I can’t believe we’re more than six months into the pandemic. I hope you and your families remain safe, healthy, and, most importantly, sane. With all the demands on my time (not), I still can’t get it together to write blog posts.
Earlier in the month, we made So-Good Miso Corn. At our house, corn is usually served on the cob. Microwave and serve. Summer sweet corn stands on its own. We prefer it plain (no butter). It can’t get any simpler. However, this recipe provided an excuse to dress it up a little bit.
The kernels are cut off the cob and sautéed in oil to char a bit. Then, you add butter and miso, adding a depth of flavor plus some umami. Some spices (za’atar, cayenne, and some fresh scallion) finish things off. We truly enjoyed this twist on corn with dinner. It wasn’t even that much more effort than plain microwaved corn, and so delicious! I served the corn alongside that other star of late summer dining, a tomato tart for a perfect meal.
This week, I embraced Salted-Chocolate Hot Fudge Sundaes. There’s almost a full pound of chocolate involved with this recipe. I’ll be honest, though I hope we can still be friends… I am not a chocoholic, and I don’t love ice cream. On the ice cream front, I do love ice cream outing especially if a top-down convertible ride is involved in reaching the destination. That’s leftover from childhood, but fortunately, Howard shares enthusiasm. Of course, the pandemic summer of 2020 has limited those options. Further insight on my ice cream philosophy: my preferred flavors reflect my view of ice cream as a vehicle for pieces (such as chocolate chips, heath bars, chopped up brownies or other such add-ins). Plain ice cream flavors are better served as the foundation for hot fudge. This is a long-winded way to say that I was probably going to like these sundaes.
The first step is making the salted-chocolate bits. You melt bittersweet chocolate, stir in some fleur de sel, then spread it into a thin layer to harden back up in the freezer. You might think “why not just chop of the chocolate and use that?” Non-chocoholic that I am, I will tell you that it’s worth the extra step. Just as salted caramel is a worthwhile enhancement to dulce de leche, the salt in the chocolate bits makes a difference.
Next you chop more chocolate and add cream, sugar, and corn syrup to make the simplest hot fudge I’ve ever made. Simple and so delicious. Before you’re ready to compose your sundaes, you also need to toast some slivered almonds. And, of course, you need to select your ice cream flavors. This recipe suggests vanilla and coffee ice creams. We have at least a dozen pints in the freezer (yes, really), none of them plain, so I picked the Ben & Jerry’s Coffee Toffee Crunch as the closest to coffee or vanilla and one that wouldn’t clash with the other sundae ingredients. (Note that most of the ice cream in the freezer is for Howard, not me…)
No one really needs instructions to make a sundae, but I really like how Dorie’s recipe sprinkles chocolate bits and almonds underneath the first layer of ice cream. Then it’s standard assembly: ice cream, hot fudge, more chocolate bits and almonds, followed by a second layer of ice cream, hot fudge and bits and nuts. Pretty decadent, but also quite wonderful. The heath bars in the ice cream weren’t shabby either, though I’ll admit that they might have pushed things over the top. We were both quite happy with this dessert!
So, I highly recommend you try both of these recipes. You can find them in Dorie Greenspan’s Everyday Dorie. The corn is on page 216 and the sundaes on page 297. Corn is almost out of season, so be sure to try that one soon. If you’re curious what other people thought of these recipes, you can find reviews from my Cook the Book Friday friends here for the corn and here for the sundaes.
Be safe! XO
We’re headed into the season of holiday indulgence. Usually, the week before Thanksgiving, I try to watch what I’m eating because from Thanksgiving until the end of the year, there are a myriad of temptations to enjoy and, though I exercise a fair bit of self control, my threshold for resistance is low. This week’s selection for Cook the Book Fridays, Chocolate-Dulce de Leche Tart from David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen, threw that plan out the window.
Chocolate is not normally my thing. Certainly, it’s never my first choice in the dessert department. This recipe with a chocolate crust, a layer of caramel-y dulce de leche, and a layer of chocolate custard is one that I’d never pick on my own. In fact, I’ll admit I dragged my feet on making it. But, even though I waited until the last minute, I knew Howard would like it so I soldiered on.
The first step was to come up with dulce de leche. What fun! I skipped the supermarket and turned it into a simple DIY project. All that’s needed is a can of sweetened condensed milk, a mason jar, and a slow cooker. I poured the milk into the jar, screwed on a two-part top, placed the jar in the slow cooker and covered the jar with water and turned the heat to LOW. Ten hours later, the milk transformed from ivory to a golden brown. Plus it tasted amazing.
I love press-in crusts, and that’s what this recipe called for. The chocolate cookie crust came together easily in the stand mixer and pressed into the pan just as easily. There was no salt in the pastry, but a light dusting of fleur de sel before par-baking added the right touch.
To pull it all together, the dulce de leche is spread over the warm crust, then topped with a chocolate custard that was made while the crust baked. Finally, another sprinkle of fleur de sel to cut the sweetness before returning the filled tart shell to the oven.
The tart is baked, and then, after turning off the heat, it sits in the oven some more. I thought it was rather wiggly, so I left it there even longer. I got a late start. By the time the tart was done, it was bedtime, so I put it in the refrigerator where it set up nicely. I had extra custard, which I put in a ramekin for a chocolate pudding snack. It also firmed up nicely in the fridge.
I was so glad I made this tart. It was rather indulgent and very delicious. As expected, Howard really liked it, but not so expectedly, so did I. Though we will enjoy it for an after-dinner treat for a few days, there are better ways to showcase it. It would better appreciated as a contribution to a holiday pot luck or dessert for a dinner party.
I encourage you to try out this tart over the holiday season. You can find the recipe here on Williams-Sonoma’s website. You can also find it on page 289 of David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen. This book has more than its share of winners, so it’s worth treating yourself if you haven’t already. And to see how my friends enjoyed their own tarts, follow links to their posts here.