Desserts/Pastries

Cooks Illustrated Triple-Chocolate Mousse Cake

October 2017 Fam Din
We’re Chocoholics.

Every single one of us.

October 2017 Fam Din
From Ôn and Mệ (our paternal grandparents) that would give us Andes chocolates as goodies….

To our Folks…(particularly Dad these days…)

To all five Sibbies

and especially all of our Munchkins.

Triple-Chocolate Mousse Cake
Mmmm….Chocolate.

Triple-Chocolate Mousse Cake
So when we discovered the Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake from Porto’s Bakery –it became a staple at our celebrations!

Triple-Chocolate Mousse Cake
A rich chocolate cake layer base….

Topped by a chocolatey mousse layer…

Then topped with another white chocolatey mousse layer.

Triple-Chocolate Mousse Cake
Perfection.

Triple-Chocolate Mousse Cake
A while back, seester asked me to make a version of our beloved cake. Which was perfect timing because I had just stumbled across a version by Cooks Illustrated that I really wanted to try out.

October 2017 Fam Din
Their recipes are very specific and detailed….but for this recipe, not difficult at all. Just takes some time. Trust the process, it’s so worth it.

Oh–and don’t skimp out on the quality chocolate peeps. Since it’s the star of the show, indulge a bit.

October 2017 Fam Din
The bottom layer is a flourless chocolate cake.

Decadent and delicious.

October 2017 Fam Din
The second layer, is a rich and scrumptious bittersweet chocolate mousse.

So velvety divine.

October 2017 Fam Din
Next is the fluffy white chocolate mousse layer — airy and dreamy.

And don’t forget the chocolate shavings to garnish!

October 2017 Fam Din
And now that I’m looking at these pictures — I’m wondering why the heckI haven’t made it recently again?! Must fix that soon!

Happy Chocolate Dreams!!! ❤

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Triple-Chocolate Mousse Cake
Serves 12-16

Ingredients:

BOTTOM LAYER
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces, plus extra for greasing pan
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
¾ teaspoon instant espresso powder
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs, separated
pinch table salt
⅓ cup packed (about 2 1/2 ounces) light brown sugar, crumbled with fingers to remove lumps

MIDDLE LAYER
2 tablespoons cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-processed
5 tablespoons hot water
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
1½ cups cold heavy cream
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
⅛ teaspoon table salt

TOP LAYER
¾ teaspoon powdered gelatin
1 tablespoon water
6 ounces white chocolate chips
1½ cups cold heavy cream

Shaved chocolate or cocoa powder for serving, optional

FOR THE BOTTOM LAYER:

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Butter bottom and sides of 91/2-inch springform pan. Melt butter, chocolate, and espresso powder in large heatproof bowl set over saucepan filled with 1 inch of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat and cool mixture slightly, about 5 minutes. Whisk in vanilla and egg yolks; set aside.

In stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat egg whites and salt at medium speed until frothy, about 30 seconds. Add half of brown sugar and beat until combined, about 15 seconds. Add remaining brown sugar and beat at high speed until soft peaks form when whisk is lifted, about 1 minute longer, scraping down sides halfway through. Using whisk, fold one-third of beaten egg whites into chocolate mixture to lighten. Using rubber spatula, fold in remaining egg whites until no white streaks remain. Carefully transfer batter to prepared springform pan, gently smoothing top with offset spatula.

Bake until cake has risen, is firm around edges, and center has just set but is still soft (center of cake will spring back after pressing gently with finger), 13 to 18 minutes. Transfer cake to wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour. (Cake will collapse as it cools.) Do not remove cake from pan.

FOR THE MIDDLE LAYER:

Combine cocoa powder and hot water in small bowl; set aside. Melt chocolate in large heatproof bowl set over saucepan filled with 1 inch of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat and cool slightly, 2 to 5 minutes.

In clean bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whip cream, granulated sugar, and salt at medium speed until mixture begins to thicken, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to high and whip until soft peaks form when whisk is lifted, 15 to 60 seconds.

Whisk cocoa powder mixture into melted chocolate until smooth. Using whisk, fold one-third of whipped cream into chocolate mixture to lighten. Using rubber spatula, fold in remaining whipped cream until no white streaks remain. Spoon mousse into springform pan over cooled cake and gently tap pan on counter 3 times to remove any large air bubbles; gently smooth top with offset spatula. Wipe inside edge of pan with damp cloth to remove any drips. Refrigerate cake at least 15 minutes while preparing top layer.

FOR THE TOP LAYER:

In small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over water; let stand at least 5 minutes. Place white chocolate in medium bowl. Bring ½ cup cream to simmer in small saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove from heat; add gelatin mixture and stir until fully dissolved. Pour cream mixture over white chocolate and whisk until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth, about 30 seconds. Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally, 5 to 8 minutes (mixture will thicken slightly).

In clean bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whip remaining cup cream at medium speed until it begins to thicken, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to high and whip until soft peaks form when whisk is lifted, 15 to 60 seconds. Using whisk, fold one-third of whipped cream into white chocolate mixture to lighten. Using rubber spatula, fold remaining whipped cream into white chocolate mixture until no white streaks remain. Spoon white chocolate mousse into pan over middle layer. Smooth top with offset spatula. Return cake to refrigerator and chill until set, at least 2½ hours.

TO SERVE:

If using, garnish top of cake with chocolate curls or dust with cocoa. Run thin knife between cake and side of springform pan; remove side of pan. Run cleaned knife along outside of cake to smooth sides. Cut into slices and serve.

NOTE:

This recipe requires a springform pan at least 3 inches high. It is imperative that each layer is made in sequential order. Cool the base completely before topping it with the middle layer. We recommend Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bar for the base and middle layers; our other recommended brand of chocolate, Callebaut Intense Dark L-60-40NV, may be used, but it will produce drier, slightly less sweet results. Our preferred brand of white chocolate is Guittard Choc-Au-Lait White Chips. For best results, chill the mixer bowl before whipping the heavy cream. The entire cake can be made through step 8 and refrigerated up to a day in advance; leave it out at room temperature for up to 45 minutes before releasing it from the cake pan and serving. For neater slices, use a cheese wire or dip your knife in hot water before cutting each slice.

Recipe: Cooks Illustrated. Instructional Video available here.

 

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Desserts/Pastries · Sunday Family Dinner

Seester’s Creamy Rum Flan

Creamy Rum Flan

WOW — who knew that you all loved flan so much?!

After I posted the Fam Din about V’s birthday flan, I got flooded with requests for the recipe! I don’t blame you, it really was quite lusciously delicious.

November 2017 Fam Din
I consulted with Big Seestrah, since the original recipe was her F.I.L.’s and she obliged saying that she had tweaked it enough to make it her own.

Now a quick forewarning for all of you Vietnamese Flan (“kem flan” or bánh flan”) aficionados. This recipe does not contain any condensed milk or coconut milk like many traditional Vietnamese versions do. And quite frankly, I think that’s one of the reasons why I like it so much since it’s not too sweet. Plus I have a theory that the consistency of both coconut milk and condensed milk make for a heavier flan that’s more likely to cause large bubbles.

I have no scientific backing on that theory…just a hunch.

November 2017 Fam Din
You can choose to make larger dishes of flan or individual sized ones like seester did above. Just be sure to adjust for baking time depending on the vessel. But either way, super delish.

Oh! And if you’re not a rum fan, you can sub with any booziness you’d like — or just skip it! But as for me, I say HECK YES to rum as it pairs so well with the caramel.

Thanks for sharing Seester N!!!

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Creamy Rum Flan
Serves approximately 10

Ingredients:

2½ cups granulated sugar, divided
5 cups whole milk
5 large eggs
3 ounces dark rum*

Place 10 ramekins (4-6 ounces) or 2 baking dishes in 2 roasting pans. You’ll need the roasting pans to create a water bath later.

In a small, heavy bottomed pot, add in 1½ cups sugar. Over medium heat, cook the sugar until it caramelizes and becomes golden brown. Be sure to stir often. Once the sugar has reached the desired color, quickly pour the caramel into the bottoms of each ramekin/dish. Swirl each so that it completely covers the bottom of each vessel. Set aside and allow the caramel to cool.

In another pot, whisk the milk and remaining sugar over medium heat. Continue whisking until the sugar has dissolved and the liquids come to a soft boil. Remove the pot from the heat and allow to cool.

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and rum together until combined. Slowly whisk the milk mixture into the eggs. Pour the custard into the prepared ramekins/dish and cover with aluminum foil. Place the roasting pans in the middle rack of a preheated 380 degrees F oven. Carefully fill the roasting pans with boiling water to come halfway up the sides of each ramekin/dish.

Bake the flan for approximately 45-60 minutes or until the center has just barely set. The length of cook time will depend on the sizes of your ramekins/baking dishes. Once done, remove the flan from the water bath and allow to cool on racks until they reach room temperature. Cover each the flan with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Once you’re ready to serve, carefully run a hot pairing knife around the edge of the flan. Place a rimmed plate or serving platter on top and quickly invert. Serve with fresh berries, whipped cream, etc.

*You can add less or more rum to taste. However, if you choose to omit you can substitute with 1 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract.

 

Desserts/Pastries · Sponsored

Matcha Green Tea Cheesecake

Matcha Green Tea Cheesecake
If you’ve been with me for awhile then you’re probably familiar with my family’s obsession with ALL things matcha green tea flavored. So when it comes to our celebrations, I’m constantly trying to think of different ways to incorporate the finely ground matcha green tea powder in our desserts

Matcha Green Tea Cheesecake
We’ve done…..

You’d think we’d be sick of it all by now—but of course, we can’t seem to get enough of it!

There are even some health benefits to matcha — high in antioxidants, can assist with your concentration and help to detox. And if you use it in baked goods like I do, it finishes into a beautiful green hue –perfectly festive for the  holidays.

Matcha Green Tea Cheesecake
To close out my year as a Davidson’s Dozen, I thought I would take one of our favorite ingredients and combine it with their Safest Choice® pasteurized eggs. The end resulted in a rich and decadent Matcha Green Tea Cheesecake.

There are several different forms cheesecakes. Some are baked and some are unbaked like my Matcha Green Tea Icebox Cheesecake. There are fruit flavored, chocolate based and some are light and airy whereas others are rich and dense.

I generally prefer a denser texture –more along the lines of a New York style cheesecake –which is how this baked Matcha Green Tea Cheesecake was inspired by.

Matcha Green Tea Cheesecake

The crust of the cheesecake started off with chocolate sandwich cookies that I threw into the food processor — cream filling and all. Once the cookies were pulsed into the texture of sand, it’s then mixed with some melted butter and baked off in a springform pan for a few minutes to set.

The filling is a combination of cream cheese, sour cream (for that added bit of tang), sugar, Safest Choice®  Eggs, and a hefty dose of ground matcha green tea. Davidson’s Safest Choice® Pasteurized Eggs are all-natural, hormone and antibiotic free which all leads towards a delicious farm-fresh flavor. They give the cheesecake a smooth and creamy consistency that your loved ones will adore for the holidays.

The cheesecake is then baked in a water bath to provide moisture in the oven so that the top doesn’t crack. After chilling in the fridge overnight, it’s then topped with matcha flavored whipped cream. And I’ve got to admit–it tastes fantastic! Chocolate pairs especially well with matcha — the green tea is slightly bitter and balances the sweetness from the cake.

Matcha Green Tea Cheesecake

If you’d like the recipe for my Matcha Green Tea Cheesecake, click here. And if you need other delicious ideas for your holiday events, visit the recipe center at SafeEggs.com for cocktails, appetizers, entrees and desserts!

Happy Holidays!

Davidsons-Dozen-Blogger-Badge*DISCLOSURE: As a brand ambassador for the Safest Choice™ pasteurized eggs, I was compensated for the creation of this recipe and post. However, as always, all opinions are 100% my own.*

Desserts/Pastries

I love Kitchen Gadgets…and Cherry Clafoutis

Cherry Clafoutis

I’m not one of those gals who dream about huge walk in closets for my clothes and accessories–though let’s be honest, I also wouldn’t turn it down either.

But no, I dream about a huge kitchen with spacious storage for cooking gear.

That.Would.Be.So.Rad.

Cherry Clafoutis

But I have to confess….although I do face some serious storage issues, that does not mean I stop collecting cooking gadgets. I just love them!

So when I got my hands on a Cherry Pitter courtesy of OXO, I was STOKED! I couldn’t wait to grab some of the sweet summer black cherries that have been in season and start pittin’!

Cherry Clafoutis

I decided to make a simple Cherry Clafoutis to showcase the fruit and maximize the wonderful flavor. I’ve been told that traditional Cherry Clafoutis are made with intact cherries to add that “almond-like” flavor. But really…how pleasant is it to spit out pits while enjoying dessert? Meh–not so much!

In hopes of emulating the flavor without the pits, I used almond extract and added some Amaretto liqueur. The end results were quite delicious. Fairly light considering the “custard-like” clafoutis batter and slightly sweet from the cherries.

And with that….. Pits out Homies!

(Sorry, I just couldn’t resist….)

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Cherry Clafoutis
Serves 8

Ingredients:

1 pound fresh cherries, stemmed and pitted
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
4 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used almond extract)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon Amaretto liqueur (optional)
Powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 375°. Butter cake pan or ramekins. Arrange cherries in a single layer in pan. Combine milk and cream in a small saucepan; bring just to a simmer over medium heat. Set aside. Combine eggs, flour, sugar, lemon zest, vanilla, and salt in a medium bowl; whisk to blend. Gradually whisk in hot milk mixture; whisk until custard is smooth. Stir in Amaretto. Pour custard evenly over cherries in pan. If necessary, gently shake pan to allow custard to settle. Bake clafouti until custard is set and top is golden brown, about 30 minutes for ramekins and 45-55 minutes for cake pan. Let cool 3 minutes, then run a knife around pan sides to loosen clafouti (if using a cake pan). Dust top with powdered sugar; cut into wedges and serve.
Desserts/Pastries

Chocolate Tart with Hazelnut-Graham Crust

Chocolate Hazelnut Tart

The Tết Festivities (Lunar New Year) has finally come to a close. And so far, the Year of the Dragon isn’t looking too bad at all. I’ve eaten a ton of yummy food, my home is spankin’ clean, work hasn’t been a hot mess, and I even found money in the pocket of one of my coats I haven’t worn in awhile. Score!

Ok, let me revise that. The BEST thing this week is that I get to meet my brand new nephew, Leonidas (Leo), tomorrow! He’s so adorable and CHUBBY! Of course, pictures are to come.

Over the weekend, the clan got together at my auntie’s home for Tết. We ate, drank, gambled, gave/received lì xì (lucky money), and had a good ol’ time with the peeps.

I had struggled for some time thinking what I should bring to the party as my aunties and sis would be covering the Vietnamese dishes. Vietnamese desserts aren’t really my specialty so after much mulling around, I decided to whip up a few Chocolate Tarts. I know…not the least bit Vietnamese or even Asian for that fact but I was pretty sure the fam wouldn’t complain.

For the recipe and cute video tutorial, check out Dulce Delight.

I’ve got two quick tips should you try this little number out… … First, after you bake the tart you may freak out a bit if the filling looks a bit grainy or bubbly. I know, cause I totally did! But don’t worry, once it cools, it all settles and the gorgeous honey-ganache glaze covers any imperfections. And second, although the flavor of the crust was divine, mine was really crumbly. I’d recommend throwing in another tablespoon of butter to the party.

I served the tart with fresh whipped cream and it was bliss. The tart itself is like a rich, decadent truffle and the hazelnut crusts added a great crunch and flavor—kind of like a Ferrero Rochers. Mmmm…I love those.

All in all, I’m liking the Dragon. 🙂

Desserts/Pastries · Sponsored

Tiramisu–Molto Delizioso!

Tiramisu

I remember the first time I ever tried Tiramisu.

It was on a date with my high school bf at an Italian restaurant in Orange County. At the end of the meal, our server brought over a huge dish of Tiramisu, compliments of the restaurant. Who knows…..he was probably trying to help the guy to impress me. 🙂

Not one to ever pass on desserts, I quickly grabbed a spoon and took a big bite. My sweet tooth was forever changed. It was rich, creamy and yet somehow light and fluffy at the same time.

So good! Then again, it could have been the rum in it that was skewing my 16 year old taste buds.

Like my previous post of Oeufs en Cocotte, you absolutely MUST use the freshest eggs possible in this dessert as Tiramisu is not cooked. The Safest Choice™Pasteurized Eggs I received were perfectly put to use in this.

The recipe below is a slightly tweaked version from Gabriele Corcos & Debi Mazar from the Cooking Channel’s show Extra Virgin. They are such a cute pair and I absolutely love watching them. Their preparation is quite simple to do and yields delish results. One thing to note is to be careful not to soak the ladyfingers too long in the liquids or else it will get way too mushy. A quick dip of just one side of the cookie does the trick.

Molto Delizioso!

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Tiramisu
Serves 8
Slightly Adapted from Gabriele Corcos & Debi Mazar

Ingredients:

2 cups freshly brewed, strong coffee (cooled)
1/2 tablespoon instant espresso powder
2 (8-ounce) containers mascarpone
5 eggs, separated
14 ounces savoiardi cookies (firm ladyfingers)
4 ounces sugar, plus 2 tablespoons or more, for the coffee
2 ounces dark rum
Pinch salt
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup shaved dark chocolate, to garnish

While the coffee is still warm, add 2 tablespoons sugar and espresso powder. Stir until dissolved and allow to cool in a shallow dish. Once cooled, stir in the rum.

Whisk the egg yolks with 2 ounces sugar, and beaut until you obtain a creamy light mixture. Work the mascarpone in a bowl using a wooden spoon, making sure you eliminate any lumps, then add the mascarpone to the sugar-egg yolk mixture and continue to mix well.

In a separate bowl, mix the egg whites, pinch of salt, and the remaining 2 ounces sugar, until they reach a somewhat firm, but fluffy consistency, then add them to the mascarpone mixture.

Quickly dip one side of each of the savoiardi cookies (firm ladyfingers) in the coffee mixture, and one by one lay them flat into a 7 by 11 pyrex tray, making sure you do not soak the cookies, as you want to make sure they maintain their firmness. Once the first layer of cookies has been laid out, spread a layer of the mascarpone cream on top, and dust with 1 tablespoon cocoa powder.

Now, again, prepare another layer of coffee-dipped cookies, cream and cocoa powder. Garnish the top of the cake with the shaved dark chocolate.

Cover the tray with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 3 hours so the flavors can marry and the tiramisu can settle.

Desserts/Pastries · Vietnamese

Đậu Hũ Nước Đường Gừng (Vietnamese Soy Pudding with Ginger Syrup)

Đậu Hũ Nước Đường Gừng (Vietnamese Soy Pudding with Ginger Syrup)


Desserts (tráng miệng) are not a huge component to Vietnamese cuisine. Vietnamese “desserts” are usually fresh fruits but there are a few such as various forms of chè (sweet soups/puddings), rau câu (flavored jellos/gelatin), bánh (“cakes” that could include sweet cassava cakes, taro cakes, glutinous rice flour & coconut milk cakes, doughnuts, etc.), or kẹo (“candies” that are flavored with coconut, sesame, etc.).

Growing up, our Mom and grandma Mệ would often make such desserts. Some family favorites included Chè xôi nước (sticky rice dumplings filled with mung beans in a ginger-sugar soup), Chè đậu trắng (with black eyed peas),  Chè đậu xanh (with mung bean), and the gorgeous & colorful thạch Mom would create.

Lately, our big sis, N, has taken up the reigns in this area and has shared her preparation of Đậu Hũ Nước Đường Gừng (Soy Pudding with Ginger Syrup) with me…..and well, now you 🙂

Đậu Hũ Nước Đường Gừng (Vietnamese Soy Pudding with Ginger Syrup)

Đậu Hũ Nước Đường Gừng (also spelled as “đậu phụ” ortàu hũ”) is surprisingly easy to make, tasty, and only uses 5 ingredients! Unsweetened soy milk is combined with agar-agar and is topped with a generous helping of syrup that has been flavored with slightly spicy & aromatic ginger. You just can’t get any easier than that!

The texture of Đậu Hũ Nước Đường Gừng is up to personal preference. You can find it quite soft and silky—kind of like the texture of panna cotta. In those cases, the Đậu Hũ  is usually made with gelatin. However, if you prefer a slightly firmer texture (like how my nieces and I do) then the ratios below with agar-agar are the way to go. And by using agar-agar and the appropriate sugar, it can be a great Vegan dessert, too!

I also like to sometimes flavor my Đậu Hũ with lá duá (pandan). To me, pandan has a floral and even coconut flavor to it. If I have fresh leaves, I’ll bruise the leaves up and steep it in the soy milk before adding in the agar-agar. If using the pandan flavoring (as seen above), I add about 1-2 teaspoons of it into the liquids before ladling it into the serving dishes.

If you’re looking for a dessert to cool down with this summer, try out this Đậu Hũ Nước Đường Gừng. It’s light but will fulfill any sweet tooth with very minimal guilt 🙂

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Đậu Hũ Nước Đường Gừng (Vietnamese Soy Pudding with Ginger Syrup)
Serves 8

Ingredients:

4 Cups Unsweetened Soy Milk
½ Tablespoon Agar-Agar Powder
1 Cup Light Brown Sugar
½ Cup Warm Water
3 Inch Ginger Knob, peeled and sliced

In a saucepan, heat soy milk over medium heat until it begins to simmer. Whisk in agar-agar powder until dissolved. Cook on a low simmer, mixing frequently for approximately 7-8 minutes. Using a fine mesh sieve, strain the liquids before dividing between 8 4-ounce dishes. After a few minutes, use toothpicks and run along the side/tops of each dish to remove & discard the thin “skin” layer that has formed on top. Allow to cool to room temperature on the counter then, cover each dish and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours or until firm.

While the tofu is chilling, prepare the ginger syrup. In a sauce pan, use a rubber spatula to stir and dissolve the water and sugar. Add in the ginger slices and cook on medium low heat until it reaches a slight simmer. Reduce the heat to low and allow the syrup to cook and thicken for about 10-15 minutes—-be careful not to burn the sugars. Cool the syrup before using.

To serve, spoon a heaping tablespoon (or more if desired) of the ginger syrup over each dish. Enjoy!

 

 

 

**This is my submission to Delicious Vietnam #16 a monthly blogging event celebrating Vietnamese cuisine which was started by Anh of A Food Lover’s Journey and Hong & Kim of  Ravenous Couple. For more information, please visit Delicious Vietnam Thanks to Chi Anh from Door to My Kitchen for hosting this month!**