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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Jour Deux, Lava Cake Du Jour

C'est Magnifique
Sometimes, I like to pretend I speak French. Today is one of those days.

Why? Because today, I am presenting you with a recipe that deserves a Bon Appetit article and cover. As such, I can't accurately describe how spectacular it is in English. So clearly, I'm going to try to in a prettier language, albeit one of which I know less than 50 words.

In my family, the be all end all of dessert world is a chocolate lava cake. If it is on the menu, it will be ordered. In fact, one of the rare moments of silence that falls upon us is during the first 15 seconds or so when we're all overcome by the extase of those first bites.

Well, yesterday I was in a recipe funk. I wanted to make you a truly spectacular non-chocolate Valentine's Day treat. Apparently, in order to do so, one must have in their possession mass amounts of heavy cream. Alas, I did not. Frustration ensued, and as you know, my go to cure for mass levels of frustration is chocolat.

Hell-bent and in a complete tizzy, I ran 'round the kitchen like a mad woman throwing this and that together until voila I had happened upon a true masterpiece. When it came out of oven, the following scene ensued between my baby sister and me:

Me: Holy mother of chocolate pearl, Melly get IN here.
Her: Fiiiiinnneeeee. [in her 'I'm a 16 year old and therefore I care about nothing' voice]
Me: It's chocolate lava...
Her: I'll get the spoons. [in her future corporate, 'I get things done' voice]

Then we proceeded with moans and groans that would probably make everyone feel uncomfortable in the retelling. You'll have to experience it yourself.

The first quarter inch of the cake is fluffy and light. And then, the real magic happens and out oozes a slow and deliberate silken river of chocolate lava. It's a once in a lifetime experience you can experience your whole life.

Did I mention there's only six ingredients and total time spent is 30 minutes including baking time? That's right, mes cheries, hop in your cars, on your bikes, or on your feet and get yourself to the store.

What could be better for you and your honey on Valentine's Day?
Chocolate Lava for Lovahs
Servings: 2 (of course)

Ingredients

1/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1 egg (room temperature)
2 1/2 tablespoons cake flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon espresso powder - you will not taste the espresso at all, I promise, it just enhances the flavor of the chocolate. Kind of like it enhances your energy when you drink it.
pinch of salt
*optional accoutrements - sliced strawberries, powdered sugar, powdered cocoa, ice cream, whipped cream, crushed nuts

To Do

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Grease two ramekins with butter or spray. If you use smaller ramekins, it will have a better presentation but the larger ramekins work as well.

Put chocolate chips and butter in a heat-proof bowl and in a microwave for 30 second intervals until melted. Be careful not to burn. It took me 2-30 second intervals and a couple of stirs to melt perfectly.

Add in the confectioner's sugar and combine.

Add in egg and mix until smooth.

Add in cake flour, espresso powder, salt, and vanilla extract and mix until combined.

Pour evenly into your two ramekins.

Place ramekins on a baking sheet and put on the bottom rack in your oven for exactly 12 minutes.

As it is a lava cake, it will not be cooked through in the middle. Trust that inner pastry chef and let her/him shine.

Immediately plate with accoutrements and dig in.

Vogueing

two peas in a pod
I actually took another picture instead of just using yesterday's. Honesty is our policy. But that doesn't mean credit isn't nice.
Looks a little lump after adding the sugar, but don't fret and don't over work it because then it will be too exhausted to ooze properly and you'll feel bad.
hello there sunshine.
flour, vanilla, salt and espresso - it's almost party time
look at that little ramekin of love, would you? it doesn't even know what glorious things lie ahead.
 A truly magical 12 minutes later, gently place the cooling rack on a heat-resistant surface while you gather your strawberries, cool-whip or whatever catches your fancy
No plopping - gently place the ramekin on your prettiest of pretty plates. You'll notice that the middle is a darker color. This is good. This is hot gooey lava bubbling beneath the surface.
Make it all pretty and take a picture
or two...however many you can manage until your amour gets at it
then maybe fend them off for a second or two to get a live action shot...
Fantastique! Going...
Going...
Au revoir
Accoutrements

You could, if you so choose (and are an incredibly boring and predictable person) leave your heavenly delight as is, straight out of the oven. It would knock your socks off.
see? now go get your socks before you finish reading...
But it's Valentine's Day y'all. Come on. Throw out the big shots. Carpe diem. (not French but whatever).

During those twelve minutes when you're anxiously awaiting your slice, or ramekin, of pure pleasure, do the following:
put a dab of butter in your smallest saucepan. What's a dab? Probably 1/8th of a tablespoon.
Dice up a couple of strawberries
And plop them in the saucepan with a pinch of sugar. A teensy tiny pinch. Leave them in there for 3 minutes or just until they start to soften.
During that 3 minute time period, when you probably have 5 minutes left on your oven time, make a pretty strawberry fan. It's fun. And it makes you look super fancy schmancy.
You'll have a whole minute or so to spare before you take out the ramekins, put a dollop of cool whip, some cooked strawberries and a pretty fan on top. Look at you, you're practically a pro.
What other toppings would you put on top of your lava cakes?

I bet a spoonful of nutella to the center would be sinful even for the most rich of palates.

Crushed nuts would add a nice bite.

Regarding serving, I'd suggest whipping up the batter along with dinner. It can just hang out for a bit and then you can excuse yourself, kindly place it in the oven and go back to your goblet of wine until it's ready to eat.

Bonne chance!

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