Friday, November 24, 2006

black sesame truffles

This month’s Sugar High Friday #25 is hosted by the lovely and talented Johanna of the passionate cook. Anyone who knows me, knows that I love good quality chocolate. Since Johanna’s idea for SHF was brilliant, I knew that I needed to participate. My quick and simple recipe for black sesame truffles is inspired by my recent trip to New York where I had some amazing black sesame truffles from Kee’s chocolates. I hope you enjoy these as much as I did.

18 ounces of good quality dark chocolate
1 1/4 cups whipping cream
toasted black and white sesame seeds

*I suggest using chocolate like Valrhona, Scharfenberg, Callebaut or Lindt, somewhere around 60% cocoa content. If you use a chocolate with high cocoa content, it will compete with the flavour of the sesame seeds.

*Toast sesame seeds at 325ºF for approximately 10-15 minutes.

Black Sesame Truffles

1. ) Always use the best chocolate you can
2. Chop chocolate into small chunks or bits. I like to chop my chocolate or use chocolate chips and put them in the food processor to create a fine powder.
3. Heat whipping cream on the stove to a boil or in the microwave to a boil.
4. Pour hot cream onto the small chocolate pieces or powder.
5. Stir until it is well blended and incorporated.
6. Let it cool in a bowl or tray in the refrigerator until it becomes firm ,like the consistency of fudge.
7. Take out of the refrigerator and pipe or scoop into small balls, makes approximately 75 truffles.
8. Roll into the toasted sesame seeds.
9. You can refrigerate them, till them become totally firm and then you can keep them out at room temperature.
10. I suggest eating them within a week.

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

new york : post 9

Chocolate on my mind…
A chocolate tasting of five different chocolate purveyors in New York City.

Kee’s Chocolate

Since 2002, Kee Ling Tong has been creating a lovely following for her chocolates. I met Kee at her small chocolate shop in Soho. She was friendly and informative and told me that she makes all her chocolates daily for the freshest quality. Wow. To tell the truth, I didn't know much about Kee’s Chocolate before entering the shop–just that they have a cute website. I highly recommend these chocolates with their fresh ingredients, melt-in-your-mouth ganache and absolutely no pretension. I enjoyed all the chocolates I sampled, but Black Sesame particularly knocked my socks off.

Black Sesame: dark chocolate truffles coated with white and black sesame seeds
Kaffir Lime: dark chocolate ganache with Kaffir lime coated in dark chocolate
Pignoli: dark chocolate truffle coated with pine nuts
Pistachio: white chocolate truffles coated with pistachios

La Maison Du Chocolat

Chantal Coady of Rococo Chocolates has called Robert Linxe the high priest of chocolatiers, I now understand why. If you are a chocolate lover. an aficionado or just a plain chocolate snob, I dare you not to like theses chocolates. The chocolates at La Maison Du Chocolat are, well, just plain awesome. Refined chocolates with classic flavours, subtlety infused in the smoothest, creamiest, ganache: what is there not to like? I enjoyed all of my sampled chocolates tremendously, but the Maïko and Cannelle put me into a chocolate coma. Mr. Linxe is clearly a master at creating some of the best chocolate I have ever eaten.

Maïko: ganache infused with fresh grated ginger
Cannelle: ganache infuse with cinnamon sticks
Yoko: a tea flavoured ganache
Figaro: hazelnut and almond praline wrapped in dark chocolate

Michel Cluizel

The Michel Cluizel shop in New York is actually hidden inside ABC Carpet & Home. If you venture in, you will find lovely cases filled with chocolates displayed like fine jewelry. There is also a small bar, where for a fixed price you can try one of their chocolate tastings. Remember to make a reservation, as they are very particular. I have tried Michel Cluizel chocolates in the past and thought they were good; however, I have always felt unsure whether they were exceptional. After trying these new flavours, I can definitely say that I am a fan. The Mirabelle truffle and the Chestnut Honey were both delightful.

Côte-d’Or: a dark chocolate truffle with gold leaf
Mirabelle: a dark chocolate truffle with ganache and Mirabelle plum gelée
Almond and Orange Peel: almond paste mixed with orange peel coated in dark chocolate
Chestnut Honey: chestnut honey ganache coated in dark chocolate


The first time I tried chocolate from Richart was when my friend Dawne came back from a trip to Paris. Fortunately, she brought back and shared some of her chocolates with me. Thanks Dawne! The chocolates at Richart are well, beautiful. I don’t think anyone would contest that. Richart chocolates have a long history in Lyon, France. Two generations on, Michel Richart continues to create chocolates that are designed to develop and pursue the “Art of Tasting”. Most of the chocolates here are silk-screened with cool and colourful designs–sometimes almost too pretty to eat. They are of a high standard; however, I thought that the emphasis should have been placed a little more on the taste rather than the appearance. Do not get me wrong; these are good chocolates. The Apricot Coulis was lovely, and the Roasted Almond was very tasty. The other two chocolates I tried were, however, a bit too strong in liqueur for me. The petit Richart chocolates line is an excellent idea: these bite size chocolates are the perfect size for one small intense shot of chocolate.

Raisins soaked in Grand Cru Champagne: dark ganache with raisins soaked in Champagne coated in dark chocolate
Apricot Coulis: apricot coulis coated in white chocolate
Roasted Almond: milk chocolate ganache with roasted almonds coated in dark chocolate
Malt Ganache: dark ganache with Malt whiskey coated in dark chocolate

Vosges Haut-Chocolat

To say that the chocolates here are worldly is an understatement. Ever since Katrina Markoff opened Vosges, she has created quite a stir in terms of her approach to chocolate making. The chocolates here are globally inspired pairing exotic spices and flowers with high quality chocolate and craftsmanship. Vosges is chocolate for the new international palate. If you are open to new and unusual flavours not commonly found with most chocolatiers, give these chocolates a chance. Although I wasn’t crazy about all the flavours I tried, I especially liked Naga which was delicious.

: Chinese star anise, fennel, pastis, dark chocolate and cocoa powder
Black Pearl
: ginger, wasabi, dark chocolate and black sesame seeds
Naga: sweet Indian curry powder, coconut and milk chocolate
: guajillo and pasilla chilies with dark 75% Tanzanie chocolate and organic pumpkinseeds

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Sunday, November 12, 2006

canadian parcels

Last week I came home to find two packages waiting for me. The first package I received was from Paige of If you haven’t seen Paige’s blog, check it out, it is filled with cool recipes and fantastic photos. The CBBP #2: Our Season’s Bounty care package I received was filled with some cool treats from Halifax. I received a post card with a note from Paige, a bookmark, a nice blended tea called Celtic Colours, maple and wild blueberry truffles and a package of mulling spices. A thoughtful package with an East coast theme. Thanks Paige!

The second package I received was from Kelli Ann of avoir une famille n’est pas comme un téléroman, who sent me a little gift for organizing CBBP#1: Chocolate. Kelli Ann sent me a lovely knitted designer dishcloth. I actually love these dishcloths, and I don’t knit, so a big Thank-you goes out to Kelli Ann.

If you missed Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict's CBBP#2 round-up check out the wonderful dishes and recipes that Canadian food bloggers shared.

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Sunday, November 05, 2006

wild cranberries

Last week I went to St. Lawrence market where I found some wild cranberries. They looked so fresh and amazing that I decided to buy some. I thought about all the wonderful and experimental things I could do with cranberries. Then I picked up my copy of Chez Panisse Fruit and looked up cranberries. In the book I found a simple cranberry upside-down cake, I haven’t made an upside-down cake in ages! Although I really enjoy playing with flavours and all my cool gadgets in the kitchen, I also enjoy the art of simple baking. Use fresh seasonal fruit and the best ingredients to make delicious quality desserts.

The vibrant red jewel like cranberries makes this cake look absolutely stunning. The texture of the cake is moist and the flavour of this cake shines with the tart cranberries complimented by the sweet brown sugar and orange glaze. I served the cranberry upside-down cake with whipped cream flavoured with Cointreau, make sure you add enough liqueur to get the full effect! I definitely recommend serving the cake with whipped cream. Yum!

a little wild cranberry

Cranberry Upside-Down Cake

4 Tbsp unsalted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar packed
2 3/4 cup fresh cranberries
1/4 cup orange juice

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 lbs unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, separated
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Use a 9-inch round or 8-inch square cake pan with 3-inch sides.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

1. To make the topping, place butter and brown sugar in the cake pan. Place the pan on a stovetop burner over low heat and melt, stirring with a wooden spoon. When the mixture starts to caramelize, turning a slightly darker shade of brown, remove from heat and let cool. Scatter the cranberries evenly in the bottom of the pan and drizzle in the orange juice. Set aside.
2. To make the cake batter, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and the sugar until pale and fluffy. Mix in the vanilla. Add the egg yolks one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each to make sure it is thoroughly incorporated. Gradually add the dry ingredients and the milk in stages: mix in about a third of the flour mixture, followed by about half the milk, mix in another third of the flour, then the rest of the milk; finally, add the last third of the dry ingredients.
3. In another large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg whites and cream of tartar. Beat the whites until they form firm peaks. Fold the whites into the batter in two batches. Pour the batter over the topping in the prepared pan and bake until the top is slightly brown and the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan, about 50 to 60 minutes. Let the cake cool for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the pan and invert the cake onto a serving plate. Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream flavoured with a little orange liqueur. Serves 8.

From Chez Panisse Fruit, Alice Waters

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Saturday, November 04, 2006

indian sweets : part 3

During October my goal was to learn about Indian sweets and desserts. Although I didn’t have the time or experience to make all the wonderful things on my list, I am glad that I took time out to learn. I looked through many books and magazines for Indian dessert recipes and ideas, but the most useful tool in my research was the Internet. Here are a list of wonderful sites where I found lots of inspiration and many of the recipes that I made. If anyone knows of any good sites or books on Indian sweets and desserts, please let me know, I would greatly appreciate it.

This week I made gulab jamuns and malai peda. Gulab jamun is the first Indian dessert I tried and I still love it as much as the first time. If you haven’t tried it, think of round cakey dumplings fried and soaked in sugar syrup lightly flavoured with orange blossom water. I made the peda, because I was interested in using khoya (concentrated milk solids). The malai peda has a smooth fudge like texture, which is flavoured with cardamom and decorated with pistachios.

Gulab jamun made with flour, milk powder, sugar, almonds, cardamom and ghee.

Malai peda made with khoya, sugar, cardamom and pistachios.

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