Posts Tagged chocolate
Today is a hard holiday to complain about! I was thinking about getting ambitious and trying to make chocolate covered bacon, but G was deeply suspicious that this would work out, and I was secretly worried I might just like it too much.
So instead, I kept it healthy with dark-chocolate covered walnuts. I busted out my make-shift double boiler again, but luck doesn’t always strike twice. I was confused about why my chocolate was clumping up rather than melting, but then G took one look at the burner and told me the heat was too high. Sure enough, I turned things way down, and the chocolate melted smoothly. I added a little honey, then dropped in the walnuts.
They taste good as is, but I’m putting most of them on a plate to harden overnight. I’ll take a handful for a snack tomorrow, and I bet they’ll make a good yogurt topping.
Mmm, December holidays are ridiculously decadent.
P.S. George is still under the bed.
As we have well established by now, I am not a particularly proficient cook, and baking is probably my worst arena. So seeing that today was a celebration for a rather intimidating cake was, well, intimidating.
The sachertorte is a unique Austrian chocolate cake that is supposed to be very light and fluffy, with a layer of apricot spread in the middle. It was invented by a sixteen-year-old under intense pressure from him boss to deliver something great that night for a crowd of hoighty-toighties. Hey, if a kid can do it …
If you can believe it, Wolfgang Puck’s recipe is one of the more approachable versions. Seriously, though, WHY does the Food Network refuse to convert measurements into American standard form? I don’t own a single kitchen item that measures ounces and grams. I have cups and teaspoons, and I hate math.
Anyway, my plan for the day was to run some errands, come home and make the cake, and then head over to a friend’s place for the evening. Not long into my erranding, G called, looking for the satellite radio, which I had taken with me. He’s a Vikings fan living in the land of green and gold. There usually is no way for him to watch/hear the game other than the satellite radio. So even though I was across town with a list to do, I knew it was my girlfriend duty to return, radio in hand.
Thank God I did. Once home, I decided to just put off the errands and start the cake. It ended up taking me about three hours. Three. Hours. If I’d have started when I originally planned to, I never would have finished before our evening plans. Yes, I totally admit it took three hours because I had no idea what I was doing. I had to look up “how to make egg yolks look like ribbons” and “how many teaspoons are in one ounce of sugar.” I had to stare for awhile at my make-shift double boiler (one random pot set in a larger one) and tell myself no, this will not result in melting a pot or mysteriously causing the oven to alight (two things that have happened in my kitchen in the last month).
The double boiler ended up being the least of my problems. For whatever reason I had the darndest time separating eggs, and on egg number four I ended up with a little yolk in the whites. There was no way I was going to waste the eggs and start over, so I just went with it. Sure enough, yolk contamination makes it next to impossible to get “hard peaks.” By the time I finally mixed them to what passed as soft peaks if you squinted, I declared them hard enough and folded them into the chocolate/butter/sugar/yolk “ribbon” mixture.
When the cake came out, it was nowhere near as tall as the recipe probably intended. I’m positive this is because I didn’t do the egg whites correctly, but regardless, it tasted fine and was just thick enough to slice in half. The Puck method calls for slicing the cake into thirds and putting the apricot/brandy puree in between, but there was no way my cake could be split more than once. So I just added the excess to make a super-thick puree layer, replaced the top layer of cake, and covered the whole mess in melted dark chocolate . Voila. Or, however you say that in Austrian.
After I let it set and cool while we were gone, we gave it a try. I have to admit: It’s a pretty tasty dessert. G was ridiculously excited about licking the chocolate out of the bowl, and I realized I could have just melted chocolate over the stove and he’d have been just as impressed. But nonetheless, I achieved a version of sachertorte complete with apricot filling and chocolate glaze. It’s incredibly sweet and rich, and while this cake is not for the faint of kitchen skill, I’d say it’s worth the effort. Once a year.