Tuesday, April 5, 2011

My Own Little Piece of Earth

No, no, I have not succumbed to purchasing a little piece of Americana, the land that is luring me with its soft whispers to dig in the rich, cocoa-colored soil and nurture fragrant herbs and deep-hued flowers. No. This little piece of Earth comes in a 9-inch springform pan and literally melts onto your lips the moment they touch the fork.

Cracked. Chocolate. Earth. (aka flourless chocolate cake courtesy of hottie tottie celebrity chef Tyler Florence)

A few weeks ago, I hosted two of my sweet neighbors for dinner to celebrate their recent engagement (congrats Kinsey and Joe!) and was thumbing through my growing library of cookbooks (my equivalent of the Harlequin romance novel) to find dessert only to come across this recipe. Bingo.

How can you go wrong with a recipe for chocolatey gooey goodness that has only five ingredients?

The batter (which is easy enough for a toddler to make) glides into the cake pan like a silk cloud of chocolate mousse.

As it's enveloped by warmth in the oven, the batter deepens shade by shade until it becomes a dark, rich espresso color and calls your name..."Kristina, Kristina, Kristina..."

Finally, the moment arrives. That blessed moment when the agony of inhaling the intoxicating wafts of warm chocolate comes to an end, and I no longer had to gaze longingly from the other side of the oven window pane. The timer went off!

As the cake cools, the center sinks, the slightly crispy crust cracking to reveal the gooey, warm molten center of the Earth (science class was never this interesting). 

With a snowy light dusting of confectioners' sugar and some juicy, crimson strawberries as a garnish, this dessert will make your knees quake and your lips quiver.

Come to mama.

Cracked Chocolate Earth (courtesy of Chef Tyler Florence)


1 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces

1 stick unsalted butter
9 large eggs, separated
3/4 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan.

Put the chocolate and butter into the top of a double boiler (or in a heatproof bowl) and heat over (but not touching) about 1-inch of simmering water until melted. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar in a mixing bowl until light yellow in color. Whisk a little of the chocolate mixture into the egg yolk mixture to temper the eggs - this will keep the eggs from scrambling from the heat of the chocolate; then whisk in the rest of the chocolate mixture.
Beat the egg whites in a mixing bowl until stiff peaks form and fold into the chocolate mixture. Pour into the prepared pan and bake until the cake is set, the top starts to crack and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out with moist crumbs clinging to it, 20 to 25 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes, then remove sides of pan.

Serve at room temperature dusted with confectioners' sugar.

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