Chocolate Fingers & Pistachio Almond Mocha Biscotti

August 3rd, 2009 / Comments 0

I’m making biscotti with pistachios and almonds and will post all of the details as soon as I can rescue my kitchen from yet another ‘I Love Lucy’ moment. Alas my Ricky (Charles) is out and it may take a bit of time.

 Chocolate Fingers & Pistachio Almond Mocha Biscotti

I have removed the layer of chocolate from the counter, wrapped up the biscotti, delivered some to our neighbors, put some in a jar in the pantry and the rest in a basket to take with me to the Northeast Kingdom.  Here’s how I did it: … read more

Anne’s Birthday Cake

July 28th, 2009 / comments 5

Tonight we celebrate Anne’s birthday with a cake.

Annes+cake+01 Annes Birthday Cake
Strawberries Chocolate Raspberries

Rather than spelling out the details of a two day baking process – I’ll give you the essentials and trust that you will be able to sort out the more mundane elements.

This cake had seven layers, (eight if you count the plate).
Whipped Cream
Berry MousseCake
Berry Mousse
Meringue
Whipped Cream
Cake
Plate

Annes+cake+03 Annes Birthday Cake

To make two layers of the richest, most dense chocolate cake flavored with expresso, rum, and Callebaut chocolate, I adapted Susan G. Purdy’s recipe for Marvelous Mud Cake from my chocolate spotted edition of her book, A Piece of Cake.
Annes+cake+02 Annes Birthday Cake
The meringue was made with four egg whites, a quarter of a cup of sugar, a pinch of salt, half a teaspoon of lemon juice, a teaspoon of vanilla and cup of sugar mixed with two tablespoons of cornstarch.

It’s a simple process, the egg whites are beaten with the salt and lemon juice until foamy, the quarter of a cup of sugar is beaten in gradually until the egg whites have formed stiff shiny peaks, then the vanilla and sugar/cornstarch is folded in. Using a cake pan I drew a circle on a piece of parchment paper, spread the meringue onto the paper and piped small meringue kisses with the rest.

The meringues baked for two hours at two hundred degrees, and spent the night in the turned off the oven, protected from humid air and any mice passing through the kitchen.

The berry mousse I made was a mixture of raspberries, strawberries, cassis, gelatin and whipped cream. Your favorite recipe will work – it can be as simple as sweetened fruit folded into whipped cream or complicated enough to make Julia Child proud.

Mixer Annes Birthday Cake

In Vermont whipped cream begins with cold, heavy cream, in a glass bottle from a local dairy and is not ultra-pasteurized. The cream is beaten until stiff and that’s it. No sugar, no vanilla, no additions necessary. I used three cups of cream.

The party was a delicious event, the cake remained intact for the drive up the beautiful but rutted dirt road and after an amazing dinner, we tried to dance off calories with songs like Rock Around the Clock.

Happy Birthday Anne!
notes – The cake I made took a lot of time, but there are a number of options that will shorten the time considerably. Make a simple chocolate cake, substitute room temperature coffee or espresso for some or all of the liquid in the recipe, use rum or bourbon to replace a quarter of the liquid required, ask a baker if you can buy a cake without frosting, use softened ice cream flavored with berries or strawberry ice cream instead of mousse and you will have an ice cream cake, no one will know if you decide to leave out the meringue layer. You can use real cream in an aerosol can BUT—-if you use whipped topping the cows, the farmers and I will be very disappointed.

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