Chocolate Pomegranate Brownie Cake

If you’re not a dog or allergic, there is no such thing as too much chocolate, especially during the holiday season. To celebrate both chocolate and an excess of pomegranates in my house, I decided I should make this amazing cake for Holiday Baking 2016.

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This dessert is truly a show-stopper. It’s colorful, shiny and looks like it’s a lot of work, but it’s secretly super easy to make. Deseeding the pomegranate is a little laborious, but it’s a task of brute force, not skill. I’ve left some brief instructions on how I got the arils out below the recipe, but there are tons of videos online if you need to see it being done.

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Ultimately, the best part is that it’s gooey and delicious and will make you the hero of whatever holiday celebration you’re attending. Seriously, this thing will stand out on any dessert table AND it’s the perfect stand alone dessert as well.

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Just look at that brownie coated in ganache… it’s a dream come true for chocolate lovers. I’m getting hungry just looking at the photo.

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There is truly nothing tastier or more festive than this brownie cake, either. It’s rich, decadent and covered in nature’s Christmas ornaments.

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Ingredients

  • 6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
  • ½ cup butter, cut into cubes
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ tablespoons cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 4 ounce recipe chocolate ganache
  • ¼ cup pomegranate arils

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350º F.

In a bain marie, heat your chocolate and butter until the mixture is fully melted and comes together. This should take around 7 minutes.

Take the bowl off heat and whisk in the sugar and brown sugar until completely combined. If the mixture is still hot to the touch, let it cool for a few minutes before adding the eggs, one at a time, whisking well after each addition.

Add the cocoa powder, salt and flour and whisk just until the batter comes together.

Grease and line an 8 inch round pan with parchment paper and pour the batter in. Bake for 30-33 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs.

Let the cake cool completely before decorating with ganache and pomegranate arils.

To deseed a pomegranate, score a ring around the middle of the fruit and use your fingers to pry it in half–this preserves more arils, as cutting it down the middle ruptures them.

Place the pomegranate half open side down into a small bowl of cold water and start to peel back the skin. The arils might need a little nudge, so running your finger along the bottom will help them fall out.

If any of the white part–the pith, as it’s apparently called–catches onto the arils, just let it be and skim it off later. Repeat this process until all the arils are gone. I ended up using about half a pomegranate’s worth, which was around a quarter cup.

To decorate, pour the ganache over the cake and, before it sets, sprinkle the arils on top. Set the cake in the fridge so the ganache sets a little before serving.

Apple Pie

I was at a local grocery store lately and I saw something I’ve never seen before: $1.88 per pound honey crisp apples. Needless to say, I bought way more than I could’ve eaten.

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Some sort of apple dessert was in order, so I decided to truly embrace the fall tradition and make an apple pie. It was the perfect Sunday night dessert after a long weekend of journalism and editing video for the school paper, and it tasted even better than I imagined it would.

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But back to apples: honey crisps are my favorite both to eat and to cook with. They have a really good balance of sweet and tart, and are perfect as hand fruit and in desserts. Their unique flavor also allows for food that really showcases apple; I’ve had apple pies and turnovers that are sugary or heavily spiced, but I kept it light with just brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg, hoping to let that apple flavor shine through.

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The dough recipe I already use was also perfect for this, and made just about the right amount for my 9-inch tart pan. I even had a tiny bit extra, that I used to make a flower detail on the top, just to make things fancy. After all, it is almost November and soon all the apples will be out of season.

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If you’re ever in need of something easy and comforting, try out this pie recipe and tell me what you think of it. Enjoy!

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Ingredients

for the crust

  • 2 ¼ cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup cold butter, cubed
  • ½ cup ice cold water

for the filling

  • 5 mid-size apples, peeled and diced
  • 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons butter (for sautéeing)

Instructions

In a large bowl, whisk together your flour and salt.

Then, with your hands or a pastry blender, work the butter cubes into the flour, making sure not to let your body heat melt the butter. Do this until you reach a crumbly, sand-like texture.

Add in the cold water two tablespoons at a time, until the dough comes together. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour.

In the meantime, prep your apples. In a large bowl, mix together your diced apples, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Heat a cast iron skillet to medium-low heat, and let the butter melt in it before adding your apples.

Cook the apples for 5-8 minutes, or until they’re soft and fragrant.

Preheat the oven to 400º F.

Take your dough out of the fridge, and roll out into two large sheets, ¼” to ⅛” thick.

Lay one of the sheets at the bottom of a lightly greased pie or tart pan (I used a tart pan because I like how the finished product looks, but a pie pan is easier to use) and cut off the excess. If using a tart pan, be careful to get the crust into all the little nooks.

Fill the pie bottom with your sautéed apples, then lay the second piece of dough on top and use your fingers to meld the two dough sheets together. Then, vent your pie. I had excess dough, so I added a little flower design on top to make it that much more special.

Brush the crust with an egg wash (1 egg + 1 tablespoon cream or milk) and bake for 25-30 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the kitchen smells like baked apples.

Let the pie cool completely before serving

Note: if using a tart pan, make sure to use one with a removable bottom, so that the pie can be released from the pan and served.

 

Independence Day Dessert

The 4th of July has always been one of my favorite holidays. Not because I like America all that much, but because I’ve always enjoyed the food opportunities that have come with it. And when I say food opportunities, what I really mean is the leeway to put berries on anything I damn well please.

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This specific dessert is even better than the rest, because I put it in a mason jar. It’s so cute and tiny! I love how small it is, and I swear I will use these jars forever.

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A layer of rich, decadent brownie, a dollop of whipped cream and a dash of blueberries and strawberries on the top… (dies a little bit)… almost too good to be true. Almost. But I managed it, and thoroughly enjoyed eating it.

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Ingredients

for the brownies

  • 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 ¼ cups flour

for the rest

  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • ½ cup blueberries
  • ½ cup raspberries

 

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350º F.

In a heatproof bowl, combine the chocolate and the butter and either melt in the microwave or melt over a double boiler.

Stir in the granulated sugar and the brown sugar and mix until combined.

Mix in the eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition to ensure that the eggs don’t cook in the hot chocolate mixture (you really don’t want that).

Stir in the salt, cocoa powder and flour, and mix until just incorporated.

Pour into a 9” by 13” pan lined with tin foil, and bake for 32-36 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove from the pan and let cool completely.

In a large bowl, whip up the pint of cream until you form medium peaks.

Cut the cooled brownie up into 1” cubes, and place 2 or 3 cubes at the bottom of a ½ pint mason jar or other small container. Top with whipped cream and a few berries, and serve.