Saturday, February 28, 2009
Daring Bakers Challenge: Flourless Chocolate Cake and Homemade Ice Cream
The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef.
We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.
Yes, my friends, I have joined Daring Bakers. I've wanted to for some time now, and I'm really glad I joined this month because it was a great recipe. For those who don't know, at the beginning of every month the daring bakers are given a challenge recipe which is announced in the top secret member only forums, and then they bake it sometime throughout the month. No one outside the group is supposed to know what that month's challenge is until the daring bakers all blog about it on the same day. And today is that day, and blogging about it I am.
This cake was so good. I had never had a flourless cake before and I loved the simplicity and elegance of it. Seriously, there are only three ingredients in this cake. Is that not awesome? My only trouble was keeping myself from eating all the chocolate before I made the cake!
The second part of the challenge was optional, but you could make your own ice cream to go with your cake. And since ice cream is in my genes, how could I pass that up? I made vanilla ice cream using a real vanilla bean for flavoring. I have never used vanilla beans before and the experience was lovely. My house smelled so good for the rest of the day. I topped the ice cream and cake off with caramel sauce.
I definitely plan on making both this cake and the ice cream again. It was so simple and oh so good. Here are the recipes for both:
Chocolate Valentino (Flourless Chocolate Cake)
16 ounces (1 pound) chocolate, roughly chopped (you can use semisweet, milk, or a combination of both. I used Guittard milk chocolate chips and skipped the chopping.)
1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 2 T. unsalted butter
5 large eggs, separated
Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) or use a double boiler. Melt chocolate and butter, stirring often.
While your chocolate butter mixture cools, butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment. I used a heart shaped pan but you can use 6x8, 7x7, or an 8" round.
Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.
Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl just until stiff peaks begin to form (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry). With the same beater, beat the egg yolks together. Slowly add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.
Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter. Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375 degrees. Bake for 25 minutes or until top of the cake looks similar to a brownie and a toothpick inserted near the center appears slightly wet. Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes, loosen edges with a knife and unmold.
Classic Vanilla Ice Cream
1 vanilla pod
1 1/4 cups whole milk
4 large egg yolks
6 T caster sugar (I blended regular sugar in a blender until fine and powdery)
1 t. cornstarch
1 1/4 c. heavy cream
3 T. butter
Using a small knife, slit the vanilla pod lengthwise. Pour the milk into a heavy based saucepan. Add the vanilla pod and bring to a boil Remove from heat and leave for 15 minutes to allow the flavors to infuse. Lift the vanilla pod up. Holding it over the pan, scrape the black seeds out of the pod with a small knife or spoon so that they fall back into the milk. Set the vanilla pod aside and bring the milk back to a boil.
Whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch in a bowl until the mixture is thick and foamy. Gradually pour in the hot milk, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the pan and cook over a gently heat, stirring constantly.
When the custard thickens and is smooth, pour it back into the bowl. Allow it to cool, then chill it in refrigerator.
Heat 1/4 cup of the heavy cream with 3 T. of butter until melted. Cool to room temperature and add to heavy cream in a slow, steady stream while mixing.
Stir the cream into the custard and churn the mixture in ice cream maker until thick (follow instructions on your ice cream maker).
If you don't have an ice cream maker you can make it by hand by whipping the cream until it has thickened but still falls from a spoon. Fold it into the custard and pour into a plastic tub or similar freeze-proof container. Place in freezer for 6 hours or until firm enough to scoop, beating it twice during the freezing process to keep if from being icy and coarse.