Food quote of note

"The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience"…Eleanor Roosevelt

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

OMG - Oh My Ganache!

     You know, you just can't get too much chocolate - and, I think I have proof that I am not the only one who feels this way.  Two of my friends recently made some beautiful cakes that highlighted one of our all-time favorite things - chocolate.  Each of these creations was covered with a shiny, luxurious layer of chocolate ganache.  While ganache is a relatively simple thing - heavy cream heated and poured over chocolate to melt it - it's amazingly elegant and, quite frankly, a lot of culinary bang-for-your-buck.  Anything covered in chocolate ganache is guaranteed to get the reaction every baker longs for - you know, the one where people "ooh and ahh" and begin salivating the minute you unveil dessert!
     So - here's a couple of ganache-covered treats that look amazing - and, knowing the two talented ladies who made them, I'm sure they tasted just as good as they look!  And, if you want a guaranteed great reaction - make one of these beauties and serve it at your next dinner party - I promise you it will be a crowd-pleaser.

     First - Tunnel of Fudge Cake.  I've come across a food blog that I absolutely love - Annie's Eats.  I've attached the link - check it out, I think you'll really enjoy it!

     Annie is an interesting woman (physician, mother, foodie) who takes beautiful pictures and makes food that I really like!  Her blog is beautiful to look at and interesting to read - so, of course I have passed it on to all my friends.  One of her recent posts featured a tempting chocolate confection called a "Tunnel of Fudge Cake" - check out her blog for the complete recipe.  My friend Patti took the Tunnel of Fudge Challenge - and how gorgeous is that cake!  I can't help it - I am "oohing and aahing" from afar - only wish I had been home in Akron to give this one a try!

Patti B makes a beautiful, ganache-covered treat - the Tunnel of Fudge Cake
     Our second tempting ganache-covered delight was Jennifer McClish's Boston Cream Pie, which she made for her husband Matt's birthday cake.  Mrs. McClish is an amazing cook - so, it's no surprise that this birthday treat tasted great.  Lucky for me this cake was within driving distance - so I actually got to enjoy this one.  Because she is who she is (and, we love her for it) - Jennifer didn't simply pick a Boston Cream Pie recipe - she sought out the best recipe for all three elements of this dessert and put them together to make "the ultimate Boston Cream Pie". 

A thing of beauty - Boston Cream Pie for Matthew's birthday

Here's her recipe - in her own words -- "This cake is comprised of three separate recipes because I am constitutionally incapable of keeping it simple...apparently"

Buttermilk Country Cake - adapted from Rose Levy Berenbaum's The Cake Bible

4 large egg yolks
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups sifted cake flour (I used all-purpose because frankly I know now that none of my fans can tell the difference)
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

In a medium bowl combine yolks, 1/4 of the buttermilk, and vanilla.
In large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients--this includes the sugar, btw, for some reason that threw me. Blend for 30 seconds. Add softened butter and remaining buttermilk. Mix on low until dry ingredients moistened. Increase speed to medium and beat for 1 1/2 minute to aerate, etc. etc. Add egg mixture in 3 batches, beating 20 seconds after each addition.
Scrape batter into prepared pan (I spray it and put parchment in the bottom). (This is enough for a 9 x 2 inch pan but I used an 8 x 2 inch pan so it would turn out taller.) Bake in preheated oven on 350 for 30 - 40 minutes (more like 45 for the 8 inch pan). When cake is cool, slice it in half horizontally with a serrated knife--lazy susan works well here. Fill with cooled cream custard and glaze.
Vanilla Cream Custard - adapted from Fannie Farmer

1 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Add sugar, flour, and salt to cold pan. Add just enough of the cold milk to make a slurry and press out any lumps. (Grandma method) Add rest of cold milk. Whisk over medium heat until steaming. Pour a little of the hot milk into the bowl of egg yolks. Whisk to temper then add the tempered egg yolks into the pot of steaming milk mixture. Stir constantly for 4 -5 minutes. Take off heat and add vanilla. Cool completely.

Velvety Ganache Glaze - adapted from Shirley Corriher's Bakewise
I got the idea of this glaze from Shirley, but she likes A LOT of glaze, so i used the proportions from another glaze recipe I have used on a chocolate bundt cake.  It chills well.
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (that’s right, I used chocolate chips!)
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 tablespoon water

Melt all ingredients in pot over low heat on the stove--stirring constantly--or in bowl in microwave. You can also use milk chocolate if you like a milder chocolate taste or bittersweet if you like it strong.

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