There are so many wonderful blogs out there. I read most of them because I like to have a chance to confront with people whom I share a passion with – food. After a while you get the feeling you know them, even if all the direct contact you have had is maybe an email exchange.
Many blogs are also a constant source of inspiration for cooking, of course: this is why I started reading food blogs in the first place. Maybe the author has a different background than mine, and is familiar with ingredients or techniques I am not. There is so much I have learned this way, new ingredients I have explored, new combinations, new cookbooks. In many cases, the author is also an inspiring chef.
For other blogs, the main reason for reading them is just the constant aesthetical bliss. They are beautiful. The author is a really talented designer, photographer or writer, and more often than not, all these things together. I tend to fall into Stendhal syndrome mode then, and just gorge on the pictures and read the writing as if it were the latest chapter of my favourite book. I am so totally captivated, I just forget sometimes we are talking about food, in the end. I know, how is it ever possible!? forgetting about food?
However this did happen, with one of my favourite blogs. What did I miss! Luckily, I recently remembered there are recipes on it as well. I am sure you are all already familiar with La Tartine Gourmande by Bea, and I do hope you did not make my mistake.
The other night, I had my sister coming over to visit, and I decided to take an hour just to page through the archives of my favourite blogs, looking for some chocolate treat; a bit like leafing through those beautiful cookbooks you don’t reach for that often because they contain mainly ‘special occasion’ recipes.
One of the blogs whose archives I visited was La Tartine Gourmande. I ended up with about ten finalists; of the ten finalists, Bea’s recipes accounted for a good half at least.. And that is one blog that I have always perceived as ‘healthy food oriented’, and I was looking for a chocolate treat! The only excuse I can find is that I was really distracted. You should not be allowed to put those pictures and those recipes and that writing together. Whenever I read her posts, a sunbeam enters the room and makes everything warm and bright. And you don’t really need to eat then, do you?
In the end, here is the recipe. I choose a gooey cake recipe, with chocolate and tahini, quite fuss free but with an interesting twist. I like gooey chocolate cakes, but I have become a bit bored by them – they are often a bit heavy and yes, very chocolatey, and this is the essence and the limit of their charms. Every Italian restaurant seems to feature them and I think this is unfair: gooey cakes are cheating at dessert time! Everybody loves them, all you have to do is to get the baking time right. I was hoping this recipe had that little extra kick that will make them stand out from the crowd of gooey cakes.
It is a bit unfair to say it lived up to the expectations. It actually superceded them quite spectacularly. I have already baked it three times, in a week. It is now my latest favourite last-minute dessert, with ingredients I pretty much always have in my cupboard, ready to be tweaked and accommodated in terms of what sugar, flour and type of chocolate you have. The interplay between tahini and chocolate is subtle, but it gives the extra special touch to make these gooey cakes really stand out. I substituted the millet flour the recipe calls for with buckwheat flour, partly because it is gluten-free as well, partly because I just love buckwheat. It worked perfectly, giving yet another layer of nutty flavour to the cakes. I baked some of them in ramequins, but since I did not have enough, I also baked some in a muffin tin layered with muffin paper forms and served them without any cup support. Worked great.
Chocolate and Tahini gooey cakes
makes about three ramequin sized cakes, depending on how much you fill them
75 gr good quality dark chocolate (I used 60%), plus a few extra squares
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons brown sugar (any will work, muscovado is more interesting)
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon buckwheat flour
Put a pot of water on the fire for double boiling. Preheat the oven to 230 degrees. Butter ramequins or line the muffin tins with paper. Put chocolate in pieces and tahini in a cup or pot that can go over the boiling water. Turn off the heat and let the whole thing melt gently, being careful not to overheat it. Mix now and again, and take it off the water when melted. In the meanwhile whisk eggs, sugar and salt until the volume doubles. Add the (slightly cooled) chocolate and tahini mix. Fold in gently also the flour.
Pour in the chosen moulds and drop a little suqre of extra chocolate in. Now you can bake them immediately, for about then minutes, until well risen but still gooey on the inside.
I once left them in the fridge for an hour or so while having dinner and baked them last-minute. It worked.