Archive for March, 2009

Cooking with Beer – Beef and Guinness Pie

Dig in beef stew!

I’m going to keep this post short and sweet.  This recipe is about as Irish as you can get – meat pie.  The stew is rich with stout flavors and studded with bites of spicy green peppercorn.  While I did go all out and made my own puff pastry this time, I have also made this dish with store-bought.  The biggest difference is the thicker, more buttery bite of the homemade – if you have the time, do it yourself!  As you can see, my pie tops fell into the soup bowls a little bit — I recommend making sure there is a substantial overlap of the dough over the sides before you bake.  That being said, the slightly soggy, meaty pastry floating in the stew is pure heaven!

Beef and onionsBeef and Guinness Pie, from Gourmet magazine, October 2004

(serves 4 as a main course)

2 lbs. boneless beef chuck, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
3 Tbs. water
1 1/2 Tbs. tomato paste
1 c. beef broth
1 c. Guinness or other Irish stout
1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. drained brined green peppercorns, coarsely chopped
2 fresh thyme sprigs
Rough Puff Pastry dough (see below, or use the highest quality prepared dough you can find)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon water

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.

Beef stewPat beef dry. Stir together flour, salt, and pepper in a shallow dish. Add beef, turning to coat, then shake off excess and transfer to a plate. Heat oil in a wide 5- to 6-quart ovenproof heavy pot over moderately high heat until just smoking, then brown meat in 3 batches, turning occasionally, about 5 minutes per batch, transferring to a bowl.

Add onion, garlic, and water to pot and cook, scraping up any brown bits from bottom of pot and stirring frequently, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in beef with any juices accumulated in bowl, broth, beer, Worcestershire sauce, peppercorns, and thyme and bring to a simmer, then cover and transfer to oven. Braise until beef is very tender and sauce is thickened, about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. Discard thyme and cool stew completely, uncovered, about 30 minutes. (If stew is warm while assembling pies, it will melt uncooked pastry top.)

Put a shallow baking pan on middle rack of oven and increase oven temperature to 425°F.

Divide cooled stew among bowls (they won’t be completely full). Roll out pastry dough on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 13-inch square, about 1/8 inch thick. Trim edges and cut dough into quarters. Stir together egg and water and brush a 1-inch border of egg wash around each square. Invert 1 square over each bowl and drape, pressing sides lightly to help adhere. Brush pastry tops with some of remaining egg wash and freeze 15 minutes to thoroughly chill dough.

Bake pies in preheated shallow baking pan until pastry is puffed and golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 400°F and bake 5 minutes more to fully cook dough.

Rough Puff Pastry Dough

Pebbly dough1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) plus 5 Tbs. unsalted butter, frozen
5 to 6 Tbs. ice water

Sift together flour and salt into a chilled large metal bowl. Set a grater in flour mixture and coarsely grate frozen butter into flour, gently lifting flour and tossing to coat butter.

Drizzle 5 tablespoons ice water evenly over flour mixture and gently stir with a fork until incorporated.

Test mixture by gently squeezing a small handful: When it has the proper texture, it will hold together without crumbling apart. If necessary, add another tablespoon water, stirring until just incorporated and testing again. (If you overwork mixture or add too much water, pastry will be tough.)

Gather mixture together and form into a 5-inch square, then chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, about 30 minutes. (Dough will be lumpy and streaky.)

Roll out dough on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin into a 15- by- 8-inch rectangle. Arrange dough with a short side nearest you, then fold dough into thirds like a letter: bottom third up and top third down over dough. Rewrap dough and chill until firm, about 30 minutes.

Arrange dough with a short side nearest you on a floured surface and repeat rolling out, folding, and chilling 2 more times. Brush off any excess flour, then wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour.

Guinness Pie

March 28, 2009 at 12:57 pm 1 comment

Cooking with Beer – Guinness Cake

Looks like a pint of Guinness!

I have come to learn this past week that Guinness stout is a pantry staple.  Of course, it is no coincidence that this tidbit of information comes to me in mid-March in Boston, when St. Patrick’s Day parties are springing up everywhere and while pilsners are dyed green, the Guinness still runs black.  A good many courses (even a whole meal) may be improved with a bit of this rich brew – from appetizers to breads to dinners to desserts – not to mention a swig of the stuff pairs wonderfully with all of the above.

Irish CoffeeOn our recent trip to San Francisco, RJ and I learned first hand how much more friendly the people of California are as opposed to the crowds in Boston.  Everywhere we went, people tried to convince us to move out West – whereas in New England you can hardly get a stranger to talk to you even if you’ve already moved there and just want to make a new friend!  So many recent imports to Boston have told me that it is rather impossible to meet people here, since everyone who grew up around town or went to school in the city already knows each other, and no one is particularly welcoming or friendly.  Cliquey, I think they called it.  In San Francisco, Tahoe, and Napa RJ and I found ourselves chatting with people of all ages and originating from around the world, all settled in California and not planning to ever leave.  One such man was sitting next to us as we sipped Irish Coffee at the Buena Vista on Hyde Street.  His name was John Spilane and he was a tipsy Irish guy.  He bought us drinks and chatted with us about all those things you aren’t supposed to speak about in bars – the economy, politics, religion…  One thing he did say was that Guinness was only his third favorite beer.  Beamish and Murphy’s Stout both surpassed Guinness in his authentic Irish estimation.

What I am getting at is March 17th.  On this day, RJ and I had been home for 24 hours, and had our first days of work after a blissful vacation.  Preparing an authentic Irish dinner, even driving the two minutes to the new Irish bar in town, was far from our minds.  Yet at 5 pm, who should call RJ’s cell phone but a now very drunk John Spilane!  In his light, slurring Irish brogue, he wished us both a Happy St. Patty’s day.  I got quite a kick out of that, and instantly felt bad that I hadn’t prepared anything for my half-Irish husband’s native holiday.  RJ was then compelled to drive to the liquor store and at least buy a 4 pack of Guinness (no Beamish to be found!).  He drank one, and the others lay waiting in the fridge, presumably for next year!

As the beer was left untouched for several days, I reclaimed it for the pantry.  I have two great Guinness recipes that I made and will share the dessert first.  This cake is quite delicious and I would recommend it to anyone, Irish or not!  It is a tight crumb, slightly elastic on the inside, but with a moist and tender mouthfeel.  Around the edges and top, probably due to the carbonation in the beer, we had a bit of thin crunchiness – like a light and sweet brulee topping – which I really enjoyed.  RJ and I both felt it actually tasted better on the second day (and third, and fourth), after the cake had cooled a bit more and the flavors of the Guinness and cocoa were able to really come into their own.  Enjoy the cake, then come back for dinner!!

Chocolate Guinness Cake, by Nigella Lawson, found here in the New York Times, December 8, 2004

guinness-cupFor the cake:
Butter for pan
1 cup Guinness stout
10 tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter
3/8 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 cups superfine sugar
3/8 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

For [Nigella’s] topping:
1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugarButter Beer!
8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 cup heavy cream.

For Katharine’s alternative topping:

1 1/4 c. confectioners’ sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/4 c. light cream cheese
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean’s seeds

For the cake: heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and line with parchment paper. In a large saucepan, combine Guinness and butter. Place over medium-low heat until butter melts, then remove from heat. Add cocoa and superfine sugar, and whisk to blend.

Guinness cake batterIn a small bowl, combine sour cream, eggs and vanilla; mix well. Add to Guinness mixture. Add flour and baking soda, and whisk again until smooth. Pour into buttered pan, and bake until risen and firm, 45 minutes to one hour. Place pan on a wire rack and cool completely in pan.

For the topping: Using a food processor or by hand, mix confectioners’ sugar to break up lumps. Add cream cheese and blend until smooth. Add heavy cream, and mix until smooth and spreadable.

Remove cake from pan and place on a platter or cake stand. Ice top of cake only, so that it resembles a frothy pint of Guinness.

Yield: One 9-inch cake (12 servings).

guinness cake

March 25, 2009 at 7:31 am Leave a comment

Thai-Style Stir-Fried Chicken and Basil

Thai Chicken with Basil

For all the flack I give my unadventurous husband, I was not always the intrepid eater that I am today.  My siblings will certainly attest to the years that I spent eating only hamburgers, and one of my best friends and fellow epicures will surely remember a time not long ago when all fish were abhorrent to me.  I credit both my love of cooking and my expanded palate to one person.  I am not sure if she knows this (I will be sure to give her a poke on Facebook to read this post, however) but my friend Robin is the source of all of this.

After receiving my acceptance to college during my senior year of high school, I made the decision to defer my matriculation for a year.  While the “sabbatical year” is very common in Europe for kids that age, it was a recent trend at my school that had a very strong appeal for me.  While New York City and Columbia University certainly was alluring, I wanted to seize the opportunity to try something very new and exciting and ready myself for another four years of academic immersion.  I applied to the Wells College Program for the Arts in Paris, and packed up my film and camera for 6 months in the city of lights.  There, I met Robin who was a vegetarian from Hampshire College in Amherst, MA.  We hit it off immediately, and our bond grew stronger as we realized that her dietary restrictions and my tight budget severely limited our options for meals in Paris.

Her solution, one that seems so obvious now but that at the time was quite a novelty, was to use the dorm kitchen at the Cité Universitaire (where we lived) to cook our own dinners.  This did necessitate a purchase of a mini fridge from the BHV (quite an excursion) in which to horde our creations from the pilfering masses of La Cité, as well as a scouting mission for familiar American ingredients around Paris.  Robin’s French was in its nacent stages, as were my culinary skills, but between the two of us we put together a proper pantry.  My previous experience with cooking was the occasional massive dinner party with my high school friends, where ten or more of us crowded into my mother’s kitchen to clabber together a meal.  With Robin, I was given one-on-one instruction and she introduced me to ingredients that I never would have touched before.  Something about selecting the perfect eggplant from a table at the farmer’s market, hunting down the elusive broccoli, or debating the proper substitution for an American ingredient like sour cream, made my fear of strange vegetables and creative, ad hoc cooking dissipate.  

Over the years since that first stint in Paris, I have come to love vegetables of all kind, have acquired a taste for seafood, and have (obviously) developed a huge passion for cooking.  One victory that I will credit to my friends Julie and Lindsay is my recent acceptance of ethnic foods.  Robin, try as she might, could not convince me to go anywhere near an Indian restaurant.  Lindsay (another vegetarian) and Julie (an omnivore for the most part, unless you offer her boxed mac and cheese) have introduced me to some of my now favorite cuisines – Japanese sushi and Thai food.  Though the following recipe is not typical Thai — it has been adapted for an American audience and for use in homes like my own! — it has some similar flavors.  I really enjoyed this very simple-to-make dish, as did RJ.  Next time I will slice my chicken thinner (as the recipe says to) and use more basil.  They also suggest replacing the basil with mint and cilantro.  I suppose my palate will have to evolve a bit further for that…

Thai-Style Stir-Fried Chicken and Basil, from Fine Cooking (April/May 2009, issue 98)
Serves 2-3

Mise en place2 Tbs. vegetable oil
4 medium shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 lb. chicken breast cutlets (about 1/4 inch thick), cut crosswise into 1-inch-wide strips
1 Tbs. fish sauce
1 Tbs. fresh lime juice
2 tsp. packed light brown sugar
1 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves
chicken-with-basilHeat the oil in a well-seasoned wok or a heavy-duty 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Add the shallots, garlic, and red pepper flakes; cook, stirring frequently, until the shallots start to soften but not brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the chicken and cook, stirring, until it’s no longer pink and the shallots are beginning to brown, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, and 1/4 cup water. Cook, stirring frequently, until the chicken is just cooked through and the liquid reduces to a saucy consistency, 2 to 3 minutes. (If the sauce reduces before the chicken is cooked through, add water, 1 Tbs. at a time.) Remove from the heat, add the basil, and stir to wilt it.

Thai Chicken Basil

March 21, 2009 at 9:52 am 3 comments

California Cuisine

napa-bouchon-cardAs RJ and I toured Northern California, we often saw restaurants described as “California cuisine”.  For us New England folk, that means avocados.  A Californian sandwich in Boston could translate to any number of possible combinations but must include avocado and maybe sprouts but no red meat.  A California sushi roll has crabstick and avocado and sometimes cucumber.  Guess what lies in a fan atop a Californian salad?  Yup. The Haas.

Though I didn’t think that every dish we ate in California would be avocado-based,  my non-green-eating husband thought cuisine in California was suspect as best.  I knew, however, that Napa would not disappoint.  As you saw in my last post, I eased him into it with Calistoga barbecue.  Then I hit him with the fine dining.  Our first stop was Redd, which came highly recommended.  I started with hamachi sashimi which was melt-in-your-mouth tender, with touch of a great gingery sauce.  The fish sat on a rice, edamame, and seaweed salad mixture – tasted good but I could have done without the rice which seemed unnecessary.  Our other starter was the gnocchi pancetta carbonara with poached egg which was out of this world – creamy, rich and decadent beyond compare!  Neighbors had the tasting menu which looked so good – perfect portion sizes and a great variety.

Duck at Redd

Our dinners were the NY steak and the duck breast.  I was blown away by the duck breast – perfectly cooked, with a wonderful vegetable accompaniment (chard and wild mushrooms, I think), over gizzard polenta.  A couple bites of the steak were a bit chewy, but the fantastic sauce was redeeming and the fingerling potatoes were a treat.  What really made the meal for us, however, was the wine pairings.  Jason, the sommelier, was phenomenal.  He hooked us up with wines from the by-the-glass list for each dish — certainly the way to go, given our diverse choices.  I was really impressed with the Foxglove chardonnay with the gnocchi and the great Whetstone pinot that came with the duck.  Highly recommended!!

Steak at Redd

Blue Cheese ChipsThe next day we stopped in at the Rutherford Grill for lunch.  The fish sandwich was good, but we were both unhealthily infatuated with the Pont Reyes Blue Cheese covered potato chips.  Unadulterated sinful goodness.  When we had finished the chips there was still a good amount of the luxurious cheese left on the bottom of the bowl.  As RJ and I were poised above the dish, both contemplating sticking our fingers in to swipe up the excess, our kind server came by and offered us more of the homemade potato chips.  Accepted!

Bouchon-appsThough we had planned on going to Market restaurant in St. Helena that Sunday night, followed by fried chicken night at Ad Hoc, RJ convinced me that we did not have time on Monday to stop for dinner before proceeding to Tahoe.  As I am mildly obsessed with the man, I was not about to leave Napa without having eaten at one of Thomas Keller‘s restaurants.  Thus, we tramped over to Bouchon and demanded a reservation.  Not really – but close!  Thankfully, they had a last minute cancellation and we were in.  The meal was spectacular.  We began with bread served with a choice of butter or warm white bean puree.  They also gave us some citrus-marinated olives to tide us over.  I had the oysters, which ranged from piquant and briny to lucious and creamy.

Bouchon Roast ChickenFor dinner, we ordered the pinnacle of bistro foods: a perfectly-cooked steak frites with maitre d’hotel butter for RJ and a roast chicken half au jus for me.  I have never eaten chicken so good before in my life – sorry Gordon!  I could have taken swigs of that jus out of a juice glass it was so delicious.  It was resting on a pea and bacon mixture that perfectly summed up the character of the dish – rustic, flavorful and familiar.  If I could have fit another ounce in my stomach, I would have had the profiteroles with chocolate sauce, but ’twas not to be.  Even RJ was astounded when he saw a man stand up from a table behind me, walk to the kitchen, and return with a second basket of fries – who could eat that many?!?  I turned to look and whom should I see but THOMAS KELLER!  Wearing a jean shirt and carrying fries to his table, the Man himself was eating right behind me.  I nearly kissed him but for the chicken-greasy mug I wore!  Total satisfaction at Bouchon.Bouchon Steak Frites

I cannot close this post without a mention of our San Francisco eats as well.  We had our biggest splurge meal at Gary Danko – one of the most difficult reservations to obtain in SF, at least that’s what they tell me.  RJ and I both ate four courses — for me: Dungeoness crab salad, branzini, bison filet and cheese.  For RJ: rock shrimp and lobster risotto, porcini-dusted scallops with pea puree, filet mignon and a trio of creme brulees of considerable size (coffee, chocolate, vanilla bean).  Great wine, port and scotch were imbibed by all…  We also dined at Zuni Cafe — I had heard so many raves about the signature chicken that I simply had to partake!  I am sorry to say that I was disappointed.  The dish did not hold a candle to either Boston’s Hammersley’s Bistro or Napa’s Bouchon, plus we had to wait over an hour for it to arrive (stated on the menu, but really — is that necessary?).  The meat was cooked perfectly, but the skin wasn’t all that crispy and we didn’t think there was any stand-out flavor to the chicken except perhaps salt.  That being said, RJ’s cheese risotto was amazing and kept us satisfied for about 45 minutes of the chicken wait.

All in all, we left the state loving California Cuisine, whatever that is!

March 18, 2009 at 8:32 pm Leave a comment

Day One on a Napa Vacation

Schramsberg cavesI have a great excuse to explain my recent absence from posting — RJ and I have been on our (belated) honeymoon – a whirlwind tour of California, including Napa, Tahoe, and San Francisco.

Schramsberg

We started our wine tour with Champagne, a la francaise…  A beautiful drive up a winding path took us to Schramsberg Vineyard, where we met Marshall, our guide.  The tour was short and sweet – we saw the caves with thousands of bottles, stacked 30 racks deep, 50 bottles high, and hundreds of bottles long. The atmosphere was musty and dank – partially because they are caves cut deep into the Napa bedrock, and partially because they recently had a spill of over 700 bottles occur due to rotting wooden racks.  So sad to waste such delicious stuff!  We went deep into the caves and saw the techniques of riddling (the hand-turning of the bottle-fermenting champagne which gradually works the spent yeast up into the neck of the bottle.  We ended up in a dark cavern with

Roman arched walls (hand-chiseled by Chinese workers with pick-axes in the 19th century), complete with lit candelabra and 16 champagne flutes. We tasted the blanc de blancs (bought 2 bottles), the rose brut, and the lower-carbonation P. Schram and Reserve. The last two are reverses of each other – the first 80% chardonnay grapes, the latter 80% pinot noir. Pinot Meunier does not seem to be as popular here. Our favorites were the Blanc de Blancs which had a light, crisp feel – perfect for a summer evening, and the Reserve (unfortunately the Reserve cost $100 a bottle and we couldn’t justify it). The fact that we even considered it scares me, as we pass a $110 Dom Perignon at Costco regularly and scoff. We are definitely in vacation mode!  old-faithfulActually, everything we tasted here was very good, and we were astonished to know that this vineyard we’d never heard of before was the second vineyard ever established in Napa, and the first to start making champenois-method sparkling wine here.

I convinced RJ to pass through the “Old Faithful” geyser hot springs in Calistoga – something he wasn’t thrilled about and only agreed to after I agreed to forgo the petrified forest. I paid our $7 entry fees (thanks to the online coupon) and we walked down a wooden boardwalk, past some baby goats which, in my opinion, were worth the price of admission. After about 3 minutes, we saw the spring start to steam up, and eventually a large spray of water shot into the air. RJ immediately reacted: “Really??! That was it?!? $7!?!?”  Video of the Old Faithful spray available on request…

It was interestinBusters BBQg as a natural phenomenon (to me) but doesn’t look more impressive than the fountains in Las Vegas or even some here in Napa…. After that, I redeemed myself by taking RJ to some good ol’ fashioned BBQ at Buster’s, a place I read about on Trip Advisor. We ordered the famous Tri-Tip sandwich with baked beans on the side, and the ½ rack of ribs with coleslaw on the side. The ribs were rather blah… pretty standard and certainly not the baby back version that RJ prefers. The tri-tip, on the other hand, was phenomenal. A slow-cooked cut of steak, sliced and smothered in BBQ sauce, on a sandwich of toasted garlic bread (with a beer for RJ). MMM! I am absolved of all previous (tourist) sins. We aimed to go to Sterling vineyards next and ride the gondola, but the line (not too long, but the first we’ve seen) deterred RJ and he directed me to look at a picture of the view rather than to take the actual trip.  Fine by me, as I’m not wild about the wine there.

Darioush - The Persian PalaceWe continued on, following the recommendation of our guide, Marshall from Schramsberg, to the Silverado trail. Though I have no complaints about the St. Helena Highway, the Silverado Trail was certainly a treat. It was curvy and fun, weaving through fields and hillsides covered with acres of vines and blankets of mustard flowers. We went back through the towns we’d seen on our way in – St. Helena, Oakville, Yountville – and ended up in the Stag’s Leap district. We went first to the “Persian Palace” – Dariouche – and were mildly disappointed with the spiciness of everything from the Chardonnay to the Cabernet Franc to the Cabernet Sauvignon. The wines weren’t bad, but were not – in our opinion – worthy of the high ratings in Wine Spectator. On our trip back north, we stopped at Chimney Rock for two tastings – a current release flight for me, and a Cabernet tasting for RJ. I was incredibly impressed by the ragusciBordeaux-style white served first, and again by the Cabernet 2004. RJ thought the 2003 Cabernet was one of the best Cabs he’d ever tasted – so much so that he neglected to share!! We agreed to come back later to taste the “Reserve” flight and maybe buy some wines. Mike is on the lookout for us! I think that that was our last sober experience of good judgment, for as we tasted at our next stop – Regusci – we were much less prudent! I don’t, however, doubt our tastebuds, for this was the best wine I’ve had in a long while. The Chardonnay was phenomenal, followed by great merlot, transcendent zinfandel, and a blend red that we could not stop raving about: the Patriarch. While our favorite was the 100% Cabernet, our good pal Jonesy recommended that we wait for the 2006 vintage to shell out on that one. We ended up purchasing a bottle of the Zin and one of the Patriarch, and they comp-ed our tasting fees. Love it!!

Best judgment aside, we decided to stop just one more time – at the second recommendation from Marshall – Robert Sinskey winery. We came into a busy tasting room about 10 minutes before closing and made friends with the pourer and a guy a the bar from San Diego. They served us tiny hors d’oeuvres that matched the wines (delicious) and allowed RJ and myself to share a flight. While I talked to Mr. San Diego about California ports, RJ bought up 2 bottles of the Cabernet! At Day One’s End, our tally included: 2 bottles of champagne from Schramsberg, 2 bottles of Sinskey Cab, 1 bottle of Zin from Regusci, 1 bottle of Patriarch from Regusci.

We eventually did stop back at Chimney Rock for the third tasting they offered – the best Cabs on the menu – and we were very impressed!  I feel like I could spend weeks here, not to mention millions of dollars, and never get bored. The scenery is out-of-this-world beautiful, the weather has been extraordinary, and the wine has made the two of us happy as honeymooners!  Next post: Napa cuisine!

Vineyard Shot

March 11, 2009 at 6:31 pm 1 comment

Gingerbread Pudding Cake

Gingerbread Pudding Cake

As I look at the title of this post, I keep hearing Tweety Bird say “I thought I saw a puddy’cat!”  Moreover, I am not sure “pudding cake” really sums up how incredibly scrumptious this dessert actually is.  The very unusual baking method creates a cake with two very distinctive features – a beautiful cracked surface which recalls the floor of an ancient sea, long since dried up, and a moist bottom layer that gives way to an undercurrent of thick molasses syrup.

Today we received our most recent onslaught of snow (about 14 inches and counting), proving to me that we are not yet finished with winter and I can continue to – ahem – build up my winter coat with decadent desserts and can keep the deep and spicy flavors coming for at least a couple more weeks.  This cake was a prize find of a couple of winters ago.  I love how it recalls the familiar and nostalgic taste of gingerbread, yet also provides the unique and surprising texture of a molten chocolate cake.

Paired with a nice dollop of whipped cream – the rustic version – or possibly a quenelle of vanilla (maybe even coconut?) ice cream – the elegant dinner party version – this cake is a sure-fire crowd pleaser.

Gingerbread Pudding Cake, from Bon Appetit (not sure of the issue – it was a clipping!)

See the height of the water!

See the height of the water!

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon clove
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons beaten eggs
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups hot water
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Top of the cakePreheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8×8 inch glass baking dish. Whisk flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves and salt in medium bowl.
Using an electric mixer, beat 1/4 cup butter and 1/4 cup sugar in large bowl until blended. Beat in egg. Stir molasses and 1/2 cup water in a 1 cup glass measuring cup.

Add 1/3 of the flour mixture, butter mixture and molasses mixture together beating to blend. Repeat until all seperate mixtures are now one and transfer to prepared dish. Sprinkle brown sugar over the top.

Stir 1 1/2 cups hot water and melted butter in 2 cup glass measuring cup. Carefully pour over top of batter (don’t worry, there will be lots of liquid on the top). Bake until gingerbread is cracked on top, about 45 minutes. Serve warm with whipped cream and top with extra sauce from the bottom of the pan.

Pudding cake

March 2, 2009 at 3:08 pm Leave a comment


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