I could go for a ginger cookie…

November 6, 2009

gingersnaps

If you read yesterday, you know that I’m taking the easy way out to end the week by recycling some of my favourite cold weather comfort food posts.

On the list today are recipes from my sweet kitchen:
Microwave butterscotch pudding
Tarte Tatin
Super crisp ginger cookies
Butter Tarts

What sweet treat epitomizes warming comfort for you? Again, feel free to link to your site or recipes that we can all bookmark for a day when we need an indulgence.

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Andrew MacIssac’s Flourless Chocolate Torte

March 7, 2009

Here’s the recipe I talked about last Saturday in my Daring Baker’s post. It was a signature dessert at Pronto Ristorante in Toronto in the late 80’s and early nineties. Although it’s presented here with a mocha whipped cream, Andrew used to frost the top with whipped white chocolate ganache on occasion and that was heavenly, too. Hope you love it as much as I do!

(Sorry I don’t have a picture for you today. I was away for several days this week and didn’t have time to make a cake and take a snap.)

Flourless Chocolate Torte
With Mocha Whipped Cream

Ingredients: for 1 eight inch torte

1 pound of bitter-sweet chocolate
8 whole eggs
1/4 pound sweet butter
1/3 cup sugar

Method:

1. Butter a deep 8 inch cake pan and then line the bottom with silicon paper.
2. Over a bain-marie, in a large stainless steel bowl, melt the chocolate with the butter stirring with a spatula every minute. When all the chocolate is nearly melted, remove from heat and set aside.
3. Whip the eggs and sugar together until it triples in volume.
4. When the chocolate is still warm, add half the whipped eggs and incorporate smoothly. Add the remaining whipped eggs into the chocolate mixture and mix gently along the sides until homogenous. Pour the mixture into the cake pan starting from front to back. Be careful not to shock the mixture or you will loose the volume that is so desirable.
5. With a spatula, gently smooth out the top. Bake in a 125°C convection oven starting from a cold oven for 60 minutes. Be careful when closing the door to the oven!
6. Test the torte by examining the surface for resiliency when tapped and felt. The torte should appear firm when done. Remove from oven and run a knife around the edge of the pan. When cool to the touch, heat the bottom of the pan briefly and turn-out onto flat round surface dusted with cocoa. Repeat and flip the torte over a second time.
7. With a knife heated under hot running water, divide the torte into 10 even pieces.

Mocha whipped cream

Ingredients:

1 double expresso
1/2 liter 35% cream
1/3 cup sugar

Method;
Combine all the ingredients and whip until set.


Daring Bakers Ride Again

January 29, 2009

img_2470Lord knows this is not my best food photograph. Nor was this my best Daring Baker’s challenge ever. Sigh. My kitchen karma was severely out of whack when I went to make these tuiles.  The result: most of them turned out pretty much ugly.

I paired my not so pretty tuiles with my semi-famous microwave butterscotch pudding (made with homo milk instead of the 2% called for in the original recipe and with demerrara sugar for a deep, rich flavour). The recipe uses two egg yolks so it was a perfect choice as a companion for the tuiles on a practical level.

My embarrassing results sting badly; you see I used to make a version of these feather light cookies on a daily basis when, at the beginning of my career, I was the pastry assistant in a restaurant kitchen. Oh the shame! Am I washed up?  Have I lost my touch? Or, was it just a bad baking day?  Sometimes the simplest tasks can be the most humbling!

But, enough whining about my uninspired results. Visit the Daring Baker’s site and click on the links to see what my fellow bakers have cooked up. Some of their results are absolutely lovely!

Credits:  This month’s challenge is brought to us by Karen of Bake My Day and Zorra of 1x umruehren bitte aka Kochtopf. They have chosen Tuiles from The Chocolate Book by Angélique Schmeink and Nougatine and Chocolate Tuiles from Michel Roux.


Gorgeous gourmet cupcakes

January 30, 2008

gourmetcupcakes.jpgCupcakes epitomize the food trends of personalization and portion control. In my last Topline Trends newsletter I wrote about how pull-apart “cupcake cakes” are trending up. These clusters of cupcakes, positioned in beguiling shapes, offer the visual impact of a whole cake but the serving ease of, well, cupcakes.

I’m a huge fan of cupcakes not just for kid’s parties where they are a brilliant choice that allows guests to be served quickly and easily, but also for more swish affairs. At my own 40th birthday I had a cupcake tree laden with gorgeous fluffy white cupcakes generously swathed in pink buttercream frosting. Likewise, cupcakes have become a popular feature at stylish weddings.

Recently the ProChef Smart Brief (an online aggregate newsletter for the foodservice industry conducted a poll where they asked chefs, “Would you consider adding cupcakes to a gourmet menu?” I was on the ‘yes’ side of the argument, as were over 70 per cent of respondents.

To the other 20+ per cent all I have to say is check out an Eini Cupcake— and yes, gentle readers, they taste as good as they look! — and think about revising your (wrong) answer.

Would you serve cupcakes at a formal party? Why or why not?