Saturday, February 28, 2009

Feb 28: Daring Baker's Chocolate Valentino

It's Daring Baker Time!

The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef. We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.

Many thanks to Wendy at wmpesblog (Arizona) and Dharm at Dad - Baker and Chef (Malaysia).

The Challenge Backstory:
Chocolate has many associations – godliness, health-giving, mood altering, and addicting. Bless the ancient Mayans and Aztecs for developing the cocoa bean into the delicious luxurious chocolate drink that the Spanish explorers brought back to Spain. How the Spanish kept chocolate a secret for 100 years is a mystery that perhaps can only be explained by the lack of the internet!

It is no wonder that February, the month for honoring love on St. Valentine’s Day, is best represented first by the heart and then by chocolate or better yet a chocolate heart. The potency and power of chocolate can only be rivaled by vanilla, and then they make a wonderful combination!

February’s challenge is a Flourless Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Valentino, inspired by Malaysia’s “most flamboyant food ambassador”, Chef Wan. Recipe comes from Sweet Treats by Chef Wan

Challenge Requirments:
1. Use the following recipe
2. Serve with your own homemade Ice Cream – You can choose any flavour you want

Challenge Advice:
- Use your favorite chocolate – the finished cake will taste exactly like the chocolate you use. Be creative with your chocolate, if you like a sweeter cake use milk chocolate or a combination of the semisweet and milk chocolate. If you like bittersweet chocolate use that and add sweetness by mixing the semi sweet with bittersweet. If you are daring, try white chocolate. (Dharm used all bittersweet and Wendy used a half bitter/half semi sweet chocolate).
- A higher cocoa percentage increases the bitterness of the chocolate.

Equipment -
Optional to use a heart shaped pan. For a real Valentino, bake it in a heart shaped pan or cut it out into a heart shape. You may use any shape pan that gives you an area of 50” - 6x8 or 7x7. An 8” spring form pan works with great results as do smaller pans or ramekins.
-An instant read thermometer highly recommended.

Note on recipe - the recipe consists of 3 simple ingredients and how you interpret them is part of the challenge. The simplicity of this recipe gives credit to the ingredients much in the same way of French baguette.
-This recipe comes together very quickly with a hand mixer.
-This is a very decadent cake that will sink a little as it cools but will still hold its shape.
-Very dense and fudgy cake that tastes divine.
-The top forms a light crust kind of like a brownie

One thing I learned is to prepare the pan before making the batter.
Grease the pan, line the bottom with parchment and grease that too.

Chocolate Valentino
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
16 ounces (1 pound) (454 grams) of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons (146 grams total) of unsalted butter
5 large eggs separated

Wow! A very simple recipe with no skinning hazelnuts! Three ingredients! Wooo!

1. Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and melt, stirring often.

2. While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling. Butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment.

Can we just eat this as is?

3. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.

4. Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry).

Stiff peaks - the peaks on the egg whites remain straight when the beater is removed.

5. With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.

6. Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.

7. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter. {link of folding demonstration}

8. Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F/190C

9. Bake for 25 minutes until an instant read thermometer reads 140F/60C.
Note – If you do not have an instant read thermometer, the top of the cake will look similar to a brownie and a cake tester will appear wet.

Baked for 25 minutes... Temperature was 165F

10. Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.

Now onto the ice cream.
For the ice cream, I wanted to move away from berries or fruit flavored ice cream.
I remembered a candied nut recipe I received from a former boss with cinnamon and salt. I felt the cinnamon and salt would complement the chocolate.

Also, the recipe can be made in the microwave rather quickly. Another bonus!

Cinnamon Candied Nuts
11/2 C nut halves (pecans and/or walnuts)
1/4 C water
1/2 C sugar
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t salt
1 t vanilla
1/2 t Golden Syrup (My addition and optional)
1 T Butter (another of my additions to the recipe)

Place nuts on a flat dish and cook on high 2-3 minutes.
Place sugar, water, cinnamon, and salt in a 1 qt. heat proof measure.
Cook mixture for 5 1/2 -- 6 minutes bringing to a soft ball stage (236 degrees).
Add vanilla and nuts and stir until nuts are well coated.
Turn out on wax paper and separate as nuts cool

I, also, added a little Golden Syrup to prevent premature crystalization.

I have a 1,200 W microwave. They sugar mixture was heated for a minute and stirred. After which, heating was done in 30 second increments until viscous like syrup.

Pecan halves added to the sugar syrup and stirred.

Layed out onto a sheet of parchment paper.

When cooled, chopped into large pieces for the ice cream.

I've always wanted to make ice cream, but I don't have an ice cream maker. I'm actually okay with that. I enjoy the challenge of doing something from scratch.

Vanilla Ice Cream using a Custard Base
1.5 C Milk (I used Lactose Free Low Fat milk)
1.5 C Heavy Cream
4 Egg yolks
3/4 C Sugar
1 t Vanilla Extract

Another "simple" recipe with few ingredients.

1/4 C Sugar was beated into the yolks. The milk was heated/scalded to 180F.
A little hot milk was used to temper the yolk mixture. Eventually, the mixture is combined with the rest of the milk and heated.

The mixture is at the proper consistency when it can coat the back of a spoon. Note a streak is made, but the mixture didn't fill in the streak.

Add the Vanilla and whisk in.

Strain, allow to cool a little. The mixture was placed into a ziplock for the freezing step.

Since I didn't have an ice cream maker, I used a zip loc, ice and rock salt.

The ice and salt mixture was placed over the liquid ice cream mixture.
You know the container is cold when your moist fingers stick to the outside of the container.

The mixture is allowed to solidify, but should be kneaded every few minutes.

After the mixture was frozen, I used a hand mix to break up any large ice crystals.

The nuts were added and mixed into the ice cream... The mixture was placed into the freezer to harden.

The Finished Challenge
I wasn't sure how to cut the heart shaped cakes, so I round ring to cut out each serving.

Served with Candied nuts and ice cream.

A side shot showing the curls of ice cream. Nice!


Anonymous said...

Lovely job as always on presenting a great lesson and an better recipe. Your photos are always so clear and simple. The nut ice-cream is an excellent choice it would fo so well.

Anonymous said...

As usual, my mouth is watering. Once again, you did a magnificent job with the challenge. LOVE the 'pralines and cream' take on the ice cream, and the photos!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Great flavor combo! That ice cream looks terribly good! Very well done!



Anzj said...

You did put in the effort, karamelizing pecans and all. It must have tasted delicious!

plutosangel said...

Just reading your blog makes me feel like I'm cooking! I just love how you pout up so many pictures! gr8 job!!
I loved this challenge!

Junie Moon said...

I've really enjoyed reading your post about this month's challenge. As a new Daring Baker, I learned much from your pictorial illustration of the steps and the details you incorporated, such as the Cinnamon Candied Nuts and Golden Syrup. In making my own rendition, learning about preparing the pan was another good lesson for me. Thank you for your delightful post.

Lolah said...

Great job! It looks delicious...

Amy said...

This all looks so great! Love the pralines...

Fahrenheit 350° said...

I love that chocolate!

Aparna Balasubramanian said...

Nuts in ice-cream, now that sounds good. I wish I'd thought of that.:)
Your cake looks lovely, too. Mine sank in the middle!

Unknown said...

Sounds delicious with the candied nuts, and I felt like I was standing over your stove and mixing bowl with you.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on a job well done John! You definitely have a special talent. Keep up the good work!

Jo said...

Great job on your challenge and the ice-cream sounds absolutely delicious.

Ago said...

That's fantastic!
John your lessons are GREEEAATT!!!
Your presentation is very good: the pecan ice cream is amazing!:-9

I regret not having responded to your last message on the forum (remember?), but don't worry to have written so many comments about that post...there's no problem! :-)


Ago :-D

Eat4Fun said...

Shawn... Aw shucks. I'm blushing. :) I feel the same way about you. I have a freezer full of treats for you to try... lol!