Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Week 15: Molten Dulce de Leche Cakes

Sunday dinner with the family always involves some good wine, food, and conversation. We always end the night with dessert, which is a perfect time to test out new recipes. My family doesn’t mind being guinea pigs and I get more feedback than during the week when Mr. B is the only one around. Bless his heart, he rarely complains about anything I cook, probably as much out of fear that I will stop feeding him as the fact that he really likes everything. I mean, the guy ate brains and eggs, raw lamb kibbe, baby goat, and a myriad of other things as a kid that I wasn’t introduced to until adulthood.

This week for dessert I tested out a recipe from Bon Appetit. It was originally from Florencia Courreges, the pastry chef at La Huella restaurant in Uruguay. It is her south-of-the-border take on the traditional chocolate lava cake. The simplicity of it boggles the mind, as it only takes 3 ingredients, 3 simple steps, and 20 minutes from start to finish. And you don’t even start it until after dinner is over! (That’s one way to get everyone else to do the dishes…)

The basis for the cake is dulce de leche, a sweet thick caramel that is nothing more than sweetened
condensed milk cooked slowly. There are ways to make your own in a crock pot or even from scratch if you are so inclined. I use the Nestle brand, which makes a 13.4 ounce can (which turns out to be the right amount for this recipe). These can be found in the Hispanic food aisle or with sweetened condensed milk in your baking aisle

The result is a sweet, light cake with a warm molten center, served right out of the oven. The directions recommend that you unmold the cake before serving. This will, of course, give you a more dramatic first bite, with the caramel-colored goodness oozing out onto the plate, but I think it would be perfectly fine served within its ramekin. I should warn you that due to the one-dimensional note of the dessert, I found it wise to serve with a small scoop of ice cream. I recommend vanilla, Florencia recommends banana as well. (I tried whipped cream, but it melted too soon and didn’t cut the sweetness properly like the vanilla bean ice cream did.)

I should also note that the original recipe said it made 6 servings, but the cakes were a bit small, and cook so quickly that unless you check them every 30 seconds once you hit about 9 minutes, they overcook. Making a second batch (and doubling it for the whole family) made 8 good-sized cakes and took about 12 minutes. The center should be jiggly – and when I say center, it should measure the size of a quarter or more, because while you get them out, move them off the pan and unmold them, they have continued to cook a bit and the centers start to firm up. You definitely should serve them right away, although Mr. B did have a second one the next day, chilled, and said it was delicious. (Good man!)

Recipe after the jump....


Molten Dulce de Leche Cakes
Unsalted butter
2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (plus more for ramekins)
2 large egg yolks
1 large egg
1 2/3 cups canned dulce de leche
vanilla ice cream

Preheat oven to 424 degrees. Butter and flour 4 ramekins and set on a rimmed baking sheet.

Using an electric mixer, beat egg yolks and whole egg in a medium bowl until doubled in volume and eggs hold a slight ribbon (about 2 1/2 – 3 minutes). Add dulce de leche and beat until well blended. Gradually add in 2 1/2 tablespoons flour and beat until completely incorporated. Divide batter among ramekins.

Bake cakes until outsides are golden brown but centers still jiggle, approximately 12-14 minutes.

Transfer to a rack and run a knife around the edges to loosen cakes. Invert cakes onto plate and serve warm with ice cream.

Servings: 4

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