Tuesday was my little brothers twenty-sixth birthday. Originally I was going to make him this cake , but then I started thinking about how we used to celebrate his birthday as kids.
Every summer my parents would rent a cottage in Vermont. My aunt and uncle also had a summer home right down the road, so our cousins were always around. My brother and our cousin Alex’s birthdays are less than a week apart, so one Saturday we would have a party for Alex and then the next we would have one for Richie. The formula was pretty much always the same, BBQ, followed by cake and hopefully some Ben & Jerry’s ice cream (it was Vermont after all). I have no recollection of what kind of cake we used to have at my brother’s birthday, but I decided instead of lemon ricotta cake he should have something cottage-y for his birthday. What came to mind immediately was s’mores. I’m pretty sure every time I’ve had a s’more was at the cottage with Richie, Alex and Janice (Janice and I also celebrate our birthdays within a couple of days of each other).
But s’mores on their own didn’t seem good enough. No, for my brother’s birthday there should be something more exciting than just a s’more; there should be s’mores in pie form. I didn’t even give him a choice.
I could have served this pie last Saturday when we actually had dinner with Alex and Janice, but I wasn’t thinking very clearly. So I waited till his actual birthday to serve the pie. I need to apologize to my cousins as this pie was soooo good. It was ooey gooey deliciousness. The marshmallows brought me right back to being a kid. Slicing the pie was a bit of an adventure, but s’mores are supposed to be messy and watching me struggle with it just added to the fun. There were marshmallow strings all over the place.
If you microwave any leftovers for 10 seconds the marshmallows get a little melty.
If you microwave them for 20 seconds they get a lot melty.
This recipe was adapted from Gourmet. Instead of making marshmallow fluff I just piled store-bought marshmallows on the pie.
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 5 tbsp butter, melted
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 8 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 cup cream
- 1 egg
- 1 bag large marshmallows
- In a bowl combine graham cracker crumbs, butter and salt.
- Press graham cracker mixture into a 9 inch pie plate. Bake at 350 for 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool completely.
- Once the crust is cooled, heat cream until just before boiling. Pour over chocolate and stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Whisk in the egg.
- Pour the chocolate mixture into the crust and bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Let cool completely.
- Just before serving, pile marshmallows on top of the pie and broil till the marshmallows are at your desired golden or burnt level (keep a close eye on them, they’ll burn fast).
Growing up I had two favourite cakes, Fraisier and Black Forest. For some reason no one makes the Black Forest anymore. Maybe it’s because of the canned cherry filling that most recipes call for. This is me trying to bring the Black Forest back.
I made this cake for Father’s Day. I don’t want to brag or anything, but I have the best dad ever. Ever. So I wanted to make him a really beautiful cake. Sadly, the heat and humidity made icing the cake very complicated. It ended up not quite as pretty as I imagined, but still very very tasty.
The idea to make Black Forest Cake started with my lack of control when it comes to buying fruit. I had way to many cherries to eat by myself before they went bad, so I decided to try to preserve them. I pitted them, then covered them in sugar and amaretto. I let them sit in the fridge for a couple of days, and discovered they were delicious. I used these for the filling.
Black Forest Cake
- Pitted cherries, soaked in amaretto, plus the juices.
- 1/4 cup water
- juice of one lemon
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- Put all ingredients a medium saucepan, bring to a boil. Simmer until liquid starts to thicken.
- Cover in plastic wrap and let cool completely.
- Set aside till ready to assemble the cake.
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 1 tbsp icing sugar
- Whip cream till starting to thicken.
- Add icing sugar, continue whipping till stiff.
- Set aside till ready to assemble.
Amaretto Soaking Syrup
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup amaretto
- Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan. Simmer for five minutes
- Let cool and set aside till ready to assemble.
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted.
- 6 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup flour
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- In a heat proof bowl combine eggs and sugar. Place bowl over pot of simmering water and whisk the egg mixture constantly until it reaches 130 to 140 degrees.
- Take eggs off the heat and whisk them with an electric mixer until they have quadrupled in volume (5 to 8 minutes)
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Take 2 tablespoons of the whipped eggs and combine with the melted butter.
- Sift the flour and cocoa together. Fold them into the egg mixture in 2 or 3 additions.
- Fold the butter in.
- Pour into a greased 9 in pan.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
- Once the cake has cooled completely, slice it in half.
- Using half of the syrup, soak the bottom layer of the cake.
- Cover with cherry filling
- Cover with 1/3 of the whipped cream
- Place top layer of cake on.
- Soak with remaining syrup
- Cover top and sides of cake with remaining whipped cream.
- Garnish with fresh cherries.
The weather in Montreal has been fantastic lately, today is sunny and 26 beautiful degrees. Unfortunately that makes it just a little to warm to turn on the oven and bake up some goodies. The solution? Chocolate mousse! No actually cooking required, unless you consider melting chocolate cooking.
I’m calling this Mayan because I got the idea to add cinnamon from Haagen Dazs Mayan Chocolate ice cream. Did the Mayans ever make chocolate mousse? Unlikely. But they were totally missing out.
This mousse is made with raw eggs. If that causes you any kind of stress, stick to a mousse recipe that just uses whipped cream. The whipped eggs do create an incredible texture though. I think I’ve eaten enough raw cake batter and cookie and dough in my life to be immune to any possible side effects, but just in case I use organic eggs in the mousse.
Mayan Chocolate Mousse
- 4 oz semi sweet chocolate, chopped
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 eggs separated
- 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
- whipped cream and fruits for garnish
- Over a double boiler, melt the chocolate and butter. Add the cinnamon once melted. Set aside to cool.
- Whisk the egg yolk till double in volume and the colour has lightened. Mix into melted chocolate. Refrigerate while whipping the egg whites.
- In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar to stiff peaks.
- Take a small amount of the egg whites and mix it into the chocolate to thin the chocolate, then fold the chocolate into the egg whites.
- Refrigerate for 4 hours before serving.
In my last post I promised comfort cookies would be made to help cope with the Habs loss. Unfortunately, a heat wave has hit Montreal that makes turning on the oven feel like torture. (That may be the first time in my life I used the words unfortunately and heat wave in the same sentence)
So instead of cookies I’ve been getting my comfort from chocolate. Theobroma chocolate to be specific. Never heard of it? Theobroma makes organic, gluten-free, high quality chocolate, right here in Quebec. And it is sooo good. Right now I’m having their dark chocolate raspberry bar.
If you can get your hands on it, you should definitely give it a try. Just be warned, once you’ve had it other chocolates will just seem lacking.