Just for fun....with Southpark
My buddy from Take a Deetour
i had most fun with this one...for GL
Of my Love for Food and Entertaining
My buddy from Take a Deetour
i had most fun with this one...for GL
It has been a warm, humid but rainy weekend...great time to stay in and try out recipes from my new cookbooks. Apart from the truffles that kept me busy all of Saturday (and wee hours of Sunday morning), i also decided on making a cake from Fran Bigelow's Pure Chocolate. I chose the L'Orange Torte which she recommends as one of the easiest among all her other recipes.
I did not follow the recipe to the finest detail as the first mixture i made following every step of the recipe did not work out and i threw it out. Ahhh...the joys of baking, its all a big suspense till your cake comes out of the oven.
6 oz semi sweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 oranges, pref large navels with dark, rough-textured skin
12 tbsp butter/240g
1 cup sugar, set aside 1 tbsp for beating egg whites (i find icing sugar gives the best result to the fluffiness of the butter)
4 large eggs, room temp; seperate yolks and whites.
1 2/3 cup almond flour
1 recipe Chocolate Butter Glaze (recipe to follow)
Pre-heat oven with a middle rack in the oven at 150 degrees C
Butter a 9-inch round cake pan (pref flared) and line with a parchment paper at the bottom
In a double boiler melt the chocolate over low heat. (I turned off the heat and used the heat from the steam to melt chocolate. I find if i had the heat on, it will over cook the chocolate)
Remove when nearly melted and continue stirring until smooth. Briefly return to the double boiler if it begins to thicken.
Wash the oranges. Using a fine grater or microplaner, finely grate the zest onto a plate and set aside.
Add butter and sugar in a mixing bowl. Beat with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until pale cream in colour.
When butter is sufficiently white and fluffy, lower speed slightly and add in yolks one at a time. Mix well for about 2-3 min.
In another bowl, add in 1 tbsp of icing sugar with the 4 egg whites. Beat on high speed until its white, fluffy and doubled in size.
With a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, fold in the egg whites into the butter mixture swiftly, do not stir as you want to maintain as much of the air bubbles as possible. This should only take about 1-2 min.
Fold in the almond flour little by little. You will notice mixture slowly thickens and has more body.
Slowly fold in the chocolate. Make sure that the chocolate is not too warm else it will cook the eggs.
Fold in grated orange at the very end as adding it too early (as recommended by Fran together with butter and sugar caused mixture to seperate due to the juice still within the grated skin.)
Quickly pour mixture into lined pan and bake for about 40min until puffed and domed in the center with a slight fracture 1 inch from the rim. Test with cake tester and it should have a few moist crumbs.
Allow cake to cool for 15min in the pan.
To remove from pan, run a thin-bladed knife around the edges of the cake and invert onto a metal tart-pan bottom. Chill in fridge for a few hours or overnight.
To finish Torte
Bring torte to room temp, trim any uneven edges. While torte is warming up in room temp, prepare chocolate butter glaze.
Have ready chocolate butter glaze.
To make glaze:
4 oz semi sweet chocolate finely chopped
In a double boiler or bowl over simmering water, melt the chocolate. Remove the top of the boiler or bowl when chocolate is nearly melted and continue stirring until smooth. Add the softened butter, slowly stirring with a spatula until no visible traces of butter remaining. (if butter starts to liquify, stop and let the chocolate cool slightly.)
The glaze should be glossy and smooth with a temperature of 26-29 degrees C. When stirred, it will hold a line on the surface for about 10sec before disappearing. If the glaze is starting to set up, return briefly to the double boiler.
Place torte (on tart bottom) on a cooling rack positioned over a rimmed baking sheet. Beginning 1 1/2 inches from the edge of the torte, slowly and evenly pour the glaze around the torte layer, making sure that the sides are sufficiently covered. Then pour remaining glaze onto the center.
Working quickly, using a metal offset spatula, spread the glaze evenly over the top, letting excess run down the sides.
Let set at room temp until the glaze is slightly firm. Once set, slide torte onto serving plate. Can be stored at room temp up to 3 days.
My final product!
Pure Dark-Chocolate Truffles
With variations of coatings:
- Roasted chopped almonds
- Desicated coconut
- Valhorna Cocoa power
12 oz semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped (i picked up a huge block of Swiss chocolate from Sun Lik along Seah St as you will need loads for tempering the chocolate centers later)
1 cup heavy cream (whipping cream with at least 36% milk fat is ideal)
3 tbsp/60g unsalted butter, room temp.
1 recipe tempered semisweet chocolate (recipe to follow)
Place the finely chopped chocolate in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
In a small pot, bring the cream to boil. Pour over the chocolate in the bowl. Let sit for approx. 30sec without disturbing.
With a rubber/soft plastec spatula, beginning in a small area in the middle of the bowl, start stirring with small, gentle strokes. As the puddle in the center turns dark and smooth, begin making broader strokes, moving out to the edges and gredually incorporating more of the cream and chocolate.
Continue stirring until mixture is smooth and dark. The emulsion should be very smooth.
Cover with plastic wrap touching the surface of the ganache. Let set at room temp 8-12 hours allowing flavours to develop and the consistency to firm up. (According to Fran, her room temperature is between 20-24 degrees Celsius, in Singapore climate, place ganache in the fridge, lowest shelf)
To form the Truffles
Have ready two 9 x 13 inch baking sheets pan-lined with parchment.
To form the centers, the butter must be soft enough to blend easily with a spatula. Place softened butter in a bowl and beat with rubber spatula until the consistency is similar to the chocolate ganache. (Now because i have placed ganache in the fridge, allow it to sit in out for about 5min before working on butter.)
With the rubber spatula, fold the butter into the ganache until smooth, glossy and homogeneous. The mixture is ready when it mounds in the bowl and holds the shape when piped. (If you feel your mixture is too moist and cant be piped to shape, place it into the fridge again for about 5min.)
Spoon into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch round tip (#2A if using Wilton bag from Sun Lik). Pipe about fifty to sixty 1-inch rounds onto a lined baking sheet. Transfer to fridge for at least 1 hour.
(I had a few mishaps during this stage, as its really hard to get the right consistency during piping. Our warm hands and warm climate melts the mixture rather quickly. I find its easier if my mixture is more solid than too moist as the mixture does get warm while piping and you have to pipe really fast to ensure the chocolate stays in its desired temperature. Tip is: while piping, work in an air-conditioned room at 17 degrees Celsius pref in evening when the temp has lowered somewhat. Pipe 1/2 the mixture and fridge the other half of the remaining mixture while piping the first batch.)
According to Fran, if you dont wish to use the pastry bag, a teaspoon or small round scoop can be used to portion out the centers. Then fridge them to set for about 20min and roll them with hands into balls.
When set, trim any tails on top to make it a perfect round. The centers are ready for dipping.
Tempering dark chocolate
2 pounds high quality semisweet chocolate (pref. 56% cacao), finely chopped
a double boiler or simply a bigger saucepan with boiling water and a stainless steel bowl or smaller saucepan over the top to melt the chocolate
thermometer if you have, it helps you maintain the chocolate int he right temperature.
Set aside 7 oz of finely chopped chocolate
Place the remaining chocolate in a large stainless steel bowl over simmering water or in a double boiler over low heat. (Keeping in mind the temp in Singapore, i turned off the heat once the water in the saucepan has boiled. It is impt NOT to overheat the chocolate)
When about half the chocolate is melted, remove from heat. Stir with a dry wooden spatula until smooth. Return to the heat and continue stirring until the chocolate reaches 46 degrees C. Do not let temp exceed 48.8 degrees C.
Remove from the heat and add in 7oz reserved chocolate. Stir with spatula until all the chocolate is melted and smooth.
Continue stirring every few min until the chocolate cools to a temp of 30 degrees C. Depending on the temp of your kitchen and size of the bowl, this could be anywhere betw 15-30min (5-10min in Singapore climate.)
Once the chocolate is cooled, return over simmering water very briefly to gently warm back to 31-32 degrees C. This should take no more than 10 seconds. if you overheat, the chocolate will lose its temper and you will have to repeat the entire process.
The perfect temp for fluid dark chocolate for dipping is betw 31-32.2 degrees C.
To test for temper, smear a teaspoon on a sheet of parchment or plate. If its dries within 2min to a glossy, smooth finish, it is in temper. If it doesnt set properly and looks dull and streaked, it probably needs more time to cool. Continue stirring and testing. Once the chocolate is in temper, have your centers ready for dipping and work quickly. (again, dipping is best done in cool room about 17 degrees C)
If the chocolate starts firming around the edges, briefly return to double boiler to keep it fluid enough for dipping. Should not be more than a min if water is still steaming.
To dip chocolate centers
You need clean hands, one for picking up centers and other one to very gently pick up centers submerged in tempered chocolate using index and center fingers only. Make sure its evenly coated throughout. Gently shake off excess chocolate and place on parchment or Silpat-lined sheet to set in fridge for about 5-8min. (I made a few variations, i coated it with Valhorna cocoa powder for its dark brown colour, desicated coconut and roasted chopped almonds. They not only looked pretty but tasted just divine! So, after dipping the centers into tempered chocolate, i immediately dropped them in small bowls containing the various coatings. Cover them evenly and then place on lined tray and fridge to set.)
Remaining tempered chocolate can be kept and used for baking or dessert making. Simply pour onto a parchment lined sheet and fridge to harden. Break into chunks and store for future use.
I love Italian food! What do i like about it......gee where do i start. Perhaps its my innate love for carbohydrates (despite what it does to my waistline), combined with my weakness for cheese and salty food....it is a cuisine i cannot see myself ever disliking.
Since University days, i have cooked pasta to death. To me, pasta is my definition of "fast-food", simple, easy and wholesome, an "All-in-one meal". The strangest thing is, i have never tried cooking a Risotto. As i was explaining to my buddy Deetour chick, it is probably because of how the italians cook their risotto, to me its usually too rich and creamy for me to finish the entire plate, thus, i avoid risotto in general. But it does not stop me from attempting a risotto of my own. I adapted my recipe from Delia Smith. I was salivating when i first read that recipe and told myself i HAD to give it a shot!
Tiger Prawns Risotto with Prawn Stock
6 tiger prawns; peeled leaving tail, de-veined
175g Arborio Rice
780g lobster bisque (i couldnt find lobster bisque, i chanced upon a jewel in Deetour chick's fridge; Home-made Prawn Stock!)
50g Gruyere cheese; i didnt have that, i substitued it with good-old Parmesan cheese, shredded
2 tbsp whipping cream
sea salt & black pepper
Pre-heat oven to 150 degrees C; place baking dish in oven to warm
in a medium-sized saucepan, melt butter over medium heat, saute onions for 7-8min until soft.
Stir in rice into the buttery juices so that it gets a good coating then pour in the prawn stock and sherry and bring it to simmering point. Season with 1 tsp sea salt and ground black pepper.
Pour in whole lot into the baking dish that has been warming in the oven and return to the oven uncovered for 35min.
After 35mins, remove dish from oven and change settings to grill on the highest setting.
Taste the risotto to check on seasoning then drizzle cream over, place prawns on top and sprinkle shredded cheese over.
Place the dish under the grill for 2 mins or until cheese is brown and bubbling.
Risotto: Fresh out of the oven!!
Here i served it with Deetour chick's wondefully yummy Baby Spinach Salad with Tomato & Olive Pesto and Red Pesto. The recipe can be found on our group blog, Dias Deliciosos.