Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Chocolate Lava Cakes with White Chocolate Centers Revisted

The last time I made these cakes I followed the recipe from Delectable, Marlene van der Westhuizen's first cook book. It produced a delicious and rich cakes. Actually I can't say enough about this cookbook, It's my new favorite!
I wanted to try to create a healthier version. If you can call something made with eggs, sugar, chocolate and butter healthy. I took my Molten Chocolate Cake recipe, it uses less eggs and added a few pieces of white chocolate to the center and voila! Wonderful yummy cakes, a little more heart and pocketbook friendly.
I started with these sweet little 3 ounce ramekins that I buttered and lined with parchment.
Melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave, stirring every 15 seconds until small lumps remained.At this point, stir the chocolate mixture until smooth and all lumps have disappeared.
Beat the eggs and sugar together until pale.Add the melted chocolate mixture, once it's incorporated, mix in the flour.
At this point, all that was left was filling the ramekins.
I broke up the white chocolate into small pieces.
Fill the ramekins half way and add 3 pieces of white chocolate.
Cover the white chocolate pieces and hold them at room temperature until ready to bake. If your are not baking them off soon, place in the refrigerator, but allow them to warm up before putting in the oven.
Lining them up across the counter made me feel very organized and Virgo-ish!
When they came out of the oven, while my daughter ohhed and ahhed I turned one out onto a plate (which is a tricky business) and topped it with whipped cream and a dusting of cocoa.
When we cut into it with a spoon, both chocolates oozed out. It was divine. And you could eat 2 for the calorie intake of one! And that would be the point, wouldn't it?

Chocolate Lava Cakes with White Chocolate Centers

1/4 cup unsalted butter
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate (I love the Trader Joe's brand)
1/2 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup flour
1 -4 ounce bar white chocolate, broken into pieces
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Line 6 - 3 ounce ramekins with parchment paper and grease thoroughly.

Melt the chocolate and butter together in a microwave oven, stirring every 15 seconds, until only small lumps of chocolate remain. Stir until smooth.

Beat the eggs and sugar together until pale. Stir in the vanilla. Beat in the chocolate mixture until smooth. Sprinkle with flour and stir, scraping down the sides until smooth.

Fill ramekins halfway and then add the white chocolate pieces. Top with more chocolate mixture.
Bake for 12minutes. Turn out onto a plate.
These are much more forgiving cakes than the plain dark chocolate. If you should over cook them and the centers are dry, the white chocolate saves the day by being all melted and runny!

All pictures and text are property of The Gypsy Chef.

Dinner with Debbie

My friend Debbie has a beautiful kitchen, and she has no qualms about sharing it. Several days ago she invited me over for a cook-a-thon. Our menu began with Petits Choux au Fromage, we had made these cute little cheese puffs at Jardins des Thevenets on our Cooking Holiday and thought they would be a nice beginning to our dinner.
Debbie had just bought a large cast iron Dutch Oven from Chef Central. Of course we had to use it What could be better than Boeuf Bourguignon on a rainy, autumn evening in White Plains? I brought my Mastering the Art of French Cooking and we went to work.
While we were at Jardins des Thevenets, Lynn had given me a cookbook, Delectable , written by a friend and fellow South African Marlene van der Westhuizen.
In it was a recipe for Molten Chocolate Puddings with a White Center. It fit the bill for the perfect chocolate dessert. They are too die for!
So we began by putting together the Bourguignon, then started in on the chocolate cakes, finished up preparing the Petits au Fromage.
When we handed a "straight from the oven" Cheese Puff to Nick.......well, you can see what happened!We began cooking for 5 people, but by the time dinner was ready the guest list had grown to nine, five teenagers and four adults. It had become quite a party.
While making the cakes, I was separating the egg yolks with my fingers. A trick taught to me at the CIA. Debbie opened a drawer and pulled out this nifty egg separator!
It was a snap to use and even sat on the edge of the bowl. I loved it! How cute is this? The perfect stocking stuffer......hopefully one of my kids is reading this.
She also had a candle we had bought at the candle maker in Charroux. Randy, another friend and fellow traveler remarked that they look like a "Girl Scout project"! Having been a leader for more years than I care to count, I have to agree. They may be short on looks but it was long on fragrance!
As the aroma of Boeuf Bourguignon filled the house, the kids began to arrive. We cracked open a bottle of Saint Pourcain that Debbie had bought for her husband Nick at Cave Famille Laurent.
Rich and flavorful, it brought back memories of eating, drinking cooking at Jardins des Thevenets.
It complimented the Bourguignon perfectly!
The teens ate, laughed and enjoyed themselves. This is Nick, Liz and Stephanie.
Emmet, Tino and Nick. They all agreed the food was wonderful.
Everyone was waiting for the Chocolate Molten Cakes.To make them, we whipped up the batter. Filled the souffle dishes halfway and placed two pieces of white chocolate on top.
We then filled the dishes with the rest of the batter.
When they came out of the oven they looked similar to souffles.
Debbie and I couldn't wait to try them.
Since we had only made eight, we decided to share one.
It was luscious! A wonderful conclusion for a eventful French Cooking vacation. Having all the kids around made it very special. With half of them leaving for college next year, how many times will we all be able to have dinner together again? To quote Nick, Debbie's husband, "Isn't this what it's all about? Everyone enjoying food, conversation and company?" Yes, Nick, that is what it's all about! Thanks for sharing your kitchen!
Petits au Choux Fromage
Boeuf Bourguignon
Molten Chocolate Puddings with White Chocolate Centers

All texts and pictures are property of The Gypsy Chef