An End to Rubber Chicken Events!

Thursday, February 18th, 2016

Guest blogger: Eliza Loehr, C-CAP’s Office Manager

The windowless ballroom filled with hundreds of bored executives pushing their too-firm-to-cut chicken breast around on their plate…we’ve all been there. From a kitchen perspective, we get it. It’s nearly impossible to churn out hundreds of the same dish and keep them all fresh, hot and delicious. So why do it? We know that our supporters care about good food and having a good time, so we’ve invited 43 of New York City’s finest chefs to come to beautiful Pier Sixty and show off their best dishes at this walk-around event that has been called the best food event in New York. This year will be a fabulous evening, starting with a chef list that will make you drool (see below). Our illustrious honoree is chef, restaurateur and author Daniel Humm, of Eleven Madison Park and The NoMad. His elegant cuisine has received some of the highest praise there is, including three Michelin stars, a Zagat rating of 28 and a no. 5 rank in the San Pellegrino World’s Best Restaurant list!

Our live and silent auctions are amazing this year. We will be auctioning off a unique tasting dinner for 32 prepared by Chef Daniel Humm (EMP and The NoMad), Chef Chris Flint (EMP), Chef James Kent (The NoMad), Chef Bryce Shuman (Betony), Chef Lee Wolen (Boka), Chef Abram Bissell (The Modern) and Chef Mark Welker (EMP and The NoMad), paired with fine wines in the private room at Eleven Madison Park. We’ll give you a second to let that sink in…

Next up, our Board Co-Chair and beloved internationally acclaimed chef, restaurateur and author Marcus Samuelsson will be cooking an incredible private dinner for you and thirteen guests in your home! For our travel-loving guests, we’re offering an extravagant trip to Switzerland, curated by Chef Daniel Humm, and a premier trip to India’s famous Taj Resorts and Hotelswww.tajhotels.com. For the true culinarians, a lucky couple will have the chance to share a meal at Café Boulud with the legendary Jacques Pepin prepared by C-CAP alum Executive Sous Chef Cesar Gutierrez and Executive Chef Aaron Bludorn.

The C-CAP Benefit is open to the public but is filling up very quickly! Click here for tickets. For more information visit www.ccapinc.org or call 212-974-7111. Read on for our unbelievable chef list!

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Kudos to Kajitsu’s Kaiseki Cuisine

Thursday, February 11th, 2016

By guest blogger: Jill Turner Lloyd, C-CAP’s Director of Development

The new year brings a renewed commitment to health and fitness, but once we get to February 9th, a.k.a. “the fitness cliff” so many people lose focus. Well, I took it upon myself to re-focus my attention on healthy eating on February 10th when I had the good fortune of attending a fundraising evening hosted by the C-CAP Junior Board at Kajitsu. Kajitsu Executive Chef, Hiroki Odo (who happens to be a Michelin-starred chef) provided a Kaiseki Tasting Dinner that was a feast for the senses.

1

Kaiseki is a traditional multi-course Japanese dinner. The style of cuisine is derived from cha-kaiseki cuisine, which is a simple meal that the host of a tea ceremony serves to guests before a ceremonial tea. The eight-course vegetarian meal was not at all simple in my book. It was incredible and introduced me to kanpyo, mitsuba, konnyaku, mizuna, kurochichimi and so many other ingredients. The experience certainly piqued my interest in this flavorful, aromatic and beautiful Japanese cuisine that is prepared using the freshest seasonal ingredients.

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While enjoying the sumptuous courses, I was also sipping sakes generously donated from the Hakkaisan Sake Brewery that had been paired with the courses by Sake Samurai Timothy Sullivan. The Hakkaisan Brewery is situated at the foot of Mount Hakkai in Niigata, and the spring water that flows from the mountain is used to produce the sake. The Brewery produces in small batches, using water, yeast, sake rise and koji.

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Our group was served four kinds of sake: Tokubetsu Junmai; Junmai Ginjo; Tokubetsu Honjozo; and Sparkling Nigori. Our knowledgeable Sake Samurai, Timothy Sullivan, explained each sake pairing to the group, and helpfully floated around each table throughout the night to answer any and all questions we had about sake. I learned to look for four things: rice milling percentage; acidity; alcohol content; and sake meter value, which denotes sweetness or dryness (higher is drier and less sweet). Who knew that this “drink of the gods” could be so delicious and so varied! By the way, our guests who enjoyed the very generous pours are reporting that they do not have a headache the next day!

The folks at Korin helped make this fabulous tasting happen, and donated generous gift cards to each guest and an incredible knife to a lucky raffle winner. I am really grateful that I had this wonderful experience with such a lively, fun group of people! Don’t believe me? Check out the photos from the evening!

 

Stay tuned…

The Perfect Recipe for a Sweet Valentine’s Day

Friday, February 5th, 2016

Guest blogger: Lorri Wressell, C-CAP LA’s Career Advisor and Event Planner and her husband, Donald Wressell, Executive Pastry Chef at Guittard Chocolate Company

With our 25th Wedding Anniversary this year, I asked the most handsome pastry chef hubs for a Valentine’s Day recipe to share with all of you!  The best part of being married that long has been…yes…the kisses!! Do I mean Guittard Chocolate ones? I’ll never tell… But seriously, anyone who has a chef spouse knows it’s the food that keeps you together! Guittard has been donating chocolate to all C-CAP schools across the country for 20 years and C-CAP loves them for this.

Valentine's Recipe Blog Post Collage

Fifth-generation Amy Guittard has written a love story of sorts to her family’s business. Simply called Guittard Chocolate Cookbook, it contains recipes from both the Guittard family and from Donald. This  “true love” chocolate tart is not too sweet and has a perfect smooth and decadent texture.  A romantic dessert to make and enjoy together!!

ROASTED BANANA MARMALADE CHOCOLATE TART

The filling of this tart is a classic chocolate ganache to which you add one egg. The egg sets the chocolate but the texture is so luscious—dense, velvety, and yet sophisticated—you’ll find that you turn to this recipe whenever you need to bring a dessert to any kind of gathering.

You fully bake the sweet dough shell and let it cool before pouring in the filling, and then bake the tart in a low oven—just 200ºF [95ºC]. You can watch as the transformation takes place. The filling lifts just slightly as it bakes. I think of this tart as elevated ganache set on a perfect platform.

MILK CHOCOLATE CHANTILLY:

1 ½ cups [225 g] Guittard Milk Chocolate Baking Wafers

3 cups [720 ml] heavy whipping cream

1 Tbsp light corn syrup

1 Tbsp honey

½ cup [75g] malted milk powder

TART SHELL:

¾ cup [90 g] almond flour

1 cup [120 g] pastry flour

½ cup [50 g] Guittard Cocoa Rouge (Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa powder)

Pinch of salt

1 cup [220 g] unsalted butter, at room temperature

2/3 cup [130 g] granulated sugar

5 egg yolks

ROASTED BANANA MARMALADE:

2 ripe bananas

2 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

1 vanilla bean (see Note: Using Vanilla Beans, page 114)

Juice from 1 orange

1/3 cup [70 g] raw or turbinado sugar

FILLING:

1 1/3 cups [200 g] Guittard Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Wafers

3 Tbsp plus 2 tsp whole milk

2/3 cup [80 ml] heavy whipping cream

2 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 large egg

 

To make the milk chocolate chantilly: Place the milk chocolate in a large heatproof bowl. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup [240 ml] of the cream, the corn syrup, honey, and malted mile powder and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Pour the hot cream mixture over the milk chocolate, and let sit for 5 minutes. Then whisk the chocolate mixture until smooth. Add the remaining 2 cups [480 ml] cream and whisk until just combined. Place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the chocolate mixture and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to overnight.

To make the tart shell: In a small bowl, sift together the almond flour, pastry flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat together the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolks and beat until smooth.

Gradually add the flour mixture and beat until just combined.

Form the dough into a disk and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, or up to 4 days.

Preheat the oven to 325ºF [165ºC]. Set aside a 9-in [23-cm] tart pan.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the chilled dough to a 10-in [25-cm] round, dusting with more flour as needed to keep it from sticking. If the dough gets too sticky, put it back in the refrigerator for 15 minutes and add more flour to the your work surface. Roll the round of the dough onto the rolling pin and carefully unroll the dough onto the tart pan. Press the dough down into the bottom of the pan and up the sides. Using a fork, poke holes into the dough to keep it from puffing up too much while baking.

Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the dough is puffed and slightly set around the edges. It will still look a little doughy in the center, but it will set as it cools. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

To make the roasted banana marmalade: Raise the oven temperature to 400º [200ºC].

Peel and cut the bananas into chunks and place the banana pieces and butter in an 8-by-11-in [20-by-28-cm] baking dish. Put the vanilla bean seeds and pod, orange juice, and raw sugar in the baking dish. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes, stirring as needed.

Remove the baking dish from the oven and let cool for 30 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean pod from the mixture and discard. Pour the rest of the mixture into the bowl of a food processor (or blender) and pulse until smooth, about 1 minute. Set aside.

To make the filling: Place the bittersweet chocolate wafers in a medium heatproof bowl. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, bring the milk and cream to a boil. Pour the milk mixture over the chocolate and let set for 5 minutes, then whisk until the chocolate mixture is smooth. Pour the chocolate mixture, butter , and egg into a blender and blend until smooth.

Preheat the oven to 200ºF [95ºC]

Pour the banana marmalade into the cooked tart shell, spreading it to the edges. Top with the chocolate filling, also spreading it to the edges.

Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the top is set. Let cool at room temperature for about 1 hour.

Remove the Chantilly from the refrigerator and beat in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or in the bowl in which it was refrigerated, using a hand mixer fitted with the whisk beaters) on low speed until light and airy, about 3 minutes. Sprad or pipe the Chantilly on the top of the tray. Serve this the same day you make it, because the fillings will make the crust soggy if it sits for longer than 1 day. Store in the refrigerator in a covered cake carrier or wrapped with plastic wrap.

MAKES ONE 9-IN [23-cm] TART

 

Enjoy!

Cheers to Beautiful Bordeaux and Fabulous Food

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

Guest Blogger, Amy Wickstein, C-CAP Development Manager

When C-CAP’s President, Susan Robbins, shared the news that Sotheby’s was hosting a Bordeaux tasting and C-CAP was invited, I was thrilled. Not only were we invited to taste the wines from the wonderful chateaux, but C-CAP alums, known for their culinary talents, were asked to prepare the food to pair with the impressive list of wines.

Not surprisingly, a sold-out crowd filled the fifth floor of Sotheby’s on Monday evening for the Wine Tasting with Unions des Grands Crus de Bordeaux. Nearly 100 incredible winemakers poured their 2010 and 2013 vintages, and I was a happy taster! Guests swooned over our talented C-CAP alums’ culinary masterpieces, and yes, black truffles were involved. The chef lineup and dishes were:

Swainson Brown, Executive Chef, The Pridwin, Shelter Island, NY: Country Pate with Duck, Pistachio and Violet Mustard

Yvan Lemoine, Chef de Cuisine, Bodega Negra in the Dream Hotel Downtown, Tao Group, New York, NY: Carne Asada Tacos with Truffle Mole

Krystal Lewis, Saute/Grill Cook, The Spotted Pig: Braised Oxtail, Creamy Polenta, Sauteed Wild Mushrooms, Horseradish Gremolata

Angel Torivio, Manager, The Meatball Shop, West Village, NYC: Coq Au Vin Ball with Red Wine Mushroom Gravy

Efren Razo, Tournant, New York Yankee Steakhouse: Hudson Valley Fois Gras Torchon, Duck Crackling, Cara Cara Marmalade

PicMonkey Collage sotheby's

It was also great to see some of our Junior Board members enjoying the night – Nic Bryant, Samantha Cohen, Ben Davison, Emily Gopstein, and Jennifer Grausman! Catch us next at Kajitsu on February 10th for an exclusive eight-course Kaiseki Tasting Dinner, paired with high-end sakes, and amazing giveaways from Korin.

Here at C-CAP, we know the best food and beverage events, so be sure to…

Stay tuned!

Congratulations to our Alum Giovanna Delli Compagni, the first female winner of the C-CAP 2016 Daniel Boulud Scholarship to Institut Paul Bocuse

Thursday, January 21st, 2016

Guest blogger: Joyce Appelman, C-CAP’s National Communications Director

On January 12th, Daniel Boulud hosted the C-CAP Culinary Competition at his restaurant Café Boulud to determine the lucky young chef who would receive a full-tuition scholarship to study at the Institut Paul Bocuse in Lyon, France.

This year’s competitors were Giovanna Delli Compagni, sous chef of Asiate at The Mandarin Oriental in New York City and Jose Fontanez, sous chef of the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place in Chicago.

Each competitor was given a market basket with only ten ingredients to create and prepare a unique soup and a main course to present to the esteemed judging panel: acclaimed Chef and restaurateur Daniel Boulud of the Dinex Group, Executive Chef Aaron Bludorn of Café Boulud, Executive Sous Chef and C-CAP alumnus Cesar Gutierrez of Café Boulud, C-CAP President Susan Robbins and C-CAP Founder Richard Grausman.

On Monday, January 11th, Giovanna and Jose toured the Michelin-starred Café Boulud and began their prepping for the big day. The pressure was on early the next morning as the candidates began prepping their creations at eight a.m. The competitors began their dish presentation at eleven a.m. followed by the judges’ announcement at noon.

Bocuse Photo Collage

Giovanna’s dishes were inspired by her childhood memories at the beachside while Jose’s dishes were inspired by the robust earthy flavors of his youth.

These two C-CAP grads were formidable opponents and the judges were quite impressed with their dishes. Ultimately the panel awarded the first prize to Giovanna Delli Compangni for her soup of scallop chowder and main dish of lemon sole, cauliflower trio, braised fennel and sweet potato cake.

But at Chef Boulud’s competition, everyone is a winner. Jose walked away with a two-week paid stage at Daniel and Café Boulud for his sunchoke and cauliflower bisque with pan seared scallops and morel mushrooms and his pan seared lemon sole with sweet potato puree fennel and vegetable ragout.

Giovanna, who will be honored at the upcoming C-CAP New York Awards Breakfast on April 8th, will leave for France in May, and not only train at a legendary culinary institution, but also stage in some of the most notable kitchens in Europe.

The Daniel Boulud/Paul Bocuse Institut Scholarship was established eleven years ago when Boulud received a birthday grant of $100,000 from his business partner Joel Smilow. Chef Boulud continues to obtain funding for this scholarship from Ment’or, a not-for-profit, devoted to inspiring culinary excellence in young professionals and preserving the traditions and quality of cuisine in America. The scholarship includes tuition, transportation, room and board, uniforms and cookbooks and is valued at over $15,000.

Together with C-CAP, Boulud has sent a number of talented young chefs to Lyon, who have returned to attain prominent positions in restaurants all over the United States, including DANIEL. Scholarship winners include the 2015 winner, Yvan Lemoine, currently Chef de Cuisine at Bodega Negra in the Dream Hotel. The 2014 Scholarship winner was James Daversa, he is currently at Lure Fishbar at the Loews Hotel in Miami. The 2013 winner Cesar Gutierrez is now Sous Chef at Café Boulud and Sylva Senat, another Boulud Scholarship winner was recently nominated for a James Beard Award and Food & Wine Award. Swainson Brown is an Executive Chef for the Pridwin Hotel in Shelter Island, and a private chef. The first scholarship recipient was Franz Corrales, Executive Chef for Sodexo USA at Covington & Burling LLP in Washington, D.C.

Congratulations and a round of applause to Giovanna and Jose!

Be Ever a Student

Thursday, January 14th, 2016

Guest blogger: Anna Boisture, C-CAP NY’s Culinary Coordinator

With the start of a new year comes the promise of resolutions made and resolutions broken. The daily workout? Does your morning walk to Starbucks count? Only salads for lunch? You made it to the 5th. So this year, C-CAP thought instead of a resolution, a New Year’s mantra to follow could be just the ticket for success.

Our mantra this year was inspired by our incredible teachers, who, as you may remember, joined us this past summer at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island for our National Teachers Conference. (See the blog post on the conference here.) It was a four-day affair at which the teachers became the students and participated in interactive workshops, lively discussions and cutting-edge demonstrations.

Our C-CAP teachers were intrepid students with a hunger to learn, tackling every recipe and debate that came their way. They walked away from the conference with a whole toolkit of new ideas and skills to be used in the classroom and invigorated by their peers to face the challenges of another school year.

So as we begin 2016, we draw inspiration from them to be ever a student. This year is about learning new techniques, exploring new concepts and meeting new people who will inspire you. Whatever your stage in life or career, it is important to always be open to learning and growing – Be ever a student.

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“I’ve been a cook all my life, but I am still learning to be a good chef. I’m always learning new techniques and improving beyond my own knowledge because there is always something new to learn and new horizons to discover.” – Chef Jose Andres Puerta

Eating Lean and Mean; How to Pack Power on your Plate

Friday, January 8th, 2016

There are so many career opportunities that you can have in the food and hospitality industry, but one that really stands out is held by our C-CAP alum, Jelani Port, who is a personal chef that works for professional athletes, including the star football player, Larry Fitzgerald. How do you cook satisfying and nutritious meals that will give your boss the power to tackle his opponents? Well, we asked Jelani for some of his secrets, and he shared with us this nutrient-rich recipe that really packs a wallop. At least that’s what Larry Fitzgerald thinks.

 

Soy Miso Broiled Salmon

(Serves 4)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons hot water
2 tablespoons miso (soybean paste)
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 garlic clove minced
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets
Salt/Pepper to taste
Cooking spray/ Olive Oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

Preparation:

Preheat broiler.
Combine first seven ingredients, stirring with a whisk. Arrange fish in a shallow baking dish coated with olive oil. Add desired amount of salt & pepper on fish. Spoon miso mixture evenly over fish.
Broil 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork, basting twice with miso mixture. Sprinkle with chives.

Happy New Year from C-CAP!

Wednesday, December 30th, 2015

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New Years Blog Collage 1New Years Blog Collage 2

Straight from the C-CAP Oval Office: President Susan Robbins delivers our 2015 highlights

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015

 It’s true that sitting at my desk at 505 Eighth Avenue in New York City is not exactly the “Oval Office,” but for all of us at C-CAP, it is pretty close. This has been the first full year in our modest new space, but for our team it feels like a palace. Along with these stimulating new surroundings, all of us are energized by award-winning chef, owner and author Marcus Samuelsson and Mark Weiss, Chief Investment Officer of RFR Holdings, becoming Co-Chairs of our board. They are bringing so many new resources to our organization. In the midst of the holiday season, I find myself reflecting on the highlights of the past year as we reach our 25th Anniversary. I am extremely grateful that C-CAP has so much wonderful news to share with you this season! Here is just a sample of what we have been cooking up.

 

C-CAP’s Top 15 for 2015

 

  1. We awarded over $3,800,000 in culinary scholarships to our deserving students and alumni.

 

  1. For the third year in a row, we received four stars from Charity Navigator — the highest standing there is! Only 14% of all not-for-profits nationwide can claim this coveted rating three years in a row.

 

  1. Empowering our students to think strategically about their futures starts with our C-CAP teachers. This was a big year for our inspiring teacher Terry Matsis, who just retired. He mentored many of our alums who are attaining new heights in the culinary world: Amar Santana, Executive Chef of Broadway by Amar Santana, in Laguna Beach, California, our first alum competing now on Top Chef; Kelvin Fernandez, Executive Chef of La Marina and Barcelona Bites in New York, competed and won on Beat Bobby Flay; and Thiago Silva, C-CAP alum and Executive Pastry Chef of the EMM Group in New York, continued our winning streak on Chopped, and won $10,000! C-CAP came to Thiago’s restaurant for the viewing party to cheer him on.

 

  1. This past summer, we gathered C-CAP teachers from across the country, to what our teachers lovingly called, “Chef’s Camp.” This amazing teachers’ conference sponsored by Korin and hosted by and Johnson & Wales University was a great success, and teachers are eagerly awaiting our next get together.

 

  1. We expanded our culinary job-training-to-work programs across the nation helping at-risk students begin successful careers in the food and hospitality industry.

 

  1. Through the C-CAP/Daniel Boulud Scholarship and the support of Ment’or, C-CAP alum Yvan Lemoine experienced a five-week culinary intensive program at Institut Paul Bocuse in Lyon, France this past summer. With the support of Korin and the Gohan Society, our graduate, Damien Niotis was awarded a two-week scholarship to Japan to explore Japanese culture and cuisine. Nina and Tim Zagat helped Damien extend his cultural experience into China for an additional week!

 

  1. Due to popular demand and the help of Ben Davison, Director of Hotel Investments for RFR Holdings, we launched a C-CAP Junior Board with a kick- off party at Rose Bar at Gramercy Park Hotel.

 

  1. Renowned pastry chef Sherry Yard competed on Cutthroat Kitchen and won $5,700 for C-CAP!

 

  1. We proudly honored the following chefs and restaurant owners for mentoring and educating C-CAP students and alumni: Dick Parsons and Alexander Smalls at our 25th Anniversary Benefit in New York, Jean-Marie Lacroix at our Ignite Benefit in Philadelphia and Haidar Karoum and Mark Kuller (in Memoriam) at our Annual Benefit in D.C.

 

10. We expanded our alumni board and hosted alumni events in New York City, Chicago, Arizona, Philadelphia and L.A.

 

11. Thanks to our friends from Avero and the Avero Sponsored Restaurant Experience, C-CAP alum Oliver Malcolm   traveled to New York City with his mentor (and fellow C-CAP grad) Brother Luck, Executive Chef of Brother Luck Street Eats in Colorado Springs, Colorado to experience a four-day immersion into the food and beverage industry.

 

12. C-CAP developed new programs with The Trotter Project in Chicago, and our students had a presence at Star Chefs International Chefs Congress International Chefs Congress, New York City Wine and Food Festival, Restaurant Associates Innovation Summit and countless other high-profile culinary events.

 

13. We debuted new offices in Arizona, Philadelphia and Los Angeles.

 

14. C-CAP NY Alum Thomas McKenna (Culinary Trainer and Coordinator at Jean Georges) was featured in Zagat’s New York’s30 Under 30, a collection of the most promising culinarians under the age of thirty.

 

15. Through our great partnerships with The Monday Campaignsand American Institute of Cancer Research, we enhanced our programs with nutrition-based concepts in order to encourage healthy eating among our students, their families and their communities.

 

 

All of these programs and accomplishments would be impossible without the incredible support of our teachers, donors, mentoring chefs, restaurant owners, and food industry members. With your support, underserved students of today become successful “culinarians” of tomorrow.

 

From all of us here at C-CAP –

 Thank you and our very best wishes to you and your family this holiday season!

Stay tuned!

 

 

 

 

 

One Simple Six-Ingredient Dessert Recipe to Sweeten Any Holiday Party

Thursday, December 17th, 2015

Guest blogger: Carla Seet, C-CAP Administrative Assistant

Making and sharing food with loved ones during the holidays seems to be a universally shared experience, no matter what you celebrate. Growing up, all of the action of the season took place in my parents’ kitchen. It wasn’t a big kitchen, but if you wanted to be part of the conversation you squeezed your way in and made yourself useful. For my sisters and me, this usually meant menial tasks like peeling veggies and doing dishes. Understandably, we couldn’t be trusted with the main course, but when it came to dessert we always got to play a bigger part. We beat the eggs and sifted the flour, making more mess than cake batter. We rolled out the cookie dough and cut shapes into the uneven blob that formed from our clumsy strokes with the rolling pin. Our desserts weren’t perfect, but I thought they were delicious. At the time, I thought the holidays would always be spent like this; two glorious weeks of freedom from school or work spent concocting even sweeter delicacies than last year.

As adults, we have to balance our everyday obligations with the demands of the season. If you’re anything like me, making dessert for family dinner may be the last thing on your mind! But just because we no longer have the luxury of spending all day in the kitchen whipping up elaborate sweet treats, that doesn’t mean we have to put holiday baking on the backburner. I believe that any baker worth her sugar should know a handful of quick, stress-free recipes that can be made with minimal time and effort. Unfortunately, I was at a loss for just such a recipe to bake for my roommates. That’s why I turned to C-CAP’s resident expert, Richard Grausman. When I asked Richard if he had a favorite holiday recipe from his book, French Classics Made Easy, he responded with barely a moment’s hesitation, “Chocolate Mousse Cake.”

Whether you’re a novice baker or an expert, this recipe needs to be in your stockpile of go-to desserts for the holidays. Using simple techniques and only six ingredients, this cake comes together with very little prep time. You can even focus on other tasks while the cake bakes, cools and then sets. Chocolate is always a crowd-pleaser and imparts a decadence to the airy texture created by the whipped egg whites. Pairing the cake with Raspberry Coulis helps balance the bittersweet chocolate and sweetens the dessert without being too saccharine. The finished result is a simple, yet elegant cake that will leave you with plenty of time to relax and enjoy the holiday with your loved ones.

1-Recipe

Richard Grausman’s Chocolate Mousse Cake with Raspberry Coulis

For the Chocolate Mousse Cake:

Makes 8 servings

2-IngredientsButter, for the pan

8 oz (230g) semisweet or bittersweet chocolat

8 tbsp (1 stick; 120 g) unsalted butter, cut into cubes

8 eggs, separated

¼ tsp cream of tartar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, with a rack set in the middle position. Butter a 9-inch cake pan and set aside.

3-Choc.Butter.MeltMelt the chocolate and butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan on low heat and stir until smooth. Remove the chocolate mix from the heat and whisk in the egg yolks. The residual heat from the melted chocolate and butter will poach the yolks, lightly thickening the mixture.

4-Whisk.Egg.YolksIn a large bowl, whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar until stiff peaks form.

5-Whip.WhitesUsing a whisk, fold one-third of the stiff egg whites into the chocolate mixture to temper it. Switching to a rubber spatula, gently fold the remaining egg whites into the chocolate mixture until smooth.

8-Finished.MoussePour three-fourths of the chocolate mousse mixture into the 9-inch cake pan. Refrigerate the remainder of the mousse until ready to use. Bake for 30-35 minutes. The cake will rise at first; when it falls back, it is done.

Unmold the cake onto a wire rack to cool. When it is cool, it will have a concave center. Using a long metal spatula, transfer the cake to a serving platter and fill the center with the remaining chocolate mousse mixture. Refrigerate until the mousse sets, about one hour.

10-Cake&MousseFlavor variations:

For some extra zing, add the finely grated zest of one orange

You can also flavor the mousse with coffee, Grand Marnier, rum, or other liqueur by adding 1-2 tbsp (to taste) to the chocolate mixture just before incorporating the egg whites

For the Raspberry Coulis:

Makes 1 ½ cups

8 oz fresh raspberries, or 10 oz frozen unsweetened raspberries (thawed, but not drained)

Confectioner’s Sugar (to taste)

Puree the raspberries. Taste and add confectioner’s sugar if the puree is too tart. Strain the puree through a fine mesh sieve to remove the seeds. By tapping the sieve instead of using a spoon to push the puree through, you can ensure that no seeds will end up in your finished coulis.

For the Decoration:

Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting

Fresh mint leaves

Just before serving the cake, carefully dust the mousse center with sifted confectioner’s sugar. You’ll want to work quickly so the confectioner’s sugar doesn’t dissolve into the mousse.

Make a piping bag out of parchment paper and fill with the raspberry coulis. Pipe three pairs of dime-sized dots, with each pair about one inch apart in the top left of the mousse. On the rim of the serving platter, pipe dime-sized dots around the base of the cake, leaving space in between. Gently tuck two fresh mint leaves under each raspberry coulis dot to make holly berries.

Photo Dec 06, 2 46 02 PMServe slices of the cake with raspberry coulis piped onto the plate.

Additional decoration ideas:

Dust the mousse center with sifted cocoa powder

Pipe whipped cream around the edge of the mousse center

 

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