18 July 2009

Easy Italian

The River Café Cookbooks are among my favorites. In sharp contrast to the tangled recipes of Eric Ripert, Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers prove that simple food can be wonderful, accessible and wildly complex at the same time.

Their book, Easy Italian is always coming off the shelf for general ideas and for one signature recipe that seems to come straight from the gods, the Chocolate Nemesis Cake.

This recipe is deceptively easy, four ingredients and some water. The, “easiest recipe in the world” is one of the hardest to actually get to work. I make it often and it is either, beautiful and exquisite or a total mess. I never know which it will be! Over time, however, I become quite adept at making it, so it hasn’t failed in quite some time. Frankly, even if it is not “beautiful” it is luscious.

I make it so often, it has its own baking pan and the baking pan has its own bain-marie pan!

This recipe has been dissected and re-worked and written about ad infinitum on the web.

Go ahead, give it a try!

Easy Small Nemesis

Chocolate 70% 12 oz
Unsalted butter 2 sticks
Eggs, organic 5
Superfine sugar 1 cup

Heat the oven to 300F

Using extra butter, grease a 10-inch round cake pan and line with baking parchment

Break the chocolate into pieces and melt with the butter in a bowl over simmering water. Beat the eggs and 5 tbsp of the sugar in an electric mixer until the volume quadruples.

Heat the remaining sugar with 7 tbsp water until dissolved into a light syrup. Pour the hot syrup into the melted chocolate and cool slightly.

Add the chocolate to the eggs and beat slowly until the mixture is combined. Pour into the pan.

Put a folded dish towel in the bottom of the roasting pan. Put in the cake and add enough hot water to come three-quarters of the way up the side of the cake pan.

Bake in the oven for 1 hour until set. Leave the cake in the water before unmolding.

There is really nothing else quite as divine as this cake. But if you are not convinced, there are several other chocolate cakes in this cookbook. Please give one of them a try.

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