Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Mayan Chocolate Rumchata Cake

Chocolate Cake
2 & 1/2 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate (2.5 blocks)

3/4 c. butter, softened
2 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

2 eggs

2 & 1/4 c. unbleached flour
1 & 1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 & 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1 & 1/3 c. water

Preheat oven to 350.

Cut circles of wax paper to fit the bottom of two 8-inch round cake pans. Grease the pans well; place wax paper in bottom of pans & grease. Add a dusting of flour & tap the pans to coat.

Melt the chocolate in microwave 1-2 minutes; stir until smooth. Cool slightly.

Cream butter, sugar & vanilla in large mixing bowl until light & fluffy. Add eggs & cooled chocolate; blend well. Mix flour, baking soda & cinnamon together in small bowl. Add dry ingredients alternately with water in two batches each.

Pour into prepared pans. Bake 35-40 minutes for round pans, or until center tests clean. Remove from oven, cool on wire rack for 10 minutes.

Remove cake pans, carefully peel off wax paper. Cool completely.

Chocolate Mousse
2 large egg yolks

1/4 c. sugar

8 oz. whipping cream

3 oz. premium 100% Cacao unsweetened chocolate baking bar, broken into pieces

In small mixing bowl, beat egg yolks on high speed until thick, about 3 minutes. Gradually add sugar & mix in well.

In small heavy saucepan, heat 4 oz (1/2 c.) whipping cream over medium heat until hot but not boiling. Gradually pour half the cream into the egg mixture, mix until blended & pour back into remaining cream in the saucepan.

Cook over medium heat until mixture is thickened, about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat & let stand for 8 minutes. Add chocolate & stir until completely melted.

Place in refrigerator (NOT freezer) just until chilled, about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Chill mixing bowl & beaters; pour in remaining 4 oz (1/2 c.) of whipping cream & beat on high until stiff. Gently fold into chilled chocolate mixture.

Chocolate Ganache
8 oz (1 c.) whipping cream
12 oz. bittersweet chocolate chips
2 tsp Rumchata

In small saucepan, heat whipping cream on medium until very hot; do not allow to boil. Immediately stir in chocolate chips & Rumchata; stir constantly until completely melted. Mixture should look glossy.

Place in refrigerator to cool, stirring frequently until glossy & well thickened.

Rumchata Glaze
1/4 c. powdered sugar
3 TBS Rumchata
1 TBS water

In micro-proof measuring cup, combine all ingredients. Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes until hot. Stir until sugar is dissolved.

To assemble cake:
Place one 8-inch layer on cake plate. Brush generously with half of glaze. Leave remaining layer on cooling rack & brush with remaining glaze. (For easy clean up, place a sheet of wax paper on counter underneath the rack.) Allow to soak in completely.

Spread Chocolate Mousse evenly on the cake layer on plate, leaving 1/8 inch around edges to allow for spreading. Gently place remaining layer on top of mousse.

With butter knife, spread Chocolate Ganache evenly over top & sides of cake, starting with the top of the cake & doing sides next.

Store any leftover cake in refrigerator.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Guinness Stout Cottage Pie

1.25 - 1.5 good sirloin, cut into 1/4 inch pieces, all fat removed
2 TBS olive oil

1/3 c. flour
1 - 8oz can tomato sauce
1 c. Guinness (or other stout)
2 c. warm beef broth (or 2 c. water & good quality soup base)
1 tsp dried thyme
fresh ground pepper

1 c. baby carrots cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1 c. frozen petite peas
1 large onion, cut into 1/4 inch dice
3 cloves garlic, minced

7 good size Idaho russet baking potatoes, peeled & cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 clove garlic, minced
1 & 1/2 c. shredded sharp cheddar
1/2 c. milk

Warm beef broth in microwave. Set aside.

Heat 2 TBS oil in Dutch Oven (or 4 qt skillet). Add beef & brown thoroughly. Sprinkle with flour & stir to coat evenly. Stir in tomato sauce, Guinness & broth with thyme & fresh ground pepper to taste. Stir gently & allow to come to slight simmer. Add all carrots, peas, onions & 3 cloves garlic; stir well. Bring to simmer & cover. Simmer over medium heat for 1.5 hours, stirring often, until liquid reduces & becomes thick.

Preheat oven to 350.

While stew is cooking, prepare mashed potatoes for the crust.

Heat 1 inch water in 3 qt saucepan. When water reaches simmer, add potatoes & garlic. Cover & cook for 20 minutes, until tender. (Watch closely so it doesn't boil over.) Pour off liquid. Add cheese & milk and mash until smooth.

Spoon stew mixture into 3 qt Corning or other ceramic baking dish. Gently spoon mashed potatoes on top, smoothing to edges to seal. Place in preheated oven; bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven & let stand for 5 minutes before serving.