Nothing but chocolate

My sister asked me today if I have any suggestions for a nice and simple dessert. Immediately, chocolate tart came to my mind. For me this is the ultimate sweet, the combination of chocolate, of shortbread, of pear and roasted walnuts is heavenly. It is so elegant, somehow I associate it with a ballet dance, elegant, beautiful and uplifting. The slightly crunchy and flaky crust and the smooth chocolate ganache are amazing, but the pear and the walnuts give this pair another dimension.

Well, you can combine the chocolate tart with fruits, icecream, nuts or whatever else come to your mind . I wouldn’t try bacon… but well you never know.

Oh yeah, I love this dessert .

Pate sucree

150 gr flour

80 gr butter

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon cold water

1 egg yolk

pinch of salt

vanilla

Preheat the oven to 180 C. In a large bowl cut the cold butter in small cubes, add the flour, egg yolk, sugar, vanilla and salt and start working the dough until the butter mixes with the ingredients and then form it into a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes – 1 hour. After the dough rested in the fridge, take it out and roll it out on a floured countertop until it is thin. Carefully place the dough in a tart tin (24 cm diameter) and  press it slightly into the tin. Prick the bottom of the dough all over with a fork and bake for 15-20 minutes until it becomes golden.

Chocolate ganache

200 gr chocolate ( dark, extra dark and ok lets include also the milk chocolate)

200 ml heavy cream

Put the heavy cream in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and allow it to sit for a couple of minutes until the chocolate melts. Mix the cream and the chocolate gently until they homogenize and you get a smooth ganache. Allow the ganache to cool down and then pour it into the tart forms.

Versiunea in romana

Tarta de ciocolata

Cand Nico m-a rugat sa ii sugerez o prajitura buna si usor de facut, prima reteta care mi-a venit in minte a fost tarta de ciocolata cu pere si nuci. Pentru mine este cel mai delicat desert, combinatia de arome m-a cucerit definitiv. Reteta este simpla:

Tarta

Incepe prin a incalzi cuptorul la 180 de grade. Intre timp taie 80 de grame de unt in cuburi mici, amesteca-l cu 2 linguri de zahar, 150 grame de faina, putina sare, vanilie, un galbenus de ou si o lingura de apa rece. Amesteca ingredientele pana poti forma o minge. Inveleste-o in folie si las-o in frigider pentru aproximativ o ora. Intinde aluatul pe un blat pudrat cu faina. Apoi intinde aluatul intr-o forma de tarta cu diametrul de 24 de cm. Se coace pentru 15-20 de minute sau pana cand blatul are o culoare aurie.

Pentru ciocolata

Se incalzesc 200 ml de frisca lichida si apoi se toarna peste 200 de grame de ciocolata. Amesteca usor frisca si ciocolata pana se omogenizeaza. Toarna ciocolata in formele de tarta si lasa-le sa se raceasca inainte de a le servi.

Pofta buna!

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If you could overdose on chocolate, this would be the perfect way

In my last post I mentioned the brownies  I made on Sunday. Well, by now the brownies are just history, half of them were gone before I could take some pictures. Apparently, they are perfect for breakfast, lunch and dinner or just as replacement for all of the meals of the day. Well, under normal circumstances they are best served with some nice hot coffee,  hot chocolate or milk. Hmmm, they are perfect enjoyed just by themselves, without any helpers.

I have to mention that before I came across this recipe, I tried a lot of different versions, some of them were too chewy, some of them too gooey, too fudgey, some of them too bitter, some of them too sweet. It took a lot of sweat, flour, sugar, chocolate, cocoa and butter until this babies came alive and conquered my kitchen.  

So here is the recipe for the little delicious stars:

175 grams butter,

250 grams sugar,

3 large eggs,

65 grams cacao,

75 grams flour,

 1/4 tablespoon baking powder,

pinch of salt,

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract,

100-150 grams hazelnuts

Preheat the oven to 160 C. Meanwhile, melt the butter and let it cool down slightly, then mix it with sugar and vanilla. When the sugar starts to dissolve, add one egg at a time and mix the batter until becomes fluffy and doubles in volume. Sieve the flour, cacao, baking powder and salt and fold them into the batter and mix until the mixture becomes homogenous. Stir in the chopped hazelnuts. Bakes for about 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Stuff, stuffing, stuffed

Yesterday, at the fish market, my attention has been drawn by those big scary eyes of the squid. They kind of freak me out, especially when I have to clean up the squid, they have a watery, blank look. Not too delicious and appealing, but once cleaned, stuffed and cooked they are amazing.

 

So, today I kept myself busy with cooking the squid …well, some brownies too, but those will be the subject of a future post.

Squid stuffed with piquillo pepper sauce, lemon oil and greens

3 squid (medium – big size)

1 small onion

4 garlic cloves

4-5 mushrooms

2 small chopped tomatoes

70 gr chopped pistachio

2-3 tablespoons bread crumbs

salt, pepper, thyme, chilli pepper flakes, fresh herbs

Start by frying the onion with a bit of thyme and chilli flakes in olive oil. When the onion becomes golden add the garlic, fry it for one-2 minutes and then add the mushrooms, tomatoes, squid tentacles and cook for about 5-10 minutes, until the mixture starts coming together and the mushrooms and the squid are cooked. Add the bread crumbs, season with salt and pepper.

Stuff the squid with the mixture and in the end close it with a  toothpick. Make sure you don’t overstuff it, otherwise the bugger will explode in the pan. Fry in a pan with olive oil, season it with salt, pepper and a bit of paprika powder.

Piquillo pepper sauce

Bake in the oven a big piquillo pepper or whatever other red pepper and two small tomatoes for half an hour or until they soften. Remove the skin of the pepper and of the tomatoes and mix them with 2 garlic cloves, salt, pepper and 2-3 tablespoons of heavy cream. Blend until smooth. Re-heat for 2-3 minutes until everything comes together.

Serve the squid with the sauce, a touch of good olive oil and some fresh salad…and don’t forget some nice white wine.