Thursday, February 28, 2013

Vanilla Pots de Crème with Salted Coffee Caramel Sauce for #baketogether

Frozen Vanilla Pot de Crème with Salted Coffee Caramel Sauce

Never turn your back on pots de crème. Don't step into the living room to catch a few minutes of an English Premier League soccer game to see a winning goal scored in the 90th minute.

You’ll be distracted, remember the custards too late and have to start all over, as I did.

And because I started over and was now invested to the tune of 10 eggs and four pints of half-and-half, I decided not to risk another baking error. So I baked two custards (successfully) and froze the rest as ice cream, which tasted amazing. What I like about the custard itself is that it doesn’t call for very much sugar — just 1/4 cup per 12 ounces of half and half.

These lovely little custards are for the February #baketogether run by Abby Dodge. Pots de crèmes are velvety smooth and these are indeed rich with vanilla. As it turns out, I had used my last vanilla bean to make homemade vanilla extract, so instead of fishing out that vanilla bean infusing in vodka, I decided to use my newly made extract. While rummaging in the cabinets was delighted to find some little packets of vanilla sugar that I had brought home from France. These added an extra level of flavor
Traditional baked Pot de Crème with Salted Coffee Caramel Sauce.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Boca Negra for Tuesdays with Dorie

Lora Brody’s Boca Negra

I met Lora Brody, the author of today’s recipe, some 20 years ago in Columbus, OH. She was a visiting guest at La Belle Pomme Cooking School, a delightful place that was run by the food writer, author and recipe developer Betty Rosbottom (whose newspaper columns and  Bon Appetit features I have long enjoyed).

A chocolate-loving friend had shared her copy of Lora Brody’s book Growing Up on the Chocolate Diet: A Memoir with Recipes. Hers was the first food memoir I’d ever read and it was quite a revelation. And it was inspiring because I had begun writing about food for a local magazine. I loved and still enjoy Brody’s witty and honest reflections on family traditions, dinner party anxieties and chocolate.

At the book-signing, Brody asked what all I’d cooked and I told her how much I had enjoyed the Trianon, a hard-won recipe that she landed after many years of searching,  experimentation and networking. She responded approvingly and said, “Have you had the Black Beast? Make that.” She nodded as if dispensing secret code.

I did prepare the Bête Noire and it became a signature dessert, particularly among a certain group of friends. It was a flourless chocolate cake before flourless cake fame. This is Chocolate As Drug because — if you pay attention — you might feel a happy jolt to the brain after  the first bite. I frequently made this in the mornings before work — often before breakfast, even — so you can imagine the chocolate and caffeine rush from a few licks of the spoon.

The reason I’m telling you all this is that that the Black Beast is akin to the Boca Negra. The Boca Negra adds a smidgen of flour and substitutes bourbon for some of the water. Both recipes call for a fair amount of chocolate, which is probably why I get nervous when my chocolate supply dips below one couple pounds. This recipe was a pleasure to bake because it was like visiting an old friend.

Just to be different, I baked the Boca Negra in small ramekins rather than one large pan. The white chocolate ganache I prepared a little more thinly using half-and-half and drizzled it over the top of the cake.

If you’d like to see the recipe for  Boca Negra from the book Baking with Julia, hop over to today’s host, A Frederick Food Garden. To see what other Tuesday with Dorie bloggers have to say, visit here.

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