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

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Profiterloles, Burnt Orange Ice Cream & Hot Fudge Sauce

This recipe has special significance for me because it's the last special occasion dessert I created for my estate job as a private chef. Mrs. S.'s birthday luncheon! Yay, Happy Birthday! One of the things I think I did very well during my four-year stint at her house was holiday/special occasion cooking, especially desserts, and I am pretty proud of this one.

Why? Because when emailing back and forth with one of the daughters, the conversation went something like this:

K: ...for dessert, something easy to eat and serve, maybe custard-filled rolls?
M: (thinking, always thinking about what I can cook from the book) How about profiteroles with burnt orange ice cream and hot fudge sauce?
K: yes--coned and candled?

When K. saw the platter of profiteroles she actually jumped up and down and clapped with delight. It was exactly what she had envisioned, and THAT is one of my greatest pleasures, as a chef. Getting it right.

So here's how I did it.

First, the ice cream. I've made this ice cream before and knew it was a winner with chocolate. What I didn't have last time that I did have this time was the Kitchen Aide ice cream maker attachment, and while it's not a perfect thing it's better than what I have at home, which requires a lot of elbow grease and a sturdy wooden spoon. I made the ice cream a week ahead of time. It doesn't hurt to plan ahead!

The profiteroles were as easy as I remembered them being when I made them at the Emerson for some reason (probably a Rotary dessert). It's almost impossible to screw them up. If you've never made them, here's how you do it:

Bring to a boil butter, water and salt. Dump in the flour all at once, and beat the dickens out of it until it forms a ball, which takes about 30 seconds. Take off heat and go pour yourself a cup of coffee. When you come back, beat in three eggs one at a time with a hand mixer. Gloop it into pastry bags (or my variant, zip lock bags with the corner snipped off), squeeze little mounds onto a baking sheet and bake for about 20-25 minutes.

That's it.

Once they're cool (and you can store them for a day, just re-crisp before filling), you cut them in half and put in your filling, which in our case was the burnt orange ice cream.

I had to go back and forth between crisping the profiteroles (because I had made them the day before), letting them cool, filling them, and getting the filled ones in the freezer--all without letting the ice cream melt.

Now, the Hot Fudge Sauce. Can I just stop right now and swoon with the memory of how much I love this hot fudge sauce? For some reason I've made a lot of the sauces in the Frozen Desserts chapter and this is the best one, bar none. They say in the head notes that you can scoop it, cooled, right out of the bowl (to eat) and I can attest to that.

I know corn syrup is something of a food villain to some, but I think it's the 1/2 cup of light corn syrup that gives this sauce its delightful texture. The incredible flavor is thanks to the dark brown sugar and bittersweet chocolate.

I had to do a little problem solving with this dessert, which is that K. wanted it coned (no problem), and candled. I was worried that the hot fudge sauce would sort of loosen things up too much for candles to stay erect so my solution, after piling the profiteroles high and drizzling them with hot fudge sauce, was to put the whole platter back in the freezer while everyone was eating. I figured that would unify the dessert enough to let me stick candles in it, and it did. Somewhere somebody took some photos of the dessert with the candles lit--hopefully they'll send them to me so I can share them with you.

Readers, this dessert is a showstopper, as Gourmet promises. Since you can do it in components at your convenience, it's a pretty big payoff for the time and energy spent.

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