This is probably the craziest yet happiest batch of little things I've baked in a while. My not-so-secret obsession with all things chocolate and Sriracha hit it's peak this week when I decided to travel down the path of mixing them together. Maybe they might get married someday and make a happy couple, one could only hope!
Until now, I had never baked a lava cake, so I scrounged around for several recipes in my stack of baking cookbooks (that are unpacked yet literally piled against the wall of the living room like the entrance to a some ancient monument.....I'll eventually deal with this soon, hopefully), unfortunately I didn't have a recipe in any of my books (could also be an excuse to get more cookbooks)! I went online and found one that looked pretty easy to prepare and decided to take the plunge down the hole that looked dark and messy yet held a promise of sweet peppery goodness.
Buckwheat is by far one of my favorite whole grain flours to work with because it has such a lovely color and flavor. Indian cooking uses a lot of whole grain flours but buckwheat is a flour that I came across after I moved to the US and I love, love it! I've adapted the original lava cake recipe from one of my trusted cooking magazines,
and substituted the flour with buckwheat among a few other ingredients.
Here are a few notes that I made during baking and I wanted to share with you;
- I had no heavy cream at home but I did have full fat coconut milk and that worked just fine in preparing the truffles.You can make the truffles ahead of time and store them in the refrigerator, just stick them into the cake batter they day you are ready to bake the cakes.
- The cakes will rise during baking and you should remove them while they are still hot after the initial 2 minute cooling process. I removed them from the ramekins even though we didn't eat all of them the same day. The cakes might sink slightly once they are too cool which is why I really like serving them as soon as they are baked straight out of the oven.
- To store, I ended up wrapping the rest of the cakes (after removing them from the ramekins) with cling film and freezing them for long term storage in an an airtight ziploc bag. Before eating the cakes, instead of thawing, I unwrapped the cling film and microwaved them covered with a microwave-safe lid. It worked great and now I have Sriracha lava cakes on demand.
Also, if you don't like Sriracha you can leave it out from the cakes and make yourself a whole grain buckwheat lava cake.
sriracha buckwheat molten lava cakes
2 oz semisweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons full fat coconut milk or heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon sriracha sauce
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, chopped + additional butter for greasing
1 1/4 ounces buckwheat flour + additional for dusting
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup (2 ounces) raw brown sugar
1 teaspoon madgascar bourbon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher sea salt
3 large eggs
confectioners sugar for dusting (optional, I did not do this)
1. Heat the coconut milk (or heavy cream) in a medium sized saucepan over medium high heat until it just begins to simmer. Remove from the stove and pour it into a heat proof bowl containing the chocolate chips. Whisk until the chocolate melts into a smooth paste. If the chocolate doesn't melt completely, microwave carefully for 10 seconds, just be careful not to burn the chocolate. Once the chocolate forms a smooth silky sauce, whisk in the sriracha. Over the bowl with cling film and allow it to chill completely for at least 30 minutes.
2. Remove the bowl from the refrigerator once the chocolate is chilled. Divide into 6 equal parts and mold into small truffles/balls. Place each truffle onto a sheet of parchment paper and refrigerate until ready to use.
3. Place a wire rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 450F. Take 6, six ounce ramekin bowls and grease them with butter and then dust them generously with flour. Place the bowls on a baking sheet/tray and refrigerate until ready to use.
4. Melt the butter and chocolate in a medium sized saucepan, stir until combined. The mixture will resemble a smooth silky sauce. Remove from stove, once completely combined and then cool for about 10 minutes. While the chocolate is cooling, whisk the sugar, vanilla, salt and eggs in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until the batter turns pale yellow and fluffy. This will take about 4-5 minutes. Finally, beat in the melted chocolate mixture followed by the flour. Divide half of the batter between the ramekin bowls, then place a truffle in each bowl and cover each bowl with the rest of the remainder batter. Even out the surfaces of each bowl with an offset spatula and bake them for 15 minutes until the cakes are just set (they will rise a little). Remove from oven and allow to cool for 2 minutes.
5. Run a sharp knife around the edges of the ramekin bowl and immediately invert onto an individual serving plate. Tap gently to release the cake. Dust with confectioner's sugar. Repeat with the rest of the cakes. Serve immediately.
I have a not-so-secret love for the delicious fragrance of hazelnuts. My obsession with hazelnuts starts early in the morning when I need to have a cup of freshly ground hazelnut scented coffee beans brewing away, otherwise my coffee just doesn't taste or smell as good. I once tried searching for hazelnut wood furniture in the hope that purchasing such furniture would make my house smell perfect, needless to say that didn't work out. So clearly, why wouldn't I make a hazelnut cookie to go with my hazelnut flavored coffee, it just made perfect sense (in my world).
Everything about these cookies says dark, dark, dark! I used a very dark cocoa (if you want to go lighter in color then use the same amount of a regular unsweetened cocoa) with dark chocolate chips and a hint of browned butter all come together with the hazelnut flour to form a delicious crispy cookie. These cookies are also gluten-free so those of you with related allergies will enjoy them. I added a little hint of browned butter to bring out the nutty flavors of the hazelnuts, it gives them that extra little edge of flavor.
Baking with nut flours is very different from using recipes that use grain flours as nuts are rich in fats, so you need to adjust the amounts of fats depending on the type of cookie you want. Since, I wanted a crispy cookie, I refrigerated the dough overnight. Here's another tip, when it comes to storing nut flours and keep it fresh, keep them in an airtight bag refrigerated or frozen, bring it to room temperature before use so it won't be clumpy.
The wonderful folks at
were extremely kind to send me some of their hazelnut meal to use in this recipe and they are also sponsoring a giveaway. I'm a huge fan of their products and use a lot of their grain and nut flours in my baking, their quality is fantastic and this hazelnut flour is no exception to their product line. You can smell the delicious fragrance of hazelnuts as soon as you open the bag, needless to say, I fell in love with it immediately! Now you can try it out too,
is giving away a bag of their delicious Hazelnut Meal and a $20 gift card to their store. To enter the contest, all you need to do is follow the instructions on the widget at the end of this post. This contest will run from March 5th through March 12, 2014. Good luck!
I did not receive any financial compensation from Bob's Red Mill for this post and all opinions are my own unless stated otherwise.
dark chocolate chip hazelnut cookies
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups (4 3/4 ounces) hazelnut meal(Bob's Red Mill), at room temperature
1 cup (7 5/8 ounces) brown sugar
1/4 cup (3 ounces) unsweetened dark cocoa (I used the extra dark cocoa from Hershey's)
1/2 teaspoon dark roast instant coffee (optional)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher sea salt
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon madagascar vanilla bourbon extract
1/2 cup (3 ounces) semisweet dark chocolate chips
1. Place the unsalted butter in a small saucepan and heat on a medium-high flame for about 2-3 minutes or until the milk solids begin to turn reddish brown. Remove from stove and keep aside.
2. Whisk the hazelnut flour, sugar, cocoa, coffee, baking soda, baking powder and sea salt together in a large mixing bowl and keep aside.
3. In a small bowl, whisk the egg, vanilla extract and browned butter. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients in the large mixing bowl and stir the whisked liquid into the whisked dry ingredients with a silicone spatula. Bring the ingredients together to form a ball of dough, wrap with cling film and refrigerate overnight.
4. Preheat the oven to 350F and place a wire rack in the center of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide the dough into 12 equal parts and roll each of them into balls. Flatten each ball with the palms of your hands into approximately 2 inch discs. Space 6 cookies on each sheet about 1-2 inches apart from each other. Place the baking sheets in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. Bake one sheet at a time in the oven for about 8-10 minutes until the edges of the cookies start to get crisp, the center will be slightly soft to touch. Rotate the cookie sheet halfway through baking. Do not over bake the cookies as the chocolate will burn. Repeat with second sheet of cookies. Allow the baked cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet and then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve the cookies warm.
1/2 cup (1 5/8 ounces) unsweetened dark cocoa
1/2 cup (2 7/8 ounces) oat bran
2 cups ( 8 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups (12 1/4 ounces) sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used a madagascar bourbon extract)
1 teaspoon raspberry extract (optional)
1 1/2 cups plain low-fat greek yogurt
1/2 cup semisweet dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup semisweet white chocolate chips
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
1. Preheat the oven to 375F and place a wire rack in the center of the oven. Place and line the paper muffin cups in a muffin pan. If you don't have paper muffins cups spray the cups in the pan with a neutral vegetable cooking oil.
2. Sift the cocoa, oat bran, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt twice in a large mixing bowl and keep aside.
3. Place the butter and sugar in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer and using the paddle attachment cream for 4 minutes on medium high speed until light and fluffy.
4. Add one egg at a time to creamed butter and sugar mixture and beat each egg into the mixture at medium high speed for one minute. Mix in the vanilla and raspberry extracts for 30 seconds.
5. At medium-high speed, mix in the sifted dry ingredients in three installments, adding half of the yogurt between each installment. You may need to occasionally scrape down the bowl from the sides with a silicone spatula to ensure even mixing. Once the batter is completely mixed, remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the chocolate chips and the raspberries.
6. Using an ice cream scooper, scoop out the dough into the lined muffin pan and bake them for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted through the center of the muffin. Allow the muffins to cool for 5 minutes in the pan and then transfer them to a wire rack to cool for another 5 minutes. Serve warm.
Note: Muffins are best when eaten the day they are prepared but if you want to store them, I recommend freezing the muffins in an airtight ziploc bag.
I did a bunch of crazy things last weekend that included attending a "Winter Tops and Summer Shorts" theme party. That's right sweaters and shorts during the season of the polar vortex, it was an absolutely insane idea by my friend Alex but also one of the funnest parties, I've been to in a while.
I figured if that can happen, frozen sweet foods can happen too and should. So here I am with a delicious rich and creamy chocolate yogurt recipe that has chili in it to keep you warm. I used a dried ancho chili powder which is basically a dried up poblano pepper. The dash of chili adds a hint of smoky sweetness to the dark chocolate which really enhanced the flavors.
I adapted and modified the basic frozen yogurt recipe from my all time favorite frozen dessert cookbook,
chocolate and chili frozen yogurt
1 generous quart
1 quart (32 ounces) plain low-fat greek yogurt
2 tablespoons + 1 1/2 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch (cornflour)
2 ounces (4 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/4 cup heavy cream
6 tablespoons unsweetened dark cocoa
1/4 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1/4 cup light corn syrup (I use fructose free light corn syrup which is a glucose solution and does not contain fructose but you could use glucose as well)
2/3 cup (5 1/4 ounces) raw brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Place the yogurt in a sieve lined with two layers of clean cheese cloth or muslin. Allow the yogurt to drain for 2 hours in the refrigerator. You will get about 3/4 cup of liquid. Discard the liquid and keep the yogurt aside (or you can add to baked goods for a little extra nutrition).
2. Whisk the two tablespoons of milk with the cornstarch to form a slurry and keep aside.
3. Place the cream cheese in a large glass mixing bowl.
4. In a thick bottomed saucepan, whisk the 1 1/2 cups of milk, heavy cream, cocoa, chili, corn syrup and sugar. Bring the contents to a boil over medium-high heat and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and quickly whisk in the cornstarch-milk slurry.
5. Place the saucepan on the stove and bring it back to a boil on medium-high heat and cook for 1 minute until slightly thickened.
6. Gradually add a little bit of the hot liquid from the saucepan into the glass mixing bowl containing the cream cheese. Whisk until completely smooth. Add the rest of the hot liquid and vanilla and whisk until the contents are completely blended. Mix in the strained yogurt from step 1. (You can also pass this liquid through a sieve to make sure any clumps or lumps are removed).
7. Transfer the yogurt mixture to a gallon ziploc freezer bag. Seal the bag and place in an ice water bath and cool for 30 minutes or until the internal temperature is 40F.
8. Pour the liquid into the frozen canister of your ice cream maker and churn until the liquid becomes thick and creamy. (Alternatively, follow the instructions written in the manual of your ice cream maker for brand specific instructions).
9. Pack the frozen yogurt into a freezer-safe storage container with an airtight lid. Cover with a sheet of parchment paper and press gently to remove any trapped air. Seal the container with the lid and freeze the yogurt for 4 hours or until firm before serving.
Polar vortex and snow, that is what we came back to from warm and sunny, Charleston! In my opinion, snow has two sides to it a good side and a dark side, just like THE FORCE in Star Wars, seriously! Here, let me explain,
- The landscape becomes one big white gigantic frosted cake.
- You get a day off from work, if the snowfall is crazy heavy. At least a "delayed arrival" if traveling is bad.
- You can make flavored ices with fresh snow, though I don't recommend picking up snow from the side walk due to hygienic reasons.
- Most dogs love snow! Snoopy for one, loves to run and play in it and eat it.
- I learned that suede/leather etc. get destroyed by the salt.
- You tend to feel like your enacting a scene from Swan Lake due to a lack of form and balance and you fall on your back more often than necessary when things are slippery or if your dog is pulling you across the street to catch a squirrel.
- The day after a heavy snow day is like a hangover, everything on the roads is messy.
- Cleaning the salt out of the dog's paws and off the floor of your house.
To balance all the snow related events that happened this week, I baked a pound cake that was full of warm flavors. This simple cake has everything I've been craving for, especially on on a cold and wintry snow day. There's dark roast coffee that's interspersed with swirls of a sweet dark chocolate and hazelnut paste. This pound cake goes great with tea or coffee and at any time of the day. I adapted and modified the basic pound cake recipe from
. By the way, this is a fantastic cookbook and a big thank you to Sarah of
for the great recommendation. (I do need to work on my swirling technique here in this cake).
Note: I prefer to use raw hazelnuts with their skins for a fresher taste. However, if you have skinned pre-toasted hazelnuts, by all means use them, just skip the toasting part in Step 1 below and proceed directly to the food processor stage to prepare the chocolate-hazelnut paste.
pound cake with coffee, chocolate and hazelnuts
1/2 cup (2 3/4 ounces) raw hazelnuts with skin
1 cup (6 3/4 ounces) semi sweet dark chocolate chips
16 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon madagascar bourbon vanilla extract
3 large eggs + 3 large yolks, whisked lightly
1 1/4 cups (8 3/4 ounces) raw brown sugar
2 tablespoons instant coffee (the dark roast variety is good here)
1 3/4 cups (7 ounces) cake flour
1. Preheat the oven to 325F. Spread the hazelnuts on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in an oven for 15 minutes or until the nuts begin to brown. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and immediately transfer the hot nuts into a clean kitchen towel. Massage the nuts while they are still in the cloth to peel the skin off the hazelnuts. You can remove the skin off the hazelnuts that did not fall off. Place the warm nuts and chocolate chips in a food processor and pulse till you get a smooth paste. The heat of the hazelnuts will melt the chocolate. Keep this aside.
2. Grease and flour a 8 1/2 X 4 1/2 inch loaf pan.
3. In the mixing bowl of a food processor, add the butter and salt. Using the paddle attachment at medium high speed beat the butter and salt until soft and creamy. Reduce this speed to medium low and add the sugar in two additions. Once all the sugar is added, increase the speed to medium high and beat the ingredients for 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. You might need to scrape the bowl down occasionally with a silicone/rubber spatula. Reduce the speed to medium and add the vanilla and the whisked eggs and yolks. Beat the ingredients for another 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the bowl from the mixer.
4. Sift the coffee and flour twice and then sift half of the dry ingredients over the butter-egg mixture. in the mixing bowl. Fold gently using a silicone/rubber spatula until combined. Sift the rest of the flour mix over the batter, repeat the folding process and scrape along the bottom of the container. There should be no visible flecks of flour at this point.
5. Pour half of the batter into the greased loaf pan. Add half of the chocolate-hazelnut paste prepared earlier. Then layer with the rest of the cake batter, followed by the rest of the chocolate-hazelnut spread. Take a skewer or knife and swirl it throughout the cake batter in the pan a couple of times to create a swirl/marble pattern. Place the pan on a cookie sheet and bake it on the middle rack for 1 hour or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted through the center of the cake. Note, the skewer will be gooey from the chocolate-hazelnut mixture but it should have cake crumbs if the cake is done. Rotate the cake half way through the baking process. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes in the loaf pan and then run a knife through the edges of the cake. Transfer the cake to a wire rack and cool for about 1- 1 1/2 hours before serving. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
chocolate genoise cake
4. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and using the whisk attachment, whip the eggs for 5-6 minutes until tripled in volume and the mix becomes light and foamy. At this point, you should able to draw a ribbon that will hold its shape on the foam.
5. Add the vanilla from the side of the bowl and whip for another 2 minutes.
6. Remove the bowl from the mixer, sift 2-3 tablespoons of the pre-sifted flour mix over the whipped eggs and fold it in with a silicone spatula using a circular motion taking care to reach the bottom of the bowl. The foam will deflate a little and there is no need to try and incorporate all the flour at this stage, it will be mixed in completely at the end.
7. Just before the addition of the last bit of flour, drizzle the warm, melted butter over the batter and quickly sift the rest of the flour mix over the batter. Fold into the batter completely within 30 seconds.
8. Using the rubber spatula, transfer the batter into the prepared baking pan. Leave behind any residual flour or butter that might be stuck at the bottom of the bowl or this will prevent the cake from rising evenly.
9. Gently tap the pan to remove any trapped air bubbles and bake it in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. The cake is completely baked when the center of the cake when pressed springs back. Remove the pan from the oven and cool for 10 minutes. Spray a cooling wire rack with nonstick cooking spray oil, run a knife around the edges of the cake to loosen it and flip the cake over the wire rack. Allow to cool completely before icing.
yields: about 3 1/2 cups
4 drops red food coloring (optional, you can adjust the amount to get the desired level of pink color you desire)
6. Add the raspberry liqueur, the vanilla, and the food coloring and beat for 1 minute until thick and creamy. Cover the frosting with cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes before use.
yields: about 3/4 cup
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup raspberry liqueur
1. Mix all the ingredients together in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the mixture reduces to half its volume.
2. Cool and refrigerate completely before use.
Assembling the cake
1 cup dark chocolate shavings
1. Place the two cooled cakes over each other with the top side of each cake facing downwards on flat plate or cake board. This top crust creates a good support for the cake structure. With a sharp serrated knife trim the edges of the cakes. With the knife, make a small notch on one side of both cakes, this will help with aligning the cakes later.
2. Carefully remove the top cake layer and place aside.
3. Start working with the lower cake layer. With a brush, spread half of the raspberry syrup over the cake.
4. Layer the surface with a thin crumb coat of the frosting. Place the cake in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to harden the crumb coat.
5. Remove the cake from the refrigerator and spread 1 cup of frosting in an even layer using an offset spatula. Return the cake to the refrigerator and let it chill for 20 minutes.
6. Place and align the second cake layer on top of the chilled frosted layer of the bottom cake layer, using the notches created earlier to correctly align the cakes. The bottom of the second cake layer should face the frosting of the first cake layer.
7. Brush the rest of the raspberry syrup over the upper layer. Refrigerate the cake for 15 minutes. Spread a thin crumb coat of frosting on top of the cake and refrigerate for another 15 minutes. Carefully spread out the rest of the frosting in an even layer on the top surface of the chilled cake with the offset spatula.
8. Generously sprinkle the chocolate shavings over the cake and refrigerate the cake for at least 30 minutes before serving. To get clean even cake slices, place a sharp serrated knife under running hot tap water, wipe the blade with a clean towel and cut the slice. Repeat this for each cake slice, this will prevent any crumbs from sticking to the frosting and it will ensure a clean cut.
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used the madagascar bourbon variety)
chocolate buckwheat almond tart
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
4. Please refer to step 4 above, listed under the tart crust instructions to finish off the tart.
The past few weeks have been filled with way too many farewells with two of my close friends moving away to warmer regions of the country which simultaneously makes me happy and envious. I made each one of them something different before they left, Javi got the
while Matt loves chocolate chips. Chocolate chip cookies kept cropping up in my head but I really didn't feel like sending him off with cookies, I wanted to give him something a little more special, something he might have never tried before but every bit as chocolatey as possible.
A short farewell boat ride trip on the Potomac with a little bit of champagne and this cake seemed fitting, since farewells like chocolate are bittersweet. Luck was on my side, I was fortunate to run into some fresh juicy red currants in my neighborhood grocery store and pairing the dark chocolate against the tartness of the currants, turned out to be a match made in heaven. The red currant jam is delicious by itself and would be perfect as an appetizer with cheese or at breakfast on buttered bread.
The base of this cake is whole-wheat, make sure to use whole-wheat pastry flour and not regular whole-wheat flour to prepare this cake. I was happy with this cake recipe because the surface of the cake did not crack during baking and because I finally got it right after a couple of trials to get the ingredients and ratios worked out. The dash of instant coffee in the batter intensifies the dark chocolate taste giving it a richer flavor without imparting a coffee taste.
Make sure the cake is cooled in the refrigerator before slicing it to get a clean cut through the ganache glaze. I like to wash my serrated knife in running hot water before cutting each wedge, it always gives me a clean cut and without making a mess with the cake crumbs. This cake is rich and decadent and in my opinion, a chocolate lover's dream. At the end of the trip, Matt was happy with his cake and so was everyone else on the boat judging by the visible look of the food-induced coma in our faces that was to hit us that evening.
whole-wheat chocolate layer cake with red currant jam
whole-wheat chocolate layer cake
one 9 inch diameter cake
1 teaspoon melted butter or a non-stick oil spray (canola oil)
5 ounces unsweetened dark chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup + 2 teaspoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon instant dark roast coffee powder
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, chopped at room temperature
1 3/4 cup sugar
1 1/3 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup plain non-fat greek yogurt
1 teaspoon madagascar bourbon vanilla extract
4 large eggs + 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
1. Place a wire rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325F. Line the base of a round 9 inch circular baking pan with parchment paper and lightly grease the pan with a little butter or a non-stick neutral tasting oil spray (like canola oil).
2. In a thick bottomed saucepan, add the dark chocolate, 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder,1/2 teaspoon of instant coffee, water, and butter. Place the saucepan on a boiling water bath and stir till the chocolate is melted and the mixture completely combined. Add and stir 1/2 cup sugar to this mixture until completely smooth. Remove the saucepan from the water bath and keep aside to cool.
3. Sift the flour, baking soda, 2 teaspoons dark cocoa powder, and 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee powder three times onto a clean sheet of parchment paper. If any husk or grainparts are left behind the sieve add them back to the sifted dry ingredients. Keep aside.
4. Using the whisk attachment, whisk the eggs and the rest of the sugar for 5 minutes on medium high speed until completely pale yellow and light and fluffy. Replace the whisk attachment with the paddle attachment and add half of the cooled chocolate mixture from step 2. Combine the batter completely at medium speed and then add the rest of the melted chocolate mixture.
5. Add half of the sifted dry ingredients from step 3 to the batter and beat the batter on medium speed until combined. Add the yogurt and vanilla extract to the batter with the rest of the sifted dry ingredients and beat the batter until completely combined.
6. Transfer the batter to the prepared baking tin and smoothen out the surface with an offset spatula. Place the tin in the preheated oven on the middle rack and bake for 45 minutes or until the center is firm to touch or a skewer comes out clean from the center. Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes in the baking tin and then remove it from the pan by running a butter knife between the cake and the sides of the pan. Transfer the cake to a wire rack and cool to room temperature completely before use. At this point you can wrap the cake airtight with cling film and store it in the refrigerator or freeze it. Bring the cake to room temperature before frosting.
red currant jam
approximately 1- 1 1/4 cup
12 ounces red currants
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons pectin powder
1. Mix the red currants with the sugar and lime juice in a thick bottomed saucepan. Heat on a medium high flame and bring to a boil. Reduce the flame and cook for another 15 minutes, stirring continuously.
2. Stir in the pectin powder and cook for another 5-6 minutes until the jam begins to thicken. Remove the jam from the stove.
3. Pass the hot jam through a sieve placed over a clean bowl. Press the pulp through the sieve to squeeze most of the fruit out. Discard the left over residue and seeds from the jam. Stir the jam in the bowl and allow it to cool to room temperature before using it to layer the cake.
You can also can this jam by processing the jam in a sealed jar. Place the sealed filled jar in a water bath and bring the water to boil, allow the water to boil for 10 minutes, switch the flame off and let the jar sit in the water for 5 minutes before removing it out. Cool to room temperature completely. Adjust canning conditions as per local altitude.
chocolate ganache glaze/icing
approximately 1 cup
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
1/4 cup heavy cream
5 ounces bittersweet dark chocolate chips
1. On a medium high flame heat the corn syrup and cream in a thick bottomed saucepan and bring the contents to boil. Remove from the flame and immediately add the chocolate chips and stir until the chocolate is melted and silky smooth.
2. Preferably, use immediately within the next 4-5 minutes while warm to glaze the cake.
assembling the cake
1. Slice the cooled cake in half on a turn table using a sharp serrated knife. Place the lower half of the sliced cake on a wire rack.
2. Using an offset spatula, spread the red currant jam in a thick layer on the lower half of the cake. Carefully center the upper half of the cake on top of the jam layered cake.
3. Pour the chocolate ganache glaze on top of the center of the upper layer of the cake and with the offset spatula push the excess chocolate glaze towards the outer edges of the cake and allow it to drip from the sides. Do not over do this step, you want to coat the upper layer of the cake in an even smooth layer with the chocolate glaze while allowing it to drip naturally from the sides. The glaze will begin to solidify immediately as it cools down against the cooled cake. Allow the cake to cool in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes before serving.
You can use any type of cookie cutter to shape your cookies, I used one of my Linzer cookie cutters. As my friend John says, they look like chocolate sprockets. Of course, depending on the size of the cookie you end up cutting, you will end up with either more or less cookies than I did. My cookie cutter measures around 2 inches and I got around 50-58 cookies.
(adapted from The Cook's Illustrated Cookbook)
yields: approximately 52-58, 2 inch cookies
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon Madagascar bourbon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1. Melt 4 tablespoon of the butter in a medium saucepan over high heat. Stir continuously until the milk solids turn orange brown. Remove the browned butter from the flame and stir in the cocoa to form a smooth silky paste. Keep aside to cool for 20 minutes.
2. Attach the paddle to a stand mixer, add the remaining butter, sugar, salt, and the cocoa-butter mixture. Mix completely on high speed, the mixture should appear light and fluffy. Add the yolks and vanilla and mix for about 40 seconds. Scrape the bowl down with a silicone spatula.
3. Adjust the speed of the mixer to the low setting and add half of the flour mixture. Blend until completely incorporated. Scrape the bowl down with the spatula. Add the rest of the flour to the batter and repeat. Once the dough is formed into a ball, divide it into three flat discs. Transfer and wrap, each disc on to a large sheet of wax paper and refrigerate for 1 hour. Cut two large sheets of wax paper and sandwich a disc of the refrigerated dough between the sheets at the center. Roll out the disc into a rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick. Refrigerate the flattened dough for another 15-20 minutes.
4. Preheat the oven to 375F and place the wire rack in the center. Remove the dough from the refrigerator, peel the top sheet of wax paper and cut out desired cookie shapes. Place the cut cookies onto a baking sheet or tray lined with parchment paper. Bake the cookies on the centered wire rack in the oven for 10 minutes (if the edges start to get dark, remove them immediately as the cookies are burning), rotating the baking sheet halfway during baking. Bake only one batch of cookies at a time. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool to room temperature. Store in an airtight container for up to a week. Any extra bits of dough can be pressed together and re-rolled and cut to make more cookies. Repeat with the rest of the refrigerated discs to make the rest of the cookies or refrigerate the dough for up to 3 days.
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
1 3/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons red wine (I used a Malbec)
2 teaspoons Madagascar Bourbon vanilla extract
2 cold large eggs
1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 325F. Line an 8 inch square baking pan with parchment paper and spray with a neutral vegetable oil.
2. Add the cocoa, salt, sugar, wine, and vanilla in a large glass mixing bowl. There is no need to mix the ingredients at this stage (the only rising agent, the lecithin in the egg yolks are mixed in later in the form of whole eggs).
3. Melt the butter in a saucepan and stir with a silicone spatula. As the butter melts it will foam and the milk solids will separate from the fat and begin to turn reddish brown. At this point remove the butter from the stove and quickly pour it into the mixing bowl with the cocoa. Stir it with a silicone spatula to blend. Let it cool for 3 minutes, it will still be hot.
4. Add one egg at a time, mixing it in vigorously with the silicone spatula until completely combined. At this point the chocolate mixture will be silky smooth.
5. Add the flour and again mix it into the chocolate batter vigorously until you see no more white flecks of flour.
6. Roughly chop the walnuts and fold them into the brownie batter.
7. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and allow spread it evenly with an offset spatula. Bake the brownie batter in the middle rack of the preheated oven. The brownies will be done after 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out almost clean from the center. The brownies can still be hot and gooey even if the toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the baking pan for 20 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack for another 20 minutes to cool. Once cool, transfer the brownies to a cutting board and cut them with a clean serrated knife into approximately 16 squares of equal size.
Summer has ended and here I am in the kitchen trying to seal every bit of my memories in glass jars that will remind me of the good and happy times. This past summer was etched with fun trips, great family visits, and new experiences. New recipes and tastes to be tried and savored and my blog completed its first year. This is also my first summer of canning and preserving and I will admit that it is very addictive. The summer harvest was as generous with its bounty as it was with its experiences and I took full advantage, especially the fruit. Yup, you might have noticed that I'm always leaning towards the sweeter end of things.
Note: Some cooks recommend dissolving the pectin first before adding it to the liquid. I added a teaspoon at a time and did not have a problem combining it into the jam. Also, I've made this jam a few times and stored it over a period of one year, it appears that the acidity is enough for it to be canned. You can also reduce the amount and make enough jam to store for a shorter period in the refrigerator.
This recipe was adapted from Mes Confitures by Christine Ferber.
3 cups sugar
3 pints wild blueberries (I used frozen, fresh is perfectly fine too)
10 ounces bittersweet dark chocolate chips
juice of one lemon, fresh (no pulp)
juice of one lime, fresh (no pulp)
10 ml orange juice, fresh (no pulp)
5 teaspoons fruit pectin powder
1. Mix the sugar and blueberries in a large pot and cook on a medium flame. (If you use frozen blueberries then use the juices too.) Macerate the blueberries during this period with a masher and stir occasionally. Cook for about 10-12 minutes till the sugar is completely dissolved. Pour the entire mixture through a ricer or sieve and process to remove all the skins. You might have some tiny seeds that seep through the ricer/sieve, that is perfectly fine. Squeeze as much pulp and juice as you can.
2. Add the pureed blueberry syrup into a pot and bring it a gentle simmer on a small flame. Stir in the chocolate chips. At this stage you need to stir the mixture continuously to ensure that the chocolate does not burn.
3. Add the lemon, lime and orange juices to the mixture. Stir continuously for 15 minutes. Add the pectin to the mixture, a teaspoon at a time. Mix till it is completely combined. Perform the wrinkle test to make sure that the jam is ready to set. (Wrinkle test: Take a tablespoon of the hot mixture and smear it on a clean plate. Put the plate in the freezer for 5 minutes. When you remove it, run your finger through the center, the gel should wrinkle on the surface. This indicates that your jam is ready to gel). For some reason if your jam is not ready to gel, cook for another 5 minutes, take it off from the stove and repeat the wrinkle test. It took me two wrinkle tests to get the right consistency. Pour the jam into 12 clean 4 ounce canning jars and process for 10 minutes.
Update: I recently designed some labels for my jars and thought I would share them with you. Do let me know what you think of them. Just note that each label is about 2 inches wide.
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
8 tablespoon powdered sugar
8 tablespoons hot water (90F)
I am in that final phase of thesis writing where I edit and re-edit, create tables and figures and transfer information from one program to another. Then I suddenly notice formatting errors due to that occasional software glitch where tabs and margins turn out to be more complicated than the actual research question or regressions that concern the paper. Software can definitely take a mind of their own and then there are those moments where I want to give it a piece of my mind. I really wish there was a command where I could type back "Whack Program Please"!
I went back to the basic recipe for the genoise cake and baked two separate genoise cakes. The cake is then layered with a layer of mint flavored creme fraiche icing and two separate layers of dark chocolate creme fraiche icing. The entire cake is then coated and sealed with a simple buttercream icing infused with creme de menthe and then drizzled with a dark chocolate glaze which is again infused with creme de menthe. The edible silver pearls are just for a little decoration and can be found anywhere.
This cake was also featured at the Huffington Post on June, 26th 2012
chocolate mint cake
for the cake:
Chocolate Genoise Sponge Cake Recipe
mint creme fraiche filling
4 tablespoon creme de menthe
1 cup creme fraiche
2 tablespoon sugar
chocolate creme fraiche filling
1/4 cup semisweet dark chocolate chips
1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
1 cup creme fraiche
2 tablespoon sugar
mint buttercream frosting
2 sticks unsalted butter
2 tablespoon creme fraiche
5 tablespoon powdered sugar
3 tablespoon creme de menthe
dark chocolate glaze
3/4 cup semisweet 75% dark chocolate chips
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
8 tablespoon powdered sugar
8 tablespoons hot water (90F)
2 tablespoon creme de menthe
1 cup creme de menthe
4 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup water
edible silver pearls for decorating the cake
After the two genoise cakes are prepared, cool and wrap them up (they can be made a day or two ahead and stored in the refrigerator or frozen for a month before use).
Heat the creme de menthe, 4 tablespoons of sugar and 1/4 cup water in a pot and bring to a simmer. Allow to cool to room temperature before use.
To prepare the mint creme fraiche filling, beat the creme fraiche with a whisk at high speed till it forms stiff peaks. Add the sugar and the creme de menthe and whisk till combined and fluffy. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before use.
To prepare the chocolate creme fraiche filling, beat the creme fraiche with a whisk at high speed till it forms stiff peaks. Beat in the sugar and combine. In the mean time, melt the chocolate with the heavy cream on a simmering water bath and then pour it into the creme fraiche and whisk on high speed till smooth and stiff. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before use.
To prepare the buttercream frosting, beat the butter and the sugar till it becomes light and fluffy. This will take about 7-10 minutes at high speed. Add the creme fraiche and creme de menthe and continue beating till completely combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before use.
Slice each genoise cake through the center to get two separate discs of equal thickness using a serrated knife and a turn table. Place one cake on a foil covered cardboard disc of equal size. Place the cake with the foil covered cardboard disc on top of a sheet of parchment paper on a turn table/cake stand or plate (This will help you to decorate the cake and reduce any clean up). Brush the surface of the cake with the prepared mint syrup, you will use about 2 tablespoons of syrup per cake slice. Then spread the mint creme fraiche filling with an offset spatula. Add the second cake layer on top of the mint creme fraiche and brush about two tablespoons of the mint syrup. Spread 1/2 of the chocolate creme fraiche filling. Similarly, place the third cake layer and brush with the mint syrup and then spread the remaining chocolate creme fraiche filling. Add the final fourth layer of cake on top and brush gently with the mint syrup. Cover the cake with cling film. At this point the cake can be refrigerated for at least 2 hours before coating with the buttercream or kept overnight. Layer the buttercream frosting with an offset spatula by coating the sides gently and slowly. You can wet the spatula by running it under warm tap water to get a smooth finish on the frosting. Allow for about 2cm of buttercream frosting on each side of the cake. Start with the center and then move to the sides. Cool the cake in the refrigerator for another 1 to 2 hours before pour the chocolate glaze. The cake should be cool enough to allow the glaze to drizzle and spread.
To prepare the drizzle, melt the chocolate over a simmering water bath with the whipping cream. When completely melted and combined add the powdered sugar and keep mixing over the water bath. The mixture may form into a small ball. Add half of the hot water to the chocolate and keep mixing till incorporated. Add the rest of the water and creme de menthe and combine till a smooth liquid is obtained. Remove the glaze from the water bath and allow to cool till it is lukewarm (rather does not feel too hot to your skin). Pour the glaze on the top of the cake at the center and then with an offset spatula push the glaze to the ends to allow it to drizzle and drip from the sides. It helps to use a wet offset spatula to move the chocolate glaze. Sprinkle a few of the edible pearls and allow the cake to set in the refrigerator for at least two hours before serving. Remove the sheets of parchment paper from the bottom of the cake before serving.
Though this post should begin with chocolate since it is mostly about the dark brown elixir, I think it would be better to explain how I came to undertake this task. We were invited to our first chili tasting/cook-off this weekend which currently completed its 8th annual run. Since most of the people competing were seasoned veterans, it was probably a safer bet that I stay away from trying to venture out in competing. Needless to say, I loved my first chili contest, my particular favorite were a vegetarian chili with fennel seeds and white bean chili with chicken. I love the personalized chili cup bowls, great job Molly!
A quick rewind back to the morning before the chili take out, I have cocoa powder all over the kitchen and traces of melted chocolate on the counter. Preparing this cake, to me required a bit of alone time so I could focus and concentrate without any distractions, including doorbells, text messages, phone calls, cold-wet nose from beloved dog, and significant other. The minute I stopped pay attention to folding in the genoise batter, a disaster in the form of a solid door stopper of a chocolate cake was generated.
So it was worth it, no one complained about the final product. Especially at the cookout, so I think this was an endeavor well worth the effort. I had seen the chocolate goddess, Alice Medrich bake this cake on PBS' "Baking with Julia" several times on reruns and said perhaps this is a good time to try this. Out popped my copy of the show's cookbook and after making a few changes and a new true love was born.
Since the whole prep time for this cake takes a bit of time (at least for me) and getting the genoise cake correct the first time can be daunting, it is a good idea to practice making the cake a couple of times a few days ahead. This cake batter relies on the lecithin in the egg yolks to act as an emulsifier to trap the air in the cake and leaven the cake. After beating the eggs extensively to get the characteristic "ribbons" appearance or rather the stiff peaks, I found it to be an excellent idea to add the sifted flour/cocoa mix in 1/4 cup batches while folding it into the eggs. Sift the flour and cocoa at least three times before you fold it into the batter. Folding gently and patiently is the key to getting this cake to rise.
Putting the cake together was much easier than I thought after getting the challenge of the genoise cake down. Playing around with melted chocolate in the kitchen was fun an messy but so worthwhile. Creme fraiche can be hard to find but it makes the BEST filling/icing in the world. I can only describe the taste of creme fraiche reminiscent of a buttermilk-butterscotch combination but it has its own unique taste.
Though the original recipe called for eau de framboise, I made my own raspberry liquor of sorts. The raspberry-elderberry liquor was prepared by soaking 1 cup of raspberries in the refrigerator with St. Germain for two days and then draining and collecting the reserve liquid. I used this liquid to make my raspberry syrup and added some more St. Germain once it cooled down. I think the blend of the elderberry and raspberry flavors is delightful with the creme fraiche and chocolate.
Alice Medrich's chocolate raspberry cake (From Baking with Julia cookbook - written by Dorie Greenspan)
The Genoise Sponge Cake
3 tablespoons hot clarified unsalted butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sifted all-purpose flour
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sifted unsweetened dark cocoa powder
4 large eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1 pound bittersweet or semisweet 75% dark chocolate chips
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 to cup St. Germain
1 cup fresh raspberries
Creme Fraiche Filling
3 cups creme fraiche
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons sugar
5 ounces semisweet or bittersweet
3 tablespoons boiling water
Three 5-ounce containers fresh raspberries
3 ounces bittersweet or semisweet
The Genoise Cake:
Preheat the oven to 350F. Sift flour and cocoa together five timesand keep aside. Whisk eggs and sugar together in a large heat-proof bowl. Set bowl over direct heat and warm the eggs. Shake while doing this to prevent eggs from cooking or curdling. The eggs should be slightly warm to touch and not hot. Remove bowl from heat and with a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment beat the eggs on high until cool, tripled in volume, and able to hold a ribbon when whisk is lifted. Sift one third of the dry ingredients over eggs and fold in gently but thoroughly. When the color of the batter is almost uniform, fold in remaining flour-cocoa mixture. Pour the hot clarified butter into a 1-quart bowl and stir in vanilla. Spoon 1 cup of batter into the hot clarified butter and fold together until well blended. Spoon this over the batter and, using the large rubber spatula, gently fold it in. Spoon batter into the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top springs back when pressed gently. Transfer pan to a rack and cool cake in pan. When completely cool, run a knife around the sides to release cake and unmold it onto a rack; invert right side up onto parchment paper. Note: If your batter starts to lose volume when you fold, it will reduce the sponginess of the baked cake.
Melt chocolate in heat-proof bowl set over simmering hot water. Stir chocolate until fully melted and smooth. Hold the bottom of one baking pan over a burner and, moving it back and forth, heat until warm but not hot. Put the baking pan upside down on a flat surface and pour on 1/3 cup of chocolate. Use an offset spatula to spread evenly over the pan. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Repeat with remaining chocolate and pans.
Remove a pan of chocolate from refrigerator and let warm to room temperature. Place baking pan in front of you, a short side braced against your body. Hold the end of the blade of a thin, flexible 8-inch metal icing spatula in one hand and, with the other hand, grab the blade close to the handle. Using the top left corner of the pan as a starting point and imagining that corner of the pan as 12 o’clock, position one hand in that corner, and the other at 2 o’clock. Press the edge of the blade against the chocolate at a very shallow angle. Slide the blade forward, moving your hand down to 5 o’clock and then pivoting the blade to the left, all the way to the edge of the pan. As you scrape and ruffle the chocolate against the blade and then make the pivot, the chocolate will gather against the blade. Pinch the chocolate so the ruffles form a fan and the pinched part is a handle. Place it on a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate. Make two more ruffles across the top of the pan, using the previously scraped area as your guide. Make the next three ruffles just below, then turn the pan around to get to the chocolate on the bottom and make three more. You can make ruffles that are large and small, just decorate with the smaller ones on the center and then use the larger ones as you move outside.
Soak 1 cup raspberries in 1 cup St.Germain for at least 24hours in the refrigerator. Drain the raspberries and then use the reserve liquid. Bring the liquid and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan, reduce to half the original volume. Remove from heat and cool. Add 1/4 cup St.Germain. Taste syrup and adjust flavor; set aside in the refrigerator.
Crème Fraiche Filling:
Beat creme fraiche and vanilla to soft peak, then add 2 tablespoons sugar, beating until thickened. Taste and add more sugar if needed, then continue beating until cream begins to stiffen. Cover with cling film and refrigerate.
Cut cooled genoise into 3 even layers using a serrated knife and rotating the cake a turn table. Fit one layer into the bottom of an 8-inch round springform pan and brush the layer with syrup. Put chopped chocolate in a bowl with the boiling water, whisking until the chocolate is fully melted and smooth. Using a rubber spatula, fold 1/4 cup creme fraiche into the chocolate. Fold in another 1/2 cup creme fraiche, then quickly spread the chocolate creme fraiche evenly over the genoise layer in the pan. Moisten the second layer of genoise with framboise syrup and set it, moistened side down, in the pan, pressing gently to level it. Moisten with the syrup and top with an even layer of fresh raspberries. (Keep a few raspberries in reserve). Beat remaining creme fraiche until it holds its shape. Spoon 1 1/2 to 2 cups creme fraiche over the berries and carefully smooth the creme fraiche over and between the berries. Moisten the remaining layer of genoise with syrup and set it, moistened side down, into the pan, again pressing lightly to set it in place. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
Assembly: Run a knife around the sides of the cake, then remove the ring of the springform pan. Put the cake, still on its pan bottom, on parchment paper and set on a decorating turntable. Using freezer paper or parchment paper cut a strip 4 inches longer than the circumference of the cake pan (the one you baked the cake in) and 2 inches wider than the height of the cake. Place a larger piece of wax paper on the counter and put the strip on the waxed paper. Melt chocolate in the top of a double boiler, stirring once or twice until melted and smooth. Pour the chocolate down the center of the plastic strip, spreading it with an offset spatula across the entire strip. Lift the strip and fit it neatly around the cake, positioning it so that the chocolate side is against the cake. Press one end against the cake and leave the other end standing away from the cake at the point where it would overlap. Slip a small piece of waxed paper into this spot to hold your place. Refrigerate the cake for at least 1 hour, until the chocolate hardens.Place the cake on the decorating turntable and spread the remaining creme fraiche over the top. Remove chocolate ruffles from refrigerator and, beginning at the outside edge, arrange ruffles in a circle. Continue to arrange the ruffles in slightly overlapping concentric circles until the creme fraiche is covered. Put a few raspberries in the center of the cake and chill the cake for about 15 minutes, until firm. Remove the paper place keeper and peel away an inch of the plastic from the end of the band attached to the cake. Put a dollop of melted chocolate on that end to act as glue and overlap the other end of the band, pressing lightly to seal it. Carefully remove the plastic. If the plastic sticks, put the cake back in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes, then try again. You can also seal any uneven ends with left over melted chocolate and then refrigerate again to firm up.
This was a week packed with punches and kicks! It included my foray into the world of kickboxing, I've been in desperate need of a more spelled-out and defined workout schedule and I hope this new athletic venture of mine filling that gap. It feels more like winter than fall in Washington, the sudden drop in the 50s and the relentless rain is making me moody. What does get me through this kind of weather, is the smell of the warm oven while I bake and hot tea at any time of the day! The oven seemed to beckon, to make this cold and wet weekend enjoyable and warmer. Having recently purchased several autumn Bartlett pears, the urge to bake a pear flan with an almond and chocolate filling seemed hard to ignore this weekend. I modified a tart recipe from my copy of the The Essential Baking Cookbook.
almond and pear chocolate flan
yield: 6-8 servings (9" inch tart)
For the Pastry
1 1/4 cup flour
1 stick unsalted butter, cubed and frozen
1/4 cup sugar
2 large egg yolks
a little extra butter for greasing the tin
For the Filling
1 stick unsalted butter or 150 ml vegetable oil
2/3 cup sugar
3 large eggs
2/3 cup melted unsweetened dark chocolate chips
1 1/4 cup ground raw almonds
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
3 ripe peeled, cored and sliced (length-wise) Bartlett Pears
1. Attach the dough blade to the food processor and pour in the flour and cubed butter. Pulse till the flour resembles a crumbly mixture.
2. Pulse in the sugar, followed by the addition of the egg yolks, one at a time. Remove the dough ball from the processor and wrap it in cling wrap and leave it to rest for about 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
3. Preheat the oven to 350F and lightly grease a fluted tart tin with a little butter. Cut a circle of baking/parchment paper equal to the size of the base of the tart tin and line the bottom of the tin with it. Remove the dough and roll it out between two sheets of parchment paper to form a 14 inch circle. Now, remove the top layer of the parchment paper from the rolled out dough and line the tin with the dough. Remove the other layer of parchment paper and using the rolling pin trim off any excess dough from the edges of the pan. Lightly proof the pastry surface with a fork to let any trapped air exit during the baking process. Cover the surface of the pastry in the tin with dry uncooked beans or pie weights. Bake the pastry shell for about 10 minutes. Remove the beads and then bake the pastry for an additional 5 minutes. Let the pastry shell cool for about 15 minutes in the refrigerator.
4. To prepare the filling, cream the butter and sugar by beating in a large mixing bowl. Beat in the eggs individually. Pour the melted chocolate and mix it in the filling mixture. Now fold in the ground almonds and flour. To the cooled pastry shell, gently pour in the pie filling in an even layer. Arrange the pear slices on the surface of the filling and bake the tart for about 30 minutes or till the center is firm. The pears will caramelize a little during the baking process. Allow the tart to cool to room temperature in the tin and then transfer it to the refrigerator to cool for another hour or till firm before it can be served. Using a sieve, dust the surface lightly with sweetened cocoa powder and icing sugar.