Thursday, June 28, 2007

beginnings, endings

I have reconciled with the chocolate cherry cake. It has been much maligned in these pages of late, and so I'm glad that we have come to terms, because people really do like chocolate and cherries and flourless chocolate cake substances, even if they're not especially captivating to me.

When I originally made the cake I used David Lebovitz's recipe from Ripe for Dessert, substituting cherry conserve for the candied cherries, and I think this was actually my favorite version, but it didn't sell well at all. Next step, once cherries arrived of course, was cherries cooked in syrup with David's cake...too moist, and too dominated by chocolate.

The next step was to find a basic flourless chocolate cake recipe and add in the cherries. The chocolate was less dominant (actually only used cocoa powder), but it was too challenging to handle.

For the birthday cake it was requested I use up some of the ancient, pre-divorce Guittard semisweet from the Berkeley Bowl (there's a Bay area mouthful). I took (if you love me, buy me a digital scale) approx. 2/3 cup of the Guittard chips and approx. 3/4 of the bar of Scharffen Berger 70%. The blend of chocolates worked really well, ad the Guittard tamed down the winey intensity of the Scharffen Berger and allowed the cherries to really come through. A much better balance of flavors. It was really appreciated by the party guests. Which was nice, yknow, cause it didn't really look like much. Flourless cake or any souffle like cake tends to look like crap. I left it unadorned. We ate it with chocolate mousse and ice cream. It's been a very, very long times since I had a non-Sonsie chocolate mousse.

However, it is still too moist. There really isn't any liquid, aside from what little the cherries ooze out...maybe if I make it again I shall drain them well...Not really sure how to correct that otherwise. Cake being too moist, what an odd problem.

I've got lots of odd problems right now. Lots of things on the brain. I took a long bike ride tonight through Fruitvale and again was reminded of Poughkeepsie. There's even a building on International that looks just like the old mental health hospital on Route 9 right across from the CIA. Poughkeepsie, maybe I will see you in the fall? When there's not much growing on the farm except for bitter greens and my farmer friend is tired. But nevermind that. I'll never get to Poughkeepsie without a car. So it will be my last meal was here, and my last adventure was the chocolatier. Poughkeepsie. I've got to get back. Maybe the farmer will fetch me? Bus to New York and the the familiar train ride from platform 36? The places we love aren't always pretty and who can possibly understand my deepest love for Poughkeepsie, New York?

The east is coming to me, in packages and in persons, all month next month. I want to smell the salt on the water; I want to feel the heat heavy in the air.

Lately I've been thinking about intentionality and cooking. What we are cooking out of. What is on our minds during the actual act. I'm trying to cook only from positive places. It's a struggle to always hold on to that love and compassion for strangers. Cooking is giving away the best parts of yourself. So is writing, but you can't see words or their effect on people, and so it's almost still your guarded secret. In cooking the things you make are real, tangible, and to the outside eye not defined by or created by anything per se. But it really should come from the best place, because otherwise there's just so much heartache in the business, why bother?

Cooking. Making me a nicer person? I dunno, you tell me.

1 comment:

shuna fish lydon said...

If it helps, the digital scale I use is @ $30 at SLT... really, you don't need an expensive one, but I do agree that one is necessary. Ps-- you should be getting a 15% professional discount there!