Monday, December 8, 2008

Share or Horde?

It baffles me that sometimes people, in this day and age, won't share recipes. I mean, really, is there a recipe for anything that can't be found in some fashion online? No, it may not be your Uncle Edgar's secret recipe for dumplings, but still, the dumplings are there. And why not make it YOUR recipe for dumplings?

I think Jeffrey Steingarten, in one of his essays (gratins, maybe?) talked about an endless quest to perfect a recipe. He tweaked and puzzled and got one that he could make and make again and it was perfect. And it turned out to be nothing like the original recipe. So really, what difference does the original recipe make?

I have one recipe that I won't share. One. And I won't share it because the chef who gave it to me is someone that I respect, and he specifically asked me not to share it. I also won't flat out copy a recipe exactly from a book and post that as my own, but that relates more to my opinion of copyrights, and why it was unfair that Sam Clemens was broke so often. Otherwise, there is too much of a teacher in my blood to horde.

Chocolate Moelleux for Diane.

100 g dark chocolate (this is the meat of the thing so a good dark chocolate is in order. I prefer a 70-75% bar for deeper flavor)

70g butter (you don't have a kitchen scale? But, um, why not? Ok, 5 tablespoons)

45 g (4 Tablespoons) all purpose flour

13 g (1 Tablespoon) cornstarch

60 g (3 Tablespoons) agave syrup

a pinch of salt

2 eggs

flavoring (see gilding the lily)

1. Preheat the oven to 350. This may take longer than anything else depending on your oven, so yeah, do this first. Spray four small tart rings or one 9" tart ring (or pie pan) with pan spray and place on a sheet pan. Love the pan spray. Fear it not. It is your friend.

2. Melt together the butter and the chocolate over a double boiler, or, if you are like me, a metal bowl set over a pot of simmering water. stir together every once in a while as it melts.

3. In another, larger bowl, whisk together everything else possibly including any appropriate lily gilding. This is really tough, eh?

4. When the butter and chocolate are completely melted but not hot, whisk chocolate mixture into the egg mixture. The batter will thicken up as the chocolate cools. Spread the batter into the prepared tart rings.

5. Into the oven it goes. Now is the time to not get distracted. Before, not so bad. Now, well, this cooks up in about 10 minutes, maybe less depending on your pan, so if you hear the cat making the incoming hairball noise? Pretend it is just CNN and ignore it for a few minutes. You are cooking this until the edges feel set to the touch, but don't wait for the middle to set completely. It's going to be fudgy.

6. Let it cool in the pan. If you can. I mean, it's good while still warm. So it can be kinda hard to wait. It depends on what is happening next. If what is happening next is fancying it up, and serving for company, go ahead and do that after it has cooled a bit. If it is just an immediate chocolate fix, I recommend a nice cuppa (Earl Grey is also stellar with dark chocolate) to go with it while it is still warm. Do you have any idea how hard it is to write out recipes? Man I need another piece now...

Gilding the lily

Ok, I'm better now. The beautiful thing about this recipe is that you can do a gazillion things to it to suit your menu. Easy rustic? Mix in some chopped roasted nuts like hazelnuts, and serve with your favorite ice cream variant. Tropical? Try a sauce of passion fruit and mango nectars and serve with starfruit and lychee. Classic? A dash of grand marnier in the batter, and some candied orange zest and ganache on top. Seriously versatile. And then there is the Chocolate Mint version here, where I flavored the batter with a bit of mint extract, and topped it with ganache and some crushed sugar free peppermint candies.


Leilani Love Lee said...

No hoarding allowed! Lol. I couldn't agree with you more my dear. People are so damn protective, it's silly really. At least in my opinion. I posted Thanksgiving pics. Check it out. Much love!

Brian said...

It marks the difference between an academic magician and a hermetic one. (Of course, Hermetic magicians are actually named after Hermes, but that's beside the point....) Magic is most powerful when it's shared, but then you don't get to be all secretive and mysterious!

SisterDG said...

May I just say, this tart is the Best. Thing. Ever.

RGebbiePhoto said...

Very good looking food images, I think I hear my stomach growling now.