The Daring Bakers came up with a fairly easy challenge for us this month. It is called a Chocolate Valentino-- a dessert unlike any I've ever made before. It looks like a cake. It feels like a brownie when you touch the top and sides. It has the texture of a chocolate souffle. And the flavor? Heaven! The recipe comes from Chef Wan's Sweet Treats. (I don't think the book is available in the US-- sorry!)
The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef. We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.
Along with the Valentino, I made Wendy's Philadelphia Style Vanilla homemade ice cream to serve with it. I followed a recipe that was a lot easier than the vanilla ice cream recipe I usually use. Find the recipe at the end of the post.
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
16 ounces (1 pound) (454 grams) of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons (146 grams total) of unsalted butter
5 large eggs separated
The Valentino was quick to make. I used Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate bars (the kind of chocolate we used was up to us.) The cake basically tastes like whatever chocolate you use, so the better the quality of the chocolate, the better the cake. Ghirardelli was the best I could find. (I live in an area where there are no good food stores like Whole Foods.) Next time I'll order Scharffen Berger on line.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
First you coarsely chop the chocolate and combine it with the unsalted butter in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. (Don't let the water boil or touch the bottom of the bowl.) Mix the butter and chocolate together as they melt, and when they are all melted and blended, remove the bowl from the pan of water and let cool.
Next I buttered a deep 8 inch cake pan, lined it with a round of parchment and buttered that.
I separated the 5 room temperature eggs, and beat the whites in an oil-free bowl until stiff peaks formed. (Don't let them get dry, or your cake will be dry.)
Next I beat the yolks until smooth and creamy and blended them into the cooled butter/chocolate mixture. Then I folded in 1/3 of the egg whites gently, then the remainder, folding only until no white remained. (Don't overmix or you'll deflate the whites-- the egg whites are what makes the cake light and airy.)
Then I baked the cake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. The cake is ready when an instant-read thermometer reads 140 degrees in the center of the cake. (It will still be wet in the middle.) I let it cool for 10 minutes and then removed it from the pan onto my serving plate. I let it cool completely and then served it with the homemade vanilla ice cream. Gooood!
The ice cream recipe is below. Thanks, Wendy! Check out her blog here.
Wendy's Ice Cream Recipe
Vanilla Philadelphia Style Recipe
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
2 cups (473 ml) of half and half
1 cup (237 ml) heavy cream
2/3 (128 grams) cup sugar
Dash of salt
1 (12 grams) tablespoon of vanilla
Mix all ingredients together (we do this in a plastic pitcher and mix with an emulsifier hand blender-whisking works too).
Refrigerate for 30 minutes or longer.
Mix in your ice cream maker as directed.