8.10.2019

Chilean Chocolate

As you may have seen on social media, I was recently in Santiago de Chile and Rapa Nui (Easter Island). To say it was the trip of a lifetime is an understatement. I am including some photos from Santiago in this post. Stay tuned for those from Easter Island.

Santiago Metropolitan Cathedral
Whenever I travel anywhere, I like to bring back some sort of food-related item that I can use in my kitchen... spices, a spoon, nuts, a tea towel, a cookbook, and the like. This trip I brought only a tiny suitcase, so my space for souvenirs was minimal.

La Vega Central de Santiago (fruits and vegetables plus home goods)
As a chocolate-obsessed kinda guy, it seemed like a no-brainer: bring back chocolate and cocoa.

El Mercato Central - fish market
While Chile isn’t a source of cacao, I did manage to find several artisanal chocolate bars made in Santiago, though most of them never made it to Arizona.

However, two bars from the Hunab Ku Chocolateria in Santiago de Chile did make it back with me. And rather than eat them straight out of the wrapper, as I did with the others, I decided to use them for a ganache.

Street Markets
This chocolate is 67% cacao, which - for me - is the perfect percentage for ganache. Rich and dark, it is amazing when combined with cream.

While I absolutely love ganache on a cake, the one I made wasn’t half as pretty as I had wanted.

I imagined a perfectly-shaped cake with decorative drips coming down the sides. The kind you see on Pinterest or Instagram.

But my ganache thickened quickly and, when let drop down the sides, it looked more like The Blob, from the B-movie, sci-fi horror flick from the 60s.

Then I decided to spread the ganache to fully ice all four sides and the top. I barely had enough ganache for the job and was kicking myself for not bringing back more chocolate.

While it wasn’t what I had envisioned, it also didn’t look like one of the disasters from Nailed It!

Mercado Tirso de Molina
In the end, I liked the thin coating of chocolate, as it didn’t overpower the subtle flavor of the cake and apricot filling.

Preparing for a street performance
Next time, though, I might flip the cake so that the wide part is on the bottom - or, trim the cake so the sides are perfectly vertical.

Or maybe i just won’t worry about it. After all, I am not a pastry professional and the important thing is that it tasted great!

The cake part of the recipe is from my very talented friend, Mimi of The Chef Mimi Blog. The layering and ganache came from me with some inspiration from a cake my mother used to make.

Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino
I hope you have enjoyed the photos from the Santiago and Valparaíso part of my trip. Some recipes from Rapa Nui will be forthcoming!

~ David

Four by Four by Four
(A Quatre Quarts Gateau in four Layers, filled and iced)

1 Quatre Quarts Gateau (pound cake), recipe follows
1 jar high-quality apricot preserves
4 ounces dark chocolate (65-72% cacao), chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream


Cut the cake horizontally into four even slices. I used a large wooden spoon as a guide on the back side of the cake to keep my slices even.

Place the first layer on a platter. If you are concerned about getting chocolate on your platter, place strips of waxed paper underneath the four edges; they can be pulled out when you are done.

Slather several tablespoons of apricot jam on the cut side of the layer, and top with the 2nd layer. Slather several tablespoons of apricot jam, and top with the 3rd layer. Repeat and finish with the 4th layer.

To make the ganache, scald the cream (meaning bring it almost to a boil - tiny bubbles will form around the edge of the pan). Remove from the heat and add the chopped chocolate. Let sit for a few minutes to allow the chocolate to soften, then whisk to make a smooth ganache. If you want drippy sides, use it sooner than later. If you want to spread the ganache, it will thicken as it cools, and become spreadable.

Ice the cake (or allow drips to trickle down), and refrigerate. Remove from the refrigerator at least a half an hour before slicing and serving.

Serves 8-10.


Quatre Quarts Gateau
Recipe from Mimi Rippee, The Chef Mimi Blog

4 eggs
Unsalted Butter
Sugar
Flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional


Preheat the oven to 350° F. Butter and flour a deep 8-inch loaf pan.

Weigh the eggs. Weigh an equal amount of butter, sugar, and flour. (For example, if your eggs weigh 8 ounces, you will need 8 ounces each of butter, sugar, and flour.)

Melt the butter in a sauce pan. When it begins to melt, remove it from the heat and let it cool.

Using an electric hand mixer, beat the eggs and sugar for 5 minutes in a medium mixing bowl. Add vanilla extract, if using, and mix in thoroughly.

Add the flour and mix just until it’s incorporated.

Fold in the the cooled butter until batter is smooth. Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven to 300° degrees F and bake for 45 minutes.

After 45 minutes, turn off the oven and set a timer for 10 minutes.

There should be some slight browning around the edges, but not much. Remove the cake from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes on a cooling rack. Then remove the cake from the loaf pan and let it cool completely on the rack.


The home of poet Pablo Neruda

32 comments:

  1. I would love to do this trip some year. Your loaf pan is so pretty.

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    1. The loaf pan is an antique from my aunt. It is just the right size for this cake. Thanks for your comment!

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  2. A baker I may not be but an avid traveller always since childhood days . . . have never managed to get further south than Central America so all your photos from churches to local customs to food in the markets are oh so welcome ! Would love to taste the chocolate from across the ocean . . . love a few squares of 70% as available here for an evening treat . . .

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    1. I think you would love Santiago, Eha - such a bustling and vibrant place.

      And who doesn't love a square or two as an evening treat?

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  3. Lucky lucky you David. Easter Island- how wonderful. What an incredible experience. Can’t wait to see the photos. Love your cake too. Cheers sherry

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    1. Coming soon, Sherry - I just have to make the dish that will go with the photos! Deciding between a "cremosa de mote" (a wheatberry risotto) and a passionfruit tart. We shall see...

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  4. How much flour was used in making the pound cake? Loved your pictures, as always!

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    1. Thanks for asking, Deenie! In case anyone else reads, you can try this if you don't have a scale: Large eggs are about 2 ounces each. Going on that premise, you will need a scant cup of flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and a stick of butter.

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  5. Gorgeous photos of Easter Island. Thank you for sharing your trip highlights with us.

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    1. Actually, Carolyne, these were all from Santiago - Easter Island shots yet to come!

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  6. Absolutely amazing ! Absolutely must go !!!

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    1. It is, Davorka - I hope you get there some day soon!

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  7. Dear David, absolutely breathtaking pics from your amazing trip! I cannot get over how wonderful it must have been...Ah, those pics, oh that lovely cake...Fabulous post, my friend! And, of course, it always makes me smile to think that we share the 'bring-back-foodie-items-from-your-travels' kind of passion!
    Ganz herzliche Grüße an euch beide aus dem sonnigen Bonn!
    Andrea

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    1. Thanks, dear Andrea! I am so glad you enjoyed the photos and the cake! Of course, after coming back, I wondered why I didn't bring more chocolate! :)

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  8. David, your cake is perfect! I love the apricot and chocolate combo and the cake looks so tender and delicious. So beautiful how it's rising out of the pan! Your photos from Santiago are stunning! Now I want to go!

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    1. Thanks, Kelly - it is a wonderful cake recipe, thanks to Mimi. Easy as can be! Santiago has incredible charm - I hope you can go someday!

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  9. Such beautiful pictures David. I love bringing foodie gifts home from holidays to experiment with in the kitchen. Those cakes on Instagram with the drips are so hard to recreate, but you still did a wonderful job you cake looks super delicious.

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    1. Thanks, Emma - I suppose if I were a full time cake baker, I would have a much better time with my artful drips! But, for now, all I want is good flavor! :)

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  10. Sounds like an amazing trip! I'd love to go to Easter Island, but it's NOT easy to get to! Anyway, this cake looks excellent -- thanks.

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    1. Hi John - the funny things was that, while far, the travel to Easter Island was quite easy - mostly because the time zone is no too far off. That helps a lot.

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  11. I'm excited about our upcoming trip to Machu Piccu and the Galpogas Islands! It's interesting that Mimi's cake recipe doesn't have any leavening agent. It's hard to make anything turn out bad, that has chocolate in it. In fact, there's no need to even bake it- for me, it's enough to just lick the bowl (and I'm not worried about the raw eggs in the batter)! Well done!

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    1. I wondered about leavening but have found several versions like this with none.

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  12. I think your cake is beautiful ganached as you have. And that street performer photo is a work of art too. GREG

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    1. Thanks, Greg - I really like that photo of the dancer, too.

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  13. I love your travel photos so much. Santiago de Chile is on my list. And that cake! I'm all about ganache and it doesn't matter how it looks, though I do think your cake is quite pretty. AND . . . those chocolate bars are gorgeous! ~Valentina

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    1. Valentina - I can't tell you how pleasantly shocked I was when I opened the bars to find such beauty! I love little surprises like that!

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  14. hi dear

    thanks i cant resist against the cakes

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  15. Well, the cake ended up looking brilliant to me! Sliced and on a plate, it looks perfect! I have the same problem as you in small luggage, but I also had heat issues in Italy and couldn't bring much chocolate back either as I was scared it would all melt. :( So sad, we need trunks to bring back our stuff! I have never been to S. America, so I love your shots! Can't wait to see the next ones!

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    1. Oh - I remember being in Europe several years ago and not being able to buy chocolate because of the heat wave... I made due with cocoa powder that time!

      I need to work on my Rapa Nui recipe - and then post so you can see how wonderful that island is!

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  16. Our travels through that region are now a distant memory, so I cherish seeing familiar photos pop up, as you've shared with us. The markets in Santiago are wonderful, and as for Valparaíso, it's an absolute visual treat.

    Here's hoping you get back there sometime, David, so be sure to take larger luggage! Oh, your cake looks perfectly fine to me. As you say, it's all about the taste!

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    1. I definitely want to go back and take Mark - I was enchanted by the city! And what a great subway! Your posts were so helpful to us all in deciding where to go and what to do!

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Thank you for taking the time to leave me a note - I really appreciate hearing from you and welcome any ideas you may have for future posts, too. Happy Cooking!

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