Divine and To Die-for Flourless Chocolate Cake Recipe From Our Friends Chef Matt Beach and Meghan Pozzi
Last week I had a fabulous and fun evening taking Chef Matt’s and Meghan’s Decadent Desserts cooking class, held at Savour Wine and Cheese. I was planning to post this on Valentine’s Day, but thought that if you want to make the cake for your loved ones for Friday, I had better share today. And, if you don’t have time to make the cake, please contact Chef Matt and Savour Wine and Cheese. They will be happy to make this yummiest of cakes for you!
Enter Chocolate Heaven ~
Flourless Chocolate Cake
8 oz. Semisweet chocolate (Meghan used Bakers)
¼ lb. Unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened
6 large eggs, 2 whole and 4 separated
1 C. Sugar
2 Tbs. Grand Marnier (or Cointreau ot Triple Sec)
Zest of one orange
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1) Line the bottom of an 8” spring form pan with parchment paper.
2) Melt chocolate and remove from heat.
3) Whisk in butter and set aside.
4) Whisk 2 whole eggs and 4 egg yolks with ½ cup of sugar. Whisk in the warm chocolate mixture, whisk in Grand Marnier and zest.
5) In a separate bowl with an electric mixer beat the remaining 4 egg whites until foamy. Gradually add the remaining ½ cup sugar until the whites form soft mounds.
6) Stir about ¼ of the whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten.
7) Gently fold in the remaining egg whites
8) Pour into pan and bake for 35-40 minutes.
9) Let cool.
Note: The cake will sink, forming a crater with high sides.
Whipped Cream Topping
1 ½ C Heavy Cream
3 Tbs. Confectionary Sugar
1tsp. Vanilla extract
Whip cream, sugar, and vanilla. Fill the center of the cake with the whipped cream and spread evenly. Dust with shaved chocolate.
Oftentimes flourless chocolate cakes seem somewhat leaden-like to me. Have you had that experience? That simply is not the case with Matt and Meghan’s recipe. This is the dreamiest and most cloud-like chocolate cake imaginable! My family loves my chocolate cake with lemon frosting and they will barely allow to me make any other cakes for birthdays. I think they may change their minds after sampling this cake! My daughter Liv is coming home next week and I’ll post a photo then.
While writing this post and listening to recorded songs of Mourning Doves, I was immediately transported to my grandparent’s summer cottage on Cape Cod. Their home was sited on a bluff overlooking Cape Cod Bay. Adjacent to the house was a tumbled and scrubby overgrown field and, only a sort walk down down the lane, the freshwater Hiram Pond. There was no shortage of bunnies and birds, toads and turtles, along with the occasional frog and fox. From a child’s point view, it was pure paradise. Mixed with the sound of the surf, imprinted forever is the familiar song of Mourning Doves cooing at the first light of dawn. For much of the day the nesting doves remained hidden in the tangled undergrowth. Then in the fading rosy light of day’s end, their gentle song was heard again mixed with the laughter of rambunctious family feasts on the screened porch my grandfather had built.
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Mourning Doves during the winter months are not calling to their mates but instead are struggling to survive the cold temperatures and sparse supply of food. Our bird feeders are filled often during the week, primarily with safflower seeds. As I have explained in previous posts, squirrels, which can be a real nuisance at feeders, typically are not interested in safflower seeds. Suet and such invites rats, rabbits, and raccoons, which in turn draws coyotes.
Feathers are insulating and by fluffing, the bird traps pockets of air to hold in body heat and keep out the cold. During warm weather, birds press their feathers close to their bodies to eliminate the insulating air pockets to allow heat to escape.
When the bird is incubating eggs, the insulating properties of feathers can be a drawback because the feathers keep some of the bird’s body heat from reaching the eggs. The bird either sheds some its breast feathers naturally or pulls them out to expose bare skin. The exposed area is called a brood patch.
Read More Here: Feathers
Addendum today ~ So sadly, my husband found beneath our kitchen window this morning a beautiful Mourning Dove. For the past several months we’ve had half a dozen doves, or what looked like three pairs, nestling in the pear trees and at the feeders. Our dead Mourning Dove seemed perfectly intact, except for a few drops of blood on its head. The single greatest threat to songbirds visiting our backyards are collisions with glass. I never thought of our wind- and weather-worn original-to-the-house 1850s window glass as potentially hazardous. Time to rethink our little backyard sanctuary.
From Bird Watcher’s Digest, the top ten suggestions for making your windows less deadly for birds: The Top 10 Things You Can Do to Prevent Window Strikes
Mourning Dove Coo ~
I originally posted this on GMG, where there is a good discussion in the comment section. Please join the conversation at Good Morning Gloucester.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s war on swans includes gassing, shooting, and oiling eggs on nests to prevent them from hatching. Their stated goal is to eliminate all 2,200 Mute Swans in the state of New York by the year 2025.
Reasons cited are that the swans aggressively defend their young, they attack other waterfowl, and destroy habitat.
Audubon New York and the NYSDEC plan to put forth their agenda to the New York citizenry with their education campaign.
Mute swans were introduced in the previous century to decorate parks and estates. Today, exotic species receive a great deal of attention and generate much concern. Oftentimes information around exotics is too simplistic. Some invasions are life-threatening, but they do not often set off an extinction. They can even spur the evolution of new diversity and strengthen an existing species.
I’ve read contrary opinions, and observed the opposite, to the reasons given for the swan’s extermination. There are a number of issues to consider. Where do our readers stand on this developing story? What have been your observations and experiences when encountering a swan?
Some experiences we never forget. When I was a clothing designer I spent several months living in Paris with musician friends of my husband’s, Peter and Annie. Both had lived off and on in Paris and Peter was there making an album. Annie and I had become fast friends the year before while we were working on a music video together in Aruba. From the moment I arrived in Paris, Annie took me under her wing. We went to the most wonderful places for both sightseeing and dining, places only a resident would know to go. Annie was a fabulous gourmet cook and we also had lots of fun visiting Parisian kitchenny-type shops and outdoor markets. I had lived in Boston’s North End and was accustomed to whole sheep hanging in the butcher’s windows, but this was my first experience seeing captive bunnies and ducks, which were meant for eating, on sale at a marketplace.
One of the most memorable afternoons was spent visiting the extraordinary Hommage á Christian Dior at the Musée des Arts de la Mode, followed by a visit to a sweetly elegant and charming pâtisserie. The dining room was bright light-flooded from the 15 foot high ceilings and arching floor-to-ceiling windows, with views of the bustling square beyond. The pastry cart was impossibly difficult to choose from, but Annie knew just what beverage to order. Served from a pot especially designed for hot chocolate, the drink was richly dark, with a dollop of whipped cream, and topped by a square of dark chocolate. The chocolate square sank to the bottom, not quite melting. When finished drinking, there was a swirl of semi-melted chocolate remaining to spoon from the bottom of the cup.
Fast forward to raising our children. Aren’t snow days simply the best! I think I looked forward to them as much as did my kids. As a working mom a snowy day meant magical extra time off with my children, and was a day made even more festive when accompanied by cups of warm cocoa. Most times we made hot chocolate with mini marshmallows and/or with a few drops of essence of peppermint, but if I had chocolate squares and heavy cream on hand to whip, we made it our favorite Parisian way.
Liv’s coming home for a few days in February. I’m already planning a Happy Hot Chocolate afternoon (and possibly breakfast too)!
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My best approximation of Parisian-style hot chocolate ~
2 cups whole milk, gently heated
Pinch of salt
Add vanilla bean to milk as it is heating (or add ½ tsp. vanilla)
Remove from heat. Stir in 3 Tbs. Ghirardelli unsweetened premium baking cocoa and 3 Tbs. sugar. Whisk until frothy.
Dollop with whipped cream and garnish with a square of dark chocolate.
Outtakes from films in progress, too pretty to delete. In thinking about music for my forthcoming film I found this beautiful pan flute song “Mochica en la Noche” by Santiago y Sus Flautes de Pan. The evocative music and heron in the vivid rising sun just felt like a perfect pairing.
Typically, the Snowy Owls that we see in our region during the winter months are not mature adults. The fledged owlets have yet to fully develop the skills needed to hunt in the Arctic tundra where food is in short supply during the winter months. The immatures migrate south in search of more plentifully available food in warmer hunting grounds. Not all Snowy Owlets migrate south, and some even migrate further north, heading for patches of open water to feed on fish.
The above though does not explain why there are so many Snowy Owls this year. One reason scientists speculate is that the Snowy Owl is having an irruptive year because it was so warm in the Arctic this past summer. There may have been an explosion in the Arctic lemming population, which would lead to a strong rate of survival amongst Snowy Owlets.
A recent controversy involving the slaughtering of Snowy Owls by The New York Port Authority was solved by adopting Boston’s Logan Airport model of capturing and relocating the Snowies. Why are Snowy Owls so interested in airports when they really prefer open areas such as sand dunes, marshes, native grasslands, jetties, and undisturbed beaches? Habitat destruction. As native grasslands have given way to development, in some regions, the only remaining open habitats are found at airports.
To learn more about the Magic of the Snowy Owl see this beautiful film from the PBS Nature series: Magic of the Snowy Owl
All images courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
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