My daily ritual while working indoors on writing and cooking is to take a lunch break, just like other working people. When I do sit down for lunch I always turn on the Cooking Channel (a perk to working at home), usually promptly at 1 p.m. to watch an old episode of Julia Child.
Last week, I happened to catch “Chuck’s Day Off” about a professional chef in Canada somewhere (as best I reckon based on his accent), and what he likes to cook for friends on his day off. I don’t know if I was suffering from cravings or what, but everything the guy made just called my name. The episode was all about cooking with beer and he demonstrated beer-battered fish and chips with homemade tartar sauce (from homemade mayonnaise!). But what made me run to the kitchen was his Chocolate Stout Cakes. When I got there, I didn’t have any artisan bread handy, so I had to start it, then make the bread and the cake the next day. See my recipe and instructions for the bread here.
Here’s what I came up with based on his show:
Double Chocolate Stout Cake
1 1/2 cups Double Chocolate Stout beer
(I used Young’s)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar or sucanat
1 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (or extract)
4 cups artisan white bread with crust, cubed into
Pour the beer, cream, and sugar into a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat until just simmering. Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup of the chocolate chips, stirring until melted. Set aside and let cool slightly.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 1 1/2-quart casserole dish and set aside.
Whisk the eggs and vanilla together in a large bowl. One ladleful at a time, add the warm chocolate mixture, whisking well after each addition. Add the bread crumbs and mix well to coat.
Pour the mixture into the prepared dish and sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips and 1 tablespoon sugar over the top.
Bake for 55 minutes, until the custard is set and bubbling. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving. Serve with slightly whipped cream over the top.
(Slightly) Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
Dash of vanilla
1 tablespoon sugar
Put all ingredients in a bowl and whisk by hand until slightly thickened (not whipped, still a little runny). Pour over cake.
The cake was utterly perfect ... the crunchy crust of the bread, coated with a little sugar ... the essence of the chocolate stout coming through the chocolate ... and the luxury of the cream combined to make a dessert for the record books. Leftovers served cold the next day were almost better. Everyone will love this dish!