Festival of chocolate
So, Bittersweet has proven itself to be quite useful. In addition to the insane brownies I made awhile back, I have also attempted her Warm Mocha Tart and received glowing reviews. It’s supremely easy, incredibly rich and rather sophisticated – so it comes close to the perfect dessert, I suppose. I served it with a dusting of powdered sugar and fresh whipped cream.
Unfortunately, after I began the process of making the chocolate custard, I was met with a small ingredient challenge. I had planned to use Droste cocoa, but when I took it down from its high shelf, I noticed a funny thing had happened:
Disgusting! We have mice. A trip to the grocery store was in order. This time I bought Scharffen Berger cocoa, which is housed in a nice strong mouseproof can. Medrich frequently refers to the excellence of Scharffen Berger in Bittersweet, which makes me wonder whether she didn’t have a hand in creating the company, or at least inspiring its creation. Here's the final tart, with its decadent shortbread crust:
I also made a vegan chocolate cake last week. This was certainly not inspired by Alice Medrich, a woman who puts chocolate sauce on her Frog Hollow peaches, but rather by my vegan-lite friends Rachael and Eliz, who have both forced me to keep an open mind about vegan desserts. Otherwise, I would be more than willing to write them off as universally hard, chalky and flat-tasting. But I did have that lovely tofu chocolate silk pie in Eugene, and Rachael swears I need to try this cornmeal pudding made with soy milk…plus, why not give this stuff a shot if it’s less likely to keep padding my hips and butt in the way that the Warm Mocha Tarts of this world seem to do so well?
So I tried baking a vegan chocolate cake. The family loved it; it had a nice rich chocolate flavor and was very moist, but the texture was so airy and light that we felt justified in allowing ourselves to eat huge slices. That’s probably not so good. My mom kept saying, “But it’s healthy, right? It’s good for us?” And I had to tell her no, it’s not healthy, it’s just vegan and the reason it tastes good is because the batter has a cup of corn oil in it. Plus, I couldn’t resist making a glaze that used half a stick of butter. So that part wasn’t exactly vegan. What can I say? Butter tastes good.