The strawberry production continues in my little urban garden, yielding a handful of berries a day: still not enough for a pie or jam, but certainly a lovely accompaniment to a dessert or salad. And as I pick berries, conveniently located next to the mint patch, I’m reminded of what a lovely combination they are.
I stopped baking in earnest in 1997, when I left my last restaurant job, as a pastry chef. I was never a particularly good baker by professional standards (which would probably explain why I didn’t last long at that job), but managed to hold my own in the circle of home cooks.
The desserts I make today are the same I made 15 years ago… Thankfully, they’re timeless and always in good taste (sort of like the clothes from Eileen Fisher). The chocolate molten cake is a mostly flourless chocolate cake that is intentionally undercooked so the inside is gooey and lava-like.
My favorite garnish for the molten cake is berries tossed with mint, a sprinkle of sugar and a touch of vanilla. The preparation yields a garnish that your guests will actually want to eat, even with commercially grown berries (as opposed to a lone mint sprig or a rock-hard, bland strawberry)
Chocolate Molten Cake
yields: 4 - 6 oz. servings6 oz. semi sweet chocolate
4 oz. butter (1 stick)
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
2 tbs. flour
extra butter and flour for ramekins.
1. Butter and flour 4 ramekins.
2. In a double boiler, melt chocolate and butter.
3. In a mixer, whip eggs, sugar and salt until tripled in volume
4. Slowly mix in flour and chocolate/butter mixture until well incorporated.
5. Bake at 425 for 12 minutes.
6. Let cakes sit for 1 minute before unmolding.
7. Garnish with minted berries and crème anglaise.
1 pint strawberries5 large mint leaves
1– 2 tbs. sugar (depending on the sweetness of the berries and your taste)
1 tsp. vanilla or ¼ vanilla bean.
1. Wash and hull the strawberries. Cut into quarters.
2. Cut the mint into thin strips.
3. Toss the strawberries with mint, sugar and vanilla. Let sit for 30 minutes (or as long as overnight) to let the flavors blend.
4. Serve with your favorite chocolate dessert