RECIPE: Epicurious Wine Offers ‘Buzzy’ Seasonal Desserts Using Wine
Tis’ the season to cook and drink a lot. So, why not combine the two and build buzz around wine-infused desserts with seasonal recipes by Epicurious Wine! You will be the hostess with the absolute mostest when you present a White Chocolate Tiramisu Trifle with Spiced Pears recipe (that’s a mouthful), using a 750-ml bottle Epicurious Chardonnay or Darkest Chocolate Cake with Red Wine Glaze utilizingEpicurious Cabernet Sauvignonandgiving both varietals a new purpose.
12 whole green cardamom pods, crushed in resealable plastic bag with mallet
4 1-inch-diameter rounds peeled fresh ginger (each about 1/8 inch thick)
2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
5 large firm but ripe Anjou pears (3 to 31/4 pounds), peeled
White Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse:
7 ounces high-quality white chocolate (such as Lindt or Perugina), finely chopped
1/3 cup poire Williams (clear pear brandy)
1/4 cup water
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 8- to 8.8-ounce container mascarpone cheese*
1 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
3 3-ounce packages soft ladyfingers,** separated
2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup minced crystallized ginger
White chocolate curls
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
For spiced pears:
Combine first 6 ingredients in large saucepan. Stir over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Add pears and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and simmer until pears are just tender when pierced with knife, about 35 minutes. Transfer liquid with pears to large bowl and refrigerate until cold, about 3 hours.
Using slotted spoon, transfer pears to plate. Boil poaching liquid in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat until slightly thickened and reduced to generous 1 1/2 cups, about 15 minutes. Strain into 2-cup measuring cup; discard spices in strainer. Cool. Cover and chill pears and pear syrup until cold.
Combine white chocolate, pear brandy, and 1/4 cup water in top of double boiler set over simmering water. Stir until smooth (mixture will be very liquidy). Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; discard bean. Transfer white chocolate mixture to large bowl; gradually add mascarpone, whisking until mixture is smooth. Cool mascarpone mixture until barely lukewarm.
Using electric mixer, beat 1 cup cream in medium bowl until peaks form. Fold whipped cream into mascarpone mixture in 4 additions. Cover and chill white chocolate mousse until set, about 3 hours. DO AHEAD: Pears and mousse can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.
For trifle assembly:
Cut pears lengthwise in half and remove cores and stems; cut halves lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
Arrange ladyfingers, rounded sides down, in single layer in bottom of 12-cup trifle dish (about 8 inches in diameter and 5 inches deep), covering bottom completely (using about 15 ladyfingers). Drizzle 5 tablespoons pear syrup evenly over ladyfingers. Using small offset spatula, spread 1/3 of white chocolate mousse over ladyfingers, making layer slightly thicker around outer edges of dish to allow mousse to be more visible (center of mousse layer will be thin). Starting at outer edges of dish, place pear slices in single layer with curved edges against sides of dish atop mousse, covering completely. Repeat layering of ladyfingers, syrup, mousse, and pears 2 more times. Cover with fourth layer of ladyfingers (some ladyfingers and pear slices may be left over). Drizzle ladyfingers evenly with 5 tablespoons syrup. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate trifle and remaining pear syrup separately.
Using electric mixer, beat 2 cups whipping cream in large bowl until soft peaks form. Add 1/4 cup pear syrup and beat until stiff peaks form. Working in batches, transfer cream to large pastry bag fitted with large star tip. Pipe rosettes all over top of trifle, mounding slightly in center. Sprinkle with crystallized ginger. Garnish with chocolate curls. DO AHEAD: Can be made 6 hours ahead. Keep refrigerated.
Sift powdered sugar over trifle just before serving.
Mascarpone is an Italian cream cheese; sold at many supermarkets and at Italian markets.
** Available in the bakery or bread section of some supermarkets and at specialty foods stores.
To make chocolate curls, place one 3 1/2-ounce bar of high-quality white chocolate (such as Lindt or Perugina) on a plate and microwave on high at 5-second intervals just until slightly softened, but not hot or beginning to melt. Using vegetable peeler and starting at one long edge of the chocolate bar, shave white chocolate into curls. If the shaved chocolate breaks into small shards, it’s not soft enough, so place in microwave again for a few seconds. If the chocolate becomes too soft, let it stand at room temperature or chill briefly until it firms up a bit.
Darkest Chocolate Cake with Red Wine Glaze
The plummy-berry notes of red wine are highlighted when mixed with chocolate and butter into a glaze that drips over the edges of this decadent dark chocolate cake.
YIELD: Makes 10 servings
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for pan
1/3 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (at least 70% cacao), chopped
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
Glaze and assembly:
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (at least 70% cacao), finely chopped
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly butter and flour pan. Heat chocolate, sugar, and 1 cup butter in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (bowl should not touch water), stirring, until chocolate is almost completely melted, about 3 minutes; remove from heat and continue to stir until chocolate is completely melted. Let cool completely.
Using an electric mixer on medium speed, add eggs to chocolate mixture 1 at a time, beating to blend after each addition. Beat until mixture has a mousse-like consistency. Reduce speed to low and add salt and 1/3 cup flour; mix until smooth. Scrape batter into prepared pan; smooth top.
Bake cake until top is firm and edges are slightly darkened, 55–65 minutes (rely on visual cues; a tester inserted into cake’s center will come out clean before cake is truly done). Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cake cool completely in pan before turning out.
For glaze and assembly:
Heat chocolate, butter, and salt in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (bowl should not touch water), stirring, until chocolate and butter are melted, about 5 minutes. Whisk in powdered sugar.
Meanwhile, bring wine just to a boil in a small saucepan.
Remove chocolate mixture from heat and whisk in wine; let cool until slightly thickened and a rubber spatula leaves a trail in mixture when stirring, 8–10 minutes.
Set cake on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Pour glaze over cake and spread it across the top and over the edges with an offset spatula. Let cake stand at room temperature until glaze is set, 2–3 hours.
DO AHEAD: Cake can be made and glazed 2 days ahead. Chill. Bring to room temperature before serving.