The Cookbook

A collection of favorite recipes

Archive for the 'Dessert' Category

Border Brownies

Posted by Sylvia on 16th January 2009

When I left California, one of the things I really missed was Ibarra chocolate, dark Mexican chocolate tinged with vanilla and cinnamon that added a unique flavor to all my chocolate dishes.

I never really found a substitute for hot chocolate but these Border Brownies, based on a recipe in the El Paso Chile Company’s Texas Border Cookbook, comes close to the same deep spicy flavor that I remember.

  • 5 ounces dark chocolate
  • 3 ounces unsalted butter
  • 4 ounces flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 5 ounces sugar
  • 1 teaspoon triple sec or cointreau
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces coarsely chopped pecans or 1 ounce ground almonds (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C and butter a metal baking tin/pan.
  2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan, add chocolate (broken into pieces), melt and mix well over low heat.
  3. Sift together flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon into a small bowl.
  4. Whisk the egg and add the sugar, whisk until pale and fluffy (you should be able to leave a trail in the mixture). Whisk in orange liqueur and vanilla.
  5. Now you need to be careful not to overmix. Carefully stir/fold in the flour mixture until just combined. Stir in the nuts if using. Pour the batter into your prepared pan and smooth it flat.
  6. Bake at 350F/180C for 20-25 minutes (a toothpick near the edges should come out almost clean). Leave the brownies in the tin until cooled.

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Double Chocolate Cake

Posted by Sylvia on 31st October 2008

Crust

* 6 oz / 170 g graham crackers (US)/digestives (UK) — see note
* 2 oz / 50 g unsalted butter

Line a pie tin (mine is marked as 8-inch) with aluminium/tin foil, leaving the foil high over the top to aid you in getting it out later. A loose bottom pie tin makes this a lot easier.

Crush the cookies into dust; I put them into a plastic bag and attack them with a rolling pin, which works quickly and helps to reduce feelings of aggression.

Melt the butter and mix it into the cookie crumbs until they are all moistened, adding more butter if needed. Pack the resulting damp (but not wet) mixture into the bottom of the pie tin.

Note: This simple “cookie crust” will work with any type of hard cookie/biscuit such as digestives, gingersnaps, bourbon biscuits, even chocolate chip cookies as long as they are very dry and crunchy. You can also use any sort of bought sweet crust as long as you pre-bake it before making the cake.

Pie – stage 1

* 8 oz/ 225 g Dark Chocolate
* 2 oz / 50 g unsalted butter
* 2 tbsp brandy or rum
* 50 ml / 1/4 cup cream
* 1 egg, separated

melting chocolateBreak up the chocolate and melt it carefully in a small saucepan with the butter and the alcohol. Stir in the cream. As it finishes melting, stir the egg yolk into the chocolate mixture. Remove from heat. Quickly whip up the egg white until it stands in peaks and carefully fold it into the chocolate mixture.

Pour this into the pie tin over the crust and put the pie into the refrigerator to cool; at least one hour.

Pie – stage 2

* 4 heaping tablespoons of strawberry or cherry jam
* 8 oz/ 225 g White Chocolate
* 2 oz / 50 g unsalted butter
* 2 tbsp brandy or rum
* 50 ml / 1/4 cup cream
* 1 egg

Heat the jam in the microwave for 10 seconds to make it more easily spreadable. Brush/smear the jam over the dark chocolate in the pie tin. Return the pie to the ‘fridge.

Make the white chocolate mix exactly as you did the dark chocolate:

Break up the chocolate and melt it carefully in a small saucepan with the butter and the alcohol. Stir in the cream. As it finishes melting, stir the egg yolk into the chocolate mixture. Remove from heat. Quickly whip up the egg white until it stands in peaks and carefully fold it into the chocolate mixture.

Pour this into your pie plate and put the pie into the refrigerator to cool; again at least one hour. You can put it into the freezer to hurry things along; if it freezes solid just let it sit out for 20 minutes before serving.

It looks very posh if you then dust it with cocoa or chocolate shavings. Then very carefully pull it out of the pie tin, peel off the foil and serve in small slices.

Posted in Dessert, Unclean | 1 Comment »

Plum-Buttermilk Ice Cream

Posted by Sylvia on 2nd September 2008

  • 3-5-+ chopped purple plums
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 stick cinammon
  • custard sauce
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2-3 tablespoons sugar
  • 200 ml cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 250 ml buttermilk
  1. Combine the first 5 ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, partially cover, and cook 8 minutes or until tender. Mash plums. Bring to a boil; cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
  2. Make the custard sauce: in a medium bowl whisk together the egg yolks and the sugar. In a medium saucepan bring the cream to a simmer. Slowly whisk the hot cream into the egg mixture. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook it, stirring constantly, over a low heat until the mixture thickens (about five minutes). Transfer back to the bowl and stir in the vanilla. Cool to room temperature, cover bowl with clingfilm and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours (or up to 3 days ahead).
  3. Combine chilled plum mixture, chilled custard, and buttermilk. Pour mixture into a metal container and put into the freezer, stirring every half hour until set.

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Eton Mess

Posted by Sylvia on 27th July 2008

Eton mess is a dessert of English origin consisting of a mixture of strawberries, pieces of meringue and cream, which is traditionally served at Eton College’s annual prize-giving celebration picnic on the “Fourth of June” (actually celebrated on the last Wednesday in May). One anecdotal story is that the dessert was invented when a Labrador accidentally sat on a picnic basket in the back of a car on the way to a picnic. According to Recipes from the Dairy (1995) by Robin Weir, who spoke to Eton College’s librarian, Eton mess was served in the 1930s in the school’s “sock shop” (tuck shop), and was originally made with either strawberries or bananas mixed with ice-cream or cream. Meringue was a later addition, and may have been an innovation by Michael Smith, the author of Fine English Cookery (1973). An Eton mess can be made with many other types of summer fruit, but strawberries are regarded as more traditional.

From Wikipedia’s entry on Eton Mess

When we had left over meringue from Connor’s fourteenth birthday cake (meringue disks sandwiching vanilla ice cream and lemon curd), Yvonne immediately volunteered to make Eton mess. We bought the last of the Spanish strawberries and some whipping cream and she dragged Connor into the kitchen to make it.

We had it at dinner time and everyone had a healthy portion. The next day Yvonne wrote down the details for me.

Eton Mess

Fresh strawberries – at least 1 pound
Double cream – at least 1 pint
Meringue – you can cheat and use ready made ones.

Wash and hull the strawberries. Chop about half of them into quarters (or smaller if very large fruit).

Puree the rest in a blender, then pass through a fine sieve or muslin to remove pulp and pips.

Whip the cream until it’s fairly firm (just beyond the soft peak stage).

Break the meringue into smallish pieces and fold through the cream.

Fold the chopped fruit into the cream mixture.

Gently fold some of the sauce into the mixture to give a marbled affect.

Place in the fridge for about an hour before serving, although you can serve immediately. (Note from Sylvia: Cliff said this was even better the second day)

Pour the rest of the sauce over the top prior to serving. Serve in either individual pretty dishes or martini glasses for more effect.

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