Tartufi (Ice Cream Truffles)


These just look like regular old truffles, right?  Trust me, these are unlike any truffles you’ve ever tried (unless of course you’ve had ice cream truffles before).  I’ve been itching to make chocolate ganache ice cream, and then I started thinking about making it into ice cream truffles since truffles are traditionally filled with ganache.  The only problem was I was slightly terrified of making truffles with ice cream centers.  I mean sure, I’ve made truffles plenty of times but the idea of dipping cold ice cream into warm melted chocolate and getting a presentable end result just seemed unlikely.  But as I’ve learned so many times, you must always trust in David Lebovitz.  It turns out ice cream truffles are actually even easier to dip than regular truffles.  Since the center is so cold, the chocolate hardens quickly and smoothly over the top.  I did end up with quite a bit of the melted chocolate mixture left over, but I think having a deep chocolate mixture makes for much easier dipping so it’s a fair trade.

Let me also just say a quick few words about the chocolate ganache ice cream.  Oh.My.Gosh.  So rich, smooth, chocolatey.  I’m sure these truffles would be wonderful with many flavors of ice cream but now that I’ve had these, I’m not sure I’ll be able to stray.  The ice cream will certainly have its very own post on the blog someday, but for now I’ll just link to the recipe via the Tuesdays with Dorie group.

Tartufi (Ice Cream Truffles)
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Yield: 8 tartufi
Ingredients:
2 cups ice cream
6 oz. bittersweet (or semisweet) chocolate, chopped
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1½ tbsp. light corn syrup

Directions:
Line a flat dinner plate or baking sheet with parchment paper and place in the freezer.  Once the plate is chilled, use a dough scoop or ice cream scoop to shape mounds of ice cream, making sure that the mounds are solid.  Brush any dangling bits of ice cream away so the surface is completely smooth.  Place each mound on the chilled plate or baking sheet.  Freeze the shaped mounds thoroughly before proceeding.

When you are ready to dip the truffles, combine the chocolate, butter and corn syrup in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water.  Heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth.  Working quickly, dip one ice cream mound at a time into the chocolate mixture, moving between two spoons until the coating is smooth and the excess has dripped off.  Return to the parchment-lined chilled surface (replace the parchment if necessary), and return to the freezer.  Freeze until ready to serve.

Source: The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

Snickers Cupcakes


My brain seems to have a constant, never-ending stream of thoughts relating to food.  I’m sure many fellow food lovers can relate.  I think about what I’m making for dinner, what I had for dessert last night, and often what sorts of new recipes I want to try.  One day a month or so ago, inexplicably and out of nowhere, the idea of Snickers cupcakes popped into my head.  A glorious idea, I tell you, and the urge to have one was so strong, I was just dying to get home and make them.  I didn’t even have a recipe in mind but was determined to find one.  Literally the very next day I saw them pop up on one food blog, and then another.  None were the exact version I had in mind, so I combined components of various recipes to achieve the result I was hoping for.

The final version consists of a chocolate cupcake, filled with a caramel-Snickers mixture, topped with caramel buttercream and garnished with additional Snickers and caramel sauce.  Rich as can be, and full of Snickers flavor, these are a decadent treat to say the least.

Snickers Cupcakes
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Yield: 20 cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
½ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
½ cup hot water
2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. coarse salt
16 tbsp. unsalted butter
1½ cups sugar
2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1¾ tsp. vanilla extract
2/3 cup sour cream, at room temperature

For the caramel sauce:
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
¼ tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

For the filling:
24 fun-size Snickers bars, chopped

For the frosting:
16 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 lb. confectioners’ sugar
1½ tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup caramel sauce
Pinch of coarse salt
2 tbsp. heavy cream

For garnish:
8 fun-size Snickers bars, chopped

Directions:
To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line standard cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and hot water until smooth.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine the butter and the sugar over medium heat.  Heat, stirring occasionally to combine, until the butter is melted.  Remove the mixture from the heat and transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  Beat on medium-low speed, 4-5 minutes, until the mixture is cooled.  Mix in the eggs and egg yolk, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed and beating well after each addition.  Mix in the vanilla and then the cocoa mixture and beat until incorporated.  With the mixer on low speed add in the dry ingredients in two batches, alternating with the sour cream, beating just until combined.

Divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners, filling them about ¾ of the way full.  Bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, rotating the pans halfway through baking.  Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the caramel sauce, melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat.  Add the sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar begins to foam a bit.  It will look and smell like it’s on the verge of burning.  Remove from the heat and add the heavy cream.  Stir until the sauce is smooth (you may need to return it to the heat to smooth it out), then mix in the vanilla and salt.  Let cool.  (This can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.)

To fill the cupcakes, cut a cone out of the center of each cupcake with a paring knife.


To make the filling, combine the chopped Snickers bars in a bowl with 1/3-½ cup of the caramel sauce, and mix to coat.


Drop a spoonful of the filling mixture into each cupcake.

To make the frosting, add the butter to the bowl of an electric mixer.  Beat on medium-high speed 1 minute until smooth.  Blend in the confectioners’ sugar until smooth, 1-2 minutes.  Mix in the vanilla, caramel sauce and salt until incorporated.  (Note: the caramel sauce should be just warm enough that it is workable, but not warm enough to melt the butter in the frosting.)  Add the heavy cream and whip on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.


Transfer the frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip.  Drizzle the frosted cupcakes with additional caramel sauce and garnish with chopped Snickers bars.


Note: I used an Ateco 809 tip for these cupcakes.

Source: cupcakes from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes, caramel sauce from Ready for Dessert by David Lebovitz, frosting adapted from My Baking Addiction

Salted Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies


The sweet-salty combo has long been a favorite of many, many people.  Why do you think peanut butter and chocolate are such a perfect pair?  Yet I’ll admit that when I saw these salted chocolate chunk cookies, I was a bit hesitant.  I suppose my palate is not as sophisticated as some, but I just wasn’t sold on sprinkling salt directly onto my cookies.  But, since the recipe came from one of my favorite blogs, I decided to give it a go.  Plus, it calls for 20 ounces of chocolate, which is pretty convincing all on its own.  First you taste a blast of chocolate, and then the salt crystals melt on your tongue to create a perfectly smooth counterbalance to the sweetness.  Fresh from the oven with a cold glass of milk, these are darn near irresistible.  But as for the leftovers, no worries – just zap them in the microwave for 10-15 seconds and you can enjoy that warm, gooey chocolateness all over again.

Salted Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies

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Yield: about 24 cookies
Ingredients:

8 oz. semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. fleur de sel (sea salt), plus more for sprinkling
2 large eggs, at room temperature
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
12 oz. semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Combine the 8 ounces chopped chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, and heat until the chocolate and butter are melted and smooth, stirring occasionally.  (Alternatively, heat in the microwave in 25-second intervals, stirring in between.)  In another mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the eggs, brown sugar and vanilla.  Beat on medium-high speed until the sugar has completely dissolved, about 4-5 minutes.  Reduce the speed to low and add the melted chocolate mixture, blending until incorporated.  Add in the dry ingredients and mix just until combined.  Fold in the remaining chopped chocolate with a spatula.  Drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto the prepared baking sheets, about 2-3 inches apart (I used my medium-sized dough scoop).

Bake, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, until the cookies are just slightly soft in the center and crackly on top, about 10-12 minutes.  Sprinkle lightly with additional salt and let cool on the baking sheets 10 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container.

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride, originally from Martha Stewart Living

Éclairs with Mocha Pastry Cream


I am a lucky girl in so many ways.  One of them is that I have a lot of really wonderful friends who are incredibly encouraging of my love for cooking and baking.  (I’m sure this has absolutely, positively nothing to do with the fact that they often reap the benefit of said hobby.)  It also turns out that some of them are pretty talented in the kitchen as well, and I thought it would be fun to all get together and have a baking day with the girlfriends.  Finding one day that worked for four doctors was the biggest obstacle, but once we got past that, we had a blast!

Each of us chose one recipe that we wanted to make and I must say, all the choices were fantastic!  I had everyone send me their recipes in advance so I could have the ingredients and necessary equipment ready for them.  Before they came over, I prepared makeshift stations with the equipment and ingredients that each of us would need.


Julia made chocolate toffee shortbread bars.


Shanon made raspberry mascarpone macarons.


Ashley made crab-filled ravioli.


And I chose these éclairs filled with mocha pastry cream.


Once everyone arrived, I served a simple lunch of fontina mac and cheese, salad, and a fruit, cheese and cracker platter.  We all enjoyed lunch and girl talk, and then we got busy in the kitchen!  I’m sure you can imagine my excitement at having 3(!) KitchenAid mixers working all at once.  This was a super fun day and I’m already looking forward to doing it again when our schedules will allow.  I highly recommend coordinating a baking day with friends – it is quality time to spend together while sharing in an activity that everyone enjoys!

And as for my recipe choice, if you think I have an obsession with pastry cream…you’d be correct.  I’ve been wanting to make these éclairs for a long time and baking day seemed the perfect opportunity to try them.  These totally lived up to my expectations.  I mean, what wouldn’t be great about a pastry filled with a thick, smooth mocha-flavored cream with a chocolate glaze on top?  I wasn’t the only one who loved them.  Ben acted like I had given him the best gift in the world when I let him eat the last one 🙂

Éclairs with Mocha Pastry Cream
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Yield: 8 éclairs
Ingredients:
For the mocha pastry cream:
1½ cups half-and-half
6 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. sugar, divided
Pinch salt
1½ tsp. espresso powder
3 large egg yolks
2 tbsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into 2 pieces
½ tsp. vanilla extract

For the pâte à choux:
2 large eggs plus 1 large egg white
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 10 pieces
2 tbsp. whole milk
6 tbsp. water
1½ tsp. sugar
¼ tsp. salt
½ cup (2½ oz.) all-purpose flour

For the glaze:
3 tbsp. half-and-half
2 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup (4 oz.) confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Directions:
To make the pastry cream, heat the half-and-half, 5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon of the sugar, and the salt in a saucepan over medium-high heat until simmering, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar.  Once the mixture is warm, whisk in the espresso powder.  Meanwhile, combine the egg yolks and remaining 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar in a medium bowl and whisk until the sugar has begun to dissolve and the mixture is creamy, about 15 seconds.  Whisk in the cornstarch until combined and the mixture is pale yellow and thick, about 30 seconds.

When the half-and-half mixture has reached a simmer, slowly add it to the egg yolk mixture to temper, whisking constantly.  Return the mixture to the saucepan, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula.  Return the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly, until a few bubbles burst on the surface and the mixture is thickened and glossy, about 30 seconds.  Off the heat, whisk in the butter and vanilla.  Strain the pastry cream through a  fine mesh sieve set over a medium bowl.  Press plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate until cold and set, at least 3 hours and up to 2 days.

To make the pâte à choux, whisk the eggs and egg white in a liquid measuring cup.  You should have ½ cup (discard the excess).  Set aside.  Combine the butter, milk, water, sugar and salt in a small saucepan.  Heat over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring once or twice.  When it reaches a full boil and the butter is fully melted, remove from the heat and stir in the flour until incorporated and the mixture clears the sides of the pan.  Return the saucepan to low heat and cook, stirring constantly, using a smearing motion, until the mixture is slightly shiny, looks like wet sand and tiny beads of fat appear on the bottom of the pan (the mixture should register 175-180˚ F on an instant-read thermometer.

Immediately transfer the mixture to a food processor and process with the feed tube open to cool slightly, 10 seconds.  With the machine running, gradually add the reserved eggs in a steady stream.  When they have been added, scrape down the sides of the bowl, then process 30 seconds more until a smooth, thick, sticky paste forms.

Adjust an oven rack to middle position and preheat the oven to 425˚ F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat.  Fit a pastry bag with a ½-inch plain tip.  Fill the pastry bag with the pâte à choux.  Pipe the paste into eight 5 x 1-inch strips, spaced about 1 inch apart.  Use the bake of a teaspoon dipped in water to even out the shape and smooth the surface.

Bake 15 minutes without opening the oven door, then lower the oven temperature to 375˚ F and continue to bake until golden brown and fairly firm, 8-10 minutes longer.  Remove the baking sheet from the oven and cut a ¾-inch slit into the side of each éclair to release steam.  Return the pan to the oven, turn off the oven, and prop the oven door open with the handle of a wooden spoon.  Dry the éclairs in the turned-off oven until the centers are just moist and crisp, about 45 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

To make the glaze, place the half-and-half and chocolate in a medium microwave-safe bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave for 20 seconds at a time, until the mixture just begins to steam.  Whisk together thoroughly, add the confectioners’ sugar and whisk until completely smooth.

To assemble the éclairs, add the pastry cream to a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip.  Pipe the pastry cream through the slit in the side of each éclair to fill it completely.  Dip the top of each éclair in the chocolate glaze.  Transfer to a wire rack and allow the glaze to set.  Serve within several hours.

Source: Baking Illustrated

Boston Cream Whoopie Pies

Whoopie pies are cute as can be and make a wonderful few-bite dessert.  You know what makes them even better?  Filling them with my favorite (rich, smooth, beloved) vanilla pastry cream.  There isn’t much I can resist when this pastry cream is involved and these sweet little treats are no exception.  I first saw the idea for Boston cream whoopie pies on a blog ages ago.  While the picture looked appealing, the recipe was a somewhat odd vegan version that called for all sorts of ingredients I don’t keep on hand and didn’t sound as good as they looked.  I have been hemming and hawing over the idea ever since, trying to think of the best way to accomplish these when wouldn’t you know, a different version popped up in another blog and took care of it for me.  Problem solved!  A vanilla cake cookie topped with ganache and filled with pastry cream – perfect.

These are just as easy as any other whoopie pie, though it is best to make the pastry cream one day in advance so everything will be ready to assemble once the cookies are baked.  One of my favorite things about this recipe?  You’ll have left over pastry cream for…you know, eating with a spoon.  (Shhh, don’t tell.)

Boston Cream Whoopie Pies
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For the pastry cream:
2 cups half-and-half
½ cup sugar, divided
Pinch salt
5 large egg yolks
3 tbsp. cornstarch
4 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1½ tsp. vanilla extract

Yield: about 32 sandwich cookies
Ingredients:

For the cookies:
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1½ tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. salt
½ cup milk

For the ganache:
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
¼ cup heavy cream

Directions:
To make the pastry cream, heat the half-and-half, 6 tablespoons of the sugar, and the salt in a saucepan over medium-high heat until simmering, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar.  Meanwhile, combine the egg yolks and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in a medium bowl and whisk until the sugar has begun to dissolve and the mixture is creamy, about 15 seconds.  Whisk in the cornstarch until combined and the mixture is pale yellow and thick, about 30 seconds.

When the half-and-half mixture has reached a simmer, slowly add it to the egg yolk mixture to temper, whisking constantly.  Return the mixture to the saucepan, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula.  Return the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly, until a few bubbles burst on the surface and the mixture is thickened and glossy, about 30 seconds.  Off the heat, whisk in the butter and vanilla.  Strain the pastry cream through a  fine mesh sieve set over a medium bowl.  Press plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate until cold and set, at least 3 hours and up to 2 days.

To make the cookies, preheat the oven to 375˚ F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.  Fit a pastry bag with a wide round tip (I used Ateco 809).  Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Blend in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Blend in the vanilla.  In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; whisk to combine.  With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients to the bowl, alternating with with the milk, and beating each addition just until incorporated.

Transfer the batter to the piping bag.  Pipe 1½-2 inch circles onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing an inch or two apart.  Bake 8-10 minutes, until the cookies are set (they should not brown.)  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Repeat with any remaining batter as necessary.

Once all the cookies have cooled, match them up in pairs by size.  To make the ganache, place the chopped chocolate into a small heatproof bowl.  Bring the heavy cream to a simmer in a small saucepan.  Pour the cream over the chocolate and let sit for 1-2 minutes.  Whisk in small circular motions until the chocolate is completely blended and the ganache is smooth.  Dip the rounded side of one cookie of each pair into the ganache and coat with an even layer.  Return to the cooling rack, flat side down, and let the ganache set before proceeding.

Transfer the pastry cream another piping bag fitted with a smaller plain round tip.  Pipe a dollop of pastry cream onto the flat side of the plain cookie of each pair.  Press the flat side of the other cookie to the pastry cream, sandwiching the two together.

Keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Source: adapted from Cate’s World Kitchen, originally from King Arthur Flour and The Secrets of Baking by Sherry Yard; pastry cream from Baking Illustrated

Double Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes

It seems somewhere along the way I blinked my eyes and I have finished my first year of residency.  Wow, that was fast!  I measured the year not in 525,600 minutes (sorry, couldn’t resist), but in batches of birthday cupcakes – to be exact.  It has been so much fun playing cupcake fairy for everyone, and seeing how excited everyone gets when “it’s cupcake day!”  These double chocolate raspberry cupcakes were my last batch of birthday cupcakes for the academic year.  A wonderful choice by a wonderful coworker, I was thrilled to make them and even more so to eat them.  If you’ve been reading for a while you may recall that I have another chocolate raspberry cupcake recipe posted but as far as I’m concerned, you can’t have too many.  This one uses a homemade raspberry filling where the other uses jam and these are topped with ganache while the others have a raspberry jam buttercream.  One thing I did keep consistent was the garnish of a ganache-filled raspberry.  It’s a sweet little surprise I just can’t resist.

I thought it would be fun to look back on all the different kinds of treats we enjoyed this past year.  Not everyone chose cupcakes, and some cupcakes were repeats due to popular demand.  I’m already looking forward to whatever flavors of cupcakes this new year will bring!

Strawberry Cupcakes
Carrot Cupcakes

Fauxstess Cupcakes

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes
Banana Caramel Cupcakes
Apple Pie Cupcakes
Mocha Brownie Cupcakes
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes
Pumpkin Butterscotch Cupcakes
Caramel Apple Cheesecake Pie
Pina Colada Cupcakes
S’mores Cupcakes
Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes
Black Forest Cupcakes
German Chocolate Cupcakes
Perfect Party Cupcakes with Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Easy Vanilla Buttercream
Pecan Bars
Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes (again)
Chocolate Whiskey Cupcakes
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes
Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes (again)
Chocolate Kahlua Cupcakes
Triple Chocolate Cupcakes
Cookies and Cream Cupcakes
Double Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes

Double Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes
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Yield:
24-28 cupcakes

Ingredients:
For the cupcakes:
3 oz. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1½ cups hot brewed coffee
3 cups sugar
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ cups unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. baking powder
1¼ tsp. salt
3 large eggs
¾ cup vegetable oil
1½ cups buttermilk
¾ tsp. vanilla extract

For the filling:
1 (12 oz.) bag frozen raspberries, thawed
¼ cup sugar
1 tbsp. cornstarch

For the frosting:
12 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
¾ cup heavy cream
1½ tbsp. sugar
1½ tbsp. corn syrup
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature

Directions:
To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.  Place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl; add the hot coffee and let stand a minute or two, then whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the eggs on medium-high speed until slightly thickened and pale yellow.  Slowly add the oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture to the eggs, mixing until well blended.  Add the dry ingredients and beat on medium-low speed just until incorporated.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cupcake liners, filling each about ¾ of the way full.  Bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.   Allow to cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the raspberry filling, puree the raspberries in a blender or food processor.  Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a saucepan to remove the seeds.  Whisk in the sugar and cornstarch, and heat, stirring frequently until the mixture boils.  Once it has thickened, remove the pan from the heat.  Chill before using.

Meanwhile, make the ganache.  Add the chopped chocolate to a medium heatproof bowl.  In a saucepan combine the cream, corn syrup and sugar.  Heat until just boiling.  Immediately pour the mixture over the chopped chocolate and let stand a few minutes to melt.  Whisk in small circular motions until the mixture is smooth and blended, then whisk in the butter 1 tablespoon at a time until completely incorporated.  Let the mixture stand at room temperature to thicken slightly, so it can be piped or spread.

To assemble the cupcakes, place the raspberry filling in a pastry bag.  (I used a tip specifically for injecting fillings, but a plain tip is fine too.  This cake is soft enough that you can just stick the tip into the top of the cupcake and pipe away.)  Pipe a few teaspoons of filling into each cupcake.  Spread the ganache over the tops of the cupcakes.  If desired, pipe excess ganache inside fresh raspberries and place on top of the frosted cupcakes (be sure to do this before the frosting sets.)  Allow to set completely before serving.

Source: adapted from Smitten Kitchen, originally from Gourmet, March 1999

Soft Chocolate and Raspberry Tart


It may not be true of everyone, but most people eat with their eyes first.  This is why I prefer cookbooks that have a picture for every recipe.  Despite my best efforts, I sometimes skip over perfectly lovely recipes because there is no picture to make me realize their potential.  Thankfully this recipe was a recent choice for Tuesdays With Dorie, and after seeing it on blog after blog I couldn’t wait to try it.  I’ve made several desserts combining chocolate and raspberries before, but I don’t think you can ever have too many.  This tart is wonderful for many reasons – rich and chocolatey studded with gorgeous ruby red berries, simple to make yet impressive to look at even without a garnish.  I’m very glad to have it in my repertoire because it is suitable for so many occasions.  Enjoy!

Soft Chocolate and Raspberry Tart
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Ingredients:
For the crust:
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp. very cold water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
8 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

For the filling:
5 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
½ cup heavy cream
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
2½ tbsp. sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
1 cup (6 oz.) fresh raspberries, rinsed and dried

Directions:
To make the crust, in a small bowl stir together the egg yolk, water and vanilla; set aside.  Combine the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Add the butter and beat on medium-low speed until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, with butter pieces no larger than small peas.  Add the egg mixture and beat on low speed just until the dough comes together.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400˚ F.  When you are ready to roll out the dough, unwrap it and place it on a lightly floured work surface.  Roll out with a floured rolling pin, lifting and turning the dough occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the work surface.  Roll it out evenly until it is large enough to line a 9-inch tart pan and is about 1/8-inch thick.  Carefully transfer the dough to the tart pan, pressing it into the sides, and trim to remove the excess.

Cover the dough with foil or parchment paper and fill with baking beads.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Remove the foil and baking beads and using a fork, gently poke holes in the bottom and sides of the crust.  Bake until the crust is golden, 5-10 minutes more.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Reduce the oven temperature to 300˚ F.  Place the tart pan on a baking sheet.

Set a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water.  Add the chocolate to the bowl and heat, stirring occasionally, until completely melted.  Remove from the heat.  Meanwhile, bring the cream and the butter just to a boil.

Pour the cream-butter mixture over the chocolate and let stand 30 seconds.  Whisk together gently until smooth and well combined.  Then stir in the sugar, eggs and egg yolk.  Rap the bowl against the counter gently to break any bubbles that might have formed.

Scatter the berries over the bottom of the crust, then pour the chocolate mixture over the berries.  Bake for about 30 minutes, so that the filling does not jiggle if you tap the pan.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature before serving.

Source: crust from Williams Sonoma, filling from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan