Tag Archives: chilled

Something Sweet for Your Valentine- Chocolate Nutella Mousse Cake Recipe

Valentine’s Day wouldn’t be complete without a little chocolate, and I’m kind of thinking it wouldn’t be the same without a little Nutella too.

Do you agree?

If so, then you may want to consider making this  dessert; complete with chocolate shortbread crust, a light and fluffy hazelnut mousse, and topped with a deep chocolate ganache.

3 layers of decadent fun that come together in perfect harmony.

This dessert may be made one day ahead, which works out really well for Valentine’s Day this year, which falls on a Monday (bummer). You can make this cake on Sunday, knowing when you get home from a busy day, this chocolate celebration will be waiting for you in the fridge.

I am celebrating February 14th a litttle early this year, serving this dessert to 72 of my favorite Valentines (my cooking class students) this week. So far it has been a big hit!

Begin by making a cookie crust

The mousse involves folding together Nutella, mascarpone cheese, and chocolate spiked whipped cream

Into the pan over the cookie crust, and into the fridge to chill.

Finish with a chocolate ganache glaze

Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse Cake

For shortbread base

2 tablespoons hazelnuts,  toasted and skins rubbed off

3 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened

2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

For mousse

1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (from a 1/4-oz envelope)

3 tablespoons cold water

1/2 cup chocolate hazelnut spread such as Nutella (5 oz)

1/2 cup mascarpone (1/4 lb)

1 1/2 cups chilled heavy cream

2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

3 tablespoons sugar

For ganache

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream

3 1/2 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped

Special equipment: an 8-inch (20-cm) springform pan; parchment paper

Make shortbread base:

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Invert bottom of springform pan (to make it easier to slide shortbread base off bottom), then lock on side of pan and line bottom with a round of parchment paper.

Pulse hazelnuts with sugar in a food processor until nuts are finely chopped. Add flour, butter, cocoa, and salt and pulse just until a dough forms.

Press dough evenly onto bottom of springform pan with your fingers. Prick all over with a fork, then bake until just dry to the touch, about 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer base in pan to a rack to cool completely, about 30 minutes. Remove side of pan and carefully slide out parchment from under shortbread, then reattach side of pan around shortbread base.

Make mousse while shortbread cools:

Sprinkle gelatin over water in a 1- to 1 1/2-quart heavy saucepan and let stand until softened, about 5 minutes. Heat gelatin mixture over low heat, stirring, just until gelatin is melted, about 2 minutes. Whisk in chocolate hazelnut spread until combined and remove from heat.

Whisk together mascarpone and chocolate hazelnut mixture in a large bowl. Beat together cream, cocoa powder, and sugar in another large bowl with an electric mixer at low speed until just combined, then increase speed to high and beat until cream just holds soft peaks. Whisk one third of whipped cream into mascarpone mixture to lighten, then fold in remaining whipped cream until well combined. Spoon filling onto shortbread base in pan, gently smoothing top, then chill, covered, at least 3 hours.

Make ganache and glaze cake:

Bring cream to a simmer in a small heavy saucepan and remove from heat. Add chocolate and let stand 1 minute, then gently whisk until completely melted and smooth. Transfer ganache to a small bowl and cool, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened but still pourable, about 20 minutes.

Run a warm thin knife around inside of springform pan, then remove side. Slide cake off bottom of pan and transfer to a serving plate. Pour ganache onto top of cake and spread, allowing excess ganache to drip down sides.

8 servings

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Chilled Artichoke Soup Recipe

When you sit down at a dinner party table, part of the  experience of the meal  is shaped by the flow of food and drink as well as the exchange of conversation, or as I like to call it,   “Table Talk.”

Adding something a little different to the scene, whether it is how the table is set, or offering your guests the opportunity to try a new food or cuisine from another country can really get the table talk going.

Can something like artichoke soup do the trick? Absolutely, especially when you serve it chilled,  “shooter style”   and sip it out of  little wobbly glasses.

This past weekend we hosted our supper club at our home, and I served this soup following our salad course. Its bright, crisp flavor, with hints of lemon provided a cleansing break between courses. The wobbly glasses from Crate and Barrel added a little fun, as we watched the soup roll around a little without spilling out.

The soup may be made 1 day ahead and refrigerated, which is always a plus in the process of organizing a dinner party.

Chilled Artichoke Soup

3 large globe artichokes

2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

4 cups chicken broth

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup sour cream

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

Lemon wedges for garnish

Fill a large stock pot with 2-inches of water. Place a steamer basket over the water and add the artichokes, tip side up to the basket.  Cover, and bring the water to a boil. Cook 30-40 minutes, or until the artichoke leaves may be removed easily. (You may also use a vegetable steamer to cook the artichokes.)

Allow the artichokes to cool slightly, then remove the leaves from the artichokes. Use a spoon to scrape the meat from the artichokes. Reserve the meat, discarding the scraped leaves. Remove the outer thistles from the center of the artichoke and add the heart to the reserved artichoke meat.

Place the artichoke meat,  lemon juice, and chicken broth in  a large saucepan, and bring up to a simmer over medium low heat. Simmer 5 minutes. Puree mixture using an immersion blender, or blend in a mixer, and return to pan. Add cream, sour cream, cumin, salt, and pepper to soup, whisking to combine. Chill soup several hours (or 1 day ahead ) in refrigerator.

Makes 8 (4 ounce) servings

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