A few yearsago I ventured into the gastronomic business with a small café, something youprobably know if you come here often. I closed it (sold it) a few months ago, haveabsolutely no regrets whatsoever of any shape, size or form, just in caseyou´re thinking how sad, and got my life back.
Gastronomy.It´s a hard life, which you hear about endlessly, and yet nothing compares toreality. Especially when you dive into it with another job going on and not a drop of experience.
Molly of Orangette, brilliantly explains the feeling `Acouple of years ago, not long after we opened Delancey, back in the days when Iwas still cooking there every night and trying to write on the side and livingon pizza and cookie dough and adrenaline and contemplating a third career as amass murderer, ..´
Now that Ihave more time, and before it magically dissapears again, for whatever reason, Idecided to start investigating certain things I had on my mind for the longesttime, like nut pastes and creams. I am very familiar with the well knownfrangipane (almond cream), a mixture of almonds, sugar and eggs mainly, and anextraordinary base for fruit tarts, like pears, peaches, plums, figs, or applesas in this crackly apple almond tart.
The almond pasteis the first step when making almond cream, where the nuts are ground withpowdered sugar and a binding ingredient is added, in my case egg whites, though I´ve made it with honey and corn syrup too.
Ioften wondered why other nuts where not used as often as almonds. I mean,pistachios, hazelnuts, walnuts, all marvelous flavors to use in fruit tarts. Oras is the case here, in a gooey, tender walnut chocolate pound cake.
So, takingmatters into my own hands, I made a walnut cream and used it in this cake,where it is treated almost as a butter and then swirled with chocolate, beforea crumble is added on top. Simply wonderful.
This is a poundcake with a texture unlike a regular pound cake. It is more buttery, not sodoughy. Any nut goes well with chocolate, so feel free to change the flavor.The crumble is a nice and crunchy surprise, which might seem too much, but it works.
Being thisa very rich cake, if you have to feed many people, it´s a good idea to bake itin square form, and cut it in smaller pieces. Or serve it with coffee after ameal for a perfect sweet bite to end the night.
CHOCOLATE WALNUT POUND CAKE
adaptedfrom Pastriesfrom the La Brea Bakery,by Nancy Silverton
IngredientsFor the cake:
8oz (225g)unsalted butter, at room tº but not greasy
¾ teaspoonbaking powder
¼ cup sugar
1 cup walnut paste **
2 cups cakeflour or all purpose flour
4 oz (115g) semi sweet chocolate, melted
For the streusel:
½ cup flour
½ cup sugar
4oz. (115g)unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces
DirectionsFor thecake: Preheat ovento 350º. Butter or spray a non-stick 9×5 inch loaf pan.
In a largebowl with an electric mixer, or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter withbaking powder. Add sugar gradually and then walnut paste and beat for 2 or 3minutes.
Add eggs,one at a time, beating well after each addition. Remove from the mixer and addflour in three additions, mixing well with a spatula.
Pour intoprepared pan, level batter and add chocolate on top. Swirl with a knife,bringing some white batter to the top. Add crumble over batter and bake for 45to 55 minutes or until a tester inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool onwire rack and unmold. It keeps, well wrapped in plastic, for a few days.
** Walnut paste: In the bowl of a food processor fitted withthe metal blade, put 1 cup walnuts and 1 cup powdered sugar. Process until wellground and mixed. Add 1 egg white and continue processing until a crumbly pasteforms. Keeps well covered and refrigerated for a few weeks.
For thestreusel: In thebowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, mix flour and sugar. Addbutter and process until crumbly. Do not let it form a ball.