Saturday, 21 February 2009

Ceci n'est pas un dessert.

Sometimes you just have to do this sort of thing. At least I do. This is a really involved dinner, but totally worth it to see people's faces when you serve them chocolate cake and ice cream for dinner (first photo). And dessert (second photo).

For the most confusing and fun effect, make the dessert cake first, then while it's cooling make the dinner cake in the same cake pan, so the two look nearly identical. Use the same colour ice creams and sauces for each. Both go well with sprinklings of cocoa nibs. Both of these are pretty heavy, so go easy on the serving sizes. The dinner below will comfortably serve 6-8 with a salad, and (light) starter.

Savory Chocolate Dinner Cake

Note that because a few of the ingredients need to be soaked, or blended and reduced, you're going to have to use some judgement with the liquid to dry ingredient ratio. I recorded the volumes I used, but you might have waterier tomatoes or meltier chocolate or whatever, so do go with your gut at the end and adjust. If you've never made cornbread before, and have no idea what the consistency of quickbread batter should be, this recipe probably isn't the best place to start. I love you all, but this is an unashamedly "advanced cooking" recipe.

Liquid goo:
1 large mango chopped
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
(blend and simmer until reduced to a paste)

Mole fixins:
(note that this is a fairly modified/simplified mole recipe, that would not be suitable for use on it's own. it works well in this cake though. if you want to make stupendous mole that can be enjoyed as a real sauce, suck it up and do it properly. The cocoa is added in addition to the nibs so that your cake looks like chocolate cake. If you don't care about that, just double the cocoa nibs and leave the cocoa out.)
1/2 c raisins, soaked in enough water to cover (keep and use water)
1 tbs crushed peanuts
1tbs sesame seeds or pepita
1-2 large ancho chiles, soaked and seeded (discard soaking water)
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce (optional, seeded if you want)
2 heaping tbs cocoa nibs (or some unsweetened chocolate)
1-3 heaping tsp cocoa powder (depends on how much chocolate you used, and personal taste)
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground aniseed
1/2 tsp cinnamon

puree all of this in a blender with half of the liquid goo.

you may need to supplement with 1/2 cup water or veg broth. At this stage, you should have something the consistency of slightly-too-thin chocolate pudding.

mix dry ingredients and then add them to the mole + liquid goo:
2c maize meal
1 tbs baking powder
dash salt

You should now have something the wetness of cornbread batter (or other quickbread, if you've never made cornbread. You might need to add more liquid or more maizemeal. However, this will be considerably heavier than normal cornbread. This extra heavyness is why you need the vinegar.

stir in
1 large onion, baked and chopped finely (bake it while you're baking your dessert cake)
1 large bunch spinach, steamed and chopped finely, water squeezed out
1 tbs balsamic vinegar

Bake in an oiled and cornfloured cake tin at 180C for 30-40 mins.

Ice with black bean hummous (cooked black beans with the rest of the liquid goo, pepita butter or tahini, garlic, some annatto, a squeeze of lime, and some salt)

serve warm with vegan sour cream ice cream, roasted red pepper and cilantro puree.

Sour Cream Ice Cream

1 batch of your favorite vegan sour cream (about 1 block silken tofu worth)
1 cup soy yogurt
1 tbs sweet white miso
lime zest
dash salt
1/4 tsp guar or xanthan gum.
additonal lime juice to taste

Mix everything together in a blender or with a hand mixer and freeze, stirring every hour or so for 4-5 hours, or use an ice cream maker if you have one.

Chocolate Whiskey Dessert Cake

1 and 1/4 cup okara or soy yogurt
1/2 cup chopped chocolate
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2-1 cup of sugar, depending on the sweetness of your chocolate
3/4 cup whiskey
orange zest

1 - 1.5 cups flour (this will depend on if you used soy yogurt or okara, and how watery it was to start with)
1 tbs baking powder
dash salt

1 tbs apple cider vinegar

Mix list A. Mix list B. Add B to A. Mix well. Stir in the vinegar just before pouring into cake pan.

bake in an oiled and floured cake pan at 180C for 30 mins. Let cool . Serve with vegan citrusy ice cream and raspberry, lemon and mint puree. The lemon is key, as it really brings out the whiskey flavour. This cake is ridiculously rich and doesn't actually need icing, but if you must, just use a simple ganache.

This dinner has enough steps that I thought I'd actually give a timeline for it.
-night before: put black beans to soak.
-early in the day: start the ice creams, put raisins and chillies to soak, cook black beans
-about 3 hours before dinner: start liquid goo reducing, then prep the dessert cake
-While the dessert cake (and onion) is baking, roast red peppers, make the sauces (pureed roasted red peppers with chopped cilantro, pureed raspberries with lemon and chopped mint)
-Rescue dessert cake, remove from tin, leave to cool
-Prepare mole, then dinner cake. You may want to begin drinking at this point. If you want to serve some veg with dinner, I recommend a raw jerusalem artichoke salad (grated jerusalem artichokes and carrots, chopped olives and capers, lemon juice, salt). Something crispy and light.
-While dinner cake is in the oven, make black bean hummous.

Note: you want to serve the dinner cake warm, so put it in the oven as your guests arrive.

Double-take music: One. By U2, then by Johnny Cash.


Jake said...

If there were a god of cooking, it would worship Sinead. Just sayin'.

Also, I have officially run out of hyperbole. If you don't ramp down the awesome a little bit, my brain might hang from a failed lexicon search.

sinead said...

Jake, I confess that I'm having fantasies about feeding you. Surely *something* I make must be mail-able...Something not involving ice cream, but still....

vegandwhatnot said...

this is way too delightfully perplexing! I think it would break the brains of most of my friends to eat the same meal twice...I might have to try it.

On a somewhat unrelated note...I'm failing utterly at growing my own sprouts (pouts in corner). I've tried a few different a bowl, in a jar with a cloth over it, and even with my grandma's special sprout jar lids. But no matter what I do/where they are in the house, they grow mouldy before they get big enough to eat. Any tips?

medici said...

Serving food that looks like other food was a brilliant success! (I was lucky enough to be there). One of the naive guests was excited to be getting what she thought was sweet chocolate cake for supper ("What could be better", she exclaimed!), and the other guest could barely eat his main serving because his eyes and eating-apparatus were sending him such different messages! He's a brilliant mathematician, so logical inconsistency must particularly disturb him, Godel's Proof be damned -- why isn't he vegan?

The dessert cake that followed was out-and-out yum, by the way -- as was the ice cream and raspberry delight. God, the whole supper was something to behold and to savour. I confess that it fucked with my head, too, and I am not a brilliant mathematician, even though I won an award in 8-grade for mathematical achievement. It's been pretty much mathematically-downhill ever since.

Just looking at the posted photos is actually making me feel all strange-like and disoriented ... interesting.