themes & variations in the kitchen

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When I’m not making music, I like to express my creativity in other ways, especially in the kitchen.  On a whim, while making a cranberry chocolate truffle cake, I decided to infuse rosemary into the jelly and to candy the cranberries.  The result was spectacular.

INGREDIENTS

Cake: 

12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

4 oz (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cubed

6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature

½ cup granulated sugar, divided use

8 oz (3/4 cup) whole berry cranberry sauce

⅓ cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ tsp salt

Cranberry Gelée: 

12 oz cranberries, fresh or defrosted

1 cup granulated sugar

½ cup water

3 sprigs of rosemary

Chocolate Ganache: 

6 oz semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped

1 cup heavy cream

Candied Cranberries: 

12 oz bag of fresh cranberries

2 cups sugar

3 TBSP fine sugar

How to make the cake: 

Set oven to 350 F.  Line a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper and grease it with melted butter.  Put the butter and chocolate into a heavy saucepan and melt over a low heat, stirring after every regularly to prevent burning. Stir until melted and smooth. Then, transfer to a large bowl and set aside to cool to until the chocolate mixture is lukewarm.  Add the egg yolks and a quarter cup granulated sugar into the bowl of your kitchen mixer and whisk.  Beat until the sugar/egg yolk mixture is thick and falls off a spoon as a thick ribbon.  Fold the egg mixture into the lukewarm chocolate,  until fully combined. Then gently add the flour, vanilla extract, cranberry sauce, and salt. Using a clean whisk and bowl beat the egg whites at a high speed until the white peaks form, gradually add the remaining ¼ cup of sugar and continue beating until the egg whites form a meringue. The peaks should be solid enough to hold a straw.  Fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Pour the batter into the buttered pan and bake for 35 minutes. Use the toothpick test to make sure the cake is fully cooked. The cake should stay in the pan for 15 minutes then carefully transfer to a wire rack. Do not proceed with the assembly until the cake has fully cooled. 

 

How to make Rosemary Infused Cranberry Gelée: 

Prick cranberries from one 12-oz. bag with a toothpick. Bring 2 cups sugar and 2 cups water to a simmer in a medium saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Add cranberries; stir to coat. Refrigerate cranberries in syrup overnight. Drain, reserving syrup for another use. In a medium bowl, toss cranberries with 3 Tbsp. superfine sugar to evenly coat. Arrange cranberries in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp. superfine sugar and let stand until dry, about 2 hours.

 

Making the Chocolate Ganache  

Bring the cream to a gentle (barely) simmer in a double boiler.  (I use a metal bowl over a small pot of water). Add the chopped chocolate to the simmering cream, remove from the heat until the chocolate softens. Stir with a metal spoon until the chocolate  is completely melted and shines. Immediately begin assembling the cake.  If you wait too long the ganache will harden and crack.  

 

Assembling the Cake: 

Cut out a circular piece of cardboard that is the exact same size as the cake, and slide the cardboard between the cake and the wire rack.  Using a spoon, gently hollow out  a 1/2 inch deep circle from the top of the cake. Be sure to leave a circular border around the top edge of the cake. Stir the gelée and tip into the round cavity you just made on top of the cake. Level with a spatula.. Pour the warm chocolate ganache over the cake and then spread evenly over the top and sides. Using a spatula to spread it to the edge and push it down to coat the sides. Place the cake in the fridge to allow the chocolate to set. Decorate with candied cranberries and sprigs of rosemary. 

 

This is my theme and variation on a wonderful recipe I found on sugarhero.com

chocolate cranberry gelée truffle cake