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Posts Tagged ‘Chocolate desserts’

I have already given you some facts and reasons for why you should eat and share chocolate with others, so to be more practical I have some recipes for tasty dark chocolate desserts. I have recently learned these during an evening cooking class in New York. They do not take half a day to prepare and you do not need too many ingredients so you can make any of them quickly.

Cuisine: Desserts/ chocolate.

Cooking school: Natural Gourmet Institute in New York.

Chef/instructor: Jay Weinstein is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and the author of many food-related books. he worked at the Michelin acclaimed New York restaurant Le Bernardin and many others. I admired how well he managed three groups of people each creating chocolate sensations from different recipes. He led us all to success that was rewarded by a chocolate-themed late dinner with a glass of plump and juicy Pinot Noir from California.

Chocolate Velvet Cake

Chocolate Velvet Cake

Recipe for the Chocolate Velvet Cake (serves 16 portions) – this cake was a substantial majority favourite of the class attendees.

Ingredients: 8 large eggs; 1 pound semi-sweet chocolate, 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter; 1/4 cup strong coffee; cocoa powder for dusting.

Method: Preheat oven to 325 °F (162ºC). Grease an 8″ or 9″ springform pan, and line the bottom with waxed or parchment paper. Wrap the outside of the pan in foil to prevent leaks. Prepare a pot of boiling water in which you put a smaller bowl or pot filled with chocolate, sliced butter and coffee. Let it melt a bit and then start stirring it until the substances melt. In an electric mixer, beat the eggs until they double in volume (about 5 minutes). Fold in the whipped eggs in three additions into the melted chocolate. Mix carefully, just enough to incorporate the eggs into the chocolate. Pour it all into the prepared springform pan and place it into a deep roasting pan. Pour enough boiling water into the roasting pan to come about halfway up on the sides of the cake. Put both on to the lower-middle rack of the oven and bake about 25 minutes, until the cake rises slightly and has a thin crust. You can use a thermometer and stick it into the middle of the cake. When it reads 140 ºF (60ºC) then it is ready. Then transfer the springform to a wire rack and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for several hours.

* For conversion of °F to ºC and equivalent gas marks use this chart.

To serve: Warm sides of the springform with a hot, wet towel to let the cake loosen and then pop and open it. Cut with a hot wet knife, which you wipe and make wet each time you cut a new slice. Dust with cocoa powder and place on a plate with refreshing tips of mint, or red berries for a sexy look.

You can make also something a bit more simple like these superb Brownies (these are really the best I have ever had):

Ingredients: 3 eggs; 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract; 1 cup of white flour; 4 ounces of unsweetened baking chocolate; 3/4 cup of butter (or coconut oil); 1 1/2 cups of organic sugar; 1 cup of chopped walnuts.

Simple ingredients for Brownies

Simple ingredients for Brownies

Method: Preheat the oven to 325 ºF (162ºC). Grease a 9″ x 13″ sized glasss baking dish.

Melt chocolate and butter together in a double boiler (put a big bowl over a large pot with hot water), leave it melt a bit and then stir it until it becomes smooth and the chocolate is just melted. Take out of the heat, stir in sugar, whole eggs and vanilla extract and at the end the flour with walnuts.

Then you pour all the mixture into a glass baking dish. Bake for 20-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with fudgy crumbs. Cool in the baking dish before transferring to a cutting board . Cut into 24 squares and serve.

Brownies baked in glass dish

Brownies baked in glass dish

For the adventurous half of you, try to make a Chocolate souflé (serves 12), which is one of trickiest desserts to keep an eye on – the trick is do not open the oven before they are almost done!

Ingredients: 5 tablespoons of unsalted butter; 1/2 cup of organic sugar; 8 ounces of bittersweet chocolate (roughly chopped); pinch of salt; 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (liquid); 1 tablespoon of citrus liqueur (such as Tripple Sec); 6 egg yolks; 8 egg whites; 1/4 teaspoon of a cream of tartar.

Ingredients for Chocolate soufflé

Ingredients for Chocolate soufflé

Method: 1 tablespoon of softened of butter use to coat the ceramic pots for soufflé and then coat with a layer of sugar or cocoa powder. Shake it around the buttered dishes so it all gets entirely covered otherwise the dough will stick to the pots. Combine remaining 4 tablespoons of chopped butter with chopped chocolate over a double boiler (put a big bowl over a large pot with hot water) until it just melts. Then stir in salt, vanilla and citrus liqueur.

Correctly whip egg whites in a clean mixing bowl so they stick to the whisk attachment on the mixer and form a V-shaped snow-like mountain. During mixing add a cream of tartar (usually in a form of white powder).

Correctly whipped egg whites

Correctly whipped egg whites

Simmer the sugar with 1/3 cup of water until it dissolves. In a mixer whisk this sirup gradually into the egg yolks that have been whipped slightly before. Whip until the mixture triples in volume and is light in colour (takes about 5 minutes). Fold these whipped yolks together with melted chocolate.

Fold one-third of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and add them carefully until you use all of them. Divide the batter into the prepared coated ceramic pots, don’t fill them entirely as they will rise after the baking. Level off the tops with a spatula so they are even. Transfer them into a freezer until you want them to serve. Then bake at 400 ºF until fully risen for about 18-20 minutes. Only check them in 18 minutes and do not open the oven before!

This is the result that you serve warm with a creamy vanilla sauce poured in the middle of each individual soufflé (make a small howl with a spoon into the centre).

Chocolate soufle

Chocolate soufle

Serving chocolate soufle

Serving chocolate soufle

List of Public Classes at Natural Gourmet Institute in New York can help you with planning your class ahead.

Contact: Tel. +1 (212) 645-5170

Address: 48 W 21st St #2, New York, NY 10010; USA.

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Chocolate heart good for your heart

Chocolate heart good for your heart

Here are some good and scientifically proved reasons why you should give or share chocolate with anyone you love (including yourself):

  • Chocolate is a well-known aphrodisiac making an ideal component in foods and treats shared by lovers.
  • Chocolate is an age-defying anti-oxidant and was coined as a “Super Fruit” with more pronounced positive effects on health than most of other fruits (with high nutritive value).
  • Chocolate contains substances called flavanols that were proved in a number of studies to lower blood pressure and the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
  • Chocolate can help you to fight the adverse effects of stress (by reducing levels of cortisol) and improve your metabolism.
  • Chocolate is tasty and loved by many people (if you read this you are surely interested in chocolate :-), not many of you read often about spinach) making it an ideal partner in your daily diet.

The darker the chocolate the more the above pros apply and of course you cannot eat the entire cake or box of truffles you got from your loved one for Valentines or another occasion (I think that if you love someone you do not need to show your love only on the Valentines day but spontaneously throughout the year + the more often you and your partner eat dark chocolate the better for you).

Chocolate Velvet Cake

Chocolate Velvet Cake

 

Quantity is the key, so have a slice of that yummy Velvet Chocolate Cake or a couple of brownie squares or a truffle or two and you will be good and set for a romantic soirée in two.

If you cannot for some reason bake, then choose from the widest selection than ever of the speciality chocolates made exclusively for the Valentine’s day or simply give your loved one the chocolate you have tried, loved and would love to share with him/her. Keeping in mind his/her taste preferences shows that you are not selfish and you are ready to share part of yourself (or at least your beloved treat).

Enjoy your Valentine today!

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La Huella beach view

La Huella beach view

Cuisine: Argentine and Peruvian.

Visit: December 2012

Price: Medium to high (La Huella is perhaps the most popular dining spot in the entire Punte del Este so it can charge what it wants, although it is not over the top and the food as well as the service end up being a great value for money).

Bar at La Huella

Bar at La Huella

Ambiance: Bohemian, rustic and trendy. La Huella is one of the most desirable restaurants in the area of Punta del Este and for that it attracts anyone trendy – from international celebrities to great vibe and food seeking tourists. La Huella is located right on the beach so I would not recommend ladies to wear super-thin heels either for the comfort reasons as well as looking out-of-the-place. Imagine St Tropez 20-30 years ago, sandy dunes and Le Club 55 – the hotspot of the rich and famous for decades and you will get La Huella. Its chill-out ambiance, rustic wooden bar with chess-pieces peaking over your head, open kitchen and grill back room and large terrace facing the beach will transfer even the sturdiest workaholic into the realm of nostalgic dreams. Beach clothes and short during lunch are fine – long pants and mosquito spray in the evening if you sit outside.

Sandy entrance to La Huella

Sandy entrance to La Huella

Food: Fresh, authentic and tasty. I have eaten at La Huella twice. After three out of three people, who know the area well, recommended me eating here, plus the answer to my question “Where would you eat around Punta del Este on your birthday?” being “La Huella”, I knew this place must be outstanding. Perhaps I look biased, (after all the bottles of wines I consumed there it is entirely possible as I tend to like everything after three glasses of this god-blessed liquid), but I am sure about one thing: You must eat there at least once when in the area. The food is a mix of Peruvian, Argentine and Uruguayan cuisines. Fresh and mostly local ingredients are used in preparation and the cooks try to make the plates look cool.

Potato causa

Potato causa

From the peruvian fare I loved the White fish ceviche s well as the Potato causa filled like lasagne with a creamy layer of salmon, mayonnaise and onions. Both were authentic, no fuss and simply delicious.

White fish ceviche

White fish ceviche

Another great starter is the Warm goat cheese salad. Bitter and limey roquette with crisp tomato balance the milky and fatty cheese with a fire burned coating served on a crunchy bread bun.  The only disappointment was the squid appetizer with beetroot sauce, the sauce was the problem as it did not match the squids at all – too much creativity can kill a dish often and my previous experience at another restaurant in Uruguay confirmed that they generally need to figure out beetroot quite a bit.

Warm goat cheese salad

Warm goat cheese salad

La Huella can do pizza very well! If you continue in a starter marathon then get the Goat cheese pizzetta on a thin crisp oval dough as it is not just a great companion to wine but also a perfect crispy snack to share. They get seasonal seafood so if they got the White clams that I have ordered try them as they are really fresh, juicy and palate pleasing. Perfect with a crisp Sauvignon Blanc!

Cheese pizetta

Cheese pizetta

Seafood as well as meat dishes are the restaurant’s strengths. From the main courses I can recommend any steak as the meat is local, without hormones, just grass-fed, wild-nature raised and above all super tasty. The wood-fired grill throws a magic spell of yumminess on each meat that passes its heating throat. The grilled fish is also good, but to my taste the meat is better. After all living in Mediterranean can turn anyone in a fierce fish critic especially if you have the privilege of eating at my friend’s restaurant in Cap d’Antibes.

Literary, the cherry on the cake are the desserts. I might not look like that but I had two desserts on my own here – the Chocolate Volcano is an absolute indulgent blast that keeps your energy fired up until early hours and I had it replayed twice. The cacao-based cake hides a liquid secret. As your spoon cuts through the cake a stream of dark chocolate runs out

Drinks: The bar area invites for a cocktail before or after your meal. The selection of wines from South America is good and the wine waiter is willing to advise you. We went purely Uruguayan with a green and fresh tasting Sauvignon Blanc 1oo Años and later a red blend of Tempranillo with the local tannic Tannat from Bouza, one of the most famous producers in the country. The Sauvignon Blanc was perfect for a light lunch drinking, the red blend was perhaps too rich and heavy, but drinkable with the steak and it inspired me to order the Chocolate Volcano twice!

100 Anos white wine from Uruguay

100 Anos white wine from Uruguay

Bouza red blend of Tempranillo and Tannat from Uruguay

Bouza red blend of Tempranillo and Tannat from Uruguay

Opening season: Out of season only for lunch, from mid-December till April also for dinner. Call and reserve a table ahead.

Address: Playa Brava, José Ignacio, Uruguay.

Contact: Tel. +(59) 8 4867 5432

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