February 10, 2008

sticky chewy messy gooey

i bought this book a few months ago, "sticky, chewy, messy, gooey" by jill o'connor. to be honest, i totally bought it because it's a beautiful book, the bonus is, all the recipies are written well, are simple, and almost all chocolate! i think i've read it about 10 times, drooling over the photos. last night i finally made my first dessert from it- chocolate mascarpone cheesecake pots with shortbread spoons (page 27-28, and the cover photo!).

it was so easy to follow, and had my oven not been in a bad mood, it would have turned out perfect. my oven you see, is rather small, and doesn't maintain a constant temperature and usually it takes at least 3 times making a recipe to determine the exact baking times. as it was, my chocolate cheesecakes were only near perfect. if anyone knows me, that's not quite good enough when it comes to desserts. my shortbread spoons were perfect... the second time i made them- the first time i put too many on the sheet and they all melded together whilst baking and broke when i tried to seperate them.
the recipe calls for ramekins or oven safe coffee cups or bowls. i went out to canadian tire in search of classic white ramekins with fluted edges and found these great mini pots. i'd seen them before at the gourmet warehouse but never had a need for them before, as much as i had liked them then. now, i couldn't resist!
chocolate mascarpone cheesecake pots

1 cup heavy cream
4 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
8 oz mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup sugar
3 large eegs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
pinch o' salt
1tbsp dark rum, brandy or grand marnier (optional (i chose brandy as i don't like rum and didn't have any GM))
boiling water as needed
vanilla ice cream
shortbread spoons for serving (recipe follows)

position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325F

in a saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer over medium heat. remove the pan from the heat before the cream starts to boil oand add the chocolate, stirring constantly until mixture is smooth. set aside and let cool to room temperature.

in a large bowl, whisk together the mascarpone and sugar until smooth add the eggs one at a time, whisking well after each addition utnil the mixdture is smooth. add the vanilla, salt, and rum (if using) and whisk to combine.

pout the cooled chocolate mixture into the mascarpone cheese mixture and whisk gently until smooth.

put eight 4oz custard cups, ramekins, or small oven proof coffee cups in an empty 9x13" baking pan. divide the chocolate-cheesecake mixture among the cups.

put the baking dish in the oven and then carefully pour boiling water into the pan, adding just enough water to reach halfway up the sides o fthe custard cups. cover with aluminum foil.

bake until the tops of the cheesecakes appear solid but jiggle slightly when shaken, 30-40 minutes. the perfect consistency is a little soft, but not liquid. the cheesecake pots will firm up as they cool. transfter the pots from the baking pan to a wire rack and ledt cool to room temperature. cover each pot with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight before serivng. the cheesecake pots can be prepared up to 2 days before serving.

top each cheesecake pot with a scoop of ice cream and drizzle with chocolate and caramel sauces.

shortbread spoons

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup confectioner's sugar, sifted
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour1/4 tsp salt
in a bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. stir in the vanilla. add the flour and salt and stir together until the mixture forms a soft dough.
pat the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. refridgerate for at least 1 hour and up to 1 week.
on a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out 1/4" thick and cute into 4 inch spoons (trace a small desert spoon onto some cardstock). place the shortbread spoons on a parchment lined baking sheet and refridgerate until cold and very firm, 45-60 minutes.
position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 300F. remove the shortbread spoons from the refridgerator and immediatly place in the oven. bake until the edges of the cookies are a pale, golden brown but the centres are still bery pale, 25-30 minutes. transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and let cool slightly. using a large metal spatula, transfter the cookies from the baking sheets to the wire racks
and let cool to room temperature. store the cookies, tightly covered at room temperature, for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 2 weeks.

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