baking Dorie

Tuesdays With Dorie: Chocolate-Crunched Caramel Tart

Look! I did this week’s Dorie recipe! (I didn’t manage to do the Daring Bakers vols-au-vent, which made me very, very sad; I had a brilliant idea for what to fill them with. But I did make the tart, although I didn’t actually get to eat it.)

chocolate torte 2

But I made it, and that’s what counts.

I sent it off with Husband and Sons to have dinner with friends. I stayed home. I like staying home.

Honestly, I don’t have much to say about this one. We’re smack in the middle of college application season here, and #1 Son decided last Tuesday, quite unexpectedly, to apply early decision to a school that was not previously his first choice; the deadline is in three weeks. Things are a bit chaotic at the moment.

I made the tart exactly as Dorie says to make the tart. Everything worked the way Dorie said it would work. There were no problems.

I didn’t like the ganache, though. Too much. Too dark, too rich, too much.

#1 Son: Way too chocolatey. You can’t taste anything beyond the overwhelming miasma of chocolate tar. But it’s good — I like it! [Later] I scraped all the chocolate off and still couldn’t taste any caramel.

#2 Son: The tart crust is really good, but the chocolate’s a little overpowering. I can’t actually taste anything but the chocolate.

Assorted other people found it “yummy” and said “the chocolate is really delicious, not too heavy but not too light either, just the perfect weight” and “the caramel and the crust are awesome; the chocolate’s a little overwhelming” and “I like the caramel, and the crust is great. I could do with less chocolate, but that’s not me. I’m not a big chocolate fan” and “the chocolate is extraordinarily rich” (and she didn’t sound as if she thought that was a good thing.)

There was also a suggestion (from a man who works in the amazing bakery run by his son and daughter-in-law, Sweet Life in Vineland, New Jersey, and so knows what he’s talking about!) that it might have worked better to chop the peanuts a little finer. I did chop them, but apparently not enough.

Several people (including me, when I finally got a tiny sliver of leftover) scraped off most of the ganache, finding that what was left was the perfect foil to the caramel and nuts.

Last but not least however, is my main man and guest photographer (happy anniversary, Tim!):

Husband: Everybody else was crazy. The chocolate was in great proportion to the crunchy underbits, both flavor and texture.

So there you have it. Read all the other TWD bloggers‘ opinions, and then try it yourself (buy the book or visit Carla at Chocolate Moosey to get the recipe). But don’t say I didn’t warn you about the ganache.

chocolate torte 1


Tuesdays With Dorie: I Fail Yet Again

I did not make the Cottage Cheese Pufflets. I wanted to, but it was Rosh Hashanah, and I was making a holiday dinner that seemed to require an apple-based dessert. And the dessert I chose was amazing. But it wasn’t Cottage Cheese Pufflets.

So go check out everyone else’s Cottage Cheese Pufflets, which are sure to come in a huge range of variations. And come back a little later today and read about the very yummy dinner and amazing dessert we had for the holiday.

baking Dorie

Tuesdays With Dorie: Chocolate Soufflé

souffle 1

So, Susan of She’s Becoming DoughMessTic (already one of my favorite bloggers) got to choose the TWD recipe this week, and she chose a doozy: Chocolate Soufflé.

Little intimidating, right? I’ve never made a soufflé. I’ve never had a soufflé. Everything I know about soufflés comes from old TV shows and books, where they were always falling.

But the family made ummy noises when I mentioned that this week’s Dorie was soufflé, and I was stuck.

It was, in fact, really easy.

I cut the recipe in half and baked it in four oval ramekins, for about 20 minutes. My little soufflés didn’t manage to reach the lovely heights some others did, but they were all very pretty in their own understated fashion.

And I made coconut crème anglaise to go with it. I thought: “Vanilla? Good, but plain. Coffee? Good, but done to death. Mint? No.” So I opened the fridge for inspiration, and what should I see but a nice mason jar full of unsweetened coconut. I tossed half a cup in with the half-and-half while it heated, and then strained strained the finished crème.

souffle 2

Well, that’s a lie. I poured the finished crème into a strainer, where it sat. And sat. And, well, you know. Eventually I squeezed out the coconut, handful by sodden handful. Messy.

And you know what? About 15 seconds after I dumped the coconut into the half-and-half, it occurred to me that I could have just used coconut milk, which for some strange reason (because I was planning to make chocolate coconut sorbet, if you must know) was actually sitting on the shelf next to the unsweetened coconut.


Anyway, I couldn’t taste much coconut in the finished crème anglaise, although it smelled lovely, but the family types all said they could (they love to lord their refined palates over me).

Oh, were we talking about soufflés?

Sorry. It was stunningly, marvelously, magnificently, stupendously good. Warm and light and airy and somehow rich and gooey at the same time. I cannot believe that I’ve wasted 42 years of my life without eating a chocolate soufflé.

souffle 4

The menfolk liked it too:

Husband: The texture was incredible — rich chocolate flavor that really benefited from the coconutty crème anglaise. It was better with that vanilla and little bit of coconut flavor — they really sealed the dish. And for a first-time soufflé, it looked awesome.

#1 Son: [When I finished eating, he looked at me wolfishly and asked, “Are you going to clean your bowl?” I handed it over, managing not to lose a finger in the process.] It was delicious. The chocolate wasn’t too heavy, the texture was beautifully light, and the crème anglaise was a perfect accompaniment.

#2 Son: It was pretty good overall. I think it could have used more chocolate. I’d rather the crème anglaise had been plain vanilla, rather than coconut. [To be fair, he had a 102-degree fever, and had passed on the amazing hamburgers we had for dinner. I don’t think he was at his best.]

burger 1

#2 Son had some of his about an hour later, and said it was good cold. I wanted to leave some of mine to try later, but not enough to stop eating it while it was warm.

This was incredible. (Better, I think, in ramekins than in a large dish, if you can manage it.) Make it. Buy Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, or check out Susan’s blog, where she’ll have the recipe and some wonderful photographs. And if you want to see lots of photos of tall, glorious soufflés, you could do worse than to check out some of the hundreds of other TWD bloggers.

See you next week!

souffle 3

baking Dorie

Tuesdays With Dorie: Espresso Cheesecake Brownies

This week’s Tuesdays With Dorie recipe was Espresso Cheesecake Brownies, chosen by Melissa of Life in a Peanut Shell.

cheesecake brownies 1

I don’t like cheesecake (although I did not-hate the Tall and Creamy Cheesecake last December). I don’t like sour cream or cream cheese (although the latter was awesome in the rugelach dough).

But I made these, because we were going to have dinner with friends, and when I mentioned the phrase “espresso cheesecake brownies” at least half of the couple seemed intrigued.

The recipe says to mix the brownie batter and then set it aside and mix the cheesecake layer, but I left the flour/baking powder/salt aside to mix in right before baking. I’m glad I did, because I think that kept my brownie batter from getting as thick as it might have (and as other bakers encountered). The only change I made to the brownie batter was the addition of ¼ teaspoon of almond extract.

The cheesecake batter was much thinner than I expected — like pancake batter — and that worried me, but it worked out fine. When I started to pour it over the brownie batter in the pan, though, I poured too fast, and it forced up a bit of the bottom layer. All’s well that ends well, though, and the marbling worked fine; when the brownies came out of the oven they had a lovely dark swirl on top. Which I promptly covered with frosting.

cheesecake brownies 3

The recipe clearly says to frost the brownies in the pan.

So I flipped them out onto a plate, then back onto another plate, to improve the setup for photographs.

But I broke two corners, which made me sad.

And then I actually read the instructions for the frosting and discovered that they involve melting the sour cream with the sugar and then pouring it on brownies.

So I put them back in the pan.

I made the frosting, and it tasted like sour cream. (I can’t imagine why.) So I added ¼ cup of cocoa powder and another ¼ cup of confectioner’s sugar, and it tasted slightly less like sour cream. I was happy.

The brownies looked great, and they were a big hit. One friend was left speechless and could only make little moans of pleasure. His 14-year-old daughter said: “I don’t like cheesecake, but it’s really really yummy.”

My 12-year-old son said: “The brownie could be chocolatier, the cheesecake is awesome, and the frosting could be a little less sour creamy [amen to that]. Other than that, yum.” And then he ate a second one.

My husband said this was his favorite Dorie in a long time. I ate a whole brownie.

So I think they went over well.

cheesecake brownies 2

There will be many variations on this theme among the Tuesdays With Dorie bloggers, and if you’d like to try these lovely brownies yourself, buy the book or visit Life in a Peanut Shell.

See you next week!