Tag Archives: ganache

Macarons: What Works for Me (and a recipe)

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The macaron-phobe has finally become a macaron-pro. I know, modesty isn’t one of my strongest suits, but hey, this is a moment I’m really proud of. The amazing thing with confidence is that it allows you to experiment, break a few rules. And I want to share the fruits of my success with you.

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“A Cure for Everything” Chocolate Cake

3a copy-0 This is the first time in six months I’ve taken such a long break from my blog. Blogging rule #1 says never to ignore your ardent followers for too long. I have been absent for a few days, I know and I have a genuine explanation. I was fever bound and stepping into the kitchen was not an option. 5a Continue reading

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Chocolate Mint Nightcaps

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I have come to the realization that I am in love with chocolate and mint combination, I know, have woken up late. May be I should stock up my cupboard with After Eight, for when I have post-dinner sweet cravings, I can tuck away a piece or two.

So I looked through my baking bible, Baking with Julia (by Dorie Greenspan) and decided to make Marcel Desaulniers’ Chocolate Mint Nightcaps. He is apparently the self-described Guru of Ganache and when I saw his recipe to making the perfect ganache, I wasn’t at all surprised. I also realized that all this while, I have been doing the wrong thing with ganache.

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Fudgy Chocolate Brownies with a Twist

Who doesn’t like a good brownie? Even the non-sweet-loving friends of mine, well, most of them, don’t say no to a brownie. Before the realm of Indian patisserie fell hard for tiramisus, macarons and the like (cupcakes of course), they scored “brownie” points for serving the best brownies; your dessert menu wasn’t complete without a Hot Fudge Brownie with Vanilla Ice Cream. And the patronage for good brownies hasn’t withered away with the advent of the fancier sorts, bakeries still run out of brownies all the time and it is the common order in most restaurants. Brownies are also the first ever baking venture most of us indulge in, at our homes, because they are simple and believe me, it is very hard to go wrong with baking brownies. So what is it about this dark beauty that makes us all so rapturous? Well, I think it is the quasi-cake-quasi-cookie texture and though obvious, I am still going to spell it out – chocolate, otherwise, blondies would be as famous, wouldn’t they?

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Now enough with the brownie propaganda, I think Americans have done enough and more. I’d like to get to the point of how simple it is to make brownies again. The success rates are always high and also, it is a party favourite. After the real intoxication, we all go hungry for sweet intoxication and brownies are sweet without being saccharine – like this batch I made for my friends Aneesh and Neha’s housewarming party. At the risk of sounding dangerously boastful, it was an amazing ending to an amazing party, well, people were having 2-3 brownies in one go!

The thing with people like me, who discover their passion relatively later in life, reassurance is everything. When folks at the party went berserk over my brownies, the fact that I am meant to do this has never had so much clarity. The future looks brighter and this flutter of a dream is now so vivid. So dear readers, whatever it is that you are passionate about, indulge in it more often, and feed off every single compliment you get; it’s important.

Ps: This is a note to my closest friends and well wishers, for your constant encouragement and promoting my blog every chance you get, you know who you are! 🙂

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Ingredients

For the brownies

For the ganache

  • 55 g semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 6o ml cream

For David Lebovitz’s dulce de leche

  • 400 g tin condensed milk
  • Sea salt a pinch

For garnish

  • Handful of walnuts chopped coarsely

Makes 32 brownies

Method

  • Make the ganache and dulce de leche ahead of time. For the ganache, plop the chocolate and cream in a bowl. Melt over a pot of simmering water. Blend with a spatula occasionally. For the dulce de leche, preheat the oven to 220 C. Pour the condensed milk into a shallow baking dish. Cover the dish with aluminium foil. Fill a deep roasting pan with simmering water. Place the bowl of condensed milk into the pan and place in the oven. Bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until thick and brown.
  • For the brownies, preheat the oven to 180 C.  Line a 9″ square tin with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • Combine flour and salt. Set aside. Melt chopped chocolate and butter in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. This technique is called as double boiling or bain-marie.
  • Once the chocolate has melted with the butter, add the cocoa. Stir well. Add the sugar, stir well. Add the eggs, one at a time, stir well. Finally, fold in the flour half at a time. Fold until the flour gets incorporated.
  • Pour the brownie batter into the prepared tin and bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven.
  • Once brownies are done, cool them. Warm the ganache and the dulce de leche in the oven before using. Splash the ganache over the brownies in a zig-zag pattern. Repeat the same with dulce de leche. Now, cut the brownie using a knife into even pieces. Sprinkle chopped walnuts on each brownie.

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All Chocolate Tarts

This is probably the longest break I’ve had from baking in the last three months and I missed it. I’ve been traveling. Enjoyed the Bangalore chill – ambling under the trees, several cups of filter coffee and I certainly wouldn’t leave the city without having kaarabath and vadais from Veena Stores. I also brought back home some obbats, congress and kodubales among other things. These are protocols you indulge in when you go to a city like Bangalore and there are no two ways about it.

And then I stopped over at my Madras for little over a day. Of all the years I spent growing up there, I would’ve gone to Saravana Bhavan thrice. I never understood the stereotypical tourists who would insist on eating there. But when you’ve been away from home for long, you find yourself happy in committing such stereotypes. I plead guilty – I did have the gargantuan ghee roast at Saravana Bhavan and felt more at home than ever.

Now I am back to square one with my little oven, whisk and a new apron, which I shamelessly took from my mom in law. A tart cannot get more chocolatey than this and that’s why I call it an all chocolate tart. Chocolate ganache in chocolate tart shells. They look like little chocolate ponds don’t they?

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Ingredients

For the chocolate dough

  • 160 g (1 1/4 cups) all purpose flour
  • 32 g (1/4 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 32 g (1/4 cup) confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 113 g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
  • 1 egg, yolk only
  • 1 tbsp ice cold water

For the ganache filling

  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 150 g dark chocolate, chopped

Makes 12 3-inch tarts

Method

  • For the chocolate dough, in a large bowl, mix together the flour, confectioner’s sugar, cocoa powder and salt. Add the butter cubes gradually and knead using your hands gently until you get crummy texture. Make a well in the center. Add the egg yolk and ice water. Using your index finger, mix the yolk with water. Now slowly start bringing in the flour mixture towards the yolk and combine gradually. Work the dough using the heal of your palm. Once your done combining the dough, pat it into a rough rectangle and wrap it with a cling film. Chill the dough for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
  • Meanwhile, in a sauce pan of simmering water, place a bowl with the chopped chocolate and butter. Let it melt. Stir it occasionally. Remember, the base of the bowl should not touch the water. Once melted, mix well and allow it to cool.
  • After the dough has been chilled, roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch. To avoid the dough sticking to the work surface, I place it between to sheets of parchment paper. Always roll out the dough from the center to get an even surface.
  • Once the dough has been rolled out, using a 6-inch round cutter, cut out 12 rounds. You might have to use the scraps and roll out the dough again to cut out rounds. Gently place each round on the fluted tart tins. Fit them into the tart, pressing the sides towards the ridges of the tin, without breaking them apart. Once all the tart shells are done, place them in the refrigerator for 30 more minutes. Preheat the oven to 180 C.
  • After 30 minutes, take the tarts from the fridge. Prick their bases using a fork. This is done to prevent the base from rising. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the tart tins over the baking sheet and bake them in the oven for 25-30 minutes.
  • Allow the tarts to cool off. Spoon the ganache into the tarts. Chill them for about 3-4 hours before serving.

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Deadly Chocolate Cake

Chocolate can change lives. Period. Like the lines go in the film Chocolat – ‘so small, so plain, so innocent…I thought just one little taste, it can’t do any harm..and it melts…it melts ever so slowly on your tongue….and tortures you with pleasure…’ In the film, it changed the psyche of a resolute village, freeing them from their repressive tendencies. In real life, it has it’s way of getting to people’s head and making them happier, for those few moments at least.

From licking the cocoa batter to watching it cascade down the glass bowl and tasting a slice of that dark, bittersweet pyramid, a good chocolate cake makes life worth living. Everybody loves chocolate cake, and with this recipe, everybody can make a heavenly chocolate cake. It just goes by a simple dry ingredients + wet ingredients theory and since there is no butter involved, the cake keeps for longer. As for the topping, it’s a ganache, the easiest thing to make. Ganache is nothing but a concoction of chocolate and cream.

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Ingredients

For the cake

  • 225 g plain flour, sifted
  • 85 g unsweetened cocoa, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 350 g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 125 ml vegetable oil (canola, sunflower)
  • 250 ml milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 250 ml boiling water

For the ganache topping

  • 200 g dark chocolate, chopped (more than 70% cocoa solids)
  • 200 ml fresh cream
  • 200 g flaked almonds, lightly toasted

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180 C and line 2, 8 inch round cake tins with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, sift in the flour and cocoa. Add the salt, paprika, baking powder and baking soda. Mix well and set aside.
  • Now, beat the eggs and sugar until pale and creamy. Add the oil and beat further. Finally add the milk and vanilla essence and mix well.
  • Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold thoroughly, scrapping the bottom of the bowl. Meanwhile, boil 250 ml of water in a saucepan and pour it into the cake batter. You will have a rather runny batter; don’t be alarmed, it’s meant to be like that.
  • Bake for 35 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  • Allow the cakes to cool for half an hour.
  • For the ganache, bain-marie (double boil) the chopped chocolate and cream together. Heat a pan of water in a sauce pan and place a bowl on it. The bowl shouldn’t touch the water. Add the chopped chocolate and cream. Just let it sit until the chocolate melts into the cream. Remove from heat and let it cool. Refrigerate it for a couple of hours.IMG_2223IMG_2224IMG_2225
  • After the cakes have been cooled, place the first cake on a plate, top side facing down. Take a dollop of the chilled ganache and spread on the cake and the sides, using an offset spatula. Place the second cake on top and repeat the same process until the entire cake is covered in ganache. Sprinkle the toasted, flaked almonds on top and stick it on the sides.

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Adapted from Rachel Manley’s Easy Chocolate cake, BBC.

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