Monday, June 21, 2010

Why libraries are great: Gateau Chocolat Framboise

I love the public library. I grew up loving the library - granted it helped that the one in my hometown looked like a castle (C.M. Bailey Public Library, Winthrop, ME. Look it up!). It just seemed so great that I could have at my fingertips thousands of books, and that as I grew older, I discovered new shelves, new topics, as I spent more time upstairs (in the grown up section) and less time downstairs (in the kids and teens area).  I started getting books on architecture, travel, and cooking.

As the adult I attempt to be, the wonder of the library has not gone away. It is such an invaluable resource to a community, a gathering place, a warm place, computers, internet, quiet, and best of all, books. Lots of them.  Living in Seattle where there is a network of about 20 libraries means that just about any book, CD or DVD I could desire, I can get my hands on (and delivered to my local library, at that!).  When I was unemployed for 3 months, I couldn't afford internet in my apartment and I spent my days at the library, using their internet, applying to jobs, and then cooling down by perusing the gardening and travel books, and heading home with a pile of cookbooks and DVD's.

Being able to test-run a cookbook is a wondrous thing. Sometimes I buy a cookbook and find that there are just a handful of recipes in it that I like - recipes that I am so glad to have, but a bit annoyed that the small shelf space I have for cookbooks is being used up by a cookbook that really could instead just be a handful of index cards. I love to get cookbooks out from the library, try a few recipes and then either write down the ones that I like or go out and buy the cookbook.

Last week I got "Chocolate & Zucchini", by Clotilde Dusoulier, the author of the same name food blog.  As is the case often, I loved the dessert section of her cookbook but just didn't feel like I would make many of her other recipes.  I jotted down the recipe for Gateau Chocolat Framboise (Chocolate Raspberry Cake) and made it this weekend to give to a couple whose birthdays were recently.  They're like a 2nd pair of parents to me, so I was hoping the cake would be good. They were blown away, and I'm positive this will become a special occasion cake for me. It was quite straight forward to make and it was oh-my-god good.

So this is just one of the reasons why libraries are great. It brought this cake into my life - and that is a wonderful thing.

Gateau Chocolat Framboise from Chocolate & Zucchini by Clotilde Dusoulier.

Ingredients: 2 sticks butter, 8 oz bittersweet chocolate bits, 1 cup sugar, 4 large eggs, 1 1/2 cups raspberries (plus more for garnish, so buy a pint), 1/3 cup flour, 1 t fleur de sel or 1/2 t fine sea salt.

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 10" springform pan.

Using a heavy bottomed pan, double boiler, or a small pan in a larger pan of water, slowly melt the chocolate and butter together, stirring occasionally and being careful not to burn it. Combine the melted mix and the sugar in a medium bowl and mix well. Let the mixture cool for 5 minutes and then add the eggs, one by one, stirring well after each addition.  Mash the raspberries with a fork (no need to overdo it, just to break down the shape of each berry) and add to the batter, stirring to combine.  Sift the flour and salt together into the bowl and stir until combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes. Turn of the oven and leave the cake in the warm oven for five more minutes. The cake will still be fairly soft. Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and remove the sides of the pan.  Let the cake cool complete, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate (for at least 4 hours, or overnight). Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before serving and garnish with fresh raspberries. I melted down chocolate and poured it over the cake, then put the raspberries in the chocolate so that they were held down by something and didn't roll all over.

Slice small pieces (this is a very rich cake), and serve! Store the leftovers (if there are any) in the fridge.

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