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Recipe: Flourless Chocolate Torte

In honor of The BRAVO! Way: Building a Southern Restaurant Dynasty book tour with Dawn Dugle, we wanted to share one of the recipes Chef Dan Blumenthal shared with her in the book: our infamous Chocolate Torte. Now you can have this melt-in-your-mouth goodness at home! Make it a tradition you share around the table with family and friends, just the way we envisioned it.

Flourless Chocolate Torte

19 oz.     semi-sweet chocolate, good quality

6 ea.     large eggs, room temperature

8 oz.     heavy whipping cream

Directions: Prepare a 10″ false-bottom pan with a wax paper circle on the bottom and spray with pan release. Cover the bottom of your pan with foil so it doesn’t take on water. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F.

Place the chocolate in a plastic bowl and melt in the microwave; or melt in a metal bowl over a double boiler on the stove. Whip the cream to soft peaks in a mixer, then remove from the bowl and reserve in another metal or glass bowl. Place the eggs in a mixer bowl and whip on high speed until the eggs gain enough volume to reach the top of the bowl (about 5-10 minutes.)

Pour the melted chocolate into a large metal bowl. Fold the whipped eggs in two batches into the chocolate. Lastly, fold in the whipped cream. Pour the batter into your prepared 10″ pan. Make sure your foil is tight and place the pan in a 1″ deep hot water bath in your 300 degree oven.

Bake for 20 minutes or until set. Allow to cool completely. Dust the top with cocoa or powdered sugar. Cut into quarters, then cut each quarter into thirds or fourths as desired.

SERVES 12 TO 16

If you like chocolate, well, this is the perfect dessert. If not, no need to even bother. It’s gluten-free and not too sweet, with no added sugar, so it’s definitely a crowd-pleaser.

Missed “Bar 103: The Pool & Patio Edition?” We took notes for you!

Missed “Bar 103: The Pool & Patio Edition?” No worries. We took notes for you!

Chris Robertson here, making sure all the folks at home can participate in the fun of BRAVO! Tastings.

For Bar 103 I wanted to focus on how to throw a party without being stuck behind the bar all evening AND without sacrificing great, evolving, flavorful drinks for your guests. The best way to do that? Punch! But we’re not talking frozen fruit juice and ginger ale punches. Nope, these are the perfect party cocktails for those who want a little zing in their drink.

The great things about these punch “recipes” is that they are perfect for just improvising your measurements- whether you’re going big or little, there’s no fussing over ounces and measuring cups. Just eye-ball it and follow whatever pleases your palate.

I had a helper for the evening, so we worked 2 punch bowls for 3 rounds simultaneously for our little party.

Round 1:  The Basic Cocktails

We started with two basic but great summer cocktails to get people into the mood of being at a party: a traditional Daiquiri and the Paloma.

You want the major part of these cocktails to be fruit driven and refreshing. Don’t be afraid of the sugar on these, but then again, don’t go for candy coated. Don’t be afraid to go big with flavors. If you end up making it too sweet, you can always add more citrus to even it out. The same goes for too sour; just add more sweet.

R1: Bowl 1 (Daiquiri)

2 parts silver or gold rum

1 part fresh or nice bottled lime juice

1 part simple syrup

R1: Bowl 2 (Paloma)

2 parts silver or gold tequila

½ part lime juice

1 part simple syrup

2 parts grapefruit juice

Round 2: The Build Up

After we drank down the first round, but before the bowls were empty (about a fifth still full), we used our leftover punch as the base for the second cocktail.

For bowl 1, we introduce Leblon, a cachaca, which is a Brazilian sugar cane like spirit, almost like a funky rum. We then add cranberry (not cranberry cocktail) and a little simple syrup to even out the edge of the cachaca.

For Bowl 2, we added Mathilda Marachino (a Croatian cherry liqueur), lemon and sugar (basically lemonade), and a white port.  The lemonade adds bite, while the white port smoothes it out giving us a wonderful springboard for the maraschino flavor to bounce off of.

R2: Bowl 1 (The Brazilian Influence)

1 part cachaca

1 part cranberry

1/3 part simple syrup

R2: Bowl 2

1 part maraschino

1 part lemonade (lemon and sugar)

1 part white port

Round 3: Effervescent Finish

To end a hot night, we wanted something bubbly and effervescent with a little zing to enliven the crowd after a few cocktails. Again, this was after we had drunk down the rounds but before the bowls were empty.

To bowl 1, we added vodka to space out the flavors of the drink without diluting the alcohol content. We then added in some rosé wine (not white zinfadel) to soften out the bite and also some cava (this is a Spanish bubbly, but your favorite champagne will work just as well) to give it some pep.

To bowl 2, we brought in Pimm’s which is an English liqueur with a nice herbal quality and then ginger beer (Cock & Bull is the most famous brand) for a spicy zing.

R3:  Bowl 1

1 part rosé

1 ½ part cava- or your favorite bubbly

½  part vodka

R3: Bowl 2

1 part Pimm’s

¾ part ginger beer

¼ part simple syrup

All of the flavors of these drinks are relative and can be easily changed for your own personal tastes. Just try to keep things in balance, so nothing is too sour or too sweet, too alcoholic or too watery, too spicy or too dull. One of the really fun parts of working with punches is developing the tastes of each round into distinctly different cocktails. By this, I mean if you change it up, then really change it up.

Also, don’t break your wallet on these. The finer nuances of high-end spirits will be lost on the layers of flavors that you are building up in these bowls. Now, don’t take the cheapest route either. They call it “Rot Gut” for a reason.

Have fun, keep experimenting!

-Chris Robertson

 

The ‘BIG GAME’ Cocktail Recipe

The ‘BIG GAME’ Cocktail – concocted by Chris Robertson

The Kings Punch

The thing about the Super Bowl, or any intense event for that matter, is that you don’t want to have to keep getting up to make more cocktails for your guests. This is where the beauty of a punch comes in.

1) It does not have as much alcohol as a stiff drink so it’s less likely that someone will do something to embarrass themselves or you.

2) It is a self-serving bartender of sorts. Your guests take the ladle, pour themselves a cup and then compliment you on how good the drink is.

Basically… It’s your best “win-win” scenario.

Recipe: (20 people)

40 oz. Brandy (I prefer an applejack brandy for this, but a good handle of regular brandy will do too)

10 oz. Fresh lemon juice

10 oz. Simple syrup

10 oz. Ginger liqueur (I like King’s Ginger, but Canton will do as well)

20 oz. Apple cider

Pour all ingredients into a nice serving bowl (or if you want to go with the BIG GAME theme, why not a giant water cooler?!) and then add some lemon peals and sliced pears… There you have it! A cocktail that is sure to impress and allow you to remain on the couch or at the grill for the game. You can even fudge some of the proportions to the taste that you like. If you would like it sweeter, add more sugar. If you would like it less sweet add more lemon. It’s really up to up to you. Enjoy… and GO TEAM! 
super bowl punch

Flour-Power Banana Bread

No, I’m not Celiac… I guess you can call me gluten-free curious. Working towards the launch of the new gluten sensitive menu at BRAVO! forced me to reevaluate the nutritional value of using only white flour in my baked goods and explore the added health benefits of flour alternatives. I choose whole grains for bread, cereal and crackers, and I have dabbled with whole wheat flour in baking…never to a satisfying end. So, when I read about gluten free almond flour, I was intrigued. Why not use a flour that is low in carbs, high in protein and fiber, as well as low on the Glycemic index? The question is how will it taste?

After sifting through blog taste tests, I settled on Honeyville Farms Blanched Almond Flour and ordered a 5lb bag. When the bananas in my fruit basket started to turn, I jumped at the chance to play with my new ingredient. Unable to find a reliable suggested ratio of white flour to almond flour, I decided to start with a one to one. The result? A delectable banana bread with a nice crumb and surprisingly light texture.

Flour Power Banana Bread

Wet ingredients

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • Dry ingredients
  • 1 cup all purpose flour or brown rice flour
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup Greek yogurt (hot water or apple sauce may be substituted) – I happened to use Oikos Peach for this test

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Mash the bananas with a fork (or your clean hands!) and whisk in eggs and butter. In a separate bowl, whisk dry ingredients together. Combine wet and dry ingredients. Fold in water, applesauce or yogurt.
  3. Spray metal loaf pan with Baker’s Joy (cooking spray with added flour) or use a silicon loaf pan. Pour batter into pan and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a toothpick, once inserted, pulls out clean.

The banana bread passed the taste test. No one suspected the difference, but the down-side of the almond flour is the added calories. Nutritionist Joy Bauer recommends substituting only 1/3 cup of flour with almond flour to reap the benefit of the almond flour without adding excessive calories to your white, wheat or brown rice flour mixture. Whether you are gluten sensitive or just looking to maximize the health benefits of your ingredients, almond flour is worth a try.

Happy eating,

CB


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