Sunday, June 22, 2008

Chocolate and raspberry

Chocolate Ganache Cake with Raspberry Coulis
Once upon a time I had this great idea. I love chocolate and raspberry together; they’re a match made in heaven (and anyone who tries to tell you chocolate and orange are a better combo is clearly working for demonic forces, back away slowly). I was watching some cooking show or other and saw them make ganache. It’s. . . chocolate . . . with heavy cream. I can do that. Watching something else showed me the beauty of the store bought chocolate pie crust (or maybe it was that Better Than Candy Pie – I can’t be sure). Well obviously I should make this ganache, and pour it lovingly into this chocolate crust, and make a raspberry coulis to spread on the plate below this heavenly creation – it’s like Oreo wrapped fudge! With raspberry sauce!
Without a thought to what such a creation might actually mean for my health in the long run, I made it for my father’s birthday one year as he is a chocolate raspberry fan as well.
Unfortunately, this treat became a bit of a hit with certain members of my family (I’m looking at you Mom, and maybe you too Dad – though you don’t demand it of me, so I can’t be as sure as I am with Mom). By this time I had realized that I was serving calories, fat, and clogged arteries in chocolate and raspberry clothing. Alas, it was far too late for us to save ourselves, but perhaps there is another way. . .
Whether or not this is any better for you, I doubt, but at least it’s not just a giant slab of ganache.
I’d wait to start on the coulis and ganache until after the cake is ready. The coulis can be refrigerated if you decide to make it in advance, but the ganache might get too firm to work with if you let it sit too long. Best to deal with it while it’s still a little warm.

Here is a flourless chocolate cake recipe, but I haven’t tried it yet.

1 package of frozen raspberries (and if they’re in season, fresh for garnish)
sugar (or Splenda!) to taste – sometimes I don’t need to add sugar at all

Dump your raspberries into a small sauce pan and heat over medium - low. Stir occasionally to move the frozen areas to the bottom. Once the berries start to liquefy and burble, you can decide if you need to add sugar.
Recipes for raspberry sauce may give you a specific amount to add, but that’s crazy talk. Some berries are sweeter than others, so I really think you need to add sugar in small increments until you have a tart/sweet ration you’re happy with.
Once the berries are completely broken down and smooshy, let cool a bit, then press through a strainer to remove the seeds. Some people seem to think seeds are okay. They are not. More devil’s work.

1 pkg good quality semisweet chocolate chips, I like Ghiradelli. Please let the record show you can also grab a good bar (hello Scharffenberger) and chop it into small pieces, up to you.
1 small container of heavy cream, or perhaps we try that TJs ff ½ & ½ ?

Chop up your chocolate if you’ve opted for the bar – you can do this while your raspberries are heating.
Create a double boiler by placing a bowl over a small saucepan with a couple of inches of water in the bottom. You don’t want so much water that it touches the bowl, but not so little that it will boil off. The steam is what you’re using to melt the chocolate.
Put your chocolate into the double boiler and stir periodically as it begins to melt. Once you have more melted chocolate than not, you can bring the cream into the equation.
Again, recipes abound with exact amounts, but I’ll be damned if I ever pay attention (aside from my first attempt – if you’ve never done this before you should probably find one of those). I just pour a bit in until it looks right. How’s that for unhelpful? The cream acts to soften your chocolate so it won’t harden back to solid, but will stay squidgy and awesome. Add too much and it won’t firm up enough. Science is tricky! The beauty here is that you can flavor it however you’d like (with extracts or liqueurs), or leave it plain and chocolatey delicious.

Then you take this melty goo and pour or spread it all over whatever it is you’re pouring it over. In this case, the cake. It is equally amazing on brownies, for fondue, on yellow cake, rice krispie treats, fruit, your fingers, the spoon, uh, anything really.

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