Q: How are you, Chef? Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching and I want to cook a romantic dinner at home. I am a pretty good cook, but I usually end up buying dessert and try to pass it off as my own. Is there something easy that I can do?
A: It is a new year, and we have moved from the Age of Pisces to the Age of Aquarius. As the song says, Then peace will guide the planets and love will steer the stars. It is the age of learning and believing in yourself. I have just the recipe to start you off on—one that will begin to give you the confidence to try new things and give you the opportunity to create a masterpiece desert for the one you love.
Notes: This recipe is difficult to convert to ounces, so I suggest using a gram scale to make sure weights are correct.
Once you have made your micro-sponge, I suggest breaking it into rough pieces and serve, with your favorite cherry filling and garnish with chocolate truffles.
If you want to see and this desert before making, it is one of the items that we are serving on our new dessert bar at the 1904 Steak House.
30-Second Chocolate Micro-Sponge
Makes 6 portions (8-oz cups)
25 g cocoa powder
80 g sugar
20 g all-purpose flour
Garnish (see below)
½ liter iSi Siphon (a whipped cream dispenser available at Starbucks and some Target stores)
2 cream cartridges (N2O) (a disposable one-use cylinder used to whip the cream in the cream dispenser)
Mix cocoa powder, eggs, sugar and flour in a blender until the mixture is well-combined. Strain the mixture using a sieve and pour into a ½-litre siphon. Charge with two cream cartridges.
Make eight to nine small cuts into the paper cups to allow venting of steam. Fill each cup 1/3 full with mixture from the siphon. Cook on high for approximately 30 to 40 seconds in a microwave. The cook time will vary with the wattage of the microwave and quantity dispersed (can take as little as 16 seconds). I suggest running a test to adjust cook time.
Carefully remove from the microwave and allow the cup to sit upside down for five to 10 minutes before removing the micro-sponge from the cup.
Garnish with broken pieces of brownies or truffles, fresh or dried raspberries, or your favorite fruit puree.