Tag-Archive for ◊ creamy ◊

15 Aug 2019 Triple Chocolate Mousse Torte

This is the cake I wanted for my birthday this year and it’s what a friend requested for her birthday a few months ago. It’s a fabulous trifecta of chocolate: semi sweet chocolate in a brownie-like cake on the bottom, a smooth and rich milk chocolate mousse for the middle layer, and a creamy white chocolate mousse for the top layer.  After that description, I’m guessing you’ll want it for your birthday, too! The torte not only tastes fantastic, it looks impressive, it slices well and it holds it’s shape after being cut. Magnifique!

The torte is a bit of effort to make, but each step, each layer, is easy and is relatively quick to accomplish.  Make the bottom layer before going to bed, let it cool on the counter while you sleep.  The next day, make the middle layer, refrigerate it, and wash the dishes. Then make the top layer and refrigerate the cake until serving time. Cake will keep 24 hours in refrigerator, but I always serve it on the day I make the second and third layers.

And look, here’s a link to a how-to video about making the torte!

The original recipe is from Cooks Illustrated. I think it was a cover recipe for one of their magazines. You can access the recipe online at Cooksillustrated.com, but it will cost you (and I hate that about Cooks Illustrated recipes).

So, after watching the video you’ll know this is not a difficult recipe. Just follow the directions. Melt the chocolate slowly. Fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixtures. Use an electric mixer when specified and hand whisk or a spatula when specified.  If you can read, you can make this cake. “It’s all about the recipe” is my tag line, and I truly believe it!

I use Lindt chocolate bars in each layer. You’ll need two of the large bars for the bottom layer (around 70% cacao), two large milk chocolate bars for the middle layer, and two white chocolate bars for the top layer. Throw in an extra bar of your favorite type to grate on top. That’s about $20 worth of chocolate. In a pinch, you could use chocolate chips, which would be cheaper but wouldn’t taste quite as good and you’d have a harder time melting the chocolate (chocolate chips are not made to melt).

You’ll need a 9-inch springform pan, with sides at least 3 inches high to make this torte. If you’re in town, you can borrow mine. You could also order one off of Amazon, the Fat Daddio’s brand is my favorite. TJ Maxx/HomeGoods has started carrying Fat Daddio’s pans, usually at half the price Amazon sells them for, but it’s hit-or-miss at TJMaxx, isn’t it? Sur la Table and other specialty cooking stores will definitely carry 9-inch springform pans, usually at the same price as Amazon.

Triple Chocolate Mousse Torte

THE BOTTOM LAYER

  •  6 tablespoons (3 oz) unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces (plus extra for greasing pan)
  •  7 ounces semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I prefer semi-sweet).
  •  ¾ teaspoon instant espresso powder
  •  1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  •  4 eggs (separated)
  • Pinch salt
  •  1/3 cup light brown sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan with sides at least 3 inches high and set aside.
  2. Melt the butter, chocolate and espresso powder in a large heatproof bowl set over a bowl of really hot water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes.
  3. Whisk in the vanilla and egg yolks into the chocolate mixture and set aside.
  4. With a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and salt at medium speed until frothy, about 30 seconds. Add half of the brown sugar and beat until combined, about 15 seconds. Add the remaining brown sugar and beat at high speed until soft peaks form when the whisk is lifted, about 1 minute longer, scraping down the sides halfway through.
  5. With a hand-held whisk, whisk one-third of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the remaining egg whites until no white streaks remain.
  6. Carefully transfer the batter to the prepared springform pan, gently smoothing the top with an offset spatula.
  7. Bake until the cake has risen, is firm around the edges, and the center has just set but is still soft (the center of cake will spring back after pressing gently with your finger), 13 to 18 minutes.
  8. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour. (The cake will collapse as it cools).
  9. Do not remove the cake from the pan!

THE MIDDLE LAYER:

  •  2 tablespoons cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-processed, Hershey’s is fine).
  •  5 tablespoons hot water
  •  7 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped
  •  1½ cups cold heavy cream
  •  1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  •  1/8 teaspoon table salt
  1. Whisk together the cocoa powder and hot water in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over another bowl filled with very, very hot water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes.
  3. Whisk the cocoa powder mixture into the melted chocolate until smooth.
  4. With an electric mixer whisk the cream, granulated sugar and salt on medium speed until the mixture begins to thicken, about 30 seconds. Increase the speed to high and whip until soft peaks form.
  5. With a handheld wire whisk, stir one-third of the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture to lighten. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the remaining whipped cream until no white streaks remain.
  6. Spoon the mousse into the springform pan over the cooled cake and gently tap the pan on counter 3 times to remove any large air bubbles; smooth the top with an offset spatula. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes while preparing the top layer.

THE TOP LAYER

  •  ¾ teaspoon powdered gelatin
  •  1 tablespoon water
  •  6 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
  •  1½ cups cold heavy cream (divided use)
  • Additional grated chocolate (milk or dark) or cocoa powder for decoration, optional
  1. In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the water; let stand for at least 5 minutes.
  2. Place the white chocolate in a medium bowl.
  3. Bring ½ cup of the heavy cream to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-high heat or in the microwave.
  4. Stir the gelatin mixture, into the hot cream, whisking until fully dissolved.
  5. Pour the cream-gelatin mixture over the white chocolate and whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is completely smooth (I usually sit the bowl of chocolate over another bowl of boiling water to help it melt).
  6. Cool mixture to room temperature, stirring occasionally, 5 to 8 minutes. The mixture will thicken slightly.
  7. With an electric mixer whisk the remaining 1 cup heavy cream at medium speed until it begins to thicken, about 30 seconds. Increase the speed to high and whip until soft peaks form when the whisk is lifted.
  8. Whisk one-third of the whipped cream, with a hand held whisk, into the white chocolate mixture to lighten. Using a rubber spatula, fold the remaining whipped cream into the white chocolate mixture until no white streaks remain.
  9. Spoon the white chocolate mousse into the pan over the middle layer. Smooth the top with an offset spatula.
  10. Return the cake to the refrigerator and chill until set, at least 2½ hours.
  11. Garnish the top of cake with grated chocolate or dust with cocoa powder, if desired.
  12. Run a thin knife between the cake and side of the springform pan, then remove the side of pan. Place torte on serving plate.
  13. Cut into slices and share (for clean slices, dip a sharp knife into hot water and wipe dry between cuts).

NOTES: The cake can be made up to 1 day in advance and refrigerated.

26 Jan 2018 Potatoes Baked in Cream (Potato Gratin)
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Did the name of the recipe entice you click on this?! Well then, that makes us friends forever!

When my friends from Southern France were staying with us, they offered to make a side dish for dinner.  They didn’t use a recipe. They sliced up a few potatoes, sprinkled them with salt and pepper, poured a carton of cream over the top, and put the whole thing in the oven. Sixty minutes later my family’s love affair with Potatoes Baked in Cream began.

Last year I found an actual written down recipe, one that I can pass on, one with precise quantities and directions.  The recipe is from David Tanis’ cookbook, “Market Cooking”. I made one change to Chef Tanis’ recipe, I cut out an additional four tablespoons of butter! Chef Tanis calls his recipe “Classic Potato Gratin”, but to me and my family it will always be “Potatoes Baked in Cream”.

I think you will be surprised at how delicious this very simple dish is. I certainly was. Sublime. After you taste Potatoes Bake in Cream, that will be your word of the day. Sublime.

An important note:  Leftovers don’t reheat well, so make sure you eat all of the potatoes in one sitting (invite friends over, take the dish to a potluck, serve these potatoes for a holiday meal…). I haven’t tried reheating leftovers in the oven, so that might work (see David Tanis’ *note below). I have tried reheating leftovers in the microwave.  Don’t do it on 100% power!  I had so-so results reheating on 50% power. I wouldn’t serve them to anyone else, but I was able to eat them!  I have also had so-so results from throwing a handful of diced ham into a hot frying pan, dicing up a serving of leftover casserole, and reheating over medium heat. It made for a good breakfast, but nothing-nothing-like the original casserole served hot from the oven.

Another important note: The potatoes need to be sliced thinly and evenly. 1/8th inch or 3/16ths an inch is about right. You can do this with a very sharp knife and by working slowly and carefully, like my French friends did. I use a mandolin to slice the potatoes. If you don’t have one, I’d suggest getting one.  I bought mine on Amazon after looking at all the reviews and selecting the highest rated one. Later I started seeing mandolins at Savers/Goodwill for about $6.  I bought used mandolins for my daughters. Go to Savers.

Potatoes Baked in Cream (Potato Gratin)

  • 3 pounds russet potatoes
  • butter to coat the baking dish (Chef Tanis uses 4 more tablespoons butter to dot top of casserole, I don’t)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2½ cups heavy whipping cream (don’t even think about substituting anything for the cream, such as half and half or whole milk, it just won’t work!)
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375°. Peel the potatoes and put them in cold water (to prevent them from turning brown while you finish the prep work. Slice only one layer of potatoes as a time. Keep the other potatoes in the cold water. The browning happens fast when the potatoes are so thinly cut).
  2. Smear a baking dish thickly with butter. (I use a 9×13 dish but I am looking for a dish that’s the same size and a bit shallower since the quantity of potatoes only come half way up the sides of the 9×13 pan. The waste of space bothers me a bit as I’d like to have a dedicated Potatoes Baked in Cream pan because, after all, this is a dish I will be making over and over! That being said, I’ve been using the same 9×13 pan for a few years now, so it’s really not a problem.)
  3. Drain and dry one peeled potato at a time. Using a mandolin or a very sharp knife, slice one potatoes at a time as thinly as possible. Quickly lay the potato slices in the bottom of the baking dish, overlapping them just slightly to make a “roof tile” style pattern. Sprinkle each layer of potatoes lightly with salt and pepper. Slice more potatoes and make another layer. Continue in this fashion, seasoning each layer, until all the potatoes are used. You should have at least 3, but no more than 4 layers.
  4. Pour the cream over the potatoes and tilt the pan to distribute well. With your hands, push down on the top layer to even out the pile (I don’t do this, but Chef Tanis says to). The cream should just barely cover the potatoes; add a little more if necessary.
  5. Cover the casserole dish tightly with foil and place in oven. Bake for 30 minutes at 375°.
  6. After 30 minutes remove the foil from the casserole, and return to the oven for another 30-35 minutes to finish cooking the potatoes and turn the top of the gratin to a crispy, deep golden brown.
  7. Let the gratin rest for 10 minutes before serving.

*Note from David Tanis: The gratin can also be cooled and left at room temperature for several hours, then reheated in a moderate oven. (I haven’t tested this)

Thank you for stopping by my kitchen today, what is cooking for tomorrow, hmmmm…. Pork and Tomatillo Stew?

11 Jul 2017 Chocolate Cake, Mocha Filling & Coffee-with-Cream Frosting
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My daughter got married recently. I made the cake.  Three layer cakes (some of them double recipes), all with different fillings and frostings.  One cake was red velvet cake with cheesecake filling and a white chocolate Swiss buttercream frosting–because my grandson likes red velvet cake and the groom likes cheesecake.  Another cake was a wedding white cake with a tangy lemon filling and a lemon kissed Italian meringue frosting–because that’s what the bride wanted. The middle layer was a rich chocolate cake, with a mocha filling and a coffee-with-cream frosting–because that’s my favorite and I was making the cake, and I was the M-O-B, so I got to insist upon it!

I hope to get all the recipes for all the cakes posted, but let me start with this one, my current favorite special occasion cake: 3 layers of cake, 2 layers of mocha filling, and then all that is en robed in a coffee-with-cream frosting.  The recipe for the cake is an Ina Garten recipe from 2007 which was featured in Food and Wine magazine as “Double Chocolate Layer Cake” where I found it.  There is a frosting recipe included with Ina’s recipe, but I use a Ruth Cousineau recipe that ran in Gourmet Magazine in December of 2008 for “Coffee and Mocha Buttercreams”, which is a cooked meringue recipe, which is a whole lot of bother but tastes so much better than an American Buttercream, and makes two amazing variations. Using both variations, with this super rich chocolate cake (buttermilk and hot coffee in the batter) makes this cake a standout.

The cake is huge.  Cut thin slices (which is fine because the slices hold together very well). I had 10 people over for dinner last weekend, everyone had a decent sized piece of cake, and 5 people took a piece home, and I still and one-quarter of the cake leftover!  The picture above is from that one-quarter cake, and had been sitting in the refrigerator for three days before I decided to take a picture of it. Please note, my baked goods are better than my pictures!

Rich Chocolate Cake

  • 1 ¾ cups (8 oz/219g) all purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Hershey’s, it’s all that’s needed)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed, strong, hot coffee
  1. Make the coffee! Bring buttermilk and eggs to room temperature.
  2. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  3. Prepare 2 or 3 nine inch pans. (NOTE: original recipe called for two pans, I prefer three pans. It’s up to you.) Spray the pans with Pam for Baking, or spread with softened butter, or line with parchment paper. I line with parchment paper and then either lightly spray or lightly butter the parchment paper.
  4. Mix the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together and set aside.
  5. Mix buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla in another bowl.
  6. With an electric mixer, add the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture, mixing just until all ingredients are blended.
  7. Slowly beat in the hot coffee, beating until all ingredients are fully incorporated.
  8. You will have about 6 cups of batter. Pour an equal amount of batter into each of the prepared pans.
  9. Bake the cakes at 350° F for 25 minutes for 3 layers (35 minutes for 2 layers), but don’t rely on time alone, check the cakes for before taking them out of the oven. The tops of the cakes should spring back when lightly pressed with a finger and the cake should be slightly pulling away from the sides of the pan.
  10. Remove from oven and let cakes cool in pans for about 30 minutes then invert onto cooling racks to cool completely.

Coffee-with-Cream and Mocha Buttercreams

  • 2 cups sugar, divided
  • ¾ cup water
  • 6 large egg whites at room temperature 30 minutes
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon instant-espresso powder
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 6 sticks (1 ½ pounds) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon sized pieces and softened
  • 6 ounces fine-quality 60%-cacao bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled to lukewarm

Special Equipment needed: a candy thermometer; a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment

  1. Bring 1 ¾ cups sugar and water to a boil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved, then wash down any sugar crystals from side of pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water. Boil, without stirring, until it registers 220° to 225° F, 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. At this point, while continuing to boil syrup, beat whites with espresso powder, vanilla, cream of tartar, and salt in mixer at medium speed until they just hold soft peaks. Add remaining ¼ cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating, and beat until whites just hold stiff peaks.
  3. When syrup reaches soft-ball stage (238 to 242°F), immediately pour syrup in a slow stream down side of bowl into whites (avoid beaters) while beating at high speed. Beat until completely cool, 25 to 30 minutes. With mixer at medium speed, add butter 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition (see cooks’ note, below) and until buttercream is smooth. (Mixture may look curdled before all butter is added but will come together at end.)
  4. Transfer 2 cups buttercream to a small bowl and stir in chocolate. If buttercream is too soft to spread, chill, stirring occasionally.

Notes:

  • If buttercream looks soupy after some butter is added, meringue is too warm: Chill bottom of bowl in an ice bath for a few seconds before continuing to beat in remaining butter.
  • Buttercreams can be made 1 week ahead and chilled or 1 month ahead and frozen. Bring to room temperature (do not use a microwave), about 2 hours, and beat with an electric mixer until spreadable.

Thank you for stopping by my kitchen today. I hope you make this cake and get rave reviews.  I know you will.  This cake is delicious!

20 Dec 2014 Minty Malty Hot Chocolate

You HAVE to try this!  It’s delicious, and it’s mild and smooth and warm and comforting, and sooooo Christmassy!.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t like bitter hot chocolate (Starbucks!), and I don’t like hot chocolate that is so strong I can hardly finish it (Starbucks!), or so rich I feel sick after drinking it (Paris!).  This hot chocolate is perfect. Mild. Creamy. Totally Yummy. Totally Christmassy.  Serve it with a candy cane stirrer or crushed candy canes sprinkled on top of the whipped cream. I served it at my Christmas party and it was a big hit.

Make it to watch your favorite Christmas movie with, or to read your favorite Christmas book with, or to just sit under the Christmas tree and watch the lights.  Make it for after a long walk in the snow (or, in California, in the rain), or for the Christmas Carolers (there’s so few of them now). Or to celebrate having finished all your Christmas shopping. Or make it for Santa and leave it out with the cookies–with testers for the whole family, of course. Make it for Christmas morning, to open the presents with, or make it for Christmas night to end the day with.  Just make it.  You’ll love it.

There is a problem though, finding Chocolate Malted Milk Powder.  I had to order it from Amazon.  The first time I made it, I made it with Vanilla Malted Milk Powder though, which is easily found in any grocery store, then I added cocoa powder and sugar to taste. It was great! (I used 1/2 cup Vanilla Malted Powder…, and just kept adding equal amounts of cocoa powder and sugar until it tasted right.)

The original recipe starts with a gallon of milk, and leftovers do keep well in refrigerator and warm up well in the microwave, but if you want to make half a recipe, I have written the recipe with easy to half measurements. If you are making for a party, mix everything on top of stove, then pour into a crockpot to keep warm.

Trust me!  This is delicious.  Let me know how you like it.

Minty Malty Hot Chocolate

  • 1 gallon whole milk
  • 1 11 oz pkg (about 20-22) chocolate-covered cream filled mint patties (Mini York Peppermint Patties)
  • 1 ½ cups chocolate malted milk powder* (order from Amazon)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • Whipped cream, marshmallows, mini candy canes or crushed peppermints topping (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a pan on top of the stove, stir  until mint patties melt.  Stir occasionally, and watch like a hawk. Once milk gets hot enough to boil over, there’s no stopping it.  Just gently heat the milk and melt the mint  patties. (Can be made a few days in advance.) Beat to combine well.  Serve from pan, or place in crock pot to keep warm up.  (Can keep in crockpot for at least 2 hours.) Top with whipped cream, marshmallows, mini candy canes or some crushed up peppermints…, or serve “as is”.

*Or sub ½ cup vanilla malted milk powder and enough cocoa powder and chocolate to taste. I did this once, delicious, but don’t remember the quantities…, just a bit of this and a bit of that. Then a bit more of this, a bit more… Until it tastes delicious!

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today,