Recipes

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19

Apr 2016

Intensely Chocolate Flourless Cake for Passover

Posted by / in Holidays, Into the Fire Blog, Recipes, WCSH6 /

My sister-in-law, Joanne, recently posted on my Facebook page that she would rather “pass over” the Passover meal  and head straight for my chocolate dessert.  It’s true that the Seder can be a long, drawn out affair, and particularly lengthy if the leader of the Seder insists on having everyone at the table take turns reading from the Haggadah in English and, when possible, in Hebrew. When I was a child, we used to drink a good amount of Manischewitz, lean to the left, wash our hands, and dip our karpas into salty water, but my father was one of the most considerate conductors of this ritual and, like Moses, he knew how to keep things moving and get us to the promised land: my mother’s feast.

I loved this dinner and, no wonder! My mother made everything from scratch, including the richest chicken stock for her matzo ball soup. She bought fresh ground carp and pike and whitefish for her delicate gefilte fish ovals and served the cold first course with a side of horseradish dressing. She grated the horseradish by hand and I witnessed firsthand the tears that flowed. The piece de la resistance, though, was her dessert: a sponge-like chocolate flourless cake, filled with whipped cream, powdered with cocoa and drizzled with  homemade hot fudge sauce.  Oh, what a sweet memory… It takes a lot of time to prepare this old fashioned feast and, today, most people are looking for delicious and reliable shortcuts. Fortunately, I know a great one for dessert. This intense chocolate cake takes very little time to prepare, does not need a frosting and, because it is flourless, is perfect for Passover. You can serve a small slice of this cake with a dollop of whipped cream and a side of fresh raspberries and everyone will think you slaved (pardon the expression) over it!

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when making and serving this cake:

1. Use a reliable 9×2 cake pan. I love my pan by “Doughmakers.” Make sure you prep the pan according to the recipe directions and allow the cake to cool completely in the pan before flipping it over on your baking rack. Then ease the cake carefully onto your cake plate. 

2. This cake should bake for 40 minutes  at 300 degrees. You want the cake to be moist in the center. To be sure, insert your toothpick into the center and if it does not come out perfectly clean, be happy.  This is a good sign. 

3. It’s especially wonderful if you make it in the morning and serve it at room temperature later in the day. Don’t forget to sprinkle it with sifted confectioners sugar just before you bring it to the table.

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23

Nov 2015

Bittersweet Chocolate Chocolate Tart

Posted by / in Holidays, Into the Fire Blog, Recipes, WCSH6 /

In 1968 I flew all alone to Paris. To this day, I don’t know how my favorite Aunt who had recently married a French man named Alain Darmon, convinced my overprotective parents to allow me, an eleven-year-old with extremely limited life experience, to board a jet, let alone travel overseas, but miraculously, my Aunt prevailed. I had sundaes before, but never accented with crisp meringues. I knew what French fries were, but had no idea that they tasted even better when you dipped them into a sauce made of mussel juice, garlic and butter. And who, I wanted to know, was the genius who decided to marry buttery crisp bread with chocolate logs? I confess, that although I now spend much of my time cooking delicious rustic Italian food, my palate was first awakened by French chefs and Paris holds a special place in my heart. I stole the filling for this bittersweet chocolate tart recipe from the famed French chef Joel Robuchon and the crust from acclaimed French born chef Alain Ducasse. The technique of rolling out the chocolate crust before it is cold is not difficult to do if you sandwich the dough between two sheets of plastic wrap and then freeze the dough for ten minutes before trying to release it into your tart pan with the removable bottom. Since you must blind bake this pie, I like to do this the day before Thanksgiving. The filling is a cinch to make and since the pie should be eaten warm or at room temperature, you can make the filling quickly and then bake it off just before your guests arrive. You should use a chocolate that is between 65-70% cocoa and my favorite chocolate to use for this recipe is Valrhona. I also use a serrated bread knife to shave the chocolate before I toss it in the warm milk/cream mixture. What an amazing, decadent little tart this is. After your guests bite into it, they will probably murmur: “Vive la France!” which is an especially moving sentence to say out loud this Thanksgiving.

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19

Oct 2015

Delicata Soup with Pancetta and Chives

Posted by / in Into the Fire Blog, Recipes, WCSH6 /

October is the perfect time of year to stock up on stock. If you do this and load up your freezer with this essential building block, your Thanksgiving will be destined for greatness. Once your freezer is full of rich chicken or turkey or duck or ham stock, you can create memorable soups and sauces. One of my favorite soups to serve at Thanksgiving is Sweet and Smoky Delicata Soup with Pancetta and Chives. We eat Thanksgiving late in the afternoon so this soup, which is served at noon time is always so welcome. It is richly flavored, yet has no butter or cream in it and it is beautiful to present to your guests in a plain white bowl.  Don’t forget to garnish this golden and velvety first course with tiny bits of crispy pancetta and fresh chive.

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