28 Feb 2011

Black Forest Bombe (for 'The Magic Toyshop')

"... you're so fresh and innocent ... 
something to change and destroy." (p.152)

"The cake seemed extremely exotic and unlikely, a figment of the imagination." (p. 168)

My goal this month was to deconstruct, subvert and re-construct a Black forest Gateau into something familiar yet (hopefully) disturbing using the above quotes for inspiration. I wish I could have pulled off this cake of Gothic proportions, but I dared not attempt it.

How would you interpret The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter? All cakes and comments welcome!

 Black Forest Bombe
Serves 6-8

Ingredients: to fill a 1.5 pint pudding bowl
350g morello cherries, fresh or frozen
2tbsp sugar 
1 chocolate sponge cake or 2 large chocolate muffins 
splash of Kirsch (optional)
500ml vanilla ice cream
150g dark chocolate
ready made meringue

Place cherries and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and warm through until plenty of cherry liquid has been drawn out. Strain cherries with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool. Bring cherry liquid to a boil and reduce to a syrup. Also set aside to cool.

Line pudding bowl with cling film leaving enough to fold together once full. Slice enough chocolate cake or muffins to line the pudding bowl, pressing overlapping slices tightly together. Drizzle in some kirsch, if using, and allow it to soak in. Melt 50g of the chocolate. Layer together: half the ice cream, half the melted chocolate, the cooled cherries, the rest of the melted chocolate and the rest of the ice cream. Pull edges of cling film into the middle and twist together. Place a plate on top and weight down with a heavy object (like a pestle and mortar) to press everything firmly together. Place in the freezer to set for a few hours or overnight.

To serve, melt the remaining 100g of chocolate and pour over the upturned cake (cling film removed, of course). Garnish with meringue and drizzle with cherry syrup.

Serve as a Baked Alaska by coating the cake in soft meringue and toasting in the oven or with a blow torch instead of topping with melted chocolate.

For a more traditional Black Forest gateau substitute whipped cream and chocolate mousse for the ice cream and chocolate layers. (In this case, I wouldn't press down on the cake but tap the base firmly on the counter before letting it firm up in the fridge for a couple of hours). Serve garnished with more whipped cream, cherry syrup and flakes of chocolate.

 Inspired by Jamie Oliver
Recipe, Dessert , Black Forest, Cherry, Chocolate

26 Feb 2011

A cake of gothic proportions

Reason tells me that to attempt this cake would be a folly, that it would be structurally impossible, that not even the most wizened pastry chef would attempt it. And yet, there is one place where it can exist - in my imagination. Here is the cake I would like to have baked for Angela Carter's The Magic Toyshop.

My Black Forest monstrosity would be three tiers high and fashioned in Topsy Turvy style with a symbolically coloured middle layer in each tier. I will attempt to construct it visually from words:

Chocolate Cake
Whipped Cream
Pink Sponge Cake
Cherry Pie Filling
Chocolate Cake
Chocolate Fondant
Chocolate Cake Chocolate Cake
Whipped Cream Whipped Cream
  Blue Sponge Cake Blue Sponge Cake
Cherry Pie Filling Cherry Pie Filling
Chocolate Cake Chocolate Cake
Chocolate Fondant Chocolate Fondant
Chocolate Cake Chocolate Cake Chocolate Cake
Whipped Cream Whipped Cream Whipped Cream
Orange Sponge Cake Orange Sponge Cake Orange Sponge
Cherry Pie Filling Cherry Pie Filling Cherry Pie Filling
Chocolate Cake Chocolate Cake Chocolate Cake

Then the whole cake would be covered in a soft meringue and blow torched to perfection. (Just like this Coconut Cream Cake with Toasted Frosting from Zoe Bakes). Now I know what you're thinking, "There's no meringue on a Black Forest cake!" Well, this is no ordinary Black Forest cake. (Plus Wikipedia tells me that the Swedish version of this cake, Schwarzwaldtårta, is made with meringue and whipped cream). I'm using it to symbolise the puppet swan which Melanie herself describes on page 166 as, "light as meringue". The coloured layers of the cake, if you hadn't guessed already, are: Pink = Victoria, Blue = Jonathon, Orange = Francie, Margaret & Finn. Melanie is portrayed in both the whipped cream and the cherries, juxtaposing virginity with her sexual fantasies. Uncle Philip is present in the darkness of the chocolate which permeates every layer of the cake as well as the smothering meringue of his hideous swan. The torching of the meringue represents Finn's destruction of the swan as well as the destruction of the house by fire.

My final creation will incorporate a few of these symbolic interpretations on a much more modest scale. I'd better get baking...

17 Feb 2011

Melanie's Worst Nightmare (Black Forest Bread Pudding)

"They ate a lot of bread pudding under Mrs Rundle's regime ... Melanie grew to fear the bread pudding. She was afraid that if she ate too much of it she would grow fat and nobody would love her and she would die a virgin ... bloated as a drowned corpse".
(The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter, p.3)

It's such a great quote that I couldn't resist creating a bread pudding that would surely terrify both Melanie and Mrs Rundle. Sadly I missed World Nutella Day on Feb 5th but as it's still the correct month, lets call this a belated celebration of the hazelnut spread. The final recipe is still to come.

Black Forest Bread Pudding

Serves 2-4
4 slices day-old bread, any kind
1-2 dozen cherries, fresh or frozen

For the custard
250ml double cream
250ml milk
175ml sugar
4 egg yolks
2 whole eggs
2 tbsp Kirsch or 85ml cherry pie filling (both optional) 

Pre-heat the oven to 180*. Lightly grease a small baking dish (mine is 14x19cm) and set aside.
In a saucepan combine cream and milk over medium heat and bring to a boil. In a blender pulse together sugar, egg yolks, whole eggs and cherry pie filling and/or Kirsch (if using) until smooth. When the cream and milk have come to the boil add gradually to the egg mixture pulsing in between to combine.

Make sandwiches out of the Nutella and bread then spread Nutella on the top slice. Cut into small squares and arrange in the baking dish taking care to keep the Nutella side facing up. Fill gaps with the cherries. Pour about 250-300ml of the custard over bread and leave to soak  for 20min.

Pour the rest of the custard back into the warm saucepan and cook stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or spatula until slightly shiny and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and leave to cool. 

Cover your small baking dish with tin foil and place inside a larger one (or in a roasting tin) and pour in enough boiling water to come part way up the side of the dish. Bake covered for 30min then uncovered for 5-10min until top has crisped up.

Custard modified from cookbook: The 150 Best Slow Cooker Recipes by Judith Findlayson.

Recipe, Dessert , Black Forest, Cherry, Chocolate

16 Feb 2011

Idea Munching: The Magic Toyshop

Lethal Black Forest Biscuits - Be afraid, be very afraid.

I've been avoiding this post because I knew I would have to make a 'batch' of Lethal Black Forest Biscuits (for flavour-research purposes, you understand). I call them lethal becuase they are easier to make than s'mores and, being less sweet, you can pack more of them in. Don't say I didn't warn you...

Ingredients: (as shown)
1 package Bourbon Creams
1 tin cherry pie filling
1 can whipped cream, pressurised

Assemble open faced. This has two advantages:
1) It's easier to fit into your mouth
2) Two halves of biscuit mean double the amount you can make.

Of course, for my final recipe I am thinking of something much more sophisticated than this. It won't be easy to find a new way to present  Black Forest Gateau - it's been done to death already. Though one could say the same thing about fairytales like Rapunzel, Red Riding Hood or Cinderella. There must be room in the world for one more adaptation.

For inspiration, I am looking to the following text from the book:
"... you're so fresh and innocent [...] something to change and destroy." (p.152)

"The cake seemed extremely exotic and unlikely, a figment of the imagination." (p. 168)

3 Feb 2011

The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter

A little shop of Gothic allegories to brighten your February. And what says 'gothic' better than Black Forest Gateau? In an attempt to mimic Angela Carter's literary style, I am going to deconstruct, subvert and re-construct this well-known classic into something familiar yet (hopefully) disturbing. I will post my interpretive recipe at the end of the month.

Read, Bake, Eat along with me!
The Magic Toyshop is published in the UK by Virago Press
Angela Carter's obituary as it appeared in The Times and The Guardian