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Chilled Chocolate Soufflé with Lots of Ginger
This cold soufflé has a deep, dark, rich chocolate flavor, and the ginger adds a thrill. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and ripe fresh berries, if you like.
Serves 4 to 6
1/2 cup water
One 1/4-ounce envelope plain gelatin
1 pound bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons brandy
6 large eggs, separated
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
3 large egg whites
1/2 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Wrap a long folded strip of heavy-duty aluminum foil or parchment paper around a 5 cup soufflé dish to form a collar that extends about 3 inches above the rim of the dish, and secure it with tape or string. Lightly oil the dish and the inside of the foil. Refrigerate the dish until ready to use.
2. Pour 1/4 cup of the water into a small bowl and sprinkle with the gelatin. Let stand for 10 minutes, or until softened.
3. Place the bowl with the gelatin in a larger bowl of hot water and stir until the gelatin has dissolved and the liquid is clear.
4. Melt the chocolate and butter with the cocoa in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of about 1 1/2 inches of barely simmering water, whisking occasionally until smooth. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and whisk in the remaining 1/4 cup water and the brandy.
5. With a hand held electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the egg yolks, 1/2 cup of the sugar, and the salt in a large deep heatproof bowl until well combined. Set the bowl over the saucepan of barely simmering water and beat for 15 minutes, or until the mixture is very thick and pale. Beat in the chocolate mixture just until combined. Remove the bowl from the heat, add the gelatin mixture, and beat until the mixture cools to room temperature.
6. With clean beaters, on medium speed, beat the 9 egg whites in a large deep clean bowl until the whites form soft peaks when the beaters are lifted. Increase the heat to medium-high and sprinkle in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar about 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat until the whites form stiff peaks. Beat in the ginger.
7. With clean beaters, on high speed, beat the heavy cream and vanilla in a medium bowl just until the cream forms stiff peaks.
8. Place the bowl of egg yolk mixture in a larger bowl of ice water and whisk just until it begins to thicken and set. With a whisk, gently fold in the whipped cream, and then the egg whites. Pour into the soufflé dish and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, until thoroughly chilled and set, or for 24 hours.
9. To serve, remove the collar from the soufflé. Present the soufflé at the table and spoon onto dessert plates.
Blueberry Upside-Down Ginger Cake
Down-home looking but still gorgeous, this cake gives a definite feeling of comfort. You might want to serve this with creme fraiche instead of the (optional) ice cream, but the ice cream does add a great temperature contrast.
Serves 8 to 10
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 pint ripe blueberries, picked over
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsulphured molasses
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup whole milk, at room temperature
1 quart vanilla ice cream (optional)
1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Whisk together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt in a medium bowl.
3. Melt 1/4 cup of the butter in a small saucepan. Pour into a 9-by-2-inch round cake pan. Stir in the brown sugar and lemon juice until blended; the sugar will not dissolve. Sprinkle the blueberries evenly over the bottom of the pan.
4. Beat the remaining 1/2 cup butter with an electric mixer on medium-high speed in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add the granulated sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in the molasses until blended. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, as necessary. Whisk in half of the flour mixture. Whisk in the milk and then the remaining flour mixture. Transfer the batter to the pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.
5. Bake for 60 to 65 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a table knife around the inside of the pan, and invert the cake onto a serving plate. (Or if you want to serve the cake up to 1 hour later, leave the cake in the pan until ready to serve to keep it warm.)
6. Serve warm, cut into wedges, with the ice cream, if using.