Friday, November 13, 2015

Oh, Paris...

My heart aches tonight.

I don't usually post on a Friday night.  I like to queue things up and leave it to post on its own during the week.  Tonight is different though.
I made a new dessert for dinner tonight as a part of the Magazine Challenge and thought about posting it later.  But as we've watched the unfolding news about the attacks in Paris, I don't want to wait and post this later.  It's not that this is a hugely important thing, but the flavour made me think of France and right now that's bittersweet.
My year as an exchange student in France more than 20 years ago gave my first opportunity to learn to cook from someone other than my mother in a family situation.  I learned to make sauces, souffles, and a dense chocolate cake that was out of this world.  I still make sauces starting with a roux like I learned from Mme Brabant.  I haven't made a souffle or that cake since I came home though.
I found this recipe in the October 2007 issue of Everyday Food.  It's not like the other pudding cake I've made where you pour boiling water over the cake and it self-sauces.  It's 4 simple ingredients that surprisingly come together to make something delicious.  This is more a cross between a souffle and a dense, slightly undercooked chocolate cake.
Tonight, it reminded me of a French dessert I ate long ago, and my heart ached for a city I love and miss.
I present to you now from the October 2007 issue of Everyday Food Chocolate Pudding Cake:

1/2 c sugar, plus more for the baking dish
6 eggs, separated
6 oz. chocolate, melted
1/2 tsp salt

1.  Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease a shallow baking dish, and coat with granulated sugar.  My dish was small enough to fit in a 9x13" baking pan for the oven.
2.  In a medium bowl, beat sugar and egg yolks until light in colour and thick.  Add slightly cooled melted chocolate and beat with a whisk until well combined.
3.  In a second bowl, beat egg whites and salt with electric beaters until soft peaks form.  Stir 1/3 of the whites into the chocolate mixture with the whisk.  Fold in remaining whites with a rubber spatula.
4.  Spread chocolate batter in the prepared baking dish.  Set in the 9x13" pan.  Pour boiling water in the larger pan until it comes about 1" up the sides of the cake dish.
5.  Bake cake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, until the middle is almost set.  Remove from oven and let cool at least 5 minutes before serving.
From Everyday Food, October 2007

Martha says if you stir some of the whites into the batter, and then fold in the whites that they will deflate less.  I don't know if this is true, but it was an airy batter going into the pan.

The bain marie ensures that the heat is gentle and even.  It also ensures that the environment in which the cake bakes is very moist.
It puffed up nicely, and fell much like a souffle as it cooled.  It's equally as good cold.

But warm with a little ice cream?  Yum.
Tonight I'll reminisce with some dessert and pray for Paris.  My heart still aches.

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