Sunday, February 17, 2008

Chocolate for (not really) Cynics

I've never been one for Valentine's Day.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not really a cynic. I'm a huge fan of love and the expression thereof, but why only be romantic one day a year? Why fight other couples for jewelry and flowers and tables at over-booked restaurants?

But I'm not here to expound on the foolishness of the holiday. It is one thing, and that's a great excuse for chocolate.

I used my chocolate excuse to make these Molten Chocolate Raspberry Cakes (along with half of the other food bloggers in the world), and while they're not terrifically attractive little desserts, they are pretty terrifically tasty.

They are very rich and truly chocolatey, so if you're not a chocolate fan (god help you), these probably won't be your thing. But hopefully you are, so that you can enjoy these, and we can stay friends. Make sure, when you make these, that you use chocolate that you enjoy eating on its own. I went with one of my Trader Joe's usuals: the Ocumare 71% from Venezuela. It comes in a 2.8 ounce bar, and while the original recipe, once divided, only called for about 2.3 ounces, I just threw the whole bar in. No regrets on that front. I do think, though, that they could have been smaller. I made a third of a recipe, because dividing it into quarters involved dividing egg yolks, and that was not something I was prepared to do. I made two of them in 6-ounce ramekins, and I think that three in 4-ounce might have been a better call, except that we might have ended up fighting over the last one, and that's not really what you're looking for on Valentine's Day.

Molten Chocolate Raspberry Cakes
Adapted from Epicurious

for the cake:
1 T. & 2 tsp. sugar
2.3 ounces (or 2.8) bittersweet chocolate, preferably 70% or more
4 T. butter
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. flour

for the raspberries:
fresh or frozen raspberries (I used about 4 ounces frozen, because it was what I had on hand - experiment!)
sugar to taste (or none!)

for the raspberries:
If you have fresh, more power to you - I would suggest using them as is. With frozen, I simply warmed them in a small saucepan over low heat until they melted a bit, and added a little sugar. Reheat slightly before pouring over the cakes at serving time.

for the cake:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees, and generously butter and sugar the insides of two 6-ounce ramekins (or three 4-ounce).

Stir chocolate and butter in heavy small saucepan over low heat until smooth. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat egg, egg yolk and sugar until thick and pale yellow, about 8 minutes. Fold 1/3 of warm chocolate mixture into egg yolk mixture (making sure it's not too warm), then fold in remaining chocolate. Fold in flour, and a few raspberries from the raspberry mixture, if you like. Divide batter between two (or three) ramekins.

Place ramekins on baking sheet. Bake until edges are puffed and slightly cracked, but center is still a little trembly, about 13 - 15 minutes.

To serve, unmold cakes onto small plates and top with raspberry mixture and softly whipped, (very) lightly sweetened whipped cream.

They won't be pretty, but you'll eat them anyway, and it will be so completely worth it.

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