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Archive for the ‘Chocolate’ Category

This pie only confirms a universal truth: chocolate and peanut butter are a match made in heaven. Nested between a chocolate crumb crust and a smooth ganache is a peanut butter cheese cake.  It’s hard to imagine a more delicious combination…

This is one of the more ingenious recipes in Joy of Cooking. 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

(1 9- or 10-inch pie)

 

INGREDIENTS

Crumb crust:

1 ½ cups chocolate wafer crumbs

¼ cup sugar (depending on the sweetness of the cookies)

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) of unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 teaspoon cinnamon
 

Peanut Butter Filling:

8 ounces cream cheese (1 block)

1 cup peanut butter

½ cup sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup whipping cream
 

Ganache:

¾ cup whipping cream

1 tablespoon instant coffee granules

8 ounces finely chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
 
 
DIRECTIONS

Crumb crust:

In a bowl, combine crumb crust ingredients. Press into a 10-inch pie or springform pan, and bake for 10 to 12 minutes in a 350°F oven.

Cool the crust before filling (can be done in the fridge/freezer).
 

Peanut Butter filling:

Beat in a large bowl until smoothly blended the cream cheese, peanut butter, sugar, and vanilla.

In a medium bowl, beat the whipping cream until stiff peaks form.Using a spatula, fold in half of the whipped cream into the peanut mixture to lighten it, and then fold in the remaining cream.

Spread the mixture into the crust, press a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pie and refrigerate until firm, about four hours (or if you are in a rush, throw it in the freezer).
 
Chocolate Ganache:

Bring the whipping cream to a boil, stirring in the instant coffee.  Remove from heat and add chocolate. Stir until most of the chocolate has melted. Cover and let stand 10 minutes, then stir/whisk gently until completely smooth. Let cool to lukewarm and then pour over the pie and spread evenly.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour (again, you can also use the freezer) and up to 3 days.

Serve with masses of whipped cream and salted peanuts for an absolutely delicious dessert.  Eat slowly – you will want to savour each and every bite!
 
– Catherine

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When visiting Ontario a few weeks ago, I visited my aunt and her partner in St. Catharines. Dan is a fabulous chef – and we feasted on a tasting menu of mushroom brie puff pastry, goat cheese and golden beat salad, hand stuffed lobster ravioli, out of this world lamb, and molten chocolate cakes.  The molten chocolate cakes were everything you could want: chocolatey and extra gooey in the middle.

Dan kindly shared the  recipe with me from Saveur, and I have been looking for an excuse to make them ever since.   Now my student kitchen, while generally well stocked, does not include ramekins, so I decided to make these cakes in miniature – using a muffin tin.  I also only had no rum.  I decided the important thing here was that the inner truffle was boozy, so I substituted Bailey’s.   The final product was as heavenly as I remembered it (and the lovely aroma of chocolate wafted through my kitchen for a few days afterwards!)

Mini Molten Chocolate Cakes

(makes 12 mini-cakes)

Ingredients:

2 oz. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 tbsp. Bailey’s (or your favourite liqueur)
3 tbsp. heavy cream
8 tbsp. unsalted butter
¼ cup flour
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate
½ cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. kosher salt
3 eggs
Confectioners’ sugar

 

Directions:

Place semisweet chocolate and rum in a small bowl; set aside. Heat cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until it begins to simmer; pour over chocolate and let sit for 1 minute. Slowly stir until smooth, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until chilled. Divide chocolate mixture into 12 teaspoon sized balls.  Refrigerate until chilled.

Preheat oven to 425° Fahrenheit.  Fill a muffin tin with 12 liners.  Heat butter and bittersweet chocolate in a small saucepan until just melted.  Remove from heat and allow to cool for at least five minutes.

In a large bowl, beat together the sugar, vanilla, salt, and eggs until thick and pale with a hand-mixer, 3-4 minutes.  Beat in chocolate mixture and flour, mixing until smooth.  Fill the muffin cups with half the batter.  Place a chilled chocolate truffle in centre of each, then top with remaining batter, smoothing the top.  Bake until just set, about 7-8 minutes.  Allow to cool for 2-3 minutes.

Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve immediately.  Delicious with copious amounts of whipping cream and fresh strawberries.

Bon appetit!

– Catherine

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Today is a very special day – 3/14 – the best excuse of the year to make pie!

So in honour of pi day, I share below my five favourite pies from last year.  May your days be filled with delicious pie!

– Catherine

 

Tourtiere – Easily my favourite savoury pie, this traditional Quebecois meat pie is a treat!

White Chocolate Cranberry Tart with Toasted Pistachios  – This combination of tart cranberries, nutty pistachios, and smooth chocolate is elegant and stunning. 

Raspberry Glacee Pie – If you ever need to bribe my mother, look no farther.  This delicate raspberry pie is truly divine served with whipped cream.



Pumpkin Pie – Nothing screams autumn more than impeccably spiced pumpkin pie.

Chocolate Hazelnut Pie –  Whipped hazelnut cream filling topped with chocolate ganache.  Need I say more?

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It’s hard to imagine that 2012 has arrived!  2011 has flashed by quicker than either of us expected, and both of us have loved writing entries for gourm(eh?).  Neither of us could guess how rewarding this blog would prove to be.  We are so grateful for our reader’s supports and comments, and hope you will continue to enjoy our posts in the year ahead! In the meantime, we wanted to share with you our 10 most popular recipes from 2011.

To a wonderful 2012!

10. Coconut Turnovers – A  recipe Sitelle invented while reminiscing about her travels in Belize — these turnovers are mouth wartering.

9. Okra, Potato and Cauliflower Curry – Who doesn’t love Indian food?  Madhur Jaffrey spotlights okra is this spicy dish.

8. Pesto Pasta with Caramelized Onions, Roasted Asparagus, and Zucchini  – Pesto is a favourite of Catherine’s, and this pasta dish (or a variant) features at least once a month in her kitchen.

7. Mocha Chip Meringue Cake – Our very first gourm(eh?) post!  This is a little taste of meringue heaven.

6. Crispy Baked Mac and Cheese – The more cheese, the better in our opinion.

5. Chocolate Zucchini Cake – One of Catherine’s top secret family recipes, she has yet to meet a picky eater who didn’t love this chocolatey, moist cake.

4. Flaky Pastry Crust: Savoury or Sweet! – A cornerstone of both our baking inventories, delicious buttery pie crust is our foundation for most pies.  And if you need a filling, may we recommend Catherine’s two favourites from 2011:

3. Cream of Broccoli and Spinach Soup – Concocted during Catherine’s month of vegetarianism, she’d eat this any day of the week!

2. The ultimate Canadian butter tarts! – We wrote developed gourm(eh?) partially to explore Canadian cuisine.  This here is Sitelle’s take of this delicious Canadian treat.

1. Rigatoni with Eggplant and Pine Nut Crunch – The post that saw us freshly pressed (!!!!), this rich pasta casserole is keeper.

You'll devour the pine nut crunch topping!

– Catherine & Sitelle

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 With Christmas lights sparkling on the street, I was recently inspired to make a fancy Christmas desert.  It is a truth universally acknowledged that The Three Tarts Bakery makes some of the most divine tarts in Ottawa, and one of my particular favourites is their white chocolate cranberry pistachio tart.   This tart recipe, which infuses orange zest in the shortbread crust, looked like it could challenge The Three Tarts’ recipe – both for taste and for prettiness.  The added hint of citrus reminded me of oranges in my stocking on Christmas morning, the cranberries of turkey dinner, and the pistachios of eating nuts around a fire.  I could not have hoped for a better Christmas desert.
The tart exceeded all expectations: creamy and smooth, the sweetness of the white chocolate was balanced beautifully by the tartness of the cranberries, the nuttiness of the pistachios, and the zestiness of the shortbread crust.  I’ll have to find another excuse to make this again over the holidays!

 

White Chocolate Cranberry Tart with Toasted Pistachios
(1 10-inch tart: serves 12)

 

Ingredients:
TART PASTRY
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 egg yolk
2 Tablespoons whipping cream
Finely grated zest of one orange

 

WHITE CHOCOLATE FILLING
4 ounces shelled unsalted pistachios (or a generous 1/2 cup)
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
3/4 cup whipping cream
12 oz white chocolate, finely chopped or white chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ounce bittersweet chocolate
Splash of milk

 

Directions:
TART PASTRY
Cut the butter into the flour and sugar until the mixture resembles coarse oatmeal.  Whist together the egg yolk, whipping  cream, and orange zest together, and combine with the flour until the dough clings together.  Pat into a disc, wrap, and chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Roll our tart pastry on a floured surface and transfer to 10 inch tart pan.  Trim edges. Cover with parchment paper and weigh down with beans or pastry weights. Bake for 15 minutes, remove the pie weights, and bake for 10 minutes more, or until golden. Remove the tart shell from oven and allow to cool.

 

WHITE CHOCOLATE FILLING
Shell pistachios and toast if necessary.  Blanch cranberries in a large pot of boiling water.  Shock the blanched cranberries in an icebath and allow to dry on paper towel.
In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil.  Add the white chocolate, wait a minute, and then stir until incorporated.  Add the butter and stir until smooth; avoid over-stirring since it will result in air bubbles in the tart.
Randomly scatter the pistachios and cranberries in the tart shell, and carefully pour the white chocolate cream filling overtop until the fruit and nuts are completely covered.  You will have a little extra chocolate cream filling left over.
Microwave the bittersweet chocolate in a small splash of milk for 45 seconds.  Stir until smooth and the chocolate is completely melted.  Dribble the dark chocolate over the tart.
Refrigerate for at least four hours or overnight. One hour before serving, remove the tart to allow it to soften and enhance the flavours.  Cut with a hot dry knife.

 

Bon appetit!
– Catherine

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I thought I’d perk the mood up a bit with this hot chocolate recipe, with winter approaching. I, however, will be avoiding the snow altogether in my new home in Sénégal. This situation is definitely a bit ironic: I’m one of the small number of Canadians who loves winter, as long as it is a good one, but I will also be part of the group that avoids it. So, I thought I’d share my secret hot chocolate recipe for all of you to come home with a frosted nose and pink cheeks and enjoy a cup for me (and for you, I guess)!

Let me preface this next part by saying I’m quite a chocolate-lover. This past spring I was lucky enough to go to Cacao Fest in Punta Gorda, Belize. For those of you who do not know about this, it is a week-end of festivities surrounding chocolate, from its origins in the Maya culture, to its agricultural production, processing, and finally, to its consumption. Who could refuse such an event?

A Maya woman roasting cacao beans on her stove

I was hoping to be able to eat the fresh flesh from cacao pods this time round like I’d tried in February, but they were already harvested and so I had to make do with only actual chocolate. For those of you who have the chance, I encourage you to try the “food of the gods” as they call it (the white flesh inside cacao pods). It was one of the most delicious things I’ve ever tried. At Cacao Fest I visited the Cotton Tree Chocolate Factory where I learned how they make chocolate. This reminded me of when I learned how to make the traditional maya cacao drink in my last trip.

This hot chocolate recipe is absolutely delicious, and its secret is using real, un-powdered chocolate. What surprises most people when I tell them I sometimes make hot chocolate with squares of chocolate is that it takes as much time to make milk-based chocolate with squares or powder! And if you want to celebrate a special occasion or just indulge, add a bit of whipped cream.

Ingredients – Two 1.5 cup servings or three 1 cup servings

-3 cups milk
-80g your favourite chocolate (I like to use 75% for this) + a bit extra for decoration if you like
-granulated sugar (to taste – I actually don’t add any if I use 75% chocolate, but it’s up to your taste!)
-1/2 cup whipping cream
-2 tsp icing sugar (or more to taste)

Directions

Place milk in a saucepan and heat gently over medium heat. Break the chocolate up into chunks, and the place in milk. Once the milk begins to warm, begin to whisk the mixture to help dissolve the melted chocolate. Do this until you reach your desired temperature, and then remove it from the heat (if you avoid it boiling over, you avoid the risk of the chocolate forming small granules).

Now for the extra special part: in a bowl, beat (or use electric beaters) the cream until it thickens, then add the icing sugar and whisk a bit more.

Return the hot chocolate to the heat for a few minutes if it is not to your desired temperature and whisk. Pour into your favourite cups and top with a dollop of whipped cream and grated chocolate.

-Sitelle

 

 

 

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My efforts to empty my cupboards and fridge became highly fruitful when I discovered I had dark chocolate squares, pure cacao pieces from my trip to Belize, sugar, pecans, and butter all needing to be used asap. With a bottle of Les Trois Mousquetaires Porter Baltique, apparently “WBA World Beer Awards World’s best porter Baltic” from a friend, and four large farm-fresh eggs from another friend, I was set. Porter brownies? Washed down with a pint? Why not! While I’m definitely no beer connaisseur, I can certainly vouch for this recipe.

My last few excursions into Montréal’s microbrewery scene have shown me how introducing foody flavours into beer might be a good idea. So far, I have enjoyed a chocolate porter, a pumpkin ale, and a currant rousse. While I found the pumpkin ale a tad bitter, and the currant rousse a bit on the sweet side, the chocolate porter went down really well. So why not introduce porter into one of my all-time chocolate-craving fulfilling favourites: rich decadent brownies?

Ingredients – 9-12 brownies

-8 oz semisweet chocolate (or at least 70%)
-2 Tbsp dark chocolate powder (cocoa or even dark hot chocolate powder, if you don’t have cocoa)
-2 Tbsp coarsely ground cacao (you can substitute this for 1 more oz semisweet chocolate)
-3/4 cup butter, unsalted
-1 Tbsp 35% cream
-1 pinch salt
-1 1/2 cup unpacked brown sugar
-2 tsp vanilla
-4 large eggs at room temperature
-3 Tbsp porter
-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
-1 cup chopped toasted pecans

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a brownie tray (rectangle or square, 2-inches deep) with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

In a double-boiler (or a small pot of water on it with a heat-proof bowl over top), melt the chocolate and butter. Add the cream while melting, and the cacao powder. Stir until fully melted and combined. Remove from heat and let cool 10-15 minutes.

Place sugar, vanilla, porter, and eggs into a large bowl. Whisk until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is even. Pour chocolate mixture in, and then add the salt and flour and stir to combine. Finally, add in the toasted chopped pecans.

Pour mixture into prepared baking dish and cook for 20 minutes (or more, if necessary), until a tooth pick comes out with a few lumps still on it because that means the brownies will be really moist.

This recipe attests to how this autumn spent in Montréal has been full of many wonderful adventures!

-Sitelle

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