"Perhaps the most impressive of all the cookbook blogs are the three devoted to the 2004 edition of Gourmet magazine's "The Gourmet Cookbook" -- all 5¼ pounds and 1,300-odd recipes of it. Befitting this culinary Everest, all three writers are overachievers in their professional lives."

--Lee Gomes, The Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2008
"I should have told you before how much I've been enjoying reading your thoughts. You seem like such a great cook."

--Ruth Reichl, Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet Magazine, June 8 2008, comment on "Chocolate Velvet Ice Cream".

Monday, April 16, 2007

Individual Molten Chocolate Cakes

These are very pleasant and easy-to-make cakes that impressed the heck out of the cake-eaters--my friends Leigh, Spleen and Elizabeth, and my son O'Malley.

"These are amazing," said Spleen, "like something you'd get at a wedding! Do you get desserts like this all the time?" he asked O'Malley.

"No!" O'Malley said emphatically, and a little unfairly I think, since I do bake every week for the little ingrate. True, it's never been molten, and true, it hasn't involved coffee creme anglais, but still.

If you have eaten at a high-end restaurant at any point over the last fifteen years you will have seen this cake or something like it on the menu. At Yanks, Alec Maxon, the pastry chef, used to put chocolate ganache in the middle (an improvement, I think)--and at the Emerson we used to buy these frozen and cook them in the microwave to order. (You might be rolling your eyes at that but believe it or not it was our most popular dessert and a respectable fall-back for a place that didn't have the cash to hire a pastry chef.)

The coffee creme anglais is a nice counterpoint (if you have followed the link to epicurious you will notice they call it coffee custard sauce) but I would like to inform all you NYC chefs that instant espresso powder does not appear to exist outside of your city limits, and writing dessert recipes with this ingredient is a cruel taunt--we have to make do with Nescafe out here in the boonies. Actually, I just followed the link to the coffee custard sauce and it is nothing like the recipe in The Gourmet Cookbook--please don't follow it as I can't recommend anything that utilizes ground coffee beans. (except coffee.)

A baking note. Space out your ramekins on a tray or they'll take up to twenty minutes to bake. I had mine packed into a casserole dish and at 12 minutes they were still completely raw.

I left the coffee creme anglais with Leigh and Spleen, who were wondering if they could bathe in it.

1 comment:

Leigh said...

As one-half of the couple who was lucky enough to be left with a bowl full of creme anglaise, I can tell you that it is excellent in the following ways:

1-over ice cream
2-over waffles
3-with some floating ginger snaps
4-through a straw
5-in vodka

Clearly I'm no epicurian (see item 4 above), but I sure am lucky to know Melissa and happy to be a willing participant in her cookbook adventure!