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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Palm Beach Brownies. - Legendary Recipe

 Palm Beach Brownies from Maida Heatter , the divine diva of desserts and the author of "Maida Heatter's Book of Great Chocolate Desserts" (Andrew McMeel Publishing, $24.95).
Heatter's Palm Beach brownies are legendary. They are the biggest, thickest, gooiest, chewiest, darkest, brownie you can imagine with a fudgy middle and crisp-crunchy top. The catch? You must follow the recipe exactly and they're best if they can sit for up to a day before cutting. They're too sticky to be cut into bars when they are too fresh.
Makes 16 huge or 24 or more extra- large brownies

8 ounces unsweetened chocolate
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter
5 eggs (graded large or extra-large)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 tablespoons dry instant espresso or other powdered (not granular) instant coffee
3 3/4 cups sugar
1 2/3 cup sifted all-purpose flour
8 ounces (2 generous cups) walnut halves (optional)
Adjust rack one-third up from the bottom of the oven and preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a 9x13x2-inch pan as follows: Invert the pan, cover it with a long piece of aluminum foil and with your hands press down on the foil around the sides and the corners to shape it like the pan. Remove the foil. Turn the pan right side up and place the foil in the pan. Very carefully (without tearing it) press the foil into place in the pan.
Now butter the foil with soft or melted butter. Melt the chocolate and butter together in the top of a large double boiler over hot water on moderate heat, or in a heavy saucepan over very low heat, or in the microwave on medium-low heat. Stir occasionally until the chocolate and butter are melted. Stir to mix. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.
In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs with the vanilla extract, almond extract, salt, dry instant espresso or coffee, and sugar at high speed for 10 minutes. On low speed add the cooled chocolate mixture and beat only until mixed. Then add the flour and again beat only until mixed. Remove from the mixer and stir in the nuts, if using.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
Bake for 35 minutes, reversing the pan front to back as necessary during the baking to insure even baking. Cover loosely with foil for about the last half of the baking time to prevent overbrowning. At the end of 35 minutes the cake will have a thick, crisp crust on the top, but if you insert a toothpick into the middle, it will come out wet and covered with chocolate. Nevertheless, it is done. Do not bake it anymore.
Remove the cake from the oven and let it stand at room temperature until cool. Then cover with a rack or a cookie sheet and invert. Remove the pan and the foil lining. Cover with a cookie sheet and invert again, leaving the brownies right side up.
It is best to refrigerate the brownies overnight before cutting (at room temperature if it is too sticky to cut). Use a serrated bread knife.
It will be necessary to wash and dry the blade several times while cutting.
If the brownies were baked correctly, the edges will be too dark and dry; trim about 1/4-inch or as necessary from the edge.
Either wrap the brownies individually in clear plastic wrap or package them in an airtight container. Refrigerate and serve cold.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Lemon filled Meringues

For the Meringue:
6 egg whites
1 1/2 C white sugar

Separate the eggs and save the yolks for the lemon curd.  Whisk the egg whites and sugar together in the metal bowl of a stand mixer.  Place the bowl over simmering water and whisk constantly until the egg whites are warm to the touch and all the sugar is dissolved.  Gently cooking the whites slightly with the sugar as it melts keeps the whites from being over beaten later and saves the need for cream of tartar.
Once the egg whites are warm, whip the mixture with the balloon whisk until it's smooth, glossy, and holds peaks
Scoop the meringue into a large zip top bag.  Snip a VERY tiny corner from the bag; you can always make it larger later.
Turn your oven to 175 degrees F and pipe oval shapes on a pan lined with parchment paper.  Trace the outline of the egg shape to slowly build up some walls.  If you build them too high, they'll collapse. Bake them for a couple hours, then turn off the oven and let them sit in oven overnight to dry out.

For the  Lemon Curd (can be done ahead of time)  
6 egg yolks
4 large lemons
1 C sugar
1 stick butter

Use a microplane grater to shave off just the zest of the lemon. The zest is where the spectacular lemon flavor and scent hides.  Mix the zest in the bowl of a food processor with the sugar.  Pulse it a few times to thoroughly mix them.  The resulting sugar should be pale yellow and slightly clumpy, Wisk the lemon sugar with the egg yolks in a metal bowl until the egg yolks become pale and smooth.  The mixture will become more liquid as you whisk. Roll the lemons on a hard surface under your palm.  This makes it easier to squeeze the juice out of them.  Cut them in half and squeeze them into a container; Strain juice through a sieve. Measure a half cup of this juice and whisk it into the yolk mixture.Place the metal bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk until the temperature reaches 170 degrees F.  Once the lemon mixture sufficiently coats the back of a spoon, take the bowl off the heat. Cut the butter into pieces and whisk it in, a little at a time.  Once all the butter is incorporated, the lemon curd should've thickened more.  Press plastic wrap onto the surface to keep a skin from forming, or spoon it directly into a zip top bag, squeezing out the air bubbles, so you can pipe it later.  Store it in the fridge.

Whip the Cream
2 C heavy whipping cream
2 T powdered sugar

Whip the cream with the sugar until it almost forms stiff peaks.  Don't overwhip or you'll have butter and whey.  Taste the whipped cream to see if you like the sweetness level.  Remember that the meringues are very sweet..

Assemble just before serving
Spoon some whipped cream into a meringue.  Squeeze a dollop of lemon curd to resemble an egg yolk

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Roasted Golden Beets

Roast 5-6 golden beets unpeeled in 350 degree F oven for one hour.
Peel and slice. Mix lemon juice and marmalade and drizzle over prepared beets to prevent any discoloration. (must be roasted with peel to prevent discoloration.)