Chocolate….Silk Pie

And now for something a little different. No stone fruit this week. This week is all about chocolate. Smooth and silky and rich chocolate.

Creamy chocolate.
Creamy chocolate.

For the past few weeks I have been really enjoying the peach season. Unfortunately, the cherry crop this year was not so successful so I am having trouble letting myself buy a tiny container of cherries for an exorbitant amount of money. It’s just not happening this year. Hopefully next year there will be a better crop and I can add some variety to the stone fruit season. Even apricots seemed to have an unusually short season this year. They were in stores for about a month, maybe less. I feel like I turned around and they were gone. So I apologize for the lack of apricot recipes as well.Chocolate Silk Pie

But enough of fruit. I know what you all really love, chocolate! And to think that when I was a kid I hated chocolate.  Apparently I just never had any well-made chocolate desserts until I was an adult. When I was trying to decide what to make this week, I honestly felt at a loss. Actually it was more than that – there is a Hebrew expression – choser onim – which basically means helpless, but much more so – like you have no direction and you can’t see success anywhere. That was me. I had no idea what to make – for dinner, for dessert – nada. So I started with what I needed to use – the vegetables from our csa. Okay, pumpkin souffle. Done, Chicken… prepared bbq sauce. Done. Dessert… okay now we are stumped.  Fruit? Not really in the mood for making a pie crust. Chocolate? What about it? Just brownies or something fancier? On top of my indecision, I also had social events to plan around, first and foremost  was Rocker Dude’s premier as a singer!

Rocker Dude got involved in a Linkin Park tribute show and auditioned to rap for two of the songs – “Bleed it Out” and “Faint”. Not only that, but he started the show!! So I, as a supportive wife, had to go to the show in Tel Aviv on Thursday night (seriously putting a dent in my Thursday night prep time). It was great to hear Rocker Dude sing, and I am also a huge fan of Linkin Park in general and they played all of their older music so it was an enjoyable show all around. Go Rocker Dude!

The Little Rocker adds whipped cream.
The Little Rocker adds whipped cream.

Back to our baking dilemma, on Thursday afternoon I went to a baking supply store to get vanilla extract (they have the quality stuff) and some high quality chocolate. (And I wanted to buy out the whole store.) I then stopped at the supermarket for a few more things, like figs. And that messed up the amorphous thoughts of dessert floating through my mind. Chocolate or figs?

In order to make help make my decision, I narrowed down the options. Rocker Dude has rules about when he helps me make decisions. First, I have to narrow down the options to the two or three options that I think are best. Then he will decide between what is left. So I gave him the options of Chocolate Silk Pie and Fig, Honey-Almond Tart. As he is a man of simple tastes (and figs are not one of them), you can imagine what he chose – the Chocolate Silk Pie. But he said that it shouldn’t be too chocolatey. Oy.

After licking the spatula.
After licking the spatula.

This pie is a rich, creamy dessert that really showcases the chocolate. With a chocolate cookie crust, a truffle filling and a whipped cream topping, it is decadence personified. Can a dessert be personified? Hmm.

This is  a multi-step dessert, involving pasteurizing eggs (no no one gets food poisoning or anything) and then chilling the chocolate filled pie and topping with whipped cream. This dessert is really rich and delicious and even for me – one piece is enough, but so worth it.

Chocolate Silk Pie
Chocolate Silk Pie

It is also a great summer dessert as the pie is nice and cool. Hopefully next week we will have the Fig Honey-Almond Tart. Rocker Dude will have to suffer with it then :).

Also, a sponsored announcement right now. On August 22nd, Rocker Dude is producing an amazing tribute rock concert: Rock4Rookies Live!!! He is celebrating 5 years of his podcast with a concert by some of Israel’s best rockers. So anyone who will be in Israel then should come to the show!! The link to the Facebook event is here. Now you all know why we call him Rocker Dude! And check out his show here.

Recipe (From The Art and Soul of Baking):

Crust:
7 oz. chocolate sandwich cookies
3/4 stick butter/margarine, melted

Filling:
3 large eggs
6 Tbsp. sugar
3/4 stick butter/margarine
10 oz. good quality bittersweet or a mix of bittersweet and semisweet chocolate (up to 70% cacao)
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Topping:
1 cup heavy cream
3 tbsp. confectioner’s sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grind up the cookies in a food processor until you have fine crumbs.  Set aside about 1/4 of crumbs to top the pie. Mix the crumbs with the butter or margarine. Press the crumbs into the bottom of a pie plate and up the sides as well. Place the crust in the oven and bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.  Cool completely.

In a heat proof bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together. In a saucepan, heat two inches of water. Reduce to simmer and place the bowl over the pot. Keep whisking the egg mixture together as you slowly heat it. Using an instant read thermometer, heat the egg mixture until it reaches 160 degrees F. Remove from heat and pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer. If some of your eggs scrambled, pour the mixture through a sieve into the mixing bowl so that you don’t get egg clumps. Beat the eggs on high speed for three minutes.

While the eggs are beating, add the chocolate, cream and margarine to the bowl over the pot of boiling water. Let sit for a minute and then gently mix until the chocolate is completely melted. Remove from heat and slowly pour the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture while the mixer is still going at medium speed. Mix until there is no longer a trace of the eggs. Beat in the vanilla extract.

Pour the chocolate into the cooled crust and refrigerate for at least an hour.

To make the topping, beat the cream and confectioner’s sugar in a mixing bowl until you have soft peaks. You can pipe the cream decoratively over the chocolate or use a spatula. Sprinkle reserved cookie crumbs over the cream.

The pie will keep in the fridge for three days, though the cream might start to break down after the first day.

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Tuesdays With Dorie: Tarte Noir

This week’s recipe was hosted by dharmagirl of bliss: towards a delicious life.  She picked the Tarte Noir, a simple tart that shows off its main ingredient, chocolate.  This is really the perfect tart for a summer afternoon in the Central Israeli heat.

We were invited out to our friend S.’s apartment for lunch on Saturday for her birthday party.  I knew that I would have a welcome audience for such a chocolate treat (they are chocolate lovers in that apartment.)  I read all the instructions and I saw Dorie’s note that the tart was best enjoyed the same day it was made.  After experiencing one travel mishap with a tart (think lemon cream all over the place) I decided that I would assemble the tart at S.’s place to prevent any disasters.  Dorie said to heat the ganache to bring it to the right temperature that it would pour well, let me tell you, after a 30 minute walk in the Israeli heat, that ganache was at the perfect temperature.  We were also invited to our friends’ A. and M. for a lunch/kiddush (food after prayer services) as well.  What can I say, we Jews love to eat!  So we had decided that we wouldn’t eat a lunch at A. and M.’s so that we wouldn’t end up eating two lunches, though they had quite a spread.

Chocolate, all weighed out.

So the plan was to stop off at S.’s, fill the tart shell with the chocolate ganache and refrigerate it, then run over to A. and M.’s, spend about 40 minutes there socializing, and then come back to S.’s.  It worked out perfectly.

Heated cream

And, best of all, this recipe was done sooo quickly.  I made the crust in the morning and then made the filling some time in the afternoon, it took about 10 minutes.  Then I refrigerated the filling overnight and put the whole thing together the next morning.  It would have been perfect with a little whipped cream, but there was no way that it would survive the heat.  Everyone enjoyed it anyway.

Mixing the ganache

I did not have a chance to take a picture of the finished product as it was the Sabbath, so I asked my friend M. (who lives with S.) to save a piece and take a picture on Saturday night.  Rocker Dude was over there Sunday morning because for some reason he can actually get work done there, and he said that M. was in a panic that there was only one piece left and she hadn’t taken a picture yet.  So she quickly took a whole bunch of pictures and then ate the last piece!

Adding in the margarine

If you are looking for a simple yet elegant dessert, this should be your go-to recipe.  You can dress it up with fresh berries or whipped cream or just enjoy the chocolate plain.  Yum.

Tarte Noir. Photo courtesy of M.

I decided to do this tart with a regular tart crust as opposed to a chocolate tart crust (at Rocker Dude’s suggestion), you can find the recipe for that here.

Tarte Noir, from the side. Photo courtesy of M.

Recipe (From Baking: From My Home to Yours):

Crust:
Sweet Tart Crust (recipe here), fully baked and cooled.

Filling:
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature

Put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and have a whisk or a rubber spatula at hand.
Bring the cream to a boil, then pour half of it over the chocolate and let it sit for 30 seconds. Working with the whisk or spatula, very gently stir the chocolate and cream together in small circles, starting at the center of the bowl and working your way out in increasingly larger concentric circles. Pour in the remainder of the cream and blend it into the chocolate, using the same circular motion. When the ganache is smooth and shiny, stir in the butter piece by piece. Don’t stir the ganache any more than you must to blend the ingredients—the less you work it, the darker, smoother, and shinier it will be. (The ganache can be used now, refrigerated, or even frozen for later.)
Pour the ganache into the crust and, holding the pan with both hands, gently turn the pan from side to side to even the ganache. Refrigerate the tart for 30 minutes to set the ganache, then remove the tart from the fridge and keep it at room temperature until serving time.
Makes 8 servings.

Daring Bakers: Cumberland Pudding

This month’s Daring Baker’s challenge was to make a British style pudding.  The “special ingredient” was suet.  This was a bit of a problem for me as suet is not kosher (it is taken form a non-kosher section of the animal).  Conveniently there were vegetarian substitutes, and I used palm margarine instead.  The next challenge was how to cook this pudding.  I don’t have a pudding basin, and I didn’t have an earthenware bowl that I could substitute.  I thought about this problem all month.  I finally came to the conclusion that I would have to use a foil disposable deep round dish and steam it in my 10 liter soup pot.

I spent a few days looking at various different recipes for puddings, both savory and sweet.  I planned on making a sponge style Cumberland Pudding (which is basically an apple cake) and a steak and onion pudding with a suet crust and a meat filling.  My plan was to practice on the Cumberland pudding and then if it works, I was going to try the steak and onion pudding.

Unfortunately, after dropping the “pudding tin” into the soup pot, I couldn’t get the tin to sit straight, and my pudding came out lopsided, a little damp because some water came in.   So I decided to give up on making the steak and onion pie until after I get better pudding making equipment.

Here is my pudding batter resting for an hour (I didn’t put in currants and added extra apples):

This is still a very exciting technique, as it never occurred to me that you  could steam a cake.  I told my mom about it and she too, thought it was interesting.  I guess we are too American to even think that such a thing could exist.  Thank you Esther from The Lilac Kitchen for introducing this to us!

Look at that moisture:

This recipe is from All British Food. They have a whole bunch of pudding recipes – try them all!

Recipe:

Fat for greasing

2 cups (8 oz.) cooking apples

4 oz. shredded suet (or margarine)

2 cups (200 g) all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

pinch of salt

150 g currants

3/8 cup (75 g) light brown sugar

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

2 eggs, beaten

5 tbsp. milk

light brown sugar for dredging

Peel, core and roughly chop the apples.  Put them in a large bowl with the suet, baking powder, salt, currants, sugar and nutmeg.  Mix well.  Add the beaten eggs with enough milk to make a soft, dropping consistency.  Let stand for 1 hour.  Grease a 750 mL pudding basin.  Prepare a steamer or half-fill a large saucepan with water and boil.

Stir the pudding mixture, adding a little more milk if it is stiff.  Pour the mixture into the basin, cover with greased greaseproof paper or foil and secure with string.  Put the pudding in the perforated part of the steamer, or stand it on a plate in the saucepan of boiling water.  The water should come halfway up the sides of the basin.  Cover the saucepan tightly and steam the pudding over gently simmering water for 1 3/4 to 2 hours.

Leave the pudding for 5-10 minutes at room temperature to firm up, then turn out to a serving plate.  Dredge with brown sugar before serving.

Recipes from the Daring Bakers’ site:

Type 1 Puddings — suet crusts.

Pudding Crust for both Savoury Pudding or Sweet Pudding (using suet or a suet substitute):

Ingredients

(250 grams/12 ounces) Self-raising flour (Note* If you cannot find self-raising flour, use a combination of all-purpose flour and baking powder.)
(175 grams/6 ounces) Shredded suet or suet substitute (i.e., Vegetable Suet, Crisco, Lard)
(a pinch) Salt and pepper (Note* If making a savory dish, can be replaced with spices for sweet if wished.)
(210 millilitres/a little less than a cup) Water (Note* You can use a milk or a water and milk mix for a richer pastry.)

1. Mix the flour and suet together.
2. Season the flour and suet mixture with salt and pepper if savory and just a bit of salt and/or spices if sweet.
3. Add the water, a tablespoonful at a time, as you mix the ingredients together. Make up the pastry to firm an elastic dough that leaves the bowl clean. The liquid amounts are only an estimate and most recipes just say water to mix.

4. Don’t over handle the pastry or it will be too hard.
5. Reserve a quarter for the lid and roll out the rest and line a well-greased bowl.
6. At this point add your filling.. a couple of options are given below but have fun and go wild!
7. Roll the final piece of pastry out into a circle big enough to cover the top of the basin, dampen the edges and put in position on the pudding, pinching the edges together to seal.
8. Seal well and cover with a double sheet of foil – pleated in the centre to allow room for expansion while cooking. Secure with string, and place it in a steamer over boiling water.
9. Steam for up to 5 hours, you may need to add more boiling water halfway through or possibly more often. There is a lot of leeway in this steaming time and different recipes give different steaming times. Delia Smith says 5 hours for Steak and kidney where as Mrs Beeton says 2.5 for a similar dish! One way to tell that it is cooked is when the pastry changes colour and goes from white to a sort of light golden brown. It is also hard to over steam a pudding so you can leave it bubbling away until you are ready.

Savoury Pudding Filling options: steak and kidney pudding.

1 full amount of suet crust (see recipe above)
(450 grams/about 1 pound) Chuck steak
(225 grams/about 1/2 a pound) Ox kidney
1 medium-sized onion
2 teaspoons well-seasoned flour
splash of Worcestershire sauce

1. Chop the steak and kidney into fairly small cubes, toss them in seasoned flour, then add them to the pastry lined basin.
2. Pop the onion slices in here and there.
3. Add enough cold water to reach almost to the top of the meat and sprinkle in a few drops of Worcestershire sauce and season with salt and pepper.
4. Follow the rest of the instructions in the crust recipe to finish pudding.
5. Cook for at least 2.5 hours (Mrs Beeton) up to 5 hours (Delia Smith).

Sweet Pudding Options: Sussex Pond Pudding

1 amount of suet pastry (see recipe above)
(120 grams/4.2 ounces) Demerara Sugar
(120 grams/4.2 ounces) unsalted butter
1 large lemon

1. Cut the butter into small pieces and put half in the basin with half the sugar.
2. Prick the whole lemon (preferably one with a thin skin) all over, using a thick skewer.
3. Place on top of the butter and sugar in the basin.
4. Cover with the rest of the butter and sugar.
5. Finish building the pudding as per the pastry recipe.
6. Steam for 3 ½ hours, or longer (for a really tender lemon), adding more water if needed.
7. To serve, turn the pudding into a dish with a deep rim, when you slice into it the rich lemon sauce will gush out.
8. Make sure each person is served some of the suet crust, lemon and tangy luscious sauce.

Type 2 puddings – Steamed Suet Pudding, sponge type.

(100 grams/4 ounces) All-purpose flour
(1/4 teaspoon) salt
(1.5 teaspoons) Baking powder
(100 grams/4 ounces) breadcrumbs
(75 grams/3 ounces) Caster sugar
(75 grams/ 3 ounces) Shredded suet or suet substitute (i.e., Vegetable Suet, Crisco, Lard)
(1) large egg
(6 to 8 tablespoons) Cold milk

1. Sift flour, salt and baking powder into bowl.
2. Add breadcrumbs, sugar and suet.
3. Mix to a soft batter with beaten egg and milk
4. Turn into a buttered 1 litre/ 2 pint pudding basin and cover securely with buttered greaseproof paper or aluminum foil.
5. Steam steadily for 2.5 to 3 hours
6. Turn out onto warm plate, Serve with sweet sauce to taste such as custard, caramel or a sweetened fruit sauce.