Thursday, April 19, 2012
When is an egg not an egg?
when it is served with soldiers!
As a child, i would have a soft boiled egg with strips of buttered bread or toast for dipping - my American son-in-law never heard of boiled eggs with soldiers (and he was a soldier!) so here is my take on the family tradition!
For this recipe, be sure to use large-sized eggs that have no cracks and are cold from the refrigerator. Shaking the raw eggs may seem like an old wives tale, but after cooking hundreds of eggs – both shaken and unshaken - I am convinced that this technique centers the yolks, which ensures even cooking.
The minute rest off heat prevent the cold eggs from cracking.
Briefly running the eggs under cold running water prevents the yolks from over-cooking; do not omit this step.
You may use this cooking method for fewer than four eggs without altering the timing.
I recommend serving these eggs in eggcups, with buttered toast for dipping, ( we call this soldiers!!)
4 large eggs
1. Bring 1 inch water to boil in large saucepan over high heat.
Working with one egg in each hand, grasp egg at top and bottom, and shake vigorously for 15 seconds, until inside of egg sloshes within shell. Place eggs in steamer basket. Transfer steamer basket to saucepan, cover, remove pan from heat and let stand 1 minute.
2. Return pan to medium-high heat and cook, covered, for 7 minutes exactly.
3. Transfer steamer basket to sink and run cold water over eggs for 30 seconds, moving steamer if necessary to make sure that all eggs are cooled. Serve immediately.
Saturday, April 7, 2012
An impressive dessert composed of complementary flavors and textures. This chocolate dacquoise serves a large party and it can be prepared up to two days in advance, making it perfect for the holidays.
This recipe was sent to me and i have not tried it yet.- if anyone does please leave a comment!
Chocolate Espresso Dacquoise
Serves 8 to 12
While this recipe may seem daunting it can be easily broken into components that can be prepared in advance. Use a rimless baking sheet or the back of an overturned rimmed baking sheet to bake the meringue. Misting the raw meringue with water seems counterintuitive, but it prevents the top layer of the meringue from separating, which yields a more cohesive cake. To skin the hazelnuts, simply place them in a clean kitchen towel after toasting, while they are still warm, and rub gently. We recommend using Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bar with 60% cacao for this recipe.
¾ cup blanched sliced almonds, toasted
½ cup hazelnuts, toasted and skinned
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup (7 ounces) sugar
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
¾ cup whole milk
4 large egg yolks
1/3 cup (2 1/3 ounces) sugar
1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons Amaretto (optional)
1 ½ tablespoons instant espresso powder
16 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons corn syrup
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
1 cup blanched sliced almonds, toasted
12 whole hazelnuts, toasted and skinned
1. For the Meringue: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 250 degrees. Using ruler and permanent marker, draw 13-inch by 10 ½ -inch rectangle on piece of parchment. Grease baking sheet and place parchment on it, ink side down.
2. Process almonds, hazelnuts, cornstarch, and salt in food processor until nuts are finely ground, 15 to 20 seconds. Add ½ cup sugar and pulse to combine, 1 to 2 pulses.
3. Using stand mixer fitted with whisk, whip egg whites and cream of tartar on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium-high and whip whites to soft, billowy mounds, about 1 minute. With mixer running at medium-high speed, slowly add remaining ½ cup sugar and continue to whip until glossy and stiff peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Fold nut mixture into egg white in two batches. With offset spatula, spread meringue evenly into 13-inch by 10 ½ -inch rectangle on parchment, using lines on parchment as guide. Using spray bottle, evenly mist surface of meringue with water until glistening. Bake 90 minutes. Turn off oven and allow meringue to cool in oven for 90 minutes. (Do not open oven during baking and cooling.) Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature, about 10 minutes. (Cooled meringue can be kept, tightly wrapped, for up to 2 days)
4. For the Buttercream: Heat milk in small saucepan over medium heat until just simmering. Meanwhile, whisk yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt in bowl until smooth. Remove milk from heat and, whisking constantly, add ½ of milk to yolk mixture to temper. Whisking constantly, return tempered yolk mixture to milk in saucepan. Return saucepan to medium heat and cook, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens to consistency of warm pudding, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer pastry cream to bowl. (Pastry cream will not be perfectly smooth.) Cover and refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.
5. Stir together espresso powder and Amaretto; set aside. In stand mixer fitted with paddle, beat butter at medium speed until smooth and light, 1 to 2 minutes. Add pastry cream in 3 batches, beating for 30 seconds after each addition. Add espresso mixture and continue to beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes longer, scraping down bowl as needed.
6. For the Ganache: Bring cream and corn syrup to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Pour cream mixture over chocolate and let stand for 1 minute. Stir mixture until smooth. Set aside to cool until chocolate mounds slightly when dripped from spoon.
7. To Assemble: Carefully invert meringue and peel off parchment. Reinvert meringue and place on cutting board. Using serrated knife and gentle sawing motion, trim edges of meringue to form 12- by 10-inch rectangle. Discard trimmings. Gently cut rectangle into four 3- by 10-inch rectangles. If any meringues break during cutting use them as middle layers. Place 3 rectangles on wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet. Using offset spatula, spread ¼ cup ganache evenly over surface of each of meringue. Refrigerate until ganache is firm, about 15 minutes. Set aside remaining ganache.
8. Using offset spatula, spread top surface of remaining meringue rectangle with ½ cup buttercream. Invert one ganache-coated meringue and place on top of buttercream and press gently to level. Repeat spreading meringue with ½ cup buttercream and topping with inverted ganache-coated meringue two more times. When last ganache-coated meringue is in place, spread half of remaining buttercream to lightly coat sides of cake. Then use remaining buttercream to coat top of cake. Smooth sides and top of cake until cake resembles box. Refrigerate until buttercream is firm, about 2 hours. (Once buttercream is firm, assemble cake may be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to two days.)
9. Warm remaining ganache in heat-proof bowl set over barely simmering water, stirring occasionally, until mixture is very fluid but not hot. Place assembled cake on wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet. Pour ganache over top of cake. Using offset spatula spread evenly over top of cake, letting it flow down sides. Spread ganache evenly over sides (top must be completely covered, but some small gaps on sides are okay).
10. Garnish top of cake with toasted hazelnuts. Hold cake with 1 hand and gently press sliced almonds onto sides with other hand. Chill for at least 3 hours and up to 12 hours. Cut into slices and serve. For best results, slice with sharp knife that has been dipped in hot water and wiped dry before each slice.