sweet. I don’t have a big sweet tooth but when I do eat dessert, I like them very low in sugar and on the bitter or savory side of things.

Makes an 8-inch, 4 layered cake.

For the Cake

Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease two 8-inch round baking pans lined with parchment paper.

Place all the dry ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Stir on low to combine. In a bowl, whisk all the wet ingredients. When adding the hot water, pour in slowly so you don’t cook the eggs. Add the bowl of wet ingredients to the stand mixer on medium speed for 2-3 minutes. The batter will look very thin, this is normal.

Pour evenly into the pans. I used a kitchen scale to ensure perfection. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in the pans and then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

For the Cherry Liqueur Syrup

  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup cherry liqueur 

Place sugar and water into a pot to make simple syrup. Bring to a boil, simmer for 1 minute then remove from heat. Stir in the cherry liqueur and allow to cool completely.

For the Whipped Cream

  • 3 cups heavy cream, cold
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar, sifted 

Whip heavy cream and powdered sugar in a cold stand mixer bowl until stiff peaks. Place into a pastry bag with a star tip.

Or if you have an iSi gun (pint size :: quart size), put everything in there with 2 NO2 chargers. You’ll need to split the recipe in half for the pint iSi.

For the Chocolate Bark

Melt the chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave in 20-second bursts. Using an offset spatula, spread melted chocolate into a thin layer on a large sheet of parchment paper. Roll up the paper from the width side and then place it into the freezer until firm. Unroll to create chocolate bark.

To Assemble

  • 3 cups cherries pitted, cut in half
  • 1 bar dark chocolate, for shavings (optional)
  • Cherries with stems, for garnish 

Cut each cake later in half horizontally. Place one layer of the cake on a cake stand or serving plate. Brush generously with the cherry simple syrup. Top with approximately 1 cup of whipped cream and spread evenly with the offset spatula. Top with 1 cup of pitted cherries and gently press them into the whipped cream. Repeat with the remaining cake layers and frost the outside of the cake. Decorate with chocolate bark, chocolate shavings (using a vegetable peeler), rosettes, and whole cherries!

Disclosure: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. If you click on one and buy something, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. All opinions are my own.

Recipe: Mango & Sticky Rice

~ This is Day 15 ~

For having a not-so-sweet tooth, there are few desserts that I crave for. With this self-quarantine and almost every restaurant is closed, the only way to satisfy that craving is to make it at home yourself. Luckily, this dessert/snack is incredibly easy to make at home.

Here is fresh Mango with Sticky Rice (also called glutinous rice) with a Coconut Sauce, Toasted White Sesame Seeds, and Mint.

Serves 6.

  • 2 cups glutinous rice, soaked overnight
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 13.5oz cans coconut milk
  • ½ cup palm sugar (more if you like it to be sweeter; substitute brown sugar if you don’t have palm sugar)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • Mangoes
  • Garnish: sesame seeds, mint, Thai basil

Soak rice in cold water overnight. Drain completely. Add 2 cups water and cook rice until tender. 10 minutes set to steam in rice cooker is enough.

In a pot, melt palm sugar and salt in coconut milk. Do not bring mixture to a boil. Pour half of the coconut milk into the rice and mix thoroughly. Reserve the other half for pouring over the rice on the plate with the mangoes. Garnish with toasted white sesame seeds and fresh herbs.

Recipe: Coffee Soil

I totally forgot that I have already featured coffee soil in my other posts. I mostly use coffee soil for ice creams and desserts but it could also be used for savory dishes. I also use decaffeinated coffee beans for this recipe.

  • 9 oz. sugar
  • 3 ½ oz. cocoa powder
  • 3 oz. finely ground coffee
  • ½ oz. salt
  • 5 oz. butter, melted

Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl or KitchenAid stand mixer, pour in the melted butter and thoroughly mix to combine. Bake at 300°F for 1 hour. Let it cool and crumble either with fingers or in a food processor.

Sample dishes:

Cheesecake with Citrus

This was the third and final course to my Friendmas dinner of 2017.

I originally wanted to make a new chocolate dessert but I do that too often. Then I thought about cheesecake. I had planned this to go with blood orange because it’s perfect for winter but none of the Whole Foods Markets in NYC had blood oranges the weekend of Christmas (I looked and I called) so I had to resort to Cara Cara navel oranges instead. Then, the Whole Foods that I did the majority of my Christmas shopping at was out POM pomegranate juice!!! Because I wanted to dye the juice with pomegranate juice. Argh, the struggles of shopping in NYC…

THEN, when I was making the honeycomb, I accidentally measured the glucose in milliliters instead of grams and that basically fucked up everything. I didn’t want to make it again because I was tired so boo hoo, no honeycomb. The cheesecake by itself was still delicious. The base had enough texture to balance out the creaminess and softness of the cheesecake so all was well.

Here is Cheesecake made of Mascarpone, Cream Cheese, Crème Fraîche, Orange Zest, Lemon Zest, and Grand Marnier, with Streusel on the bottom, and Orange Jelly on top, served with Citrus Sorbet.

Plans for Friendmas 2017

This is actually my first Friendmas dinner party! I haven’t had a Christmas Eve off in six years!!! It’s been a weird year and it’s weird to have both eves on a Sunday.

But since I usually go all out during my Friendsgiving dinner parties, I am going light with this dinner. I came up with this menu in one evening.

Ocean Trout Tartare
Meyer Lemon, Jalapeño, Rice Krispies
(1st course)

Duck with 5 Spice
Celeriac Purée, Pommes Fondant, Shanghai Bok Choy
(2nd course)

Cheesecake with Citrus
Mascarpone Mousse,
Streusel, Citrus Sorbet
(3rd course)

Excited!!

Pear Tart with Maple Ice Cream

This was the fifth and last course to my Friendsgiving 2017 dinner.

Originally, I had planned a Cranberry & Pear Tart with Almond Cream – a dessert that I haven’t made before and that I was excited about! But two days before the big day, I was craving more traditional Thanksgiving flavors so I decided to make a pear tart because if you don’t satisfy your cravings, very bad things can happen next… e.g. a sweet-tooth rampage.

I would have been totally okay with just serving a wedge of Pear Tart but to make it nice, I also served it with some homemade Maple Ice Cream and Ground Candied Pecans.

Chocolate Caramel Bombé with Kahlúa

This was a chocolate dessert that I had created at Jasmine’s. A bombé is traditionally a frozen dome-shaped dessert with two or more layers of ice cream. In mine, the layers were Caramel and a Kahlúa Whipped Crème Fraîche encased in Dark Chocolate, served with Coffee Whipped Cream, Graham Crackers, and Chocolate Mint.