Daring Bakers and My Funny Valentine

Another month? Really? How’s that happen?

We’re still sleeping in our spare bedroom while we wait for the damage caused by last month’s ice storm to be repaired. There’s rumor that construction will start this week – but, honestly, I’ll believe it when the crew is here, in my house, actually doing the work. Until then… well, we continue to wait… and worry about what color to paint the bedroom.

One thing I haven’t had to worry about is this month’s Daring Baker challenge. A Chocolate Valentino Cake… beautiful in its simplicity, yet absolutely elegant (and impressive!), this one was a winner.

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A note from our hosts:
The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE’s blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef. We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge. The original recipe calls for the cake to be served with whipping cream, but we decided to make this more of a challenge and ask you to make your own ice cream – a first for the DBrs. You can choose any flavour you want and any recipe.

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Because both the cake and ice cream are made up of such simple ingredients, it’s important to use the very best that you can. For the cake, I chose a combination of semisweet Scharffen Berger and Ghirardelli chocolates. And, for the ice cream, I used more of  my raw pistachios from my friends at Oh! Nuts. Chocolate and pistachios? A combination I wholeheartedly recommend!

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Big thanks to Wendy and Dharm for a fabulous challenge! Be sure to check out the Daring Baker blogroll for more wonderful  interpretations of this month’s challenge!

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Chocolate Valentino
(from Sweet Treats by Chef Wan)
16 ounces semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 large eggs, separated

Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and melt, stirring often. While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling. Butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment.

Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls. Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry). With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.

Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter.

Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F. Bake for 25 minutes until an instant read thermometer reads 140F. If you do not have an instant read thermometer, the top of the cake will look similar to a brownie and a cake tester will appear wet.

Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.

Pistachio Ice Cream
(adapted ever so slightly from Epicurious)
1 cup unsalted, shelled pistachios, toasted
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups milk (do not use low-fat or nonfat)
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
4 large egg yolks
1 cup whipping cream

Finely grind pistachios and 1/4 cup sugar in processor. Bring milk and ground pistachio mixture to boil in heavy large saucepan. Remove from heat. Mix in almond extract.

Whisk egg yolks and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in medium bowl. Gradually whisk in hot milk mixture. Return custard to saucepan. Cook over low heat until custard thickens and leaves path on back of spoon when finger is drawn across, stirring constantly, about 10 minutes (do not boil). Strain into large bowl. Chill until cold, about 2 hours.

Stir 1 cup whipping cream into custard. Process mixture in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to container and freeze.

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16 thoughts on “Daring Bakers and My Funny Valentine

  1. Jacque says:

    Oh my, what lovely pictures. Your cake looks perfect and the pistachio ice cream sounds like a winner. ( I love Ben and Jerry’s pistachio ice cream.)

  2. Arundathi says:

    lovely pictures. and what a great flavor for the icecream – and it looks creamy and delicious!

  3. zorra says:

    Michelle, your cake looks amazing and the ice cream too!

  4. Rosa says:

    Absolutely gorgeous! Your ice cream must be delicious! A great flavor combo!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  5. megan says:

    I so agree. Simple yet elegant! And I love pistachios!

  6. Aran says:

    gorgeous and that pistachio ice cream… hmm.. delicious!

  7. Vibi says:

    YUMMY! Recommendation noted!
    Pistachio is one of my favorite and I think this will go in my churner this summer, for sure!

    Beautiful presentation! Totaly mouthwatering flavor combination!

  8. What a lovely presentation! The cake looks perfect and that ice cream….divine!

  9. Jaime says:

    i would love some pistachio ice cream!! i think you found a great way to word the awkward “required phrase”…. i couldn’t figure out how to put it in there when it said “WE have chosen” instead of “THEY have chosen” – you’re smarter than i am :P

  10. Gorgeous combination! does anything go better with chocolate than nuts? Great work! :D

  11. Kitchen Goddess says:

    Gorgeous flavours, stunning presentation, absolutely fabulous job!

  12. Lori says:

    My favorite nut is pistachio. My favorite food is ice cream. I guess this is a winning combination. WOW!

  13. sara says:

    Yum, what gorgeous photos! I’ve never had pistachio ice cream, but it sounds fantastic!!

  14. Cakelaw says:

    Chocolate and pistachio is a killer combination – great job!

  15. Nemmie says:

    Gorgeous pictures and oh! But I am dying for some pistachio ice cream now. Looks divine :)

  16. Sarah says:

    Lovely plating! Pistachio and chocolate sounds like a great combination.

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