Posts Tagged ‘chocolate’

Lasting Impressions

May 13, 2010

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If you are cooking to impress, then dessert is your last chance to make a great impression. Nothing says elegance like French technique and no one can make French cooking as easy as Julia Child did. So from Julia Child via David Lebovitz comes this classic and easy recipe for chocolate mousse (be warned that it contains raw eggs). I cut the recipe in half since I was cooking for fewer people. Serves four to six people. Bon appétite!

3 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped*
3 oz. unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and softened at room temperature
1/2 cup dark-brewed coffee
2 large eggs, separated
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 tbsp. dark rum
1/2 tbsp. water
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

* I recommend using bittersweet chocolate if possible since it is less sweet. You don’t want the sweetness to be overwhelming. Use good quality dark chocolate in a bar. Chocolate chips are designed to resist melting, so I would avoid chips if possible.

1. Keep a large bowl two-third full of ice water standing by.

2. In a bowl set over a saucepan that is a third of the way filled with simmering water, melt the chocolate, butter and coffee together, whisking constantly until smooth. Set aside the chocolate aside.

3. In another bowl, beat the egg yolks with an electric mixer with the 1/3 cup of sugar, rum, and water for about 3 minutes until the mixture is thick, like runny mayonnaise. (You can also use a handheld electric mixer.)

3. Remove from heat and place the bowl of whipped egg yolks within the bowl of ice water and beat until cool and thick as shown in the photo below. Then fold the chocolate mixture into the egg yolks.

via David Lebovitz

4. In another bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt until they hold their shape. Then beat in the tablespoon of sugar and the vanilla until they form thick, shiny stiff peaks.

5. Fold one-third of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the remainder of the whites just until incorporated. Don’t overdo it or the mousse will lose volume.

6. Divide the mousse into your serving dishes. This dishes you choose are an essential element to making this dessert truly elegant. I used non-stemmed martini glasses, but you can get creative. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, until firm.



May 9, 2010

Happy Mother’s Day!

Risotto is one of my favorite dishes to prepare when I have company. It doesn’t require too many ingredients, is relatively simple to make, and can be mostly cooked ahead of time and finished off at the last minute. It’s also filling and can be spectacularly flavorful. My favorite savory risotto recipe comes from Giada De Laurentiis. However, while she uses chicken stock, I swap it for vegetable broth. Her recipe can be found here. But aside from making savory risotto as an entrée, I also love making chocolate-orange risotto for dessert (not in the same night, of course). It’s creamy and luscious and you will definitely find yourself licking your spoon. It’s also a wonderful recipe if you haven’t figured out what to make your mom for dessert yet…

What You Need:
1 cup Arborio rice
2 tbsp. sugar
3 cups skim milk
2 tbsp. butter
5 oz. of semisweet or dark chocolate chopped finely
Zest of 1 orange

What To Do:
In a pot, melt butter and add the Arborio rice. Over medium-low heat, toast the rice for about 10 minutes. In another pot, whisk together the milk, sugar and orange zest. Heat the milk so that it is just below a simmer and then keep it on a low flame. When the rice is toasted, add one ladleful of the milk and stir the rice constantly. When the first ladleful has been absorbed, add a second and so forth until all the milk has been added to the rice. Stir constantly throughout this process (about 25 minutes). When you add the final ladleful of milk, add the chocolate and stir vigorously. Serve warm.

While risotto is, in my opinion, relatively easy to make, I have occasionally managed to undercook it.  It is something that is supposed to be just al dente and come together on the plate, to ensure that you don’t undercook, make sure that you toast the rice for a full 10 minutes before adding any liquid. If you are at the point where you are about to serve your rice and you don’t think that carry over cooking is going to make it perfectly al dente, then heat some additional liquid and add that into the rice by stirring it and incorporating it. Then put a lid on the pan and let it come up to temperature for a few minutes. Removed the lid and continue stirring until you have the right consistency.