Sunday, December 12, 2010

ile flottante

ile flottante at flo nice

i have to admit that i've maintained somewhat of a vendetta against french food most of my life. many of you will be happy to hear that this opinion was shattered during a trip to nice a couple of years ago...yes, a couple of years ago. i have been waiting that long to write this particular entry. i discovered something there so special, unique and fun that i felt i had to find a version of this dish stateside before i could write and share it. because what fun would it be if you had to travel to france to experience it for yourself? okay, maybe i'll take that one back...

imagine this: you walk into a large
restaurant to the sight of an army of waiters, half of them with one arm lifted high above their head with a white bowl perched on top. in each bowl is a giant white glowing orb. i might as well have yelped like a small child and asked the first person i could find what THAT was. then i not-so-patiently sat through an entire (glorious) meal, waiting until the moment i could experience the magic orb in all its glory.

essentially, this dessert is a meringue ball/cube/other shape floating in a bowl of creme anglaise. yum. but as you can see, the presentation is quite remarkable. especially when you have a giant ball of meringue in front of you that is practically as large as your face. if you're headed across the atlantic, i'd recommend the version at flo brasserie. but as for the rest of us, a similar version (although not quite as grand in appearance--i promise it makes up for it in taste), can be found at bouchon.

ile flottante at bouchon in las vegas

for all practical purposes, let's discuss the actual flavor makeup of our good ol' u.s. of a location. bouchon's version was a little different because the meringue had a bit of a denser consistency which made the taste a little richer. the winner here was the salty carmel sauce drizzled on top. good thing they provide you with an entire dish of it (and not just what's drizzled on top). momma zo and i practically drank the rest of it. seriously dangerous. in the best way possible of course...

Monday, December 6, 2010

chocolate pecan pie with bourbon

for some, the holiday season and pie are synonymous. i can't say that i'm a huge fan of either (holidays=winter, why have pie when you can have cake or ice cream?) but thanksgiving and pecan pie break these boundaries for me.

when a dear friend was in charge of the pecan pie for thanksgiving dinner, she openly accommodated the idea of a bourbon and chocolate tweak. i mean, seriously, BOURBON AND CHOCOLATE, what's not to like??!! seeing as we had maaaany other dishes to cook, we did not make our own pie crust. go ahead, get mad. but we did make the most important part (the bourbon and chocolate...catching on here?) we bought a gluten-free crust from whole foods. which really wasn't half bad.

don't be fooled, this pie would be good at any time of year.

chocolate pecan pie with bourbon
from food & wine

crust (if you feel you have the time for this)
  • 1 1/4 cups flour-substance
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/4 cup ice water
filling (this is the good stuff)
  • 2 cups (about 7 ounces) pecans
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
  • make the crust: in a food processor, pulse the flour with the sugar and salt. add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. transfer to a bowl and stir in the ice water. knead the dough 2 or 3 times on a lightly floured surface and pat into a disk. wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a 12-inch round. fit the dough into a 9-inch glass pie plate. trim the overhang to 1/2 inch, fold the edge under itself and crimp decoratively. refrigerate until firm.
  • make the filling: preheat the oven to 375°. toast the pecans on a baking sheet for about 8 minutes, or until fragrant; coarsely chop.
  • in a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the brown sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, melted butter, bourbon and salt until blended. stir in the pecans and chocolate chips until evenly distributed.
  • pour the filling into the pie shell. bake on the bottom shelf of the oven for about 55 minutes, or until the center of the pie is set.
  • cool for at least 1 hour before serving. (or until you can't stand it any longer)