Ancho Chile with Chocolate Mousse and Amarena Cherries

Guess whose idea it was to use chile peppers for dessert? Who else but Richard McGary! I found his recipe for Cinnamon Candied Chile Relleno with Red Wine Chocolate Sauce very intriguing, and knew I had to try something similar. I thought it was very appropriate to use the ancho chiles that Richard had sent me to prepare this very unusual but very tasty dessert. The base of the dessert is a chile pepper stuffed with chocolate mousse. Richard soaks the chiles in cinnamon syrup and serves them with pecans and red wine chocolate sauce. I made my own version with an Italian twist by pairing the chocolate stuffed chile with tart amarena cherries and almonds. It was really good, and definitely something I’ll make again. Thanks Richard! Continue reading “Ancho Chile with Chocolate Mousse and Amarena Cherries”

Limburger Cherry Pie (Limburgse Kersenvlaai)

The province of Limburg in the South of the Netherlands is famous for its pies, called “Limburgse Vlaai” in Dutch or simply “Vla” in the local dialect. Vlaai is especially baked or bought for a birthday party.

You may think this looks like an Italian crostata di ciliegie (cherry tart), but the main difference is that a crostata or tart is made using flaky shortcrust pastry (pasta frolla) with 50 grams of butter for each 100 grams of flour, whereas vlaai is made with a yeast dough with only a small amount of butter. This gives the pastry a very different consistency.

There is a big difference between a ‘real’ freshly baked vlaai from Limburg and the industrially produced ones that are available all over the country. Kersenvlaai (vlaai with cherries) is one of the best known kinds. The pastry of the kersenvlaai I remember from my childhood tasted of cardboard. I can still remember the first time I had real kersenvlaai from Limburg, about 20 years ago. A friend of mine from Limburg was visiting, and since Limburg is so far away (3 hours is considered far in this small country of ours), my friend would be sleeping over. His mother had given him a kersenvlaai, bought from the local bakery in Nuth, as a gift for my family. That kersenvlaai was freshly baked and changed my opinion of vlaai completely. It was delicious! It is this kind of kersenvlaai that I tried to bake, and I think I came pretty close for my first attempt. It is fairly easy to do and very tasty, so I urge you to give this a try. You will be glad you did! Continue reading “Limburger Cherry Pie (Limburgse Kersenvlaai)”

Black Forest Cake

I’ve always liked Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte, but this is the first time I’ve made a Black Forest Cake from scratch. It turned out great, although my cake-decorating skills are not outstanding. Ingredients For the cake (24 cm/9″ springform pan) 75 grams butter 140 grams dark chocolate 100 grams flour 15 grams baking powder 50 grams corn starch 6 eggs 180 grams sugar (preferably vanilla-scented by keeping used vanilla beans in the sugar jar) For the filling 500 grams (net weight) pitted sour cherries with syrup from a can or jar, preferably Italian amarene 70 ml kirsch (cherry brandy) 750 ml whipping cream … Continue reading Black Forest Cake