November 18, 2009
- 2/3 cup finely ground amaretti (Italian almond macaroons; about 17; use a food processor)
- 1/4 sliced almonds with skin, toasted, cooled, and finely ground (in processor)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
For tortoni filling
- 3 large egg whites, at room temperature 30 minutes
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 1/4 cups chilled heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons Disaronno Amaretto or other almond-flavored liqueur
- 3 1/2 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (no more than 60% cacao if marked), shaved with a vegetable peeler
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds with skin, toasted and cooled
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 3 tablespoons packed dark brown suga
- 2 tablespoons instant-espresso powder
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 1/2 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (no more than 60% cacao if marked), finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
a small offset spatula
Butter a 9- by 5-inch loaf pan and line bottom and short sides with a strip of parchment paper, leaving 4 inches of overhang on each end.
Stir together ground cookies, ground almonds, and butter, then firmly press over bottom of pan. Freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.
Make tortoni filling:
Beat egg whites with sugar, cream of tartar, and 1/8 tsp salt in a large metal bowl set over a large saucepan of simmering water using a handheld mixer at medium-high speed until whites hold soft peaks and an instant-read thermometer registers 170°F, about 7 minutes.
Remove bowl from pan and continue to beat meringue until it just holds stiff peaks, about 2 minutes.
Beat cream with Amaretto in another bowl at medium speed using cleaned beaters until it just holds stiff peaks. Fold in half of meringue gently but thoroughly. Fold in remaining meringue along with chocolate. Spoon over crust, smoothing top with offset spatula. Sprinkle with almonds. Freeze, uncovered, until firm, about 3 hours.
Bring cream, corn syrup, brown sugar, espresso powder, cocoa, 1/8 tsp salt, and half of chopped chocolate to a boil in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring until chocolate is melted. Reduce heat and cook at a slow boil, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and remaining chocolate until smooth. Cool to warm.
Dip bottom of loaf pan in 1 inch warm water in a roasting pan 10 seconds, then lift tortoni out of pan using parchment paper. Transfer to a platter. Peel paper from tortoni.
Let stand 5 minutes to soften slightly. Cut into 6 triangular wedges. Thin sauce with additional cream if necessary and serve with tortoni.
Tortoni can be frozen up to 3 days (wrap in plastic wrap after 3 hours). Sauce can be made 1 week ahead and chilled, covered. Reheat before using. Original recipe from Gourmet.com.
November 13, 2009
- 4 teaspoons instant-espresso powder or instant-coffee granules
- 3 tablespoons hot water
- 8 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped
- 6 large eggs, separated
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 3 large eggs at room temperature for 30 minutes
- 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2/3 cup chilled heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/3 cup malted milk powder
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Oil a 15- by 10- by 1-inch baking pan and line bottom lengthwise with a large piece of wax paper, allowing a 2-inch overhang on each end.
Stir together espresso powder and hot water in a heavy saucepan until coffee is dissolved. Add chocolate and melt over low heat, stirring, until smooth. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
Beat together yolks, 1/3 cup sugar, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a large bowl with a handheld electric mixer at moderately high speed until thick and pale, 5 to 7 minutes. Beat in melted chocolate.
Beat whites with remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt in another large bowl with cleaned beaters until they just hold soft peaks. Gradually add remaining 1/3 cup sugar and beat until whites just hold stiff peaks. Stir one third of whites into chocolate mixture to lighten, then fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly.
Spread batter evenly in baking pan and bake in middle of oven until puffed and top is dry to the touch and springs back when gently pressed, 12 to 14 minutes. Cover cake with 2 layers of dampened paper towels and let stand in pan on a rack 3 minutes, then remove towels and cool completely. Loosen edges with a sharp knife.
Sift cocoa powder evenly over top of cake and overlap 2 layers of wax paper lengthwise over cake. Invert a baking sheet over cake, then invert cake onto it, gently peeling off wax paper now on top.
Lightly oil loaf pan and line with 2 (24-inch-long) crisscrossed sheets of plastic wrap, letting excess hang over all sides. Using outside of loaf pan as a stencil, cut a rectangle from cake to line bottom of pan. Cut another rectangle for top of cake. Cut 2 pieces of cake to line long sides of pan, then 2 more for short sides. Fit all cake pieces (except top piece) into pan, cocoa sides against pan, pressing gently to help adhere. Wrap top piece of cake in plastic wrap and cover cake in pan with plastic-wrap overhang, then freeze cake while making semifreddo.
Beat together eggs and brown sugar in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water with electric mixer at medium speed until mixture registers 160ºF on an instant-read thermometer, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove bowl from heat and chill mixture until cool, about 10 minutes.
Mix together cream, vanilla, and malted milk powder in a separate bowl at low speed with electric mixer until powder is dissolved, then increase speed to moderately high and beat until it just holds soft peaks. Stir one third of cream into egg mixture to lighten, then fold in remaining cream gently but thoroughly.
Spoon semifreddo into cake-lined pan, spreading evenly and smoothing top, and cover with top piece of cake. Freeze, covered with plastic-wrap overhang, until firm, at least 8 hours.
Before serving, let cake stand at room temperature 5 minutes. Unwrap plastic and invert cake onto a long platter, using plastic wrap to help pull cake from pan. Sift cocoa evenly over top to garnish, then top with chocolate curls and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Serve immediately.
Assembled cake can be frozen in pan up to 2 days. Serves 4. Original recipe found at Gourmet.com.
November 12, 2009
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk (1 1/4 cups)
- 3 3/4 cups whole milk
- 5 large eggs
- 4 1/2 teaspoons instant-coffee granules dissolved in 4 teaspoons hot water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.
Cook sugar in a dry small heavy saucepan over moderate heat, undisturbed, until it begins to melt. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally with a fork, until sugar melts into a deep golden caramel. Immediately pour into a 9-inch round ceramic or glass baking dish or metal cake pan (2 inches deep) and tilt dish to coat bottom (use caution, dish will be hot). Cool until hardened, 10 to 15 minutes.
Blend remaining ingredients in a blender, in 2 batches if your blender is small, until smooth. Pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve over caramel in dish, then transfer dish to a 17- by 11-inch roasting pan lined with a kitchen towel. Cover dish loosely with a piece of foil, then pour enough boiling-hot water into roasting pan to reach 1 inch up side of dish. Bake until custard is set but still wobbly in center when gently shaken and a knife inserted in center comes out clean, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Transfer dish to a rack to cool completely, about 40 minutes. Chill flan, covered, until cold, at least 8 hours.
To unmold flan, run a thin knife around edge of dish to loosen flan. Invert a large platter with a lip over dish. Holding dish and platter securely together, quickly invert and turn out flan onto platter. Caramel will pour out over and around flan.
Condensed milk is the secret ingredient that gives this popular Spanish dessert its silky texture. Serves 6-8. Original recipe found at gourmet.com
November 10, 2009
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups Rice Krispies, partially crushed
- 1/2 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), finely chopped (1 1/2 tablespoons)
- 2 teaspoons instant-coffee granules or powder
- 2 cups 1% milk
- 1/2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), finely chopped
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons dark rum
- 1/3 cup well-chilled heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon instant-coffee granules or powder
- 1 teaspoon dark rum
bittersweet chocolate shavings (about 1/2 oz, shaved with a vegetable peeler from a bar of chocolate)
a 7-inch springform pan or an 8- to 9-inch pie plate
Cook sugar in a dry small nonstick skillet over moderate heat, undisturbed, until it begins to melt. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally with a fork, until sugar is melted into a deep golden caramel, 2 to 3 minutes.
Remove pan from heat, then immediately stir in Rice Krispies and quickly transfer to springform pan, spreading evenly over bottom and smoothing top with back of a small spoon. (If using pie plate, press crust up side of plate slightly.)
Sprinkle chopped chocolate evenly over warm crust to melt, then spread melted chocolate with back of spoon to cover crust. Cool until chocolate is hardened.
Dissolve instant coffee in 2 tablespoons milk in a small bowl, then stir in gelatin and let stand.
Whisk together cornstarch and remaining 1 7/8 cups milk in a 1 1/2- to 2-quart heavy saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat, stirring constantly (this will take about 15 minutes; 1% milk curdles easily if heated too quickly). Continue to simmer, stirring, 2 minutes.
Remove from heat, then add gelatin mixture, chocolate, brown sugar, and rum, whisking until smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer mixture to a metal bowl set in a larger bowl of ice and cold water. Cool filling, whisking constantly (so gelatin doesn’t set unevenly), just to room temperature, 3 to 5 minutes, then pour over crust in pan. Chill, covered, until set, about 3 hours.
Beat cream with brown sugar using an electric mixer until it just holds stiff peaks. Dissolve instant coffee in rum and fold into cream.
Spread evenly over chilled custard, then run a thin sharp knife around edge of “pie” and remove side of pan.
Serves about 6. Original recipe from Gourmet.com
November 10, 2009
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 2/3 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 2/3 cup sweet-potato puree
- 1 large egg
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon instant coffee powder
Makes about 12. If you can’t find sweet potato puree, make your own using either baked or canned whole sweet potatoes. Puree in a processor until completely smooth. Recipe and photo from http://www.wholeliving.com
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square pan; set aside. In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt butter. Remove pan from heat, and stir in cocoa. Let cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Stir in sugar and sweet-potato puree, then egg. In a small bowl, stir together vanilla and coffee until coffee is dissolved; add to cocoa mixture.
- Add flour mixture to cocoa mixture and stir until no traces of flour remain. Spoon into prepared pan; smooth the top. Bake until surface of brownies looks barely dry and an inserted knife comes out with a few moist crumbs, about 20 minutes. Cool to room temperature before serving.
September 17, 2009
There are three major methods in use for the processing of coffee: dry, wet, and semi-dry. The oldest method, also known as natural, or unwashed, is the dry method. Before the beans undergo this method, they are sorted and cleaned. Dirt, twigs, soil, undesired beans, and other debris are removed by winnowing with a sieve and/or by placing the harvest in a washing channel and allowing the ripe cherries to sink to the bottom and the rest to float to the top. Once clean, the coffee cherries are placed on a patio surface such as concrete, or on a raised table allowing hand access. Here they are allowed to dry in the sun. They are raked or turned by hand for even drying. The length of time it takes to reach the right moisture content will depend on the weather. Mechanical dryers are used by some processing facilities to speed up the process once the coffee has spent some initial drying time in the sun, usually a few days. It is important that the cherries are neither too dry nor too moist as too dry makes the beans brittle and easily breakable, and too moist leaves them vulnerable to fungi and bacteria. Once the cherries are dry, they are stored in silos until they are sent to the mill for the next processing steps which include hulling, sorting, grading, and bagging. Whereas the outer layers of the dried cherries are removed by the hulling machine in these later stages of the dry process, in the wet (or “washed”) process, the fruit covering the bean is removed prior to drying. In the wet process, the cherries are soaked in containers of water. As in the cleaning stage of the dry process, the ripe red cherries sink to the bottom while the unripe float to the top. The fruit is pressed through a screen, removing the cherry skin and some of the pulp. Not all of the pulp is removed from the beans at this stage so further steps are required. There are various methods to do this, including the ferment-and-wash method. The wet processing method is more expensive, requiring extensive use of water and special equipment. A layer of skin and parchment still remain on the bean after the de-pulping. At this time, the beans are dried either in the sun or by machine, or both. They are brought to the right moisture content. Once dry, the parchment is crumbly and removed easily during the hulling process. The extra work and costs that go into this method of processing the beans are justified because the connoisseurs of coffee consumption find the “washed” coffees to provide a smoother and rounder cup of coffee, and beans processed by this method generally can demand higher prices. The outside layer of the coffee fruit is a skin called the pulp. The next layer is mucilaginous and surrounds the two beans. In addition to this layer surrounding each bean individually, there is a tougher “parchment” as well as an inner, more delicate “silver skin.” The beans of Arabica and Robusta plants have two distinguishable shapes: The Arabica is a flat, oblong bean with a crooked furrow, while the Robusta is rounder and convex with a straight and even furrow through the center of the bean.