“Ottawa Cooks” Chocolate Moelleux Recipe
Ottawa Cooks by award-winning food writer Anne DesBrisay offers the finest recipes from the top chefs in Canada’s capital city including this recipe for Chocolate Moelleux with Crème Anglaise and Raspberry Coulis courtesy of Absinthe Café’s Patrick Garland.
This moelleux has been on the Absinthe menu since Day One. Though this cake is very moist, its centre doesn’t ooze out. In the summer the café serves it at room temperature; in the winter it’s warmed in the oven. Chocolate, raspberries and custard pair brilliantly well together; just be sure to source the finest chocolate you can afford.
Serves 14 (Makes one 9-inch round cake)
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature + more for greasing pan
- 1/4 cup Dutch process cocoa powder + more for dusting pan
- 1/2 lb good-quality dark chocolate callets (or roughly chopped bar)
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup white sugar
- 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Prepare a 9-inch round cake pan by chilling it, then rubbing it thoroughly with butter and dusting it with cocoa powder, tapping out the excess powder.
In a medium bowl set over a pot of lightly simmering water, melt chocolate. In the bowl of a stand mixer on medium-high speed, or by hand, whisk eggs and sugar until thick, 3 to 4 minutes. In a separate bowl, sift together flour and 1/4 cup of the cocoa powder. Whisk 1 cup of the butter into the warm chocolate, then add the egg-sugar mixture. Fold in the dry ingredients until the batter is smooth and well combined.
Fill a kettle with water and bring to a boil. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and rap the bottom on the counter to get rid of any air pockets. Set the cake pan inside a roasting pan and carefully pour the boiling water into the roasting pan until it comes halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake for at least 30 minutes. The cake is done when it is set three-quarters of the way to the centre but still a little jiggly in the middle. Remove the roasting pan from the oven and let the cake pan cool in the water. Once the cake has cooled, unmould it onto a plate. Set aside while you prepare the sauces. (The cake can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 5 days.)
- 1 cup whole milk
- 3 Tbsp white sugar, divided
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped
- 3 egg yolks
- Pinch of salt
In a medium pot over medium-high heat, combine milk, half of the sugar and the vanilla bean and heat until bubbles appear around the inside of the pan. Remove from the heat and let infuse for about 20 minutes. Using a spoon, remove the vanilla bean, rinse it and save for a future use.
Have ready a bowl of ice. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or by hand using a whisk), cream yolks, remaining sugar and salt. Slowly pour the scalded infused milk over the yolk mixture, whisking constantly, then pour the mixture back into the pot and return to medium-high heat. With a rubber spatula, stir the custard continuously, getting into all the corners and cooking until it reaches roughly 175 to 180°F (the consistency should be nappé, or when you run the spatula through the hot sauce it leaves a clear and distinct line where it passed).
Set a fine-mesh sieve over a clean bowl and pour the custard through it; discard solids. Place the bowl in the ice to cool.
- 1 Tbsp water
- 2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries (reserve a few fresh berries for garnish)
- 2 Tbsp white sugar
- 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Raspberry coulis: In a medium pot, bring the water to a simmer, add raspberries and cook until soft, 5 to 10 minutes. Press berries through a fine-mesh sieve into a small saucepan; discard solids.
Carefully test the consistency of the sauce by running your finger through it. It should leave a clear and distinct line where your finger passed. If the sauce is too thick, add a little water; if too thin, reduce it slightly over high heat. (The sauce will thicken a little as it cools.) Add more lemon juice if it is too sweet; if not sweet enough, add a little sugar.
To serve: Serve thin slices of cake with crème anglaise and raspberry coulis in either a pretty design (draw a toothpick through the coulis to make hearts in the custard) or “go all Jackson Pollock on it” (says Garland, which is what he would do). Garnish with small, ripe raspberries.
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