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JUNE 1998 RECIPES


Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries

Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake

A Chocolate Malted

Maximum Chocolate Cookies



SweetSpot

 


Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake

Tips: The Topping must be made in advance, but it can be done a few days ahead. This dessert must be assembled just before it's served. This looks beautiful and tastes great, and June is peak strawberry season, so give it a try. If the cream is beaten stiff enough, this cuts and serves neatly, but if not, no one's awarding points for neatness, and it'll still taste wonderful.

Topping:

  • 8 ozs. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/4 c. light corn syrup
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, chopped
  • Pinch salt
  • 3/4 c. heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Cake:

  • 2 c. sifted cake flour
  • 2 c. sugar, divided
  • 2/3 c. unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. cold water
  • 1/2 c. tasteless salad oil
  • 3 eggs, graded "large", separated and at room temperature

Strawberries:

  • 1 generous qt. fresh strawberries
  • Up to 1/4 c. sugar, depending on sweetness of berries
  • Optional: 1-2 Tbsp. orange liqueur

Cream:

  • 1-1/3 c. cold heavy cream
  • 1/4 c. confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

For Topping: In medium heatproof bowl, combine chopped chocolate, corn syrup, butter, and salt. In small saucepan over low heat, heat cream, stirring often until very hot. Pour about 2/3 of the hot cream over the chocolate. Set bowl over simmering water on low heat (water should not touch bottom of bowl); whisk often until mixture is melted and smooth. Remove from heat and hot water. Gradually whisk in remaining cream, then vanilla. Cool briefly, then chill. When cold, cover tightly; store in refrigerator until needed.

For Cake: Grease two nine-inch round layer pans that are 2" deep. Line pan bottoms with wax paper cut to fit, then grease wax paper. Lightly flour pans, knocking out any excess. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350'F.

Into large bowl of electric mixer, sift flour, 1-1/2 c. sugar (reserve remainder), unsweetened cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Attach whisk beater(s) to mixer.

Add water and oil to dry ingredients. Beat one minute at medium speed. Scrape bowl and beater(s) with rubber spatula. Add egg yolks; beat at medium speed one minute more.

In clean small bowl with clean beaters, beat egg whites at high speed until very foamy. Gradually add reserved 1/2 c. sugar, about one tablespoon at a time, beating at high speed between additions. Continue beating to stiff peaks. Pile onto cake batter; fold in gently but thoroughly and only until no white streaks show in batter.

Divide batter evenly among prepared pans. Bake in preheated oven 30-40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center emerges with only a few moist crumbs still clinging to it. Do not overbake. Cool in pans 10 minutes. Gently loosen edges; invert layers onto cooling racks. Remove pans and gently peel wax paper from bottom of layers. Reinvert layers to cool completely, right side up. When cold, if necessary, level tops with large, sharp, serrated knife.

For Strawberries: Prepare strawberries while cake bakes. Pick berries over, discarding any that are moldy. Wash briefly, then dry gently but thoroughly. Hull and trim. Slice each berry vertically into 3-4 slices. Taste a slice for sweetness. Place berries in medium nonreactive bowl; add up to 1/4 c. of sugar, depending on sweetness of berries, and optional liqueur. Toss gently. Cover and chill for 1-3 hours, occasionally tossing gently to dissolve sugar.

For Cream and to Assemble: When cake layers are completely cooled and have been levelled (if required), place one layer, right side up, on serving plate. Chill a medium bowl and beaters for the cream for at least 15 minutes. Drain the strawberries in a strainer, but make sure to save the liquid. While strawberries drain, scrape cold Topping into small heatproof bowl. Set over simmering water on low heat (water should not touch bottom of bowl); stir very frequently until melted and barely warm. (Alternatively, place Topping in small microwaveable bowl; microwave at 50% (medium) power for short intervals, stirring well between each, until melted and barely warm.). Pour topping into small pitcher.

In chilled medium bowl with chilled beaters, beat cream at high speed just until traces of beater marks show in it. Add sugar, then vanilla; beat at low speed until incorporated, then increase speed to high and beat just until cream forms very stiff peaks.

Drizzle cake layer on serving plate with about half of liquid drained from strawberries. Place about half of strawberries on top of cake; make them into a flattish layer and keep them a half-inch or so away from the outer edges of the cake. Pile half of the whipped cream on top; again make it into a flat layer, and keep it about a half-inch away from the cake edges.

Place the second cake layer on top (right side up) and press very gently. Drizzle with remaining strawberry liquid. Pile on the rest of the whipped cream, and spread it all the way to the edges of the cake in a slight "bowl" shape, so that the edges are higher than the center. Place remaining strawberries inside this whipped cream "bowl". Drizzle with some of the barely warm Topping. Cut with large, sharp knife. Serve immediately, passing remaining Topping so everyone can pour to their taste.

8-10 servings


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