Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Daring Baker's Challenge for July....

I'm so sad to say that I was not able to make the seemingly delicious Hazelnut Torte that the Daring Bakers made this month. My beloved, wonderful, funny, sweet, beautiful, smart and way too young sister Audrey passed away from a hard fought battle with breast cancer on July 13. This has rocked my world more than anyone could ever have told me it would. I will miss her for the rest of my life.
Soon, very soon, I hope to get back in the kitchen.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Pierre Hermé's "Moist and Nutty Brownies"

I'm a Pierre Hermé addict, which you can tell by my continuous references to him on my blog. One visit to his wonderful pastry shop in the 6th arrondissement in Paris is enough to convert even a sugar-phobe...it's like a museum or a fine jewelry store. When I got his cookbook "Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé" for Christmas, I swooned. Perfect perfect....

What I like about his book is that his recipes are so well written, clear, well explained (thanks Dorie Greenspan!) and most of them have great photos. I've made some damn tasty treats from this book! So when I wanted to make some brownies for a picnic, I thought "Must make Pierre's brownies."

Perhaps I cooked them a tad too long, but they weren't as good as I had hoped they would be. They weren't bad, they were gobbled up, but they didn't wow me like so many of his other recipes do. I found them more cake-like than brownie-like, with no chew at all. And they didn't look as moist as those in his photo, so maybe I baked a bit longer than I should have. I think I've had better luck with the Moosewood brownies I've made in the past. But I should probably give Pierre's one more chance.

Here's Pierre's recipe, as found on p. 61 of his book:

5 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 1/4 sticks unsalted butter at room temp
4 large eggs, room temp and slightly beaten
1 1/4 c. sugar
1 c. all purpose flour
1 1/4 c. pecans or walnuts, lightly tasted and coursely chopped

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-Butter a 9 x 12 inch baking pan, fit the bottom with parchment, butter the parchment and dust the inside with flour. Tap out excess flour
-Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave. Leave chocolate to cool slightly, to about 114 cegrees.
-In the meantime, beat the butter until it is smooth and creamy but not airy. Stir in the cooled chocolate, add the eggs, then sugar, then flour and nuts, stirring until each addition is just incorporated.
-Pour batter into pan and smooth the top, bake for 19 - 22 minutes, until the top is dry but the center is still wet. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool for 20 - 30 mn.
-Remove brownies from pan as you would a cake. Remove the parchment paper from the bottom and turn over to cool right-side up. Cut brownies into 18 small pieces.