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Category ... Desserts

Vegan Chocolate Has Arrived

Apr 19, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious

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Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts


When people ask me about recipes for vegan baking, which is not my area of expertise, I direct them to my good friend and colleague Fran Costigan, known as "the Queen of Vegan Desserts, and who is listed under the favorites section of this blog's home page as Fran Costigan.

I have known Fran for many years and have great respect for her integrity as an expert in the subject, as a teacher, and as an author.

When the book arrived, I was struck by large number of gorgeous photos and delighted by the way in which the ingredients are listed in both volume, grams, and milliliters. This, together with the detailed instructions, make it a pleasure for me to work from this book.

All 120 recipes contained in this book are plant-based and some are gluten-free. The luscious chocolate ganache glaze which graces the cake on the book's cover is made with almond milk and Fran has generously given me permission to post the recipe.

Chocolate Ganache Glaze

It will take longer to read this recipe than to make it, but its success is all about the quality and taste of the chocolate and following the details in the recipe. As long as you stay within the percentages listed, any premium chocolate you enjoy eating is the one to use. The important part is to chop the chocolate very fine. Allowing the chocolate to melt into the milk for the full 4 minutes is not optional. And stir only until the chocolate and milk are emulsified--that is, glossy and smooth. Over-mixing may turn your silken ganache gritty. If the chocolate has not completely melted after the ganache is mixed, bring the water in the saucepan on the stove to a simmer and turn off the heat. Place the bowl of ganache on the saucepan for a few minutes, then stir very gently until the chocolate has melted and the ganache is smooth.

Makes 2 cups/480 ml

8 ounces/227 grams dark chocolate (70 to 72%), finely chopped
1-1/4 cups/300 ml organic almond milk or soymilk (more as needed to adjust consistency)
2 tablespoons/18 grams organic granulated sugar
Pinch fine sea salt
1-1/4 teaspoons/6.25 ml pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons/10 ml mild tasting extra-virgin olive oil (optional but recommended for sheen)

1. Add the chocolate to a heatproof bowl and set aside while you heat the milk.

2. Pour the milk into a small saucepan. Add the sugar and salt. Cook over medium heat, whisking a few times to a low boil.

3. Immediately remove the saucepan from the heat. Pour the hot milk over the chopped chocolate all at once. Rotate the bowl so the chocolate is completely submerged. Cover the bowl with a plate and let stand undisturbed for 4 minutes.

4. Add the vanilla and olive oil (if using) and whisk fro the center out ony until smooth and glossy. (If the chocolate is not completely melted, refer to the Sidebar on page 28 for instructions on using a water bath to melt the chocolate.)

5.Keep the bowl of ganache at room temperature while you test the final consistency. Dip a teaspoon into the ganache, set the coated spoon on a small plate, and refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes. After chilling, the ganache on the spoon should e smooth and firm, but should taste creamy. It is unlikely, but if the glaze is too firm, add a tablespoon of room temperature milk, and repeat the test. Add a second tablespoon if needed.

6. Pass the ganache through a strainer into a bowl. Whisking slowly will speed the process.

7. Allow the ganache to thicken at room temperature for 15 to 25 minutes, or until it will coat a spoon thickly with minimal dripping, but remains pourable. Stir a few times from the outside into the center before glazing.

Bake from this book often and with pleasure. It will never fall apart as it has a stitched binding!

A Special Holiday Dessert

Dec 01, 2012 | From the kitchen of Rose in Recipes

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Tira Misu: Quite Possibly the Most Adored Dessert in the World

This recipe offering is actually a special tribute to Anna Teresa Callen, one of the most beloved Italian cooking teachers, who died this year. She loved to tell the story about when I was working on The Cake Bible and asked her about the recipe called Tira Misu which translates as Raise Me Up. The name appealed to my sense of poetry, though I had never heard of it before nor did most people outside of Italy. All that was to change in short order as it swept the world. In Japan they even created a drink with the TIra Misu profile. Anna Teresa used to laugh heartily as she told people her response to my interest in including it in my book which was: When Rosa asked for the recipe, I said: Why would you want such an oRRRdinary dessert?! You write such elegant and extraordinary recipes!

Tira Misu is the ultimate comfort food. It is essentially a voluptuous mascarpone and Marsala egg yolk custard, layered with Savoiardi biscuits that have been dipped in a coffee syrup, topped with cocoa.In its very simplicity It is one of life's perfect things. It didn't make it into The Cake Bible, but it was included in my next cake book 20 years later, Rose's Heavenly Cakes. And here it is now. The ordinary that became the extraordinary by virtue of its excellence.

Continue reading "A Special Holiday Dessert" »

Charlie Trotter's Closing: A Special Tribute to Charlie

Aug 11, 2012 | From the kitchen of Rose in Special Stories

I was sad to learn that one of America's greatest restaurants, located in Chicago, is closing its doors this month. Charlie is a brilliant restaurateur, inspired chef, cookbook author, tv host, and loyal, generous friend. Over the years, whenever I was in Chicago on book tour, he hosted a party in the classroom adjoining the restaurant, making recipes from the latest book. Once he even made a special lunch drawing recipes from several of my books.

I'll never forget the special dinner I arranged at his restaurant during the International Association of Culinary Professionals. I invited Harold McGee, Shirley and Arche Corriher, Elizabeth Karmel, Sarah Leah Chase, Steve Raichlin and there may have been others. We were treated to the dinner of our lives with amazing wines to accompany it. When I was presented with the bill, to my total amazement, all that was written on it was: "For Rose and friends, from Charlie." To tease Arche who often complained that my annual dinners were a bit too steep, I said: "Arche, you won't believe this bill!" To my delight his response was: "What ever it is it was worth it!" We all went down to the kitchen to thank Charlie and staff.

Charlie, I love you for all that you are and look forward to your next incarnation.

Another of the most delightful and memorable experiences I had chez Trotter's was when I got to see what it was like being in a chef. I wrote up the experience 20 years ago for the monthly column I wrote at the time for the LA Times Syndicate.

MY LIFE ON THE LINE, June 1994

Chef! What an image-laden word for lovers of fine food. But the literal meaning of this French term is merely chief. It relates to food only when used as the title "chef de cuisine." In English, however, the word chef has come to imply a fine restaurant cook and that is why I have never described myself as chef. Before a year ago this April, I had baked and cooked in many places including a windy street corner at the Miami Book Fair, but never actually "on the line" in a restaurant kitchen. I have also enjoyed my share of meals in the calm ordered elegance of the world's finest restaurants. But behind the scenes, I discovered, is truly a world apart. The closest analogy I can offer is that of a war zone but this may be because I have never worked in an O.R. The tension, excitement, and life or death attitude, not to mention near manic joy, that pervades a great restaurant kitchen was beyond my imagination. It was Charlie Trotter of Charlie Trotter's in Chicago who gave me the opportunity to participate in this living drama of "working on the line" by inviting me, along with 10 chefs from around the country, to be part of his annual Sunday night James Beard birthday fund raiser dinner for over 100 guests.

The weekend started with a dinner at Charlie's for the visiting chefs and spouses or assistants who arrived Friday night, which, coincidentally, happened to be my birthday. The dinner was held in a special upstairs room; the mahogany table laid with the finest French porcelain, but it was the number and array of wine glasses that offered a glimpse of the extraordinary tasting to come: 7 savory and 5 sweet dishes beginning with monkfish liver (I never even realized they had livers) on organic yellow currant tomatoes, organic ennis hazelnuts and foie gras with 25 year balsamico brown butter vinaigrette, and ending with warm liquid center bittersweet chocolate cake with vanilla hazelnut and cinnamon ice cream.

Early Saturday morning we visiting chefs began to invade Charlie's kitchen, which was already in progress bravely producing their regular Saturday night dinner menu. My personal challenge was to produce a dessert that would be both light and tantalizing after 11 other courses prepared by Charlie, Mark Baker, Elizabeth Terry, John Sedlar, David Waltuck, Geoff Felsenthal, Elka Gilmore, Christopher Gross, Jean Louis Palladin and Jean Joho. Whew! I chose an ethereal Lemon Snow with Golden Grand Marnier Sauce accompanied by my signature cake: Lemon Poppyseed Pound Cake, baked as madeleines.

An hour wait for the citrus reamer to produce the 6 cups of required lemon juice for my dessert gave me a chance to get acquainted with the kitchen staff and visiting colleagues. It also set me way behind producing over 100 desserts but pastry chef Michelle Gayer assured me that she would stay and finish them for me even if it meant staying all night (another friend for life)! By the end of the day we were all very ready for cocktail's and sunset at Jean Joho's Everest Room and dinner at the glorious estate of Tubby and Julie Bacon*. (It was truly a weekend in wonderland!)

Early Sunday morning back to the kitchen for another day of mad activity and prep. By serving time, the action had reached a feverish pitch, deftly orchestrated by sous chef Guilliermo. Meanwhile, in the calm oasis of the dining room, a mere few steps away, my husband Elliott joined David Waltuck's wife Karen, to greet and seat the guests.

Back to the roar of the kitchen, as each course readied for launching, everyone stopped what he or she was doing and focused full intensity on the dish at hand: plating, garnishing, shouting out orders and passing it "down the line" to the waiters poised for flight. The very air was charged with palpable energy. Most delightful, was the realization that though most of us had started out the weekend as interested strangers, we had all by now become a team of very supportive friends.

After the final act, my Lemon Snow, Charlie brought all of us visiting chefs into the dining room to introduce us to the guests. We all felt the event was a resounding success. Not only did it raise money to contribute to our profession, it also served to connect 11 captains of our own ships in one common endeavor. In the after glow of our success, we sat at last, joked and relaxed and by midnight celebrated with the universally beloved leveler: take out pizza.

* Julie gave me a recipe for Java crisps, which were her favorite cookies. They will be in my upcoming book "The Baking Bible." They are indeed marvelous.

Continue reading "Charlie Trotter's Closing: A Special Tribute to Charlie" »

Chocolate Semifreddo

Jul 14, 2012 | From the kitchen of Rose in Desserts

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The Ultimate Chocolate Quick Fix

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It takes under 5 minutes to make, and 30 minutes to chill in the freezer. The short visit to the freezer gives it an addictively firm texture.

Chocolate is not my top favorite flavor unless it is wonderful. My first love is vanilla and then caramel, followed closely by lemon. So when I tell you that this is one of the most delicious things I've ever tasted--trust me!

No one would believe that this rich chocolate semi-frozen cream is made with cocoa not chocolate. I chose cocoa because it has much less cocoa butter which becomes very hard when chilled. The egg yolk adds shine, silkiness of texture, and enhancement of flavor.

Makes almost 1 cup (2 servings) It can be multiplied to make many servings

INGREDIENTS

MEASURE

WEIGHT

volume

ounces

grams

sugar

1/4 cup

1.7 ounces

50 grams

unsweetened cocoa powder (alkalized)

1/4 cup

1 ounce ounces

30 grams

salt

a tiny pinch

.

.

milk

1/4 cup (2 fluid ounces)

2 ounces

60 grams

heavy cream

1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces)

4 ounces

116 grams

1 large egg yolk, preferably Safest Choice Pasteurized

1 tablespoon

0.6 ounce

18 grams

pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon

.

.

Set a strainer over a medium bowl, near the cooktop.

In a small saucepan whisk together the sugar, cocoa, and salt. Whisk in the milk until smooth. Then whisk in the cream.

Over low heat, stirring constantly, bring the mixture to a boil. Simmer for 1 minute until thickened.

Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the egg yolk and vanilla. Scrape the mixture into the strainer and press it through. Then divide it between two pot de crème containers or 6 ounce custard cups. Cover tightly and freeze 30 minutes. If not ready to serve, refrigerate until 30 minutes before serving time. 30 to 45 minutes in the freezer results in the best texture. (When a dessert is called "semifreddo" it means semi-frozen.)

Take a spoonful and bliss out!

Apple Time

Sep 30, 2010 | From the kitchen of Rose in Announcements

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What is a more perfect combination than pork chops and apple sauce! And apple sauce is so easy to make. Just cut and core the apples, toss with 3 to 4 tablespoons of sugar per pound of apples and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Add a 1/2" stick of cinnamon if desired. Let it sit for about 20 minutes until liquid forms. Bring to a boil and simmer covered for 20 to 30 minutes until the apples soften. Cool and press through a strainer.

The secret to the dreamy pink color is to choose red apples and leave the skin on while simmering.

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