Monday, March 29, 2010

Flourless Chocolate Cake

This classic, which can be prepared quickly, was well-loved. Hooray for chocolate. This is from a 1997 issue of Gourmet.

Yes, I know it calls for butter and that butter is forbidden. Well la-di-da.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

4 oz good bittersweet chocolate
1/2 c unsalted butter-- I did make some with margarine for a friend with a milk allergy
3/4 c sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder
(1 t vanilla-- the recipe does not call for this but comments on epicurious recommend it)

Preheat oven to 375 F. Butter an 8-inch round cake pan and line bottom with a round of wax paper; butter paper. In a double-boiler-type setup, melt chocolate with butter, stirring till smooth. Remove from heat. Whisk in sugar. Add eggs, whisk well. Sift in cocoa and whisk till just combined. Pour batter in pan and bake in the middle of the oven 25 minutes, or until top has formed a thin crust. Cool cake in pan on a rack 5 minutes and invert onto a serving plate.

Orange-Flavored Rice

This year I served Seder to 36 people. Just call me caterer.

I'm pretty proud of my menu. Responses were positive, and the work was largely done in advance. I made a spice-rubbed chicken from a Jean-Georges Vongeritchen recipe (but I haven't actually eaten any yet so I won't post the recipe yet), this orange-flavored rice from one of Mom's books, some roasted root vegetables (many: potatoes, carrots, parsnips, rutabaga, celery root, leek, and onion) with rosemary, spiced almonds, brown eggs, charoset, whole-wheat tortillas, grape juice, and flourless chocolate cake for dessert.

Shereen Polo II
Orange-flavored Rice

1/2 c. dried orange peel slivers (I use about 1 t. orange oil)
2 T. cooking oil
1/4 c. blanched almond slivers
1/4 c. pistachio nuts, shelled
1 T. sugar
1/4 t. whole saffron, dissolved in 1/4 c. hot water
2 c. raw rice, well rinsed

Bring 1 c. water to a boil, add the orange peel, and simmer over low heat for 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Heat the oil in a skillet, add the almonds and pistachios, and stir fry over low heat until the almonds become light brown, about 3 minutes. Add the drained orange peel and stir fry for 1 minute more. Mix in the sugar and saffron liquid, cover the skillet, and simmer for 3 minutes. Set aside.

To prepare the rice, cover it with cold water and salt; let soak for 1/2 hour. Pour off nearly all the lightly salted water, leaving about 1/2 c. Bring the 4 c. water to a boil over moderate heat, and add the rice and remaining liquid. Cook for 8 minutes, drain, and rinse under cold water. Set aside briefly.
Put 3 T. oil in a large enough pan with 1/4 t. turmeric. Shake the pan briskly to mix. Spread about 1 c. of the partially cooked rice on the bottom of the pan. Cover with half the nut mixture, then more rice, then more nuts, ending with rice. Shape the top into a pyramid. Cover the pan and cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with 2 T. oil and 2 T. water. Cover the pan with a cloth kitchen towel and the pan cover. Cook over very low heat for 1/2 hour to allow the rice crisp, tadiq, to form. Some cooks let the tadiq form by cooking for 1 hour but the lesser time seems to work. Serve warm by mixing all the layers together.