Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Dinner for Friends Part 2

So to carry on from part one which was the main for dinner the other night. This post is by far the most important one as it is, clearly, the pudding! My friend Annie and I both love to cook but especially love to make desserts. I think I can speak for both of us when I say that we plan the dessert first and the main second. Usually it's something rich and decadent as we always have various recipes to try and being 'complementary to the main' doesn't really feature, but what does is a chance to make that particular recipe. Besides anything rich and decadent is ALWAYS going to complement something surely...

I decided to use one of my latest books called 'Ready For Dessert' by David Lebovitz (pictured above), as I love his recipes and, so far, they all seem to work. I also have his amazing ice cream book called 'The Perfect Scoop' which is well worth the purchase. So out of this book I chose the caramel ice cream, because life is GOOD with anything caramel; and the Chocolate Ganache Custard tart, because life is GREAT with anything chocolate. As well as that I happen to know that Annie LOVES anything chocolate so this seemed perfect for fitting the brief.

I made the custard a few days in advance and OMG it is amazing. Far too moreish and totally delicious so if you like ice cream give this one a go. As well as that it seems to stay in a rollable consistency which means you don't have to temper it first like you usually have to do with homemade ice cream. The flavour is all down to how far you manage to take the caramel. Mine browned without much effort and I was surprised at just how fast it did so. Maybe I had the temperature up too high... regardless it worked out well so I'm not complaining. The tart base I made a couple of days prior and just kept it in the deep freeze until I was ready to cook it. I have to say that I wasn't all that taken with it. I think Dorie's sweet shortcrust is better and has a better flavour and texture. This one was a bit crumbly for my liking. The filling however, while simple, was delicious and a perfect match for the ice cream. Because it has been so hot, it was probably and bit warmer than it should have been but never mind, it was still good. 

Sorry about the photos but really I was lucky I took any at all especially after the margaritas, wine and general heat and therefore disorganisation that goes with that and lots of kids running around...not to mention the flies, (despite the robocan), all due to this hottest-on-record-February we are having!!!

By the way a big hello to the very lovely little Miss Lotts who reads my blog (so her mum tells me), it's so lovely that you do and I know you will follow in your mum's footsteps of being a fantastic cook! xxx

Caramel Ice Cream

1 c sugar
2 c whole milk (silver top)
1/2 tsp sea salt (I used Fleur de sel)
1 c cream
5 large egg yolks
1/2 tsp vanilla

Put the sugar in a large heavy bottom pot and melt slowly stirring gently and infrequently ( I usually swirl the pot instead) until it turns a dark amber colour and begins to foam a bit. Remove from the heat and add the milk. Be careful as it can bubble up. Keep stirring over a low heat until the caramel melts back into the milk. Add the salt. 

Pour the cream into a medium bowl and set a strainer above it.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks then gradually add some of the warm caramel mixture to temper the eggs. Then pour the warmed egg mixture back into the rest of the mixture in the pot. Cook over a low heat, stirring constantly, until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of a spatula.

Pour custard through the strainer and into the cream, add the vanilla and stir to mix. You may want to add more salt so taste now.

Cool in the fridge covering the custard overnight then churn in an ice cream machine.


Chocolate Ganache Custard Tart

Precook your favourite sweet shortcrust base.

280 gm dark chocolate (I used a mix of Whittakers 50-62%)
1 c cream
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp cognac (I didn't use this as I had none)

Melt the chocolate and cream together and mix until smooth. 

Whisk in the egg and yolk and cognac (if using).

Pour into the precooked tart base and bake at 175 C about 20 mins until set but still a bit quivery. Don't overbake. Let it cool completely.

This should be eaten the day it's made but hey, chocolate tart is good at any time!

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