Desserts

Chocolate Lava Cakes

My brother in law visits us often and we tend to dine out more than usual when he is here.  A couple of years ago, he discovered the Molten Chocolate Cakes at La Traviata, in PV, and he is still talking about them!

We try to get to the restaurant at least once during his stays, but time ran out on us during his last  visit so he has suggested I try making them at home.   Why not, I thought.  It is really just an under-baked cake.  Turns out, the exact amount of under-baking is critical!

This one took a bit of practice for me to perfect, (OK, a lot of practice), but the disappointment of the imperfect versions was tempered by a tasty chocolate cake; or pudding, so it was sort of a win either way.

I have changed the original recipe just a bit, the most obvious is making 6 x 4 oz ramekins instead of 4 x 6 oz ones.   With so many practice versions, my waistline appreciates the smaller versions.  Plus, with 3 of us in the house, I could bake 3 one day and 3 the next so prep time (for the second night, anyway)  was cut way back.

The ingredients are decadent and somewhat expensive, but the effective cost of each of the 6 little desserts is about 14 pesos, or about $1 Canadian.  Another plus is that this batter can be made up to 2 days in advance!   Just pour it into the prepared ramekins, cover and refrigerate.  Take them out of the fridge about an hour before you are ready to bake them so they come to room temperature before baking, and be sure your oven is properly pre-heated.

IMG_2785

Chocolate Lava Cakes

Unsweetened cocoa powder (for dusting ramekins)

1/2 cup unsalted butter, plus more for ramekins

6 ounces semi or bitter sweet chocolate

2 eggs

2 egg yolks

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

pinch salt

2 Tablespoons flour

Vanilla ice cream for serving

Preheat oven to 450F.  Generously butter each of 6 ramekins.  Dust inside with cocoa powder and tap out excess.  Arrange on baking sheet and set aside.

Melt 1/2 cup butter and chocolate in top of double boiler over simmering water, stirring often.  Be sure the water in the bottom pot is not touching the bottom of the pot on top.

Meanwhile, beat eggs, yolks sugar, cinnamon and salt together at high speed until mixture is pale, thick and very fluffy.

Stir the chocolate until smooth and any lumps have melted.  (NOTE:  Chocolate should be warm, not hot!  If it feels hot to the touch, allow to cool to room temperature before proceeding or you will end up with scrambled eggs.)  Pour into the egg mixture and sift the flour over top.  Working quickly and gently,  fold the chocolate into the egg mixture until flour and chocolate are fully incorporated and mixture is a uniform colour.

Pour into prepared ramekins (see Cooks Notes)  and bake for 9 minutes until cakes are slightly puffed and centre appears mostly (but not completely)  dry.

IMG_2788

Remove from oven and let sit for a minute or 2.  Gently run a thin knife around each ramekin, then cover each with an inverted dessert plate.  Flip over and let stand until the cake falls onto the plate.  You may have to help this along by gently shaking the ramekin.

Add ice cream to the plates and serve immediately.  IMG_2791

COOKS NOTES:

  1. once the mixture is in the ramekins, they can be refrigerated until ready to use, up to 2 days.  Bring to room temperature before baking.
  2. if you use 6 oz ramekins, increase baking time to 12 minutes.

 

Advertisements
Pies

Fresh Mango ‘Pie’

It cant get easier than this.   It is messy, but you get fruit and graham crust all on the same plate.  Maybe I should call it a Mango Mess instead.

IMG_2594

1 graham pie crust (pre-baked)

3 – 4 ripe mangoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1 cup water or apple juice

3 Tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 cup sugar

zest and juice from one small lime

In large saucepan over medium high heat, combine juice (or water), cornstarch, lime juice and sugar.  Stir to dissolve and continue stirring constantly to prevent sticking until mixture comes to a boil and thickens.  Remove from heat, stir in mangoes then transfer mixture to pre-baked graham pie crust.  Sprinkle lime zest over top.  Chill in fridge at least 2 hours.  Spoon onto plates and enjoy.

COOKS NOTE:  This does not set up like a regular pie.   You wont get neat  slices from it so you probably shouldn’t make it if you re trying to impress the in-laws, but it is pretty tasty all the same.

 

 

Desserts · How To... · Pies

(Almost) Graham Cracker Pie Crust

img_2595.jpg
Mango Pie with Graham Crust

We can buy Graham Crackers here but we must go to an import store where we pay more for that little box of crackers than it would cost to buy a whole pie from a speciality bakery.    We can get pre-made “graham” crusts for a very reasonable cost, but they tend to be flavourless.  So, I started experimenting with different types of cookies that  are readily available here and, discovered what most of you probably already know… most any unfilled cookie can sub in for Graham Crackers.

Crush the cookies in a plastic bag using a rolling pin or pop them in your food processor.  The important part is to be sure to add enough butter and sugar so it stays together when you press it into the pie pan.

It isn’t rocket science and some of you are probably wondering why on earth something so common needs to be written down.   The answer?  Because even though this is a no brainer for many of you, I  don’t make pies often enough to have this simple formula memorized.  And, now that it is written it down, I don’t have to memorize it.

(Almost) Graham Cracker Pie Crust

 

1 1/2 cups cookie crumbs

6 tablespoons  butter, melted

1/3 cup sugar

Mix all ingredients together in large bowl until well combined.   Press mixture into a 9″ pie pan, making sure it is tight and compact.   Using the bottom of a flat measuring cup to help with this.

If you are making a no-bake pie, chill the crust for at least 2 hours before adding the filling.

If making a baked pie, pre-bake the crust at 350F for 7 – 10 minutes, then continue with whatever directions you have for the filling.