Jean-Francois’ gooey cake

This dead easy recipe from Trish Deseine’s wonderful book Chocolate is a household staple.  This is my version, sized down to fit my 26cm (10″)  flan dish (and comfortably serving 4 – 5).

  • 150g (5.5 oz)  good dark chocolate (I use Callebaut)
  • 150g (5.5 oz) unsalted butter
  • 4 large eggs
  • 150g (5.5 oz) sugar

Preheat oven to 180C (350F).

Melt butter and chocolate in microwave in short bursts on high (or melt together in double boiler on the stove).  Allow to cool slightly (so as not to scramble the eggs in the next step).

Beat egg yolks and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until the mixture is pale.  Combine the two mixtures together.

Whisk egg whites to stiff peaks.  Stir a small amount of the stiff egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it, then gently fold the remaining eggwhites into the mix.

Pour into 26cm (10″) flan tin and bake for 25 minutes, or until cake is well risen and just past the really wibbly stage.  Cake will collapse as it cools, leaving a slightly raised crust around the edges.  We served it with homemade icecream.

Just out of the oven….

Prawn Crackers for Chinese New Year

I tried making my own Malaysian style prawn crackers this year.  They’re made from Australian Crystal Bay Prawns (banana prawns) and tapioca flour.  I’ve realised there are two separate skill components here – the making is a long, laborious process, but the deepfrying is equally as tricky, and contributes just as much to the final success of the cracker.  The nice thing about making my own is that I know what went into it (no MSG), how they were processed, and what oil they were fried in (Grapeseed).  Next time they could use a smidgen more salt, but all in all, a pretty successful first attempt.  The original recipe, with wonderful step by step photos, is here.

Small girl across the road loved these..  🙂

New Cookies

Yesterday I tried two new cookie recipes, both of which were made in the food processor. (I’m lazy – if I have to wash the food processor, I might as well make good use of it while it’s out).  The first is a chocolate oatmeal cookie from the Jacques Pepin Celebrates cookbook.  It’s particularly interesting in that the recipe has no egg in it, and only 1/4  cup sugar.  It’s a shortbready treat, studded with currents and lacquered with dark chocolate.

The second is a French cookie (over here we’d probably call it a biscuit), the recipe for which I found in Dorie Greenspan’s archives (I’m currently working my way through her blog).  It’s called a “Punition”, although I really don’t know why, unless you’re going to be punished with an enlarged rump for eating too many of them, as they’re pretty addictive.  In this recipe, the quality of the butter is very significant, as the flavour dominates the finished cookie.  I thought this was a great opportunity to use a batch of Pete’s homemade butter, which he made just last week.  It was made with heavy cream (10.5% fat and pure, no thickeners added) which we allowed to sour a week or so past its expiry date, and had just the tiniest bit of crushed Maldon salt added to it.  The recipe made a huge batch of crisp, delicious butter cookies which I’m shovelling into my mouth as I type.  🙂

Fruit Cake

It’s been ages since I’ve made fruit cake, but a chance purchase of 2L of black rum inspired me to make one yesterday.  Unlike the “old days” (e. 15 years ago when we were making fruit cakes regularly), this one was baked in a large bundt pan.  Because of that, it cooked in only 1.5 hours rather than the specified 2.5hrs.  Gorgeous flavour from a mix of treacle and fruits boiled in rum and butter.  Dead easy recipe, didn’t need a mixer (note to Dan! :)).  I found the recipe online here, it’s an old Women’s Weekly one.

I sub’d rum for brandy, and, as I didn’t have any mixed peel or glace fruit on hand (or raisins for that matter), I used golden sultanas, dark sultanas, currant and cranberries (which I did have on hand).  I also only used lemon peel, and threw in a little tart plum jam for good measure.  Usually baking requires a rigid compliance with the recipe, but I’ve always found fruit cakes allow a little flexibility.  To me, the most important thing about baking a moist, successful fruit cake is to give the hot cake a splash of alcohol, then cover it with foil and wrap it in a tea towel and allow it to cool in its tin.  This can take all night, but it’s worth the wait!

New Yoghurt Cake Recipe

Tried a new yoghurt cake recipe today which was joyous in its simplicity – it didn’t need a mixer, it didn’t need butter, and it produced a very interesting, fine textured cake which was almost a cross between cake and bread.  The other thing that was particularly nice about it was that we were able to make it using Pete’s homemade yoghurt and his homemade apricot jam, my vanilla extract and bake it in my black steel breadpans which have been largely unused since I discovered how much fun it was to shape bread.

The recipe is by Dorie Greenspan, and it’s a winner.