Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Black Forest Pie

So, does this taste anything like Black Forest Cake? No. Not really. I mean, it's sort of reminiscent of it, but not really like it. Is it delicious? Oh yes. I have to say this was another success from the braintrust that is my family. In fact, I think it's better than Black Forest Cake. But that may be because the only Black Forest Cake I've ever had was...overly sweet cherry filling, somewhat dried out cake, whip (I will run outside and spit and turn around three times as penance for saying that curse).

Here's how it goes:

Black Forest Pie *click here for printable version*

Use a chocolate cookie crust (buy one, use your favorite recipe, whatev--I used the recipe that is part of the
BAKED Diner-Style Chocolate Pie. I used a different kind of cookie, though, perhaps that's why the crust didn't want to leave the pan. BUT, that didn't diminish the deliciousness AT ALL.

Use this recipe as written (you may remember, I multiplied it by 2.5 when I made French Silk pie a while back. Don't do that this time--it's the perfect amount as is for this pie. Pour into your chocolate cookie crust. Place plastic wrap over it (the plastic wrap should touch the filling so it doesn't develop a "skin").

Refrigerate while you make:

Cherry Topping:

1/2 c. + 2 T sugar
dash salt
1/8 c. cherry juice (drained from canned cherries)
2 c. cherries (approx. 1 can)
1/2 T butter
1/8 c. cherry juice
1-1/2 T cornstarch
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Combine sugar, salt, and 1/8 c. cherry juice in a saucepan. cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a full boil.

Add cherries and butter; bring to a boil again. Boil 2 minutes.

Make a paste (slurry) of 1/8 c. cherry juice and cornstarch. Add to hot mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened.

Remove from heat. Add vanilla extract. Cool completely.

Spoon cherry topping over chocolate filling and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. Top each slice with freshly whipped cream.

And remember: don't use canned "pie filling"! Use these:

Yum. Rich chocolate filling. Delicious, not too tart, not too sweet cherry topping, FRESH whipped cream. Hm. All my favorite things. In one pie.

TGIP Rating--Black Forest Pie--KEEPER

Next up: I think I might try my hand at Biscotti. Will there be chocolate? Most likely.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Midweek Cocktails: Coconut

Remember when I told you I would come up with some tropical cocktails to use the leftover Coconut Simple Syrup from the Toasted Coconut Cake? I always keep my promises.

Granted, there's nothing new about these. They're both adapted from a variety of other recipes to fit my personal tastes. Because the truth is, I'm not much of a tropical cocktail person, generally speaking. I find them overly sweet and not nearly potent enough. So, if you're like'll like these. I've tested both of these recipes (multiple times), and, you know, I'm good. Neither of them is too sweet. The lime cuts through the sweetness of the pineapple in the Piña Colada, and frankly, the Coconut Lime Rickey may be my new favorite summertime drink.

Here are all the recipes:

Coconut Simple Syrup *click here for printable version*
adapted from Throwdown's Toasted Coconut Cake by Bobby Flay

1-1/2 c. water
1 Tbls. + 1 c. granulated sugar
3/4 c. sweetened flaked coconut
1/2 tsp. coconut extract

Bring water and 1 Tbls. sugar to a boil. Stir in the coconut, remove from the heat and let sit for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours. Strain the liquid into a clean saucepan, add the 1 c. sugar and extract, bring to a boil and let cook until the mixture is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Let cool.

Serves 4

1/2 pineapple, cut into small chunks
juice of 2 limes
4 oz. heavy cream
2 oz. coconut simple syrup
8 oz. coconut rum

Place all ingredients in blender, pulse until smooth. Pour over ice.

adapted from Atomic Cocktails
Serves 1

1-1/2 oz. coconut rum
1 oz. fresh lime juice
1 oz. coconut simple syrup
1 oz. half and half

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add all ingredients. Shake vigorously to blend and chill.

Strain the mixture into a cocktail glass (either straight up or over ice). Garnish with lime wedge, if desired.

A couple of things: a--both of these drinks would be tasty even without the rum. I made them for my kids and they loved them. And 2--if you like your tropical drinks frozen/slushy (I don't) and you have the kind of blender that will support that (again, not me) you can put all the Piña Colada ingredients and the ice together in the blender and...there you go.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Dark Mocha Cake

Confession 1: the only part of this that I made up was the combination of the two recipes.

I used the same Chocolate Stout Cake recipe that I used for Chocolate Irish Car Bomb Cake, and I found the Mocha Buttercream recipe online at Zoe Bakes, and thought they'd make a good combination for mr.'s birthday cake. And they were. The coffee flavor is not overpowering to the buttercream-just sort of subtle and deepens the flavor. And like I said before, you can hardly taste the stout in the cake, it just makes for a very complex flavor. Together, they make for a cake that is flavorful and wonderfully textured. And rich? Oh my, yes.

Confession 2: I don't think I really like using an Italian meringue as a starting point for buttercream. The frosting was delicious, and the texture was lovely. But look at all of the cooked sugar (i.e., "candy") that I ended up digging out of various stages of the frosting:

The directions indicate that you should pour the cooked sugar down the side of the bowl so it doesn't hit the beaters and splash out, but then the sugar just gets stuck to the side of the bowl. And there's no way to avoid some of it getting whipped like spun sugar around the mixing bowl, even if you're using a low speed setting. However, using a low speed setting, I think, is what results in these giant chunks of candy. I think it sort of pooled at the bottom of the mixing bowl because I was using a low speed. So, yeah, I need to figure out a way to alter the BAKED basic buttercream into a Mocha Buttercream. I'll add it to my list.

Pretty though, right?!

TGIP Rating--Dark Mocha Cake--KEEPER--in concept. I think the idea of mocha frosting with this particular cake is perfect. I just need to work on a different version of the frosting--ALTHOUGH THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THIS ONE. It's just a preference thing.

Next up: Black Forest PIE. I'm making it up as I go along, folks.