Chocolate Temptation Cake

There are some days when everything just goes so right.  This was one of those days.  I had my first piece printed in the local newspaper and although it doesn’t seem like much, it meant a lot to me.

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It all came about when an acquaintance,  Lorraine Eaton, wrote a cookbook titled “Tidewater Table.”  She happens to work for the local paper.  They came up with the idea that if anyone made a recipe from her cookbook and wrote about it they would publish the piece in the paper.  Well, I certainly wasn’t going to turn down a chance at notoriety for a day, so of course I had to get the book out and figure out something to make!

There were many good ideas, but I made my decision when I saw the picture of the “Chocolate Temptation Cake.”  Who doesn’t love chocolate?  I for one could live on chocolate but what made this even better was the fact it had hazelnuts and raspberries in the cake.  This recipe was from Williamsburg’s Marcel Desaulniers, the author of several chocolate-centric cookbooks, including “Death by Chocolate.”   I had to try to make this, despite the fact it was a bit of a challenge.

It really wasn’t that hard to make, just time-consuming.  The hardest part for me was skinning the hazelnuts, if you can believe that.  Those skins just didn’t want to come off!  The taste however, was well worth the time into it and would be a great ending to any dinner party you had.

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Try this recipe, try the cake and buy the book.  It will be a great addition to your collection!

Chocolate Temptation Cake

Course Dessert
Prep Time 6 hours 40 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 7 hours 10 minutes

Ingredients

FOR THE CAKE

  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter (2 tablespoons melted)
  • 6-1/2 ounces semisweet chocolate, broken into 1/2 ounce pieces
  • 2/3 cups egg yolks
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup egg whites

FOR THE GANACHE

  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 10 1/2 ounces semisweet chocolate, broken into 1/2 ounce pieces

FOR THE FILLING AND SAUCE

  • 1 1/2 pints red raspberries
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • (I would double this)

FOR THE CURLS

  • 1 ounce solid piece semisweet chocolate

Instructions

  1. Lightly coat the insides of two 9-by-1 1/2 inch round cake pans with melted butter. Line each pan with parchment paper, then lightly coat the parchment paper with more melted butter. Set aside.

  2. Heat oven to 325 degrees F.

  3. Heat 1 inch of water in bottom of double boiler over medium heat. Place the remaining butter and 6 1/2 ounces of semisweet chocolate in top half of double boiler. Tightly cover the top with film wrap. Allow to heat for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat, stir until smooth and hold at room temperature.

  4. Place 2/3 cup egg yolks and 1 cup sugar in a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle. Beat on high until lemon colored and slightly thickened, about 4 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl and beat for additional 2 minutes.

  5. While egg yolks are beating, whisk 2/3 cup egg whites ina large stainless-steel bowl until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes.

  6. Using a rubber spatula, fold the melted chocolate mixture into the beaten egg yolk mixture. Add a quarter of the beaten egg whites, and stir to incorporate, then gently fold in remaining egg whites.

  7. Divide between the prepared pans, spreading evenly and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool in pans for 15 minutes. During baking the surface of the cake will form a crust; this crust will normally collapse when the cake is removed from the oven. Adjust the oven temperature to 450 degrees. Invert cakes onto cake plates. Remove parchment paper and refrigerate the cakes for 1 hour.

  8. While cakes are cooling, prepare the ganache. First toast the hazelnuts on a baking sheet for 5 minutes in the 450-degree oven. Remove from the oven, and immediately cover with a damp towel. Invert another baking sheet over the top to steam the skins off. After 5 minutes, remove the skins from the nuts. Allow the nuts to cool to room temperature. In a food processor fitted with metal blade, chop nuts into 1/8-inch pieces.

  9. Heat 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, 4 tablespoons butter and 1/4 cup sugar in a 2 1/2 quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil. Place 10 1/2 ounces semisweet chocolate pieces ina stainless-steel bowl. Pour the boiling cream over the chocolate, and allow to stand for 3 to 4 minutes. Stir until smooth.

  10. Remove 1/2 cup chocolate ganache, and combine with chopped hazelnuts. Hold this mixture at room temperature to use for the filling. Remove another 1/2 cup chocolate ganache and reserve under refrigeration for 1 hour (this 1/2 cup will be used to decorate the Temptation) Hold the remaining chocolate ganache at room temperature until needed.

  11. Puree the raspberries and 1/2 cup sugar in a food processor fitted with a steel blade for 12 to 15 seconds. Transfer to a stainless-steel bowl. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

  12. Assemble and decorate the cake. Remove the cakes from the refrigerator. Using a cake spatula, spread 1/4 cup raspberry puree over the one cake. Spread the puree evenly to the edges. Spread the ganache and hazelnut mixture over the raspberry puree. Spread the ganache evenly to the edges. Invert the other cake layer on top of the ganache covered cake. Press the cakes together. Using a very sharp serrated knife, trim the top and sides of the cake so they are even. At this point, the cake must be refrigerated for 30 minutes.

  13. Remove the well chilled cake from the refrigerator. Pour the room temperature chocolate ganache over the cake, spreading the with a spatula to create and even coating of ganache on the top and sides of the cake. Refrigerate the cake for 20 to 25 minutes to set the ganache.

  14. Transfer the 1/2 cup well chilled ganache to a pastry bag fitted with a No. 2 star tip. Remove the cake from the refrigerator. Pipe eight to 12 stars on the top of the cake.

  15. Using a vegetable peeler, shave chocolate curls from the 1 ounce piece of chocolate directly onto the center of the cake. Refrigerate the cake for 1 hour before slicing.

  16. Temper the cake slices at room temperature for 1 1/2 to 2 hours before serving. Portion 1/4 cup raspberry puree onto each plate. Place a slice of cake in the center of each plate and serve.

Fried Green Tomatoes

Green TomatoesI grew up in the North where things like okra, hush puppies and fried green tomatoes were a foreign language.  The first time I even heard about fried green tomatoes was when the movie by the same name came out.  I watched it, and I saw the things she was putting on the plates and I wondered at the time why anyone in their right mind would want to eat something like that.  Fried tomatoes?

Living in the south you have to adjust….most times in a good way.  What’s that saying?  When in Rome…..?  I’ve been here long enough that I feel I am a southerner, so when the time came a few years ago and I saw Fried Green Tomatoes on the menu, I had to try them.  Well, either the southern humidity finally got to me or we were on to something good.  Fried Green Tomatoes?  OH YES!

As it usually is in my world, once I like something, I have to try to make it.  And it has must right.  I have tried many recipes but I believe I have finally got one that has become my favorite.  With a few tweaks here and there I have adapted this from Southern Living to a point where I think it’s worth sharing.   It’s got a nice tang, a little spice and a lot of crunch and you can always add a garlic aioli or basil mayonnaise for added enjoyment.

So for you Yankees…..you may have won the war, but you’re missing out on some good eating.   I hope you try this because you will be glad you did.

Bon Appétit Y’all!

Fried Green Tomatoes

Course Entree, Side Dish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 Tablespoon hot sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worchestershire sauce
  • 1 cup all purpose flour, divided
  • 1 cup panko crumbs
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 6 medium green tomatoes, cut into 1/3-inch slices
  • Canola or Vegetable oil
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Combine eggs and next 3 ingredients. Set aside.
  2. Combine 1/2 cup all purpose flour and , panko, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl or pan.
  3. Dredge tomato slices in remaining 1/2 cup flour, dip in egg mixture, and dredge in panko mixture.
  4. Pour oil to a depth of 1/4 to 1/2 inch in a large cast iron skillet, heat to 375 degrees. Drop tomatoes, in batches, into hot oil, and cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels or a rack. Sprinkle hot tomatoes with salt.
  5. (You can keep cooked tomatoes warm at 250 degrees in the oven).

Lemon Cheesecake with Raspberry Sauce for Mom’s Birthday

We all hit milestones.  Sometimes it’s when you graduate high school or college, when you get married or when you hit a major age in life.  They are all important events but none is more important than my mom turning 80.   A tremendous age to hit, with lots of stories, heartaches, celebrations and memories along the way.

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For such a big occasion we had to make a special dessert.  When I asked her what she wanted she said a cheesecake.  My mom would have been happy with any kind of cheesecake, maybe even the no bake out of the box cheesecake.  I couldn’t have that for her however, so I had to search all my recipes to see what I could come up with.  Frustrated that I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted,  I adapted my recipe from three different recipes, but what we ended up with was a dessert I could be proud serving my mom on such a special day.

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The day was so special, I have to say I forgot to take pictures of the process.  What really counted was that my mom really enjoyed herself, enjoyed the company and really enjoyed the cheesecake.  My husband, who never eats dessert had two slices.  So despite that I don’t really have pictures, please try this recipe.

It makes for a wonderful celebration of an important milestone….in anyone’s life.

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