Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Everyday's the Fourteenth

So as most of you are probably aware, Valentine’s Day is next week. This can be a hot button topic for some people. Guys and single girls typically, but I am generalizing so don’t get mad at me ok? Yes, I understand that it is a fabricated holiday to sell greeting cards and anything heart shaped but that being said I still kind of like it. And even when I was single I still kind of liked it. Don’t get me wrong, I mostly enjoyed being able to eat the entire box of chocolates that my parent’s sent by myself and not feel bad about it just because it was Valentine’s Day.
And if anyone of you out there are thinking, well we shouldn’t use this as an excuse to tell each other that we love one another, we should do that all time – Here! Here! But sometimes it’s nice to have a specific day where someone needs to be a little extra thoughtful, and a heart shaped box of chocolates (to share, I guess) never hurts either. And if I may brag a bit, Joe is pretty good at Valentine ’s Day.
I typically cook the meals we eat at home, but Joe can (and does) cook on occasion. And Valentine’s Day is when he pulls out all the stops. If I am home, I am forbidden from the kitchen and take serious delight in hearing swear words and mutterings emanate from the other room. I think this may be the path most taken for guys trying to impress someone; with a home cooked meal. When we were in California, Joe told me about going to a local Whole Foods and being followed by another man about 20 feet behind him. Every time Joe picked up something, and then walked away, this stranger went to the same spot and picked up the exact same item. Which seems like a good idea in theory – but I am assuming this person probably also (a) did not know for sure what Joe was making and (b) even if he did, he probably didn’t know how to make it. So hopefully, someone out there had a strange compilation of crab meat, mussels, lamb shanks and various other ingredients that should have been in three different dishes. I also asked Joe, and thought it would be funny, if Joe just started picking up the most random things he could find to throw the guy off, almost like a reverse supermarket sweep. But alas, Joe was less naughty than I would have been, and continued shopping for the things he actually needed.
I have no idea what is planned for this year (but by writing this ahead of time, I can almost guarantee something will be!) And I wanted to share with you all, a dessert that might be a nice accompaniment to a night in, or an after dinner treat. It should be made the day ahead, to sit in the fridge overnight. So this means forethought, and that is what most people like about Valentine’s Day. So upon presenting it to the one you love (or are with) mention causally that you made this the day before, I think it will go over well.

Flourless Chocolate Cake
As adapted from Maggie on
This is fairly simple but does require a bit of time. It is not a typical flourless chocolate cake, but rather seems more like a rich custard or pudding. It’s velvety and very rich, and relies heavily on very very good quality chocolate. So don’t skimp! And I also recommend using free-range organic eggs; they will impart a better flavor as well.

½ c water
¼ tsp. salt
¾ c sugar
18 oz. high quality bittersweet chocolate (Ghirardelli, Valrohna etc.)
1 c unsalted butter
6 eggs, at room temperature

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Grease one 9 inch round spring form pan and set aside.

In a small saucepan over medium heat combine the water, salt and sugar. Stir until completely dissolved, about 3 minutes, and set aside.

Melt the chocolate in a glass bowl over simmering water in a saucepan (or in the microwave* – but be careful not to burn it!). Remove the bowl and allow to cool a bit.

Cut the butter into small cubes and stir the butter into the chocolate, a few pieces at a time. Mix in in the hot sugar-water. Slowly beat in the eggs, one at a time.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Place the round cake pan into a larger pan and fill the larger pan with boiling water halfway up the sides of the cake pan.

Bake cake in the water bath at 300 degrees F (150 degrees C) for 55-60 minutes. The center will still look wet, but the edges will have begun to pull away from the sides. Chill cake overnight in the pan. To unmold, dip the bottom of the cake pan in hot water for 10 seconds and invert onto a serving plate. Release the side of the pan and remove the bottom (off of the top, since the cake is inverted).

If you don’t have a spring-form pan, you can bake this cake in a regular cake pan. Follow all the same steps but you may also need to insert a knife at angle while the pan is upside down on the plate to release the bottom. Sprinkle with powdered sugar or decorate with fresh berries.

*to melt chocolate in the microwave, place the chocolate (in small pieces) into a microwave safe bowl. Heat on high for 20 seconds. Then remove and stir. At this point, it will seem like nothing happened. Repeat. Continue doing this until the chocolate begins to just melt, then reduce the time to 10 seconds. If the chocolate is mostly melted, stir hard, to try and melt the remaining bits, rather than microwaving again. If you do burn the chocolate, discard it and start again. Oh and air out the kitchen because it will stink!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please feel free to leave a comment, suggestion or question.