Monday, October 29, 2007

Bostini Cream Pie

orange_sil.jpgI'm proud to announce that chocolateshavings has joined the ranks of a highly talented and secretive organization that goes by the name of 'The Daring Bakers.' The Daring Bakers are an online community of people who love to bake. Once a month, a challenge is issued by the host for that month and everybody bakes, and then posts their  finished product. It's a fun way to motivate us to bake more and try differentrecipes as well as interact with fellow bloggers.

The first challenge was a challenging one indeed: a modern twist on the classic Boston Cream Pie. It's essentially an orange chiffon cake plated with a delicate custard and doused in a decadent chocolate glaze. We used our candied orange recipe for a neat little garnish on top of each cake. Overall, it turned out pretty well. I feel like the cakes could have risen a little more, but for a first try it was still a success.


    Recipe from Donna Scala & Kurtis Baguley of Bistro Don Giovanni and Scala’s Bistro, makes about 24 individual servings)

    Custard (Pastry Cream):
    3/4 cup whole milk
    2 3/4 tablespoons cornstarch
    1 whole egg, beaten
    9 egg yolks, beaten
    3 3/4 cups heavy whipping cream
    1/2 vanilla bean (or 1 tsp pure vanilla extract)
    1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon sugarChiffon Cake:
    1 1/2 cups cake flour
    3/4 cup superfine sugar
    1 1/3 teaspoons baking powder
    1/3 teaspoon salt
    1/3 cup canola oil
    1/3 cup beaten egg yolks (3 to 4 yolks)
    3/4 cup fresh orange juice
    1 1/2 tablespoons grated orange zest
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    1 cup egg whites (about 8 large)
    1 teaspoon cream of tartarChocolate Glaze:
    8 ounces semi or bittersweet chocolate
    8 ounces unsalted butterTo prepare the custard:
    Combine the milk and cornstarch in a bowl; blend until smooth. Whisk in the whole egg and yolks, beating until smooth. Combine the cream, vanilla bean and sugar in a saucepan and carefully bring to a boil. When the mixture just boils, whisk a ladleful into the egg mixture to temper it, then whisk this back into the cream mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Strain the custard and pour into 8 large custard cups. Refrigerate to chill.To prepare the chiffon cakes:
    Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spray 8 molds with nonstick cooking spray. You may use 7-ounce custard cups, ovenproof wide mugs or even large foil cups. Whatever you use should be the same size as the custard cups.Sift the cake flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Add the oil, egg yolks, orange juice, zest and vanilla. Stir until smooth, but do not overbeat.

    Beat the egg whites until frothy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Gently fold the beaten whites into the orange batter. Fill the sprayed molds nearly to the top with the batter.

    Bake approximately 25 minutes, until the cakes bounce back when lightly pressed with your fingertip. Do not overbake. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack. When completely cool, remove the cakes from the molds. Cover the cakes to keep them moist.

    To prepare the glaze:
    Chop the chocolate into small pieces. Place the butter in a saucepan and heat until it is just about to bubble. Remove from the heat; add the chocolate and stir to melt. Pour through a strainer and keep warm.

    To assemble:
    Cut a thin slice from the top of each cake to create a flat surface. Place a cake flat-side down on top of each custard. Cover the tops with warm chocolate glaze. Serve immediately.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Four Ways with Chocolate Truffles


Chocolate truffles are possibly one of the most sinnful and indulgent ways to enjoy chocolate. These little balls of heaven, as I like to call them, melt as soon as you bite into them, releasing the rich taste of pure chocolate nuanced with Grand Marnier, coffee and vanilla. I used to make them as a child for Christmas celebrations and simply dip the truffles in cocoa as way to balance the sweet chocolate taste. This time around, I decided to explore and make them with different toppings: shredded coconut, ground almonds, crumbled pistachios and cocoa.

We made these for a Halloween party we are attending tonight, so if anyone asks, they're 'Zombie Droppings'. Although, it does sell them a little short. I am already thinking of new ways to make these for next time, possibly with chocolate-covered espresso beans in the center...



Recipe (adapted from Barefoot Contessa)

1/2 pound good bittersweet chocolate
1/2 pound good semisweet chocolate
1 cup of heavy cream
2 tablespoons of Grand Marnier
1 tablespoon of strong coffee at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon good vanilla extract
Shredded coconut
Cocoa powder
Crumbled pistachios
Ground almonds

Chop the chocolates finely with a sharp knife. Place them in a heat-proof mixing bowl.

Heat the cream in a small saucepan until it just boils. Turn off the heat and allow the cream to sit for 20 seconds. Pour the cream through a fine-meshed sieve into the bowl with chocolate. With a wire whisk, slowly stir the cream and chocolates together until the chocolate is completely melted. Whisk in the Grand Marnier, coffee, and vanilla. Refrigerate for at least an hour or until the chocolate mixture completely hardens (I left it in the fridge overnight).

With 2 teaspoons, spoon round balls of the chocolate mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate for a couple hours, or until firm. Roll each dollop of chocolate in your hands to roughly make a round ball. Roll individually in your chosen toppings. I ended making the truffles quite small because they can be a little to rich when they are large. I These will keep refrigerated for weeks, but serve at room temperature.

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