Sunday, February 26, 2012

Truffled Gnocchi with Peas and Chanterelles

Another recipe from the 2009 Saveur Magazine that I've been dying to make.  This comes from Barbara Lynch, a chef and restaurateur, who Saveur describes as "a cross between Martha Stewart and Robert Moses."  You can try this recipe at her restaraunt: Sportello, in Boston.  If you don't live in Boston, I recommend making it yourself.

The secret to making these pillow-soft gnocchi is to knewad the dough as little as possible.  If it's overworked, the gnocchi become gluey and tough.

For the Gnocchi
1 lb. russet potatoes (about 2) unpeeled
1 1/4 cup flour, plus more for dusting
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 tbsp. truffle oil
1 egg, beaten

For the Sauce
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
10 oz mushrooms, preferably chanterelles, roughly chopped
2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup peas, fresh or frozen
2 tsp. finely chopped fresh thyme
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tbsp. finely chopped chives

Make the gnocchi: Boil potatoes in a 4-qt. saucepan of salted water until tender, about 20 minutes.  Drain the potatoes; let cool slightly and peel.  Work potatoes through a food mill or a potatoe ricer onto a lightly floured surface.
 If, like me, you don't have a ricer or food mill, you can use a strainer.  This takes FOREVER and will scuff up your knuckles.  My next big purchase is a ricer.  Believe it.

Sprinkle the flour and salt over the potatoes and mix together with your hands.  Form a mound and create a well in the center; add truffle oil and egg.  Gently knead dough until it just comes together, adding a little more flour if it begins to stick.

Lightly flour a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and set aside.  Using a rolling pin, roll dough to a 1/2" thickness.  Cut into 1/2" wide strips.  Roll each strip between your hands and the work surface to form ropes.

 I love this Sur la Table scraper, that doubles as ruler for quick and accurate cutting.

Cut each rope into 1" segments. Working with one segment at a time, roll it down the back of a small fork so that the tines make ridges on the surface of the dough.  Transfer gnocchi to the prepared baking sheet; cover with a kitchen towel and refrigerate until ready to cook.

Make the sauce: Bring a 6-qt. pot of salted water to a boil.  Heat oil in a 12" skillet over medium-high heat.  Add mushrooms to skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until light brown, about 5 minutes.  Raise heat to high; add cream, peas, and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally, until cream reduces by half.  Season mushroom sauce with salt and pepper and remove skillet from heat.

Boil gnocchi in the salted water until they float, about 2 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer gnocchi to mushroom sauce, add chives, and toss to combine.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Chocolate Caramel Tart

I've been wanting to make this tart for literally years, when I found the recipe in the April 2009 Saveur Magazine.  It comes from the restaraunt Marlow & Sons, in Brooklyn.

A few weeks ago, my friend Daisie slept over, and we decided to give it a shot.  Daisie went to culinary school and she is more of a Michelangelo in the kitchen (measured, scientific perfection), as compared to my Picasso/Pollock approach (the culinary version of drawing demonic stick figures and throwing paint at a canvas.)  Needless to say, the tart in the photo is her doing and therefore, virtually perfect.

Give this one a shot.  You won't regret it!

For the Crust:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa 
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
10 Tbsp unsalted butter, cubed and softened
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp Confectioner's Sugar
2 egg yolks, preferably at room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the Caramel:
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 Tbsp light corn syrup
1/4 tsp 

For the Ganache:
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped*
Gray sea salt for garnish*

*Note: Saveur recommends getting your chocolate and sea salt from The City Pantry.  I substitued dark chocolate chunks from Albertsons and Fleur de Sel from Whole Foods.  The tart was still excellent.

Make the crust: 
Heat oven to 35o degrees F.  Combine flour, cocoa powder and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.  Using a handheld mixer, cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl until mixture is pale and fluffy; mix in yolks and vanilla.  Mix in dry ingredients.  

Transfer dough to a 9" fluted tarte pan with a removable bottom and press dough evenly into bottom and sides of pan (Note: I don't have a tart pan, so we subbed a traditional spring-form pan.)  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Prick the tart shell all over with a fork and bake until cooked through, about 20 minutes.  Transfer to a rack and let cool.

Make the caramel:  
In a 1-qt. sauce pan, whisk together sugar, corn syrup, salt and 6 tbsp. water and bring to a boil.  Cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer inserted into the syrup reads 365 degrees.  Remove pan from heat and whisk in butter, cream, and creme fraiche (the mixture will bubble up) until smooth.  Pour caramel into cooled tart shell and let cool slightly; refrigerate until firm, 4-5 hours.

Daisie uses a pastry brush to keep the caramel from hardening around the edges and potentially destroying the batch

Make the ganache:
Bring cream to a boil in a 1-qt saucepan over medium heat.  Put chocolate into a medium bowl and pour in hot cream; let sit for 1 minute, then stir slowly with a rubber spatual until smooth.  Pour ganache evenly over tart and refrigerate until set, 4-5 hours.  Sprinkle tart with sea salt, slice, and serve chilled.