January 30, 2012

assembly required

Go bananas!

I had 4 egg yolks leftover from another recipe and I looked into what I can use them in.  I came across this recipe for Banana Cream Pie and decided to give it a go.

This recipe is all about assembly.  If you like putting Ikea cabinets together you'll love this.

First you make your crust,

then you spread some chocolate on top of that,

then you spread half your custard on top of that,

then you place your bananas on top of that,

then, the rest of the custard goes on top of that (see step 3 picture above).  And finally the whipped cream and the chocolate chips (or shavings) top it all off.

With the assembly and the refrigeration needed after almost each step, this recipe took me a good half day.  If you like bananas and custard though, this is for you.

Retro Banana Cream Pie

1-1/2 cups (375 mL) graham wafer crumbs
1/3 cup (75 mL) butter, melted
2 oz (57 g) semisweet chocolate, melted

4 egg yolks
1/2 cup (125 mL) granulated sugar
1/3 cup (75 mL) cornstarch
3 cups (750 mL) milk
2 tbsp (30 mL) butter
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
2 small bananas, sliced
1 cup (250 mL) whipping cream
2 tbsp (30 mL) semisweet chocolate, grated

Filling: In bowl, whisk together egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch and 1/2 cup (125 mL) of the milk; set aside.

In heavy saucepan, heat remaining milk over medium heat until bubbles form around edge; whisk into yolk mixture. Return to pan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring, until thick enough to mound on spoon, about 5 minutes. Stir in butter and vanilla. Scrape into bowl. Place plastic wrap directly on surface; refrigerate just until cooled, about 2 hours.

In bowl, stir graham wafer crumbs with butter until moistened; press onto bottom and up side of 9-inch (23 cm) pie plate. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes. Drizzle melted chocolate over bottom of crust; spread evenly with back of spoon. Refrigerate until set, about 10 minutes. Without stirring custard, spoon half over chocolate. Arrange banana slices over top, overlapping slightly. Top with remaining custard. Place plastic wrap directly on surface; refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours.

Garnish: In bowl, whip cream. With spatula, spread to cover top. Sprinkle with grated chocolate (I used chocolate chips).

January 29, 2012

my house smells like chocolate

This recipe is not only delicious and so simple to make (it only has 4 ingredients!) it will also make your house smell like chocolate.  And who doesn't want that?

Here are the 4 ingredients you'd need:

You'll need to separate the egg whites from the yolks and beat the yolks with half the sugar.  And it will look like this:

A good thing to do before you fully mix the egg yolk mixture and the chocolate mixture is to temper the eggs.  That is, I added a little bit of the chocolate mixture to the egg yolk mixture instead of just dumping the whole lot in.  Otherwise you risk cooking the eggs and you don't want that.

After we baked the cake, we ate it with our friends.  We also added some vanilla bean whipped cream and mixed berries.  Yum!

Note: the cake will look "craggy", but that's just part of it's charm.  Enjoy!


Here's the recipe!

Flourless Chocolate Cake
adapted from Laura Calder

7 ounces of dark chocolate, chopped
7 ounces of butter, softened
4 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar

Heat the oven to 375°F/190°C. Grease a 8-inch/22 cm springform pan.

Melt the chocolate over a water bath (I went with medium-low heat), then beat in the butter a piece at a time until smooth. In a separate bowl, beat the yolks with half the sugar until thick, pale, and ribbony. 

In another bowl, beat the whites to peaks (I used my stand mixer on high). Scatter over the remaining sugar and beat to a stiff meringue. (Note scattering is important - in my first round, I just dumped the sugar in and I killed the meringue, I basically had egg white soup.  Moral of the story, scatter the sugar in while you're still whisking the egg whites.)

Slowly whisk the chocolate mixture into the yolk mixture (see my note above about tempering). Stir in a spoonful of egg white, then pour the chocolate mixture over the egg whites and gently fold together with a spatula (folding is key because you don't want to lose the air in the eggs). Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake 50 minutes.

Remove from the oven. Run a knife around the outside edge, then let sit until cool. It will sink down and the top will crack, but it's ok. Serve with a big dollop of slightly vanilla bean whipped cream and mixed berries.

January 22, 2012

dessert for breakfast

A good friend came over for Sunday breakfast today.  She likes pancakes and I made super easy, yet super delicious, chocolate chip pancakes for her on this crisp winter morning.

I think this recipe was just as easy to make as the boxed variety, but infinitely more special.

Chocolate Chip Pancakes

adapted from Canadian Living

1-1/2 cups (375 mL) all-purpose flour
1 tbsp (15 mL) granulated sugar
1 tbsp (15 mL) baking powder
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1-1/2 cups (375 mL) milk
1/4 cup (60 mL) melted butter
1/2 cup (125 mL) chocolate chips
250mL whipped cream
1/2 cup of blackberries & blueberries

In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  In separate bowl, beat together egg, milk and melted butter or vegetable oil; add to dry ingredients and mix just until lumpy. Add chocolate chips; mix just until incorporated.  Heat nonstick skillet over medium heat; brush with vegetable oil. Pour in batter by 1/4 cupfuls (50 mL) for each pancake, spreading with spatula if necessary. Cook for 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 minutes or until underside is golden and bubbles break on top. Turn and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until underside is golden. Serve hot with berries and whipped cream.

batter up!

setting the stage for some tasty pancake eating

hot off the grill

January 17, 2012

a healthy party

Hi there,

Truth be told, I'm waiting to get a camera to post some pretty pictures of the recipes I've tried in the past few days.  In the meantime, I'm using my phone camera.

Tonight, I prepped my salad for tomorrow.  I call it the Party Salad because of all the bright colours and how crunchy it is.  But I think that name is a bit misleading because it's actually a super-healthy salad (lots of bright coloured veggies = healthy!).

Here's it is:

Party Salad
(borrowed from my Mom)

1/4 of a Red Cabbage, chopped into 1/4" strips
1-2 Carrots, julienned
1 Green Apple, julienned
1/2 cup of walnuts, roughly chopped
1 banana, cut into 1/2" chunks
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper

My salad doesn't have the walnuts or the bananas yet, because I don't want the walnuts to get soggy or the bananas to go brown, so I'm adding them in tomorrow right before serving.


January 16, 2012

my first blog post!

Hello you!

It's official!  I have a blog!

Why did I decide to start this blog?  Well, partly because I'm prone to trying out new recipes all the time and I'd like to have a way of keeping a kind of record all the ones that worked out well.

And partly because I'd like to share the recipes that I liked with you.  I don't have a lot of time to prepare anything super fancy, but I like what I make to be special and tasty just the same.   You might be in the same boat, so hopefully you'll find them useful too.

See you soon!