Friday, December 16, 2005

Commissioned work

Occasionally, the vast amount of creative freedom I have been given with Eva's desert menu wanes and I am assigned a commissioned piece. For a private lunch today James commissioned a desert with a brownie.

Well.... if you consider a brief suggestion said in passing followed by a shrug that implies, "why not" a commission. I believe the words were, "it's just a lunch, you might as well do a brownie." The statement was meant to say it's lunch, don't go overboard. But it got me to thinking, I might as well do a brownie.

So I made a brownie. And then I "kicked it up a notch."

I took a chocolate brownie recipe from Michael Deselunier's Deserts to Die For, (the sequel to Death By Chocolate) that was created to be layers in a gooey chocolate peanut butter brownie cake. A cake my friend Amanda has received so many requests for she put it on "weddings and batmitzvah's only" status.

With a whopping 1 and a half pounds of melted chocolate and a texture that is delicate and chewy, this brownie is on par with many decadent chocolate cakes I have tried. The brownie was baked in two sheet pans thinner than usual to allow for it to be layered. Between the two brownies was a layer of chocolate ginger ganache. The ganache was flavored with a nice strong ginger syrup and studded with finely diced candied ginger.

The ginger had such a kick I was sure it would taste over powering in the chocolate, so I added it, well...... gingerly. But the aggressive chocolate stood up to everything the ginger could dish out, and I eventually had the entire batch of syrup mixed in.

The brownie was served with a warm chocolate sauce, a scoop of sour cream ice cream, and ribbons of crystallized ginger. I wouldn't make sour cream ice cream again. I wanted it to be just like the creme fraiche ice cream I fell in love with earlier this year. Why ever didn't I just make the creme fraiche ice cream? Or even a fresh ginger ice cream? Eh, live and learn.

If you haven't had chocolate and ginger together yet, do. It's an amazing flavor combination. I might find it so amazing because I didn't expect it to be. I intend to use this combination again for the new years eve menu, a decadent chocolate ginger cake with citrus confit and whipped creme fraiche.

So my "just a lunch" brownie was a bit over board. But even Pierre Herme features a recipe for a brownie in his collection with the warning that the brownie has crept it's way into French hearts, their children's back packs, and desert menu's across the country. So if it's good enough for the French, well..... who doesn't love a brownie?


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