Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The past weekend's cooking....

We had a Bethel speaker over the weekend and thus we had congregation hospitality.  I was asked to bring a dessert, and after much deliberation, I decided to make my Flourless Chocolate Cake.  Okay, it's not MY flourless chocolate cake...it's America's Test Kitchen's recipe.  It is however becoming "MY" FCC--at least at the congregation level.  I've stopped sharing the recipe. And for that reason, I'm not sharing it here, either.  (That's not really the reason...ATK makes it incredibly difficult to cut and paste their recipes and I don't really feel like tying it.)

I will share the ingredients, though.  It is truly a decadent  cake:

1 pound chocolate--bittersweet to semisweet (I use Ghiradelli and I go half and half)
2 sticks of unsalted butter
8 eggs (beaten in a stand mixer for 5 minutes)
1/4 cup strong coffee (I use decaf...the first time I made it I used leftover from my morning coffee and was awake for half the night)

Now I know that if you do any baking you will be able to recreate this cake.  I'll give you one more hint (okay 2 really)--you make it in a spring form pan, bake it at 325  for 20-25 minutes (the center will still look wet but the edges will look more like a brownie) and in a water bath.  That was really three hints. Your welcome.

So I made the cake on Friday to serve on Saturday, and there were a few friends who didn't get to have a piece.  (There were many friends who didn't get any...it was cut into 16 slices...). I knew that these particular friends really wanted to try it, so I brought the serving piece to them so they could taste the crumbs.  The brother informed me that I "have" to bring that cake to all congregation gatherings.

 We have a going away soiree at the end of the month.  I think I'll bake 2.

The other thing that I made this weekend was a Ham and Cheese Puff Tart.  Martha Stewart was gracious enough to post her recipe on this great webbernet that we have, thus it is very easy for me to share.

 Ham and Cheese Puff Tart
  • Prep Time 15 minutes
  • Total Time 35 minutes plus cooling
  • Yield Serves 12


  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • Ground nutmeg
  • 6 ounces thinly sliced deli ham
  • 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten


  1. On a floured work surface, roll each sheet puff pastry to a 10-by-13-inch rectangle. Transfer to two parchment-lined baking sheets and refrigerate. In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium. Add flour; cook, stirring, until golden, 1 minute. Whisking constantly, add milk and simmer. Stir until thickened, 5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and pinch of nutmeg. Pour sauce into a bowl and let cool 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, with rack in lower third. Arrange ham evenly on 1 pastry sheet, leaving a 3/4-inch border; top with cheese and sauce. Brush pastry border with egg; top with second pastry sheet. Fold bottom edges over top and press to seal. Brush top with egg and cut vents in tart. Bake until browned and puffed, 30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
I made this for a book club meeting I was hosting.  When the ladies were packing up to leave, one of them asked for the recipe.  She was astounded when I was able to hand the print out that I had used to make the very puff tart she had just enjoyed..

I've made this many times. In the process I  have tweaked the directions a little.  I take the sliced ham and cut it into ribbons.  Then I add the ham and cheese to the bechamel sauce.  It makes the final assembly a little easier and a lot less messy.

That's the cooing I did this weekend.  Date this week is going to be a doozy.  Stay tuned.

happy cooking