Thursday, June 14, 2012

Petite Molten Chocolate Cakes

In the past 7 days, I have read two books.

Both are about cooking.

Both are about French cooking.

Both are about Americans learning to cook French things.

Julie and Julia and Lunch in Paris:  A Love Story, with Recipes.

Both were delicious reads that reignited my love for French cooking.

I'd like to cook through every recipe in her book, but I decided to begin with the Individual Molten Chocolate Cakes from Elizabeth Bard's Lunch in Paris.

Not atypically, I photographed every step.  Please don't freak out and run away because there are 15 pictures in this post.  This recipe is really very simple to prepare.

Here's what you'll need:  1 stick of butter, excellent quality dark chocolate, sea salt, eggs, egg yolks, sugar, and a smidgen of flour.
The recipe says you can melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave or in a double broiler.

I just couldn't imagine Elizabeth nuking any part of this recipe in her tiny Paris apartment, so I didn't want to, either.  

I don't have a double boiler, but I made by own by resting a ceramic bowl over a pot of simmering water.

Once the chocolate and butter have melted together into the color of a moonless midnight, remove the bowl from the saucepan add a pinch of salt to the mixture.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the whole eggs, egg yolks, and the sugar...

...until the mixture has lightened in color and begins to get a little foamy.

The ceramic bowl that I used as my double boiler was still very hot.  To be sure that the eggs would not curdle as they touched the surface of the bowl, I switched the chocolate/butter mixture to a separate bowl.  

 If I had three hands, I would be whisking the eggs into the chocolate mixture as I poured them.

 Lovely.  Thick.  Glossy.  Unfocused. 

 Quickly stir in a tablespoon of flour, just until blended.

Elizabeth suggests using the Renoyld's foil cupcake liners (5 stacked together) as a freestanding mold.  I didn't have any, so I used these small 4-ounce ramekins. 
 I lined the bottoms with a circle of parchment paper and buttered them very generously. 

Bake at 450 degrees for 7 minutes for a thin outer shell and a completely runny interior (yum), or 8 minutes for a thicker crust and a gooey center.

The seemingly teeny portion is so rich and amazing.  Serve with a dollop of whipped cream or a small scoop of vanilla (or coffee!) ice cream.

 Savor each bite...slowly.  It's the sexy French way to eat.

(Here's the printable form of the recipe.)

Individual Molten Chocolate Cakes
Serves 6

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
5 ounces dark chocolate (70% cocoa; very good quality such as Green & Black's)
Pinch of sea salt
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Either 1) generously butter six 4-ounce ramekins whose bottoms have been lined with a small circle of parchment paper, or 2) stack together 5 Reynold's foil cupcake liners to serve as one mold, buttering the innermost liner. (You'll have to repeat that 6 times.) Place either the ramekins or the liner-molds on a baking sheet and set aside.

In a double broiler (or in the microwave at 30-second increments), melt butter and chocolate together until completely smooth.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, and the sugar until the color has lightened and the mixture becomes a bit foamy.

(Test the temperature of the bowl you microwaved the chocolate/butter mixture in or the double broiler.  If it is still very hot, transfer the chocolate/butter mixture to a separate medium bowl to ensure the eggs you're about to pour into the chocolate will not curdle upon contact.)

Pour a steady stream of the egg/sugar mixture into the chocolate/butter mixture, whisking quickly as you pour.  The batter will begin to thicken.  Then stir in the flour and mix just until combined. 

Pour the chocolate/egg mixture into the ramekins or the foil molds, dividing them as evenly as you can among the six.  (Elizabeth says you can make the cakes in advance to this point and refrigerate them until you're ready to bake.  However, be certain to bring the batter to room temperature before you bake them.) 

Start with 7 minutes for a thin outer layer and a completely molten center or 8 minutes for a thicker crust and a gooey center. 

(Also you can freeze them: remove from freezer about 10 minutes before you put them in the oven.  Bake at 410 degrees for 15 to 17 minutes.)

Recipe from:  Lunch in Paris:  A Love Story, With Recipes


heather said...

ok this entire post grasped my romantic heart and sent me into a dreamy state imagining i could create something beautiful french and indulgent. i may just try this for fathers day. ps love the french cafe styling too! i want to come sit and eat one with you

heather said...

i did it and he loved it! these molten cakes are a hit! and it was SUPER easy to make even while supervising an infant in a bouncy seat on the counter. yay!

freestanding pantry cabinets said...

This looks absolutely yummy!