Milk Street: Quick Desserts (Ep 605)
Chocolate Olive Oil Cake
Start to finish: 11⁄4 hours (35 minutes active), plus cooling
Servings: 10 to 12
This rustic chocolate cake is made with two surprising ingredients: olive oil and lemon
juice. Extra-virgin olive oil lends fruity, peppery flavor notes. For a less prominent
flavor, use light olive oil (“light” indicates the oil is refined, not lower in fat). You could even use a combination of oils—for example, a robust extra-virgin olive oil tempered with a little neutral oil. The lemon juice brings a brightness that balances the richness of the
oil and chocolate, and its acidity reacts with the baking soda to provide lift. We prefer the
deeper, darker color that Dutch-processed cocoa gives the cake, but natural cocoa works
fine, too, if that’s what you have on hand. Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream
or with ice cream or gelato. Store leftovers well wrapped at room temperature for up to
Don’t overbake the cake. Be sure to test it by inserting a toothpick into the center; it should come out with a few moist crumbs attached, as if baking brownies. Don’t be alarmed when the center of the cake deflates as it cools; this is normal.
43 grams (1⁄3 cup) all-purpose flour
1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄2 teaspoon table salt
113 grams (4 ounces) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
3⁄4 cup olive oil (see headnote)
21 grams (1⁄4 cup) cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-processed (see headnote), plus more to serve (optional)
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
214 grams (1 cup) white sugar, divided
4 large eggs, separated
1⁄4 cup plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice
Heat the oven to 325°F with a rack in the lower-middle position. Mist a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.
In a medium saucepan over medium, bring about 1 inch of water to a simmer. Put the chocolate in a heatproof large bowl and set the bowl on top of the saucepan; be sure the bottom does not touch the water. Stir occasionally until the chocolate is completely melted. Remove the bowl from the pan. Add the oil, cocoa, espresso powder and 107 grams (1⁄2 cup) sugar; whisk until well combined. Add the egg yolks and lemon juice; whisk until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and gently whisk until fully incorporated.
In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, whip the egg whites on medium-high until frothy, 1 to 2 minutes. With the mixer running, gradually add the remaining 107 grams (1⁄2 cup) of the sugar, then beat until the whites hold soft peaks, 1 to 2 minutes. Add about one-third of the whipped whites to the yolk-chocolate mixture and fold with a silicone spatula to lighten and loosen the base. Scrape in the remaining whites and gently fold in until well combined and no white streaks remain; the batter will be light and airy.
Gently pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface. Bake until well risen, the surface is crusty and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with a few crumbs attached, 45 to 50 minutes; do not overbake.
Set the pan on a wire rack and immediately run a narrow-bladed knife around the edge of the cake to loosen the sides. Cool in the pan for at least 1 hour before serving; the cake will deflate as it cools. When ready to serve, remove the pan sides and, if desired,
dust with cocoa.
Mascarpone Mousse (Crema al Mascarpone)
Start to finish: 20 minutes
The Italian dessert known as zabaglione, a rich concoction of whipped egg yolks, sugar and sweet wine, is a classic for a reason, but it can be heavy and too sweet and/or boozy.
This five-ingredient mascarpone mousse we encountered in Milan is both lighter and simpler. Unlike zabaglione, which uses only yolks and is cooked over a double boiler, the mousse, known as crema al mascarpone, uses egg whites as well, making it airy and light. It requires no cooking and comes together in minutes. Just be sure the mascarpone is softened to cool room temperature so it combines easily with the egg yolks. A hand mixer makes easy work of whipping the egg whites, but you also could use a whisk and a little elbow grease. Serve the mousse as soon as it's made, or cover and refrigerate for up to 45 minutes. A dusting of cocoa adds visual appeal as well as a hint of chocolate flavor; fresh berries or crisp cookies also are excellent. Note that the eggs are not cooked.
Don't forget to thoroughly clean the bowl and beaters or whisk that you'll be using to whip the whites. Any residual fat will prevent the whites from attaining the proper loft.
2 large eggs, separated
3 tablespoons white sugar, divided
8-ounce container mascarpone cheese (1 cup), softened
4 teaspoons dark rum
Cocoa powder, to serve
In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and 1 tablespoon of sugar until smooth and pale yellow in color. Add the mascarpone and whisk until well combined, then whisk in the rum; set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the egg whites and the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. With a hand mixer on medium-high, whip until they hold soft peaks when the beaters are lifted, 1 to 2 minutes; do not overwhip.
With a silicone spatula, fold about a third of the whipped whites into the mascarpone mixture until just a few streaks remain. Fold in the remaining whites, taking care not to deflate the mixture. Serve right away or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 45 minutes. Dust with cocoa just before serving.
Rice Pudding with Bourbon, Orange and Cardamom
Start to finish: 45 minutes
Bourbon and orange are a classic combination (think of a bourbon old fashioned cocktail), but here we add lightly floral, subtly citrusy cardamom to spice up the flavor of this pudding. Be sure to use heavy cream, not half-and-half; the cream’s higher fat content is necessary to prevent the dairy from “breaking” when the bourbon and orange
juice are added.
1⁄2 cup Arborio rice
1⁄4 teaspoon table salt
2 cups heavy cream
1⁄3 cup white sugar
1⁄4 cup bourbon OR dark rum OR whisky
Grated zest and juice from 1 orange
3⁄4 teaspoon ground cardamom
In a large saucepan, stir together the rice, salt and 2 cups water. Boil, then reduce to low, cover and cook for 20 minutes. Stir in the cream, sugar, bourbon, orange zest and juice, and cardamom. Return to a simmer and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until the rice is tender and the mixture is creamy and thick, about 15 minutes. Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled.
Optional garnish: Chopped roasted pistachios
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PHOTO CREDITS: CHRISTOPHER KIMBALL’S MILK STREET