Thursday, December 27, 2012

food > fertility

Because food is funner than fertility and because the net result of hormones coursing through your body on the regular is, essentially: I must eat all the foods RIGHT NOW, and, because I promised, here are a few hits (oh boy were there some misses) that I made this month:

 Dark chocolate, sour cherry, no-knead bread

 Chocolate pumpkin pie with toffee crumble

Apple mosaic tart with salted caramel

You may notice a theme that goes something like this: the addition of melted chocolate makes all things better.

(Also, I swear that all of my other meals consist exclusively of steamed kale to offset this obscene consumption of sugar.)

Recipes after the jump.

Dark chocolate, sour cherry, no-knead bread
(adapted from Jim Lahey's basic no-knead method)

2 cups bread flour, plus 4 tablespoons (because I'm a snob, I prefer King Arthur but any flour will do)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
heaping 1/4 teaspoon yeast
1 1/3 cup cool (not ice cold) water

1 cup dark chocolate chips
1/4 cup of your milk of choice (I used plain soy)
1 cup, give or take, dried, sour cherries 

One 6-8 quart cast iron pot/dutch oven, with the plastic handle removed and the little screw dropped in the hole, loose-like (if you wanna be fancy, Le Creuset is the way to go, but I'm cheap - a cheap, snob, see supra - so we use a Lodge with great success)

In a large bowl, mix together flour, salt and yeast with a wooden spoon. Add water and stir (or, better, use your hands) to mix thoroughly and form a sticky ball of doughy goodness. Cover bowl with saran wrap and place a tea towel over top (to keep in the warmth). Place dough in a draft-free spot and let sit for approximately 12-18 hours. This is the "first rise."

Just before the end of the first rise, chop sour cherries. Then, in a small saucepan over medium heat, carefully so as not to burn the chocolate, stir together dark chocolate and milk until chocolate is melted and liquid chocolate has formed (don't let it get too thick, should take just a couple minutes or less).

Using a wooden spoon or floured spatula, pry the ball of dough out of the bowl so it remains all in one piece. Turn it out onto a floured surface. Now, make a mess. Folding the dough as you go, slather dough with cherries and chocolate until just combined throughout. Knead for about 30 seconds, gently, then tuck bottom of dough under (seam side down). Sit dough on floured surface and cover with damp tea towel. Let rise for 1-2 hours. This is the, you guessed it, "second rise." 

About 30 minutes before the end of the second rise, put cast iron pot in oven and preheat oven to 475 degrees F. At the end of the second rise, carefully remove the pot from the oven and drop in dough, seam side up. Bake with the lid on for about 24 minutes (or so). Remove the lid for a couple minutes to brown the top. 

If you can stand to save some, this bread makes divine french toast the day after. Chocolate's a breakfast, right?

Chocolate pumpkin pie with toffee crumble
(pie from Food & Wine, toffee from our mind grapes)

For the toffee crumble:
2 cups butter
2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

(you probably want to have a cheap thermometer on hand but, if you like to live on the edge, by all means, go without).

Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a heavy saucepan, combine the butter, sugar and salt. Cook over medium heat, and stir until the butter is melted. Allow to come to a boil, and cook until the mixture becomes a dark amber color, and the temperature has reached 285 degrees F. Stir occasionally.

As soon as the toffee reaches the proper temperature, pour it out onto the baking sheet. Sprinkle the chocolate over the top, and let it set for a minute or two to soften. Then spread the chocolate into a thin, melty layer. 

Place the toffee in the refrigerator to chill until set. Break into pieces, and store in an airtight container. 

Ed. Note: This recipe makes far more than is needed to top a pie; put the excess in the freezer and stress-eat your way through it as needed.

Meanwhile, for the pie:
4 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves (we substituted a touch of nutmeg)
pinch of kosher salt
one 15-ounce can of pumpkin puree
all-butter pie dough (either store bought or using Bittman's flaky pie crust, substitute one tablespoon vodka for one of the tablespoons of water. Seriously. Do it.)
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled slightly

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a 13-inch round a scant 1/4 inch thick. Fit the dough into a 9-inch glass pie plate. Trim the edge to 3/4 inch; fold the dough under itself and crimp decoratively. Refrigerate the pie shell for 10 minutes.

Line the pie shell with foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans (we used dry rice). Bake in the center of the oven until nearly set, about 25 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and bake until the crust is pale golden, about 10 minutes longer. Let cool slightly.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, cloves and salt until smooth. Whisk in the pumpkin puree, then the cream. Transfer 1 cup of the filling to a bowl and whisk in the melted chocolate. Working near the oven, pour the rest of the pumpkin filling into the crust. Dollop the chocolate filling on top and swirl it in with a butter knife. Bake the pie for about 45 minutes, until the custard is set. Cover the crust with strips of foil if it browns too quickly. Cool the pie on a wire rack completely before serving.

The pie can be refrigerated overnight. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Apple mosaic tart with salted caramel
(from Smitten Kitchen)

Because I changed nothing - because Deb Perelman is a culinary goddess - I'm just gonna let her tell you what's what with this decadent little number. Fair warning however. If you have never used a mandoline, and kitchen-gadget-neophyte that I am, I had not, it's entirely possible that you may skin off several of your fingertips and run screaming and bloody down the hallway injure yourself. Proceed with caution.

1 comment:

  1. Oh me oh my, those look amazing. I have been baking lots too. I will post recipes soon. I think I need to try some of these, I bet they were tasty.