Friday, April 10, 2009

Blogging Backlog - Desserts

I know, for how infrequently I blog, one might assume I am not cooking or baking that often. Of course, I am, and I am even photographing much of it, I am just in a bad blogging phase. I blame my young children. We are all either having too much fun planting our spring garden, going to ballet, playing at the park, or we are all sick with some ridiculous preschool virus, which renders me a neglectful blogger.

The weather is warming, the plants sprouting, and (knock on wood) we are leaving a spell of winter illness behind us, so I am going to give my best effort to blog the foods and meals we are growing, baking, and eating much more regularly.

But until I get my blogging up to speed, I wanted to at least offer up a few Blogging Backlogs - desserts, some of which may now be out of season but are worth remembering and revisiting down the road.

Chocolate Mint Ice Cream Cake

I made this cake for R’s birthday this year. Although it was delicious and beautiful, it wasn’t ideal. Next time (at least when it’s a special cake for R) I’ll venture into the true Ice Cream CAKE, the kind with a nice thick layer of frozen cake and ice cream. This is more of a crumb crust similar to a cheesecake with a wonderful ganache on top. It was good, and if you use store bought ice cream, very easy and pretty quick, but I promise R, next time, the real deal.

Chocolate Mint Ice Cream Cake
Adapted from: Eggs on Sunday

Ingredients (crust and ganache ingredients listed for 10-inch pan)

For the cookie crust:
6 oz chocolate wafer cookies
5 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

1 quart Ice Cream (homemade or store bought) I used mint chocolate chip

For the chocolate ganache:
6 oz good quality bittersweet chocolate cut into pieces
6 oz heavy cream

Choice of garnish to match ice cream flavor (berries, cookies, crush candy or nuts, etc.) I used Andes mints.


Make the chocolate cookie crust:
Process the cookies in a food processor until they’re fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and pulse it in until the cookie crumbs are moistened thoroughly. Pour the crumbs out into the bottom of your springform pan and firmly pat them down to make an even layer for the crust. Cover the crust with plastic wrap and place in the freezer to set, about 1 hour.

Make the ice cream layer — two ways:
If you’re using ice cream that’s already made (I used mint chocolate chip), you can just soften it a bit at room temperature and then beat it in an electric mixer until it’s more the consistency of soft serve. Spread it evenly over the cookie crust, gently pressing down with a spatula to fill in any holes. You want to use enough ice cream to come almost all the way to the top of the springform pan; leave about 1/2 inch room at the top (where the ganache will go. Place the plastic wrap back on over the ice cream layer, smoothing it down directly on the ice cream’s surface so there are no air bubbles. Freeze for at least 2 hours.

If you’re making the ice cream, choose your favorite recipe and have at it. Churn it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. When it’s finished churning, spread enough ice cream over the cookie crust in the springform pan so there’s about 1/2-inch of room at the top of the pan. Place plastic wrap over the ice cream, pressing it gently down all over the surface of the ice cream so there are no air bubbles. Freeze for at least 2 hours.

To make the chocolate ganache:
Place the chocolate and cream in a large heatproof bowl, and set the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir occasionally until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Take it off the water and cool at room temperature until it’s lukewarm.

Take the ice cream cake out of the freezer and remove the plastic wrap. Spread the chocolate ganache over the top, smoothing with a spatula. It should just about come to the top of the springform pan. If you’re using the mints or other garnish, place them around the edge of the cake top.

Replace the plastic wrap over the cake, and place it back in the freezer for another 2 hours.

To serve let it warm for a few minutes and then carefully cut with a clean, sharp knife. Clean the knife in between cuts to help minimize the weird looking smears I got on each slice.

Shaker Lemon Pie

During the winter when we had access to a ton of fresh, organic Meyer lemons, this was our go-to entertaining dessert. It’s good after a meal; it’s awesome at brunch. It is just plain good. You have to really like lemons and some tart bitterness that comes with that. Although Meyer lemons are quite sweet and there is no shortage of sugar in this recipe, it does use the whole lemon, pithy peel and all, so that adds to the bite. We really love that flavor and the toothsomeness (yes, that’s totally a word) that comes with it. Let the pie sit for at least a half hour to set up a bit – longer is fine too. At that point it will hold together enough to slice (it will still be a bit loose though, but who cares?) and still be warm. Serve with a lightly sweetened whipped cream or ice cream. It’s easy and delicious, one worth repeating for sure. There are still Meyer lemons to be had this season, so go for it.

Meyer Lemon Shaker Pie
From: The Kitchn

makes one 9" double crust pie

3-4 Meyer lemons
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt

Basic Pie Crust – I like using either Martha Stewart’s Pate Brisee (classic pie crust) or
Pate Sucree (a little sweeter)

1 teaspoon vanilla
4 eggs
Egg white for wash (optional)
Sugar for top

Thinly slice the lemons - as shaved thin as you can get them! Use a mandoline if you have one. Pick out any seeds. Toss with the sugar and salt and set aside.

Heat oven to 450°F. Grease a 9" pie dish or tart pan. Roll out half the dough into a circle, flat between two pieces of wax paper. Peel off the top layer of wax paper. Place your pie dish upside down on the pie dough round, and carefully flip the pan and dough over. Peel away the wax paper on that side and carefully press the dough into the pan. Using a knife or shears, trim away the extra dough so that there is a half inch of dough above the lip of the pan. Tuck under and roll this extra dough, and pinch tight to the side of the pan. Put in the freezer to chill.

Roll out the rest of dough between two pieces of wax paper and put in the freezer to chill.

Beat the eggs well and stir into the lemons with the vanilla. Remove the chilled pie crust from the freezer and pour in the lemons.

Place the other round on top and trim to fit. Pinch seal the edges and cut a few slits on the top to let out steam. Brush with egg white and sprinkle a thin layer of sugar on top. Put back in the freezer for 15 minutes to chill.

Take out pie and bake on the lowest rack for 15 minutes at 450°F. Turn the heat down to 375°F and move to the center rack. Bake for another 30 minutes or until the crust is golden. If the crust edges begin browning too much cover with parchment.

Chocolate Guinness Cake

Again, St. Patrick's Day has passed already, but this was pretty good and certainly fun. I ended up serving it with David Lebovitz's Milk Chocolate Guinness Ice Cream. I found the cake recipe at The Kitchn, but it is originally adapted from Nigella Lawson. The idea with all of the cream cheese frosting on top is to make it look like a frothy pint of Guinness. I was very tempted to bake this in individual pint glasses, but I just don't think they would take the heat. It's almost worth baking the cake and spooning it into the glasses and then topping with the frosting. I think it would be a fun and festive way to serve your guests.

Chocolate Guinness Cake

From Feast by Nigella Lawson
Yield: One 9-inch cake (12 servings)

For the cake:

Butter for pan
1 cup Guinness stout
10 tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 cups superfine sugar (I have used regular granulated sugar with no ill effects)
3/4 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

For the topping:

1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup heavy cream

For the cake: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and line with parchment paper. In a large saucepan, combine Guinness and butter. Place over medium-low heat until butter melts, then remove from heat. Add cocoa and superfine sugar, and whisk to blend.

In a small bowl, combine sour cream, eggs and vanilla; mix well. Add to Guinness mixture. Add flour and baking soda, and whisk again until smooth. Pour into buttered pan, and bake until risen and firm, 45 minutes to one hour. Place pan on a wire rack and cool completely in pan.

For the topping: Using a food processor or by hand, mix confectioners' sugar to break up lumps. Add cream cheese and blend until smooth. Add heavy cream, and mix until smooth and spreadable.

Remove cake from pan and place on a platter or cake stand. Ice top of cake only, so that it resembles a frothy pint of Guinness.


callie Roadcap-Uleners said...

Ethan! Roel and I love your blog; you give us cooking envy ;-) love, the U's

Danielle said...

oh my! those first two look INSANE. i need them. the guinness cake stumps me . . . gorgeous, but i might need convincing (hint, hint).

Ruthie said...

i love reliving the goodness when i read your blog entries.

Mary Katie said...

Please find a way to ship an ice cream cake to me. I'd appreciate it.