March 19, 2008
Tim Schafer teaches students the Creme Brulee
Chef Tim Schafer taught a sweet class at the Community Culinary School of Charlotte on the afternoon of March 10.
Part of the class was devoted to chocolate torte with walnuts and dried cherries.
The other part, which had every person in the building talking, was a double chocolate creme brulee.
Schafer, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and a chef for about 20 years, has opened Tim Schafer's at Lake Norman, a 75-seat "Creative American Cuisine" restaurant on Gabriel Street in Sherrills Ford.
Schafer writes about his creme brulee, "As if the classic Vanilla Creme Brulee isn't rich and decadent enough! Chocolate (especiallly good Belgian chocolate) really brings this dessert to the edge. I like a little whipped cream on top with a couple of raspberries.
"The key to a successful creme brulee is tempering the yolks so they don't curdle. To burn the sugar I prefer to use a welder's torch. You can buy Creme Brulee kits, but I find the small burners they include aren't quite enough.
"Use shallow baking dishes especially made for this dessert."
Double Chocolate Creme Brulee
Prep and cooking time: 45 minutes
Set Up Time: 1 hour
1 pint heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
6 egg yolks
2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
4 tablespoons sugar, for burning
In a 2 quart heavy bottom sauce pot bring the cream and sugar to a simmer, then remove from heat. In a small mixing bowl add the yolks, and beat slightly with a wire whip. Then, using a small ladle, slowly drizzle the hot cream into the yolks. Once half the cream has been incorporated, return the cream and yolk mixture to the pot and gently whisk the melted chocolate and vanilla extract into the mixture.
Evenly distribute into four dishes. Place on a tray, then into a preheated 375-degree oven. Using a pitcher, pour hot water into the tray to create a water bath.
Bake for 30 minutes until just firm. Remove from the oven and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of sugar on each of the custards, evenly spread the sugar and tap off any excess.
Using a blow torch burn the sugar until it all caramelizes. Serve with a little whipped cream and berries.
About the chocolate torte, Schafer writes:
"Just my basic flourless chocolate torte with a Brew Chef twist or two! Walnuts and tart cherries blended with chocolate. It should be called sinful!"
Chocolate Torte with Walnuts and Dried Cherries
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Setting time: 12 hours
1 1/2 pounds semi-sweet chocolate
1 1/2 pounds bittersweet chocolate
1 1/2 pounds butter, diced
4 ounces Sam Adams Cherry Wheat Beer
4 ounces dried cherries
4 ounces walnuts, coursely chopped
2 ounces heavy cream
2 ounces coffee
1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt the chocolate and butter with the cream, coffee, and vanilla over a double boiler. Meanwhile, bring the beer to a simmer in a saucepan, remove from heat and steep the dried cherries in the hot beer.
Whip the eggs in an electric mixer on high speed until tripled in volume, about 5 minutes. Add the walnuts to the beer-soaked cherries, and stir the fruit and nuts into the melted chocolate, and then fold the whipped eggs into the melted chocolate mixture in two stages.
Pour into a lightly buttered and sugared 9 inch spring form pan wrapped on the outside with aluminum foil. Bake in a water bath for 45 minutes or until just set, allow to cool at room temperature for one hour, then chill in the refrigerator overnight.
Warm the outside of the pan to loosen the torte. Remove from the pan and slice into 12 portions using a hot knife. Serve with raspberry sauce and whipped cream.