As a chef there is always one dish that you dread making – DESSERT! Unlike most other dishes, baking is not forgiving: either it is or it is not what was intended. Now sometimes, with a little creative thinking, hard work and skill (not to mention prayer), you can repurpose a messed up dessert to make it work. More often than not though you will have to throw away the mess up and start again. It is this difficulty and the precision required to constantly produce something great that are the reasons a good pastry chef is worth their weight in GOLD.
As a Chef, if you are able to do both savory and sweet and do them WELL, you just have written your own ticket; especially today when people want from-scratch and healthier than store bought items. Nothing beats fresh baking of any kind! Over the years I have worked hard to become a self taught pastry chef (or posses the skills at least): taking extra classes, experimenting at home, experimenting at work, reading books, watching shows, and learning. Although baking can be tricky and is an exact science of measurements, it still all comes down to good solid technique. You should never be afraid of techniques but rather embrace them. Good techniques just make you better: a better baker, cook, Chef, or home cook. As long as there is passion, anything can be learned!
“I can teach you techniques, skills, recipes and give you knowledge, but I cannot teach you passion. That comes from the heart and it is why we do what we do!”
Upon entering culinary I discovered and fell in love with baking. In fact, I almost became a pastry chef. But, truth be told, my love for baking most likely began as a child with the first bite of my grandma’s cookies. I believe we all are fascinated with baking from early on when we eat our first cookie or go into a bake shop. Cookie monster said it best – “C is for cookie and cookie is for me!” Or maybe it is just the sweetness that we crave, either way it doesn’t matter; it is pure enjoyment with every action, with every spoonful.
Over the years I have come to love baking more and more. I find myself searching out that great dessert. Let’s face it, a dessert is the capstone of the meal and if the dessert sucks it can ruin the dining experience (or just leave you hanging). I receive immense pleasure when I am able to pull off that great dessert; to either finish the meal or just for simple indulgence. And who does not love a good dessert? Most of us secretly sneak in that extra dessert; such a great pleasure with a little guilt.
“…Deep down in places you don’ talk about at parties…” – I would love to be a pastry chef. Way back in the day, I would have followed my dream and desire to be a pastry chef; however sadly, I gave in to the misconception that making desserts is “girly.”
Baking is for everyone!
This recipe is dedicated to my wife, who loves it and wont shut up about it. In fact, this recipe paid for this post! I is good recipe to start learning fundamentals, but also a good recipe to build on and adapt to your tastes.
4oz dark chocolate
2 eggs, separated
2 oz sugar
Pinch of sea salt
1. Melt chocolate and butter together over a double boiler or in the microwave, stirring till melted
2. Once the chocolate mix is melted and smooth, stir in egg yolks and sugar (reserve 1tbs of sugar).
3. Whip egg whites with the reserved sugar to a stiff peak (a stiff peak should hold its shape regardless of which way the beater is held).
4. Preheat your oven to 400*. Fold egg whites and salt into the chocolate mix. Fold till fully incorporated. Be careful not to deflate the egg whites to much (folding should be gently done with your hand or spatula, never fast or hard with a whisk, you are trying to keep as much air as possible in the mix).
5. Grease an oven proof bowl (like a cereal bowl), then dust the inside of the bowl with coco powder. Bake for about 15-20 mins. When done, the edges should be cakey while the center being a warm liquid. Cooking time will be effected by the desired size of the liquid center. EX: more cook time = smaller liquid center.
6. ENJOY! Eat while hot, just be careful. Serve with your favorite ice cream (if you so choose).
You can add chocolate chips, liquor, or nuts; follow your heart and desire.
Final note: this dessert served in the bowl is not much to look at, but its flavor, decadence, richness, and lusciousness will sure make up for any discord about its looks. Remember, NEVER JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER!