Holiday Baking – See it on 207!

I had the privilege of cooking with Rob Caldwell of WCSH6 and the show 207 a couple of weeks ago.  The first of three segments aired last night and you can watch me making Chocolate Rosemary Tart with Sea Salt Caramel Bark here.  The other two will air over the winter and as we know, we’ll let you know.  The recipe for the tart is on their site and if you’ve already got Sugar & Salt: The Orange Book, then you just need to add rosemary to the recipe in the book.

This was my first time in the new O’Maine Studio, which is a lovely upgrade from the former kitchen.  But it got me reminiscing as I was the first chef to do a spot in the original studio kitchen.  How many years ago was that?  Not gonna count.

Chocolate Rosemary Tart with Sea Salt Caramel Bark Photo (c) 2009 by Elizabeth Poisson
This bark has nuts in it, but the one I made for 207 was just flavored with vanilla and sea salt.

Thanks Rob and the gang for a fun time in your new studio!

Chocolate Cashew Pudding

My friend Glen, mentioned in the doughnut post, is often down in the galley in the wee morning hours when I’m making all the decisions about what we’ll be eating for the rest of the day.  I’ll often share out loud what I’m thinking because one, I know he likes to hear the winding road of my thought process, and two, I like to share with him because it helps me to hear, in my own words, what I’m thinking about. Somehow, when it’s outside of myself and in the space of the galley I’m able to see the big picture a little more clearly.

In any event, because I’m having these ‘out loud’ conversations, Glen gets a preview and many times an input.  Long before he talked me into doughnuts, he talked me into pudding.  Sure, it’s a pain to stand over the wood stove and stir it until it thickens, however, the creamy, sublime result is totally worth the effort.  This is one I just made up this summer and will have to share with Glen when he sails with us again.

Chocolate Cashew Pudding Photo by Rocky Coast Photography

Chocolate Cashew Pudding
For an extra rich dessert, serve with whipped cream on top and dusted with cocoa powder.

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate cut into small chunks
1/2 cup cashew butter

In a thick bottomed pot, combine the sugar, cornstarch, milk, and salt.  Bring to a full boil over medium heat whisking often to make sure the bottom doesn’t scorch.  Remove from heat and add the vanilla extract and then the chocolate.  Let the chocolate melt from the heat of the mixture, stirring occasionally until the chocolate is melted.  Add the cashew butter and again mix well.  Transfer to small serving bowls, cover with plastic wrap and chill.

Serves 4 to 6

Making all of the women in the household happy – the husband too, actually.

Magic Chocolate Flan Cake – Thank you, Diane!

Flan is one of those desserts that is sophisticated and elegant like a stylish, urban dress worn with heals that I love but never get to wear because my driveway is lined with gravel and I’ll break something if I strap on heels.  Like the dress that I wish I could wear but don’t, I wish I liked flan.  But I don’t.  It tastes like sugary eggs to me and I’ve never been able to get passed that initial impression.

THIS flan, however, is not really traditional flan (because of the sweetened condensed milk and the cream cheese) and therefore, I find it fantastic.  The custard is smooth and creamy but not eggy or too sweet.

I used a Coffee Pecan Syrup I found hanging around in the back of the refrigerator rather than making my own caramel sauce.  I’m sure the caramel sauce would be just as decadent as the coffee pecan syrup was.

This recipe was given to me by a long time guest.  She only passes on the best of recipes and I so appreciate her discernment.  Thanks, Diane!

Getting ready to flip…
It's working!
It’s working!
Easy, sneezy.
Cake love.
Couldn’t wait.

Magic Chocolate Flan Cake
It’s worth using good-quality caramel sauce, such as Fat Toad Farm Goat’s Milk Caramel (or a Coffee Pecan Syrup that happens to be hanging out in the back of the fridge).  If your blender doesn’t hold 2 quarts, process the flan in 2 batches. The cake needs to chill for AT LEAST 8 hours before unmolding.

1/2 cup caramel sauce or topping, microwaved briefly for easier distribution
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (3 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (1 ounce) cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2, 14-ounce cans sweetened condensed milk
2 1/2 cups whole milk
6 ounces cream cheese
6 large eggs plus 4 large yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cake:  Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease 12-cup nonstick Bundt pan.  Microwave caramel until easily pourable, about 30 seconds.  Pour into pan to coat bottom.  Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in bowl; set aside.  Combine chocolate and butter in large bowl and microwave at 50 percent power, stirring occasionally, until melted, 2 to 4 minutes.  Whisk buttermilk, sugar, eggs, and vanilla into chocolate mixture until incorporated.  Stir in flour mixture until just combined.  Pour batter over caramel in prepared pan.

Flan:  Process all ingredients in blender until smooth, about 1 minute.  Gently pour flan over cake batter in Bundt pan and place pan in large roasting pan.  Place roasting pan in oven; pour warm water into roasting pan until it reaches half way up the side of the Bundt pan.  Bake until toothpick inserted in cake comes out clean and flan registers 180 degrees, 75 to 90 minutes.  Transfer Bundt pan to wire rack.  Let cool to room temperature, about 2 hours, then refrigerate until set, at least 8 hours. (Remove roasting pan from oven once water has cooled.)

To Unmold: Place bottom third of Bundt pan in bowl of hot tap water for 1 minute.  Invert completely flat cake platter, place platter over the top of Bundt pan, and gently turn platter and pan upside-down.  Slowly remove pan, allowing caramel to drizzle over top of cake.  Serve.

Serves 16

P.S.  E and I might have had a bite (or two or three) straight from the plate when we unmolded it.  We dare you to resist!