Monday, April 19, 2010

Messing with Family: Warm Milk Chocolate Cakes

There are several recipes in my family that have entered permanent heavy rotation. Chruscik, the Polish Christmas pasrty commonly known as angel wings or butterfly wings, is one of them. Another is warm chocolate cakes, originated by my late aunt Antonia, who could make a gourmet meal out of an empty room. I wish I could say I originated that phrase, but it was her ex-husband who said it -- after they were divorced.

The messing begins to the right of the original.

I would love to know what she'd say about the blasphemy I've inflicted on her masterpiece, but I like to think that once she understood it was done in the name of love, she'd get on board. Surely she'd see that when one finds one has married a fantastic man who has very few flaws, one of which is a hatred of dark chocolate, it is better to adapt than attempt to convert.

All you need to make two ramekins of caramelly deliciousness.

The beauty of this recipe, regardless of the depth of the chocolate, is twofold. First, there is the elemental simplicity of the methods involved; second, the wow factor of putting it front of someone. Also known as lava cakes, much of the pleasure of eating them comes from the fact that they're only partially cooked, so you get gooey, liquid chocolate fun along with your crispy brownie-edge heaven. 

 Done to perfection, more or less.

Deliciousness: In spades.

Difficulty: The two tricks to these are knowing when they're done and getting them out of the ramekins in one piece, which is mostly a function of generously buttering them. The good news here is that eating your mistakes is not exactly a sacrifice.

Do-Over: Yes, at least a thousand times yes.
(Amounts in parentheses are for the original dark chocolate version, which makes four cakes.)
3.5 oz. milk chocolate (4 oz. bittersweet or dark chocolate)
3 T. unsalted butter (6 T.)
1/4 c. sugar (1/2 c.)
1 egg plus 1 yolk (2 eggs plus 2 yolks)
2 T. flour (3 T.)
Pinch of salt (omit if using salted butter)
Preheat oven to 375. Chop the chocolate and butter into small pieces and melt, either in a double boiler over low heat, or in 10- to 15-second bursts in a microwave, stirring frequently until completely smooth. Please, please be patient if you go the microwave route and do not set the timer for longer, lest you explode the butter like I once did.
Whisk together the eggs, yolk, sugar and salt until foamy. Add the chocolate mixture a bit at a time, then add the flour and sitr until combined.
Pour into two large, generously buttered and floured ramekins set on a cookie sheet, and bake roughly 18 minutes, until tops are puffy and solid but have some give to them.
Carefully invert onto dessert plates (try loosening the sides with a butter knife if they don't fall out), split to let the gooey goodness run out a bit, and serve with ice cream, freshly whipped cream, caramel sauce, or whatever your little heart desires.
Note: Batter can sit in molds for up to three hours before baking, and any leftover cakes are delicious cold or warmed slightly.



j.shatto said...

Maybe I can eat your leftovers and start a blog "messing with recipe's leftovers."

HMDean said...

You'd have to fight my hubs for them, and he may be little, but he's wiry!