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This challenge was a challenge, as I have been with out a working oven for almost 3 weeks now!  I had made my ice cream base last week and was wondering if I would ever get to process it.  Luckily my angle (the carpenter), came and installed my new oven this past Monday.  It was an ordeal to say the least, cut our old oven and base unit, move a cabinet, rewire the wall, remove and cut down counter top, reinstall and slide in new oven.  But alas it is done and I am BAKING again!  We love cake and ice cream in our house.  So much, if our Netfix arrives and we no ice cream, someone has to run out for some Ben and Jerry’s or Breyers.  I make a lot of home made ice cream now that I have the kitchen-aid ice cream attachment.  This is by far the best batch of fruit ice cream I have ever made.  Recipe to follow.  This all being said, I settled on a Zuccotto: is an Italian dessert with origins in Florence, a semi-frozen, chilled dessert made with brandy, cake and ice cream. I did however omit the brandy and replaced it with Ganache, my third favorite thing.  I made the cakes in 6″ rounds, this recipe made enough batter for two 6″ cakes.  The cake was so incredible easy to make.  Who would not love a 3 ingredient recipe?  The cake came out of the oven, and I had to shave some off just for a taste.  Ah, what bliss, like velvet chocolate on your tongue.  Marvelous.  I processed my raspberry ice cream and then pressed it into 1/2 round 6″ moulds and froze them overnight.  Lastly I made the ganache, assembled my layers and poured the cooled ganache over the cake.  I then popped it back in the “blast chiller” for a final 30 minutes before cutting.  Served with fresh raspberries, this desert was divine and will be made in my home again, very soon!  We give this 4 hearts, our highest rated Darring Bakers challenge.  Thank you to our hosts.

The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE’s blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef.
We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.

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My girls were present during my photo shot, and wanted to taste so badly.  If you can imagine me saying over and over “please stay back for just 1 more minute, this is mommies important project”, until they could stand it no more…….

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Chocolate Valentino

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
16 ounces (1 pound) (454 grams) of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons (146 grams total) of unsalted butter
5 large eggs separated

1. Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and melt, stirring often.
2. While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling. Butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment.
3. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.
4. Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry).
5. With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.
6. Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.
7. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter. {link of folding demonstration}
8. Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F/190C
9. Bake for 25 minutes until an instant read thermometer reads 140F/60C.
Note – If you do not have an instant read thermometer, the top of the cake will look similar to a brownie and a cake tester will appear wet.
10. Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.

Vanilla Ice Cream

3 eggs
3 egg yolks
2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups whipping cream
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups 1% or 2% milk
2 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
In a heavy saucepan, combine the first five ingredients. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat a metal spoon and reaches 180 degrees F. Remove from the heat; cool quickly by setting pan in ice and stirring the mixture. Divide the mixture in half. Add fruit puree to one half. Cover and refrigerate overnight or freeze immediately. When ready to freeze, pour one container of custard and ½ the vanilla into the cylinder of an ice cream freezer. Repeat for second batch. Freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Raspberry Puree

1 bag of frozen unsweetened raspberries, 12oz
1/4 cup sugar

Thaw the unsweetened frozen raspberries in a large fine meshed strainer suspended over a large bowl. (This may take a few hours.) Once the berries have completely thawed, force the juice from the berries by gently pressing the berries with the back of a large spoon. All that should remain in the strainer is the raspberry seeds. Throw away the raspberry seeds and, to the strained juice, stir in the sugar. Simmer over med-low heat for 15minutes or until reduced to half. Store covered in the refrigerator up to a week, or freeze up to a year.

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