Saturday, February 28, 2009

Chocolate Valentino & 7 Bean Vanilla Ice Cream (DB)

This month's Daring Bakers Challenge showcases how a few simple yet high quality ingredients can be transformed into a special, decadent dessert...and a perfect sweet treat for Valentines Day!

The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef. We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.

Chocolate Valentino is essentially a flourless chocolate cake composed of three basic ingredients: chocolate, butter and eggs. The end result is an extremely fudgey cake (more like a brownie than a cake), and a little portion delivers HUGE chocolate flavors. I followed the recipe instructions as written, baking the cake in an 8" springform pan. Once the cake cooled, I used a heart shape cookie cutter to portion out individual servings.

Vanilla Ice Cream is part two of this month's challenge. For those of you who know me, I LOVE making (and eating) homemade ice cream, and I happily pulled out my ice cream maker for the occasion. I've been itching to make 7 Bean Vanilla Ice Cream from Sherry Yard's terrific book, Desserts By The Yard.

The cake and ice cream served as a perfect ending for my hubby and me on Valentine's Day. We really enjoyed the cake, as it wasn't sugary sweet and it delivered a huge punch in chocolate flavor (definitely use high-quality chocolate for this recipe). The ice cream was full of vanilla flavor (7 vanilla pods--- I would have been disappointed if it wasn't), and it really worked well with the cake. I could have easily eaten the entire batch by myself! :p It's definitely a small investment using 7 vanilla pods, but it's definitely worth making for a special occassion.

Chocolate Valentino
Preparation Time: 20 minutes


16 ounces (1 pound) (454 grams) of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped (I used Valrhona 60%)
½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons (146 grams total) of unsalted butter
5 large eggs, separated


1. Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and melt, stirring often.

2. While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling. Butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment.

3. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.

4. Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry).

5. With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.

6. Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.

7. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter.

8. Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F/190C

9. Bake for 25 minutes until an instant read thermometer reads 140F/60C. (Note – If you do not have an instant read thermometer, the top of the cake will look similar to a brownie and a cake tester will appear wet.)

10. Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.


7 Bean Vanilla Ice Cream
adapted from Desserts By The Yard by Sherry Yard
makes 1 quart

1 cups milk
3 cups heavy cream
7 vanilla beans - split, seeds scraped out; seeds and beans reserved
3/4 cup sugar
4 large egg yolks
pinch of salt

1. Place a 1 quart freezer container in the freezer. Prepare an ice bath: fill a large bowl with ice and a little water and nestle ia medium bowl in the ice.

2. In a medium nonreactive saucepan, combine the milk, cream, vanillaseeds and beans and half the sugar. Place the pan over medium heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Turn off the heat, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and allow the milk and cream to infuse for 20 minutes (I let it sit for 1 hour).

3. While the milk and cream are infusing, comvbine the egg yolks and the remaining 6 tablespoons sugar in a medium bowl and whisk them together until lemony yellow.

4. After infusing the cream mixture, remove the plastic wrap and return the mixture to the heat. When the milk and cream come to a simmer, remove from the heat and slowly whisk 1/2 cup into the egg yolks. Once the cream is incorporated into the yolks, whisk the yolks back into the cream. Be sure to scrape all the yolks into the pan with a rubber spatula.

5. Place the pan over low heat and immediately begin to stir the custard. After about 2 minutes, the custard will begin to thicken. Keep stirring until the consistency is like thick cream. The custard is done when the temperature reaches 180F degrees. Test for readiness with your spatula: dip it into the custard, pull it out, and run your finger across the back of the spatula. Your finger should leave a clear trail adn the rest of the spatula should remain coated with custard. If the custard does not run into the finger trail, it is thick enough and can be taken off the heat. If it does run, cook the custard for another minute, or until the consistency is right.

6. Remove the custard from the heat and immediately pour through a fine-mesh strainer into the bowl in the ice bath. Rinse beans and reserve for another use. Add salt. Cool mixture (if you time, refrigerate custard for a least couple of hours). Transfer to an ice cream maker and freezee according to the manufacturer's directions. Transfer to the freezer container and place in the freezer for 2 hours, or until firm.


The Food Librarian said...

Linda, Looks soooo awesome! This is perfect and delicious!

Heather B said...

I'm a vanila bean lover so I'm definitely going to have to try that ice cream! Great job this month, you cake looks delicious!

Zita said...

Simply delicious!

Engineer Baker said...

Whoa, 7 vanilla pods?!? I'd bet that was one tasty ice cream! It looks beautiful!

Mary Jo said...

looks very yummy. i signing up for daring bakers...i've procrastinated long enough :)

ivy said...

Wow.. your Valentino cake looks amazingly good! Its awesome that you actually made your own ice cream. I wasn't able to make mine.. but I'm still wondering if its too late! Great job!! :)

Anonymous said...

OMG. 7 beans! I'm sure the taste was outstanding. I'm a little scared to make it though...what if something goes horribly wrong and the 7 beans get wasted? You're incredibly brave!

Gigi said...

Lovely cakes! I love the contrast between the dark chocolate cake and the bright red raspberries. Delicious!

Isabelle said...

Magnifiques photos linda ! c'est vraiment très réussi :)

Di said...

Mmm. Your cake and ice cream look delicious. I'll have to keep that ice cream recipe in mind if I can find a good deal on vanilla beans.

creativecarryout said...

So pretty - great job!

vibi said...

As always... you make my eyes jump in their sockets, my mouth salivate and my heart skip a beat... as soon as I enter here! WOW! Bravo!

Maggie said...

I have to say that I'm impressed by the 7 bean ice cream as well. I have to give that a try.

Peggy said...

What a beautiful presentation! Looks delicious.

Ingrid said...

Beautiful photos the color of the raspberries just pops against the chocolate cake & vanilla (YUM!!!)ice cream.

steph- whisk/spoon said...

seven beans--that's intense...and most definitely delicious!!

Jacque said...

Mmmm, what beautiful pictures. The berries really add a lot of punch.

Your cake looks perfect!

Andreas said...

Wonderful presentation. The slightly heart-shaped berries look so lovely.

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