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CHOCOLATE DEVASTATION
Yield: 12 servings

2 cups raisins
1/2 cup Jack Daniel's whiskey
8 oz semi-sweet chocolate
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup half and half
2 oz unsweetened chocolate
8 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
8 egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp instant espresso
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/8 tsp salt

2 cups heavy cream
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp sugar
8 oz semi-sweet chocolate
4 oz unsweetened chocolate

Combine the raisins and whiskey in a plastic container with a tight
fitting lid. Allow to stand at room temperature for 6 hours or
overnight. Heat 1 inch of water in the bottom half of a double
boiler over medium heat. Place 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, 1/2
cup heavy cream, and 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate in the top half
of the double boiler.

Tightly cover the top with film wrap. Heat for 10 minutes, then
remove from the heat and stir until smooth. Transfer to a stainless
steel bowl and set aside until needed. Heat the remaining 1 1/2
cup heavy cream and the half-and-half in a 2 1/2-qt. saucepan over
medium-high heat.

Bring the cream to a boil. While the cream is heating, place 8 egg
yolks and 1/4 cup sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted
with a paddle. Beat the eggs on high for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Scrape
down the sides of the bowl. Continue to beat on high until slightly
thickened and lemon-colored, about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. (At this
point, the cream should be boiling. If not, adjust the mixer speed
to low and continue to mix until the cream boils. If this is not
done, the egg yolks will develop undesirable lumps.) Pour the
boiling cream into the beaten egg yolks and whisk to combine.
Return to the saucepan and heat over medium-high heat, stirring
constantly, until the cream reaches a temperature of 185~, 2-4
minutes. Then pour into the melted chocolate mixture, and stir to
combine.

Cool the mixture in an ice-water bath to a temperature of 40-45~,
about 15-20 minutes. Line 2, 8" cake pans with enough film wrap to
cover the insides of the pan. Set aside until needed. Fold the
whiskey-soaked raisins and any residual liquid into the cooled
chocolate custard mixture. Freeze in an ice cream freezer following
the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer the semi-frozen ice
cream to the 2 cake pans, evenly dividing the ice cream between
the two pans. Use a rubber spatula to spread the ice cream evenly
to the edges of the pans. Tightly cover the tops of the pans with
film wrap, then place in the freezer for at least 12 hours before
assembling the cake.

MOCHA MERINGUE: Using a 9" cake circle (or cake plate) as a guide,
trace a circle on each of 3 sheets of parchment paper (cut to fit
the baking sheets) with a pencil. Turn each sheet of parchment
paper over and place with the trace mark down on a baking sheet.
Preheat the oven to 250~. Combine together in a sifter the
confectioners' sugar, cornstarch, and cocoa. Sift onto the wax
paper and set aside until needed. Heat 1"" of water in the bottom
half of a double boiler over medium-high heat. Place 8 egg whites,
3/4 cup sugar, the espresso powder, the cream of tartar, and the
salt in the top half of the double boiler. Heat the egg white
mixture to a temperature of 120~ while gently and constantly
whisking, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of
an electric mixer fitted with a balloon whip.

Whisk on high until stiff but not dry, about 2 to 2 1/2 minutes.
Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a rubber spatula to fold in
the sifted dry ingredients. Fill a pastry bag (with no tip) with
about a third of the meringue. Fill a traced circle with meringue:
start in the center and pipe a 1/2"" wide spiral toward the outside
of the circle. Fill the pastry bag again and repeat this procedure
with each of the 2 remaining circles (each circle should be filled
with about a third of the original amount of meringue.) Place the
meringues in the preheated oven and bake for 1 hour. Reduce the
oven temperature to 225~ and bake for an additional 2 hours. Cool
on baking sheets for 30 minutes before handling. THE GANACHE: Heat
2 cups heavy cream, the butter, and 2 tablespoons sugar in a 2
1/2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. When hot, stir to dissolve
the sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil. Place 8 oz semi-sweet
chocolate and 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate in a stainless bowl.
Pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for
5 minutes. Stir until smooth. Reserve 1 cup of ganache and set
aside at room temperature. Pour the remaining amount of ganache
onto a baking sheet with sides and refrigerate for 35-40 minutes.
Pour 1/4 cup of the reserved room-temperature ganache onto the
center of a baked meringue (supported by a cake circle). Remove an
ice-cream disk from the freezer.

Unwrap the disk and place it onto the puddle of ganache. Press down
on the ice cream disk gently but firmly (this will spread the
ganache). Fill a pastry bag fitted with a medium-sized star tip
with one-third of the chilled ganache. Pipe about 28-30 individual
vertical strips 1 1/2" long and 3/4" wide--all the way around the
side of the ice cream disk (each strip should be touching the other,
and each strip should also be wider at the base where it touches
the meringue and tapered at the crest where it rises to the top
edge of the ice cream disk). Place this section into the freezer
and repeat the preceding procedure with another meringue and ice
cream disk. Place in the freezer after completion for about 10-15
minutes.

Remove a meringue and ice cream section from the freezer. Pour 1/4
cup of room-temperature ganache onto the center of the ice cream.
Remove the second section from the freezer, and center onto the
first. Press down on the ice cream, gently but firmly, to spread
the ganache. Pour the remaining 1/4 cup of room-temperature ganache
onto the top ice cream disk, and onto this ganache place the
remaining baked meringue, once again pressing down gently but firmly
to spread the ganache. Place the Devastation in the freezer for
about 10-15 minutes. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a medium-sized
star tip with the remaining chilled ganache.

Remove the Devastation from the freezer. Starting 1/2"" inside the
edge of the top meringue, pipe a ring of about 28-30 individual
strips--1 1/2"" long and 3/4"" wide--all the way around the top
(each strip should be touching the other, and each strip should
also be wider at the point closest to the edge and tapered at the
point closest to the center). Return the completed Devastation to
the freezer for at least 1 hour before serving. To serve, cut the
Devastation with a serrated slicer. Heat the blade of the slicer
under hot running water before making each slice.

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