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!

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!

Black Truffle Fettuccine

I’m not a truffle fanatic, I don’t go crazy for truffles. I don’t put truffles on things just for the sake of it. Sometimes when you buy truffles, they may smell like truffles but the taste isn’t there.

Anyway, the truffle in this pasta was superb. I was given a tiny knob of an already shaved truffle and was asked to make something delicious out of it. This is what I made: Housemade Fettuccine with Maitake Mushrooms in a Truffle-Thyme Cream Sauce, Shaved Black Truffle to garnish.

Recipe: Maple Ice Cream

FYI, I make all my ice creams with gelatin sheets – it makes the ice cream smoother and it gives it better texture!

  • ⅔ cup Grade B maple syrup
  • 1¾ cups heavy cream
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 gelatin sheets

First prepare an ice bath. Also, bloom gelatin sheets in some ice and water, set aside.

Heat maple syrup and reduce by a quarter, about 5 minutes, then set aside. In a saucepan, combine heavy cream and milk. Turn on heat to medium-high and warm it up in order to temper eggs. It shouldn’t get to boiling, just heat it up so that it’s hot to the touch then turn off the heat.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk egg yolks and salt until combined. Temper eggs slowly with heavy cream/milk mixture then return to saucepan and heat. Continue whisking custard mixture until the temperature reaches 168°F. Remove from heat, add in the bloomed gelatin and reduced maple syrup. Taste for seasoning, add more salt if you like your maple ice cream to be less sweet. Then strain through a fine mesh strainer and cool over the ice bath.

Spin according to your ice cream machine’s instructions.

Sample dishes:

Recipe: Celeriac Purée

Celeriac or celery root or celery knob = all the same thing. Celeriac purée is something I like to have on hands at all times, in case of emergencies. It has such a mild flavor and works well with almost anything. I like food that act like blank canvases so that I can build and pair with that flavor to make something more complex.

  • Celery root
  • Heavy cream, as needed
  • Whole milk, as needed
  • Salt

Peel and cut celery root to bite-sized pieces. Place in a saucepan and cover with heavy cream. If you don’t have enough cream, add in milk to cover.

Place on medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Cover with a parchment paper lid and cook until tender, approximately 20 minutes.

Turn off heat, strain through a fine mesh chinois and  reserve liquid. Place celery root into a VitaMix blender and add enough liquid to blend. Add salt and taste for seasoning, adjust if necessary. Add more or less liquid to your liking for purée consistency.

Sample dishes:

Recipe: Corn Purée

In the culinary world, we make a lot of purées and it’s basically baby food. So why does restaurant baby food taste so good?

  • 5 ears of corn, kernels removed, cobs scraped of all “milk”
  • 2 leeks, white parts only, thinly sliced
  • 3 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup whole milk, more if needed
  • Butter, as needed
  • Salt

Sweat leeks and shallots in butter with thyme until aromatic. Add corn and cook out some of the starch. Then add the cream and milk, and cook until creamy. Season and taste. Remove thyme sprigs and blend in a VitaMix (blender).

Sample dishes:

Winter Truffle Spaghetti

I still had some winter truffles lying around in rice a few weeks ago. *Tip, storing fresh truffles in the fridge in an airtight container with rice is the best way to keep them.

This pasta was part of a multi-course starring winter truffles for the boss man. I did a winter truffle tasting for him.

This Winter Truffle Cream with Housemade Spaghetti comes with Chopped Gambas and Thyme.