Chocolate Cherry Crisp

Yesterday my mom and stepdad came to see the house.  It’s been fun showing off our house to the various people that come to visit, hopefully we’ll have a continuous stream of friends coming through our door in the weekends to come.

We walked to the subway station and took the train into Boston to Chinatown for dinner.  We wanted to go to a dumpling house, but even at 5pm there was a 40 minute wait.  Sad face.  So we went to a Korean/Japanese restaurant across the street.  I got ja jang myun, a noodle bowl with pork, cucumbers and potatoes smothered in a dark sauce.  It was quite tasty, and the portion was huge.  We had to chase down the waitress to wrap it up for me to take home.  Luke tried to wave her over after our bill was paid, but she just thought he was being friendly and waved back.  So my stepdad had to go over to the waitress corner and ask for a take-out container.

After dinner we went to three different bakeries in search of egg tarts, but sadly they seemed to all be sold out.  So I drowned my sorrows in a big cup of chocolate milk tea.  The last stop was C-Mart, were I got sesame paste filled buns, scallions, garlic and incredibly cheap cherries.

Even though my mom brought me a mound of peaches and blueberries from my favorite orchard back in CT.  The cherries were so beautiful with their deep red skins; I just had to get them.  Some I’ll freeze, and some will become chocolate cherry crisp.

That I will eat while Diego and I watch kinda bad sci fi movies where the plot is incredibly predictable and the script is well…somewhat lacking in originality.  But that’s how we do it up on a Saturday night.

But in all seriousness, this crisp is great.  Sweet, juicy cherries are paired with dark chocolate and covered by an oat-y buttery crumb topping.  Add some vanilla ice cream, and you’ve got a perfect summer dessert.

Chocolate Cherry Crisp

Adapted from White on Rice Couple

Makes about 6-8 servings

For the crumble topping:

¾ cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup packed light brown sugar

½ tsp salt

8 Tbsp (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking)

For the filling:

2 lbs fresh cherries, pitted and halved

1 cup dark chocolate chips

¼ cup sugar

3 Tbsp flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar, and salt. Pinch butter into flour, using your fingers or a pastry blender until the mixture is the texture of coarse meal. Add oats, and use your hands to toss and squeeze the mixture until large, moist clumps form. Transfer to freezer to chill while you prepare the filling.

(If desired, set aside a handful of cherries to decorate the top of the crisp.) In another large bowl, toss cherries with chocolate chips, sugar and flour. Transfer to a shallow 2-quart baking dish, and sprinkle with topping mixture. Place reserved cherries to decorate top of crisp. Place baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake until golden and bubbling, 45 to 55 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.  (I also sprinkled extra crumb topping from this recipe on top.  Couldn’t just throw it out now could I?)



Black Forest Tart

Happy President’s Day!  One of those holidays I only noticed because we got the day off from school, thank you Mr. Presidents.  Luke has the day off from work, and we’re celebrating by taking a trip to our favorite Asian market/food court in Boston.  I’m stoked.

In honor of this momentous holiday, I’m posting a tart featuring cherries…you know…because George Washington chopped down a cherry tree or something.  I do believe it’s a myth, but that’s ok.  Cherries are great, and adding chocolate only makes them better.

My most recent birthday request at the office was a repeat of black forest cake.  I didn’t want to make the exact same thing, so I switched out cupcakes for a tart.  I wasn’t able to taste the tart, but it did receive glowing reviews.  It’s like a brownie, with a crust and topped with cherries.  I’m definitely going to make it again (once cherries are in season, I had to buy canned ones for this recipe) and then I’ll have it all to myself!

Black Forest Tart

Adapted from Scientifically Sweet

For the pastry:

1 cup all purpose flour

2 Tbsp sugar

¼ tsp salt

5 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 large egg

½ tsp vanilla extract

For the cherry filling:

½ cup freshly pitted and halved cherries

1 tbsp sugar

1 tsp cornstarch

2 tbsp water

For the chocolate filling:

3.5 oz dark chocolate, roughly chopped

2 tbsp unsalted butter

2/3 cup sugar

¼ tsp salt

2 large eggs

2 tbsp sour cream

½ tsp vanilla extract

¼ cup all purpose flour

½ cup freshly pitted and halved cherries

 To make the pastry, whisk together the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl.  Cut the butter into the mixture using a pastry cutter, or your fingers, until it resembles coarse crumbles with some pea sized pieces.  In a small bowl, beat the egg with the vanilla until fluid and smooth.  Drizzle into the flour mixture while stirring, until it holds together in clumps.  Turn dough out onto a clean work surface and bring it together in a ball, pressing in all the loose bits, until it is cohesive.  Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours. (I made the dough the day before and refrigerated it overnight.)

 Place dough on a lightly floured surface and roll it out to ¼ inch thickness, using more flour as needed to prevent sticking.  Gently fit the dough into a greased 9” inch tart pan with removable bottom.  Refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes.

To make the cherry topping, combine cherries and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Cook while stirring constantly, until cherries become soft and begin to release most of their juices, about 5 minutes.  In a separate bowl, whisk together cornstarch and water and add to the pot with the cherries.  Bring to the boil and continue to cook until the mixture is thick, about 1 minute.  Remove from heat and let cool completely.

To make the chocolate filling, stir together chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water until completely melted and smooth.  Take off heat and stir in sugar and salt.  Stir in the eggs, one at a time, until well incorporated.  Stir in sour cream and vanilla extract until blended.  Fold in flour and cherries.  Pour chocolate mixture into chilled pastry shell and refrigerate until filling is firm, about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Spoon the cooled cherry topping randomly over the chilled chocolate filling, and bake until crust is golden brown and filling is slightly puffed, 30-35 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before slicing.

Black Forest Cake & Cupcakes

I’ve been waiting to make this post since last week.  Sorry for the delay, but I needed to unload those one-shot deals, so now we can all look forward to regular size posts.  And sadly, less pictures of Izzy…but is a food blog after all.  I think starting a blog dedicated to my bunny would be kinda weird.

Exactly one week ago was my first venture into baking for profit.  I was a little nervous, but only because I wanted it all to turn out perfectly.  I make my fair share of mistakes in the kitchen that result in less-than-attractive desserts, but luckily, I don’t care how they look as long as they taste good.  And then I take pictures of the pretty ones to put up here 🙂

Still, when baking for an occasion, I want my stuff to look good.  Fortunately for me, everything came together nicely even though I did almost everything the morning of.   The only thing I did the night before was bake the cake layers.

I was extremely thrilled when I got 13 cupcakes out of the recipe, because that meant I got one to myself!  Which I ate at 10 in the morning.  Brunch anyone?  I didn’t get to try the cake, but I heard good things.  I’d never made black forest cake before, but it’s relatively straight forward.  The layer cake was two chocolate layers with cherries in the middle, covered in whipped cream frosting.  The cupcakes were chocolate, with a cherry filling and whipped cream frosting.  I used grated chocolate and more cherries for decoration.

Since I work off of requests, I’m very interested to see what I’ll be making for the office next!

Black Forest Cake

Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

For the cake:
2 cups sugar
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup cocoa powder
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup whole milk
½ cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

For the cherries:
1 can (20 ounces) cherries, drained
¼ cup Kirsch or other brandy

For the whipped cream:
1½ cups heavy cream, chilled
½ cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.

2. Whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer for 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Divide batter between the two prepared pans.

3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until thin knife inserted into center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

4. Reserve 12 cherries for decorating. Combine the remaining cherries and the Kirsch; set aside.

5. To make the whipped cream, combine the heavy cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract and whip until soft to almost-stiff peaks form. Refrigerate whipped cream until ready to use.

5. Once the cakes are cool, level the tops and place one layer on a serving platter. Using a slotted spoon, remove the cherries and place on the cake layer. Top with about ½ to ¾ cup whipped cream, spreading over cherries (that’s an estimation, as I didn’t measure, just covered the cherries and spread into an even layer). Place the second layer on top, and frost the entire cake with the remaining whipped cream. Decorate as desired.

* Note: If you do not have Kirsch or brandy, or would rather not use alcohol, reserve ¼ cup of the juice/syrup from the canned cherries before draining.

Also, I doubled the whipped cream frosting recipe here and used it to frost the cupcakes as well.

Black Forest Cupcakes

Adapted from A Cup of Sugar, A Pinch of Salt

Makes 1 dozen cupcakes (though I got 13!)

1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups jarred sour cherries (NOT maraschino cherries!), pitted, with juice
2 tablespoons corn starch

Preheat oven to 350F.

In medium bowl, pour boiling water over cocoa, and whisk until smooth. Let mixture cool. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at time, then stir in vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternately with the cocoa mixture, ending with the flour.

Fill the lined muffin cups three-quarters full, being careful not to overfill. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean, about 18 to 20 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the cherry filling: Reserve 12-14 of the nicest looking. These will be used for the garnish. Also, reserve 3 tablespoons of the cherry juice to mix with the corn starch while still cold, to make a slurry. Then, roughly chop the remaining cherries and add to a saucepan over low heat, with the juice. Bring to a low simmer. Add the corn starch slurry and, while stirring, let come back to a full boil to thicken. Immediately remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. The filling should thicken somewhat.

To assemble: Insert a small knife at a 45 degree angle about 1/8 inch from the edge of each cupcake and cut all the way around, remove a cone of cake. Cut away all but the top 1/4 inch of the cone; leaving only a small disk of cake which will be used to top the cupcake. With a small spoon, fill each one with 2 tablespoons of the cherry filling and top with the disk. Frost liberally with whipped cream, garnish with a cherry and sprinkle with chocolate shavings.

Keep refrigerated until almost ready to serve.