Monday, February 12, 2007

Crumble Pie

*My CF card's almost a gonner and my harddrive is full, so until my new external harddrive and working CF card arrive, I'm limiting the number of photos I take to the end result...sorry bout that...should be back to normal soon...

The funny thing about keeping a food blog (and reading others' blogs) is that it makes me realize all of the different kind of foods that I just don't like. I just don't want to eat what I don't want to eat. That's it. I'm a food snob. I am a picky-eater. Fastidious in my food fancies. I am grade-A-annoying-to-feed.

Am I really a picky eater? Am I so bad for disliking a few foods? There aren't that many, I don't think... Foods like:
  • - Chipotle
  • - Ginger
  • - Tumeric
  • - All-spice
  • - Tomatoes that haven't been cooked first
  • - Cucumbers with seeds
  • - Jello
  • - Most vinegars
  • - Soup from a can
  • - Pasta cooked more than 1 minute over al dente
  • - Cooked fruit, or, for that matter, jarred fruit matter containing intact items
  • - Mango
  • - Anything that has meat in it
  • - Overcooked green beans
  • - umm...
Okay. You've got me. I better loosen up... yikes. I have been doing my best to shorten that list, by the way, but sometimes it feels like I haven't made a dent at all. Thus I often snag items in the grocery store or earmark recipes that describe food items I normally wouldn't enjoy.. Which actually brings me to today's topic: white chocolate, or, That Other Thing I Don't Like. After seeing this adorable recipe on Deb's blog, I felt an urge to recreate it. Also, we've been eatin' pretty healthy these days (sort of, or rather, I'd like to think so), and that generally leaves me with a craving for a cookie and the self satisfied feeling that I deserve one. The original recipe described lovely, crispy green tea shortbread cookies cut into cute little green leaf shapes and sandwiched with a white chocolate ganache.

That's the one. White chocolate. Bleg. Buttery, smooth, flavorless most of the time. White chocolate always seems to lack something - yet, I had some that had been sitting neglected in my pantry for quite some time, and in the green tea shortbread recipe described, it sounded all sounded so yummy. Imagine the texture: buttery smooth ganache + crispy, frail cookie. Imagine the flavor: delicate green tea with a subtle influx of dull, soothing cocoa butter. Mmmmmmmm. Perfection.

The only trouble was, I lacked green tea powder. And also didn't have cute little green leaf cookie cutter. Darn. I decided instead to go oreo-chocolate-style cut into wedges from a cake round, with a recipe from epicurious that I really should have known better than to get past first base with. Everyone booed it, saying the flavors could get bitter and the dough just fell apart when cooked. Only 50% said they would bother making it again But I persevered: I was determined. I had faith in the appealingly straightforward recipe, with its teasing claims of "sublime and delicious!" or "these shortbread were divine" that somehow masked the "this turned out terrible" and "crumbling to unservability". That wouldn't happen to my dough, would it? My dough would be perfect. I could fix it!

Ha. Told ya' so.

3 hours and a failed shortbread recipe later, I was left with two 8" rounds and a blob of chocolate I hadn't yet melted. The first round was intact but I daren't remove the shortbread. I already destroyed the second round, having pulverised it to a fine crumble after a few well intended inversion attempts.

This is when invention struck. Could I use the ganache as glue? Maybe it would hold together the broken crumbles into something edible. I melted the white chocolate, stirred in some light cream, tempered it and poured it over the intact base. I tapped out all of the air from the mixture, allowed it to cool for several minutes, then sprinkled my shortbread crumbs atop the mess.

The result? Surprisingly all right, and a lesson learned to listen to epicurious reviews. I present to you a little bit of Crumble Pie. It reminds me of a sweetened condensed milk chocolate cake a coworker of mine often makes (known as the Better Than Matt Damon cake, since in her family they couldn't use the Sex word). It was a little too sweet with so much white chocolate ganache oozing all over,but balanced when you get the right portion of chocolate crumble on the fork. I'd encourage you to try to fix this recipe rather than duplicate it! Unless, if you're craving something very sweet and buttery, go for it. The absolute best part was sweeping up the crispy chocolate and gooey white chocolate bits with the tart strawberries. At the very least, Greg and I polished our plates.

Chocolate Shortbread Crumble Pie
Serves 10

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1.5 cups (185g) all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp instant coffee powder *
2 tbsp corn starch *
9-10 oz white chocolate, chopped into bits
8 tbsp light cream

  1. Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter for several minutes, or until butter has aerated and lightened in color. Scrape down the bowl at least twice.
  2. Add powdered sugar, vanilla and salt. Continue creaming for another 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl at least twice.
  3. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, instant coffee and corn starch. Pour dry ingredients into mixing bowl, then continue mixing by hand or on low speed, just until ingredients are incorporated
  4. Chill for two hours, then divide evenly and press into the bottoms of two 8" round cake pans. Bake in a 325 degree preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until set through. Remove and cool completely.
  5. Meanwhile, melt chocolate in microwave (small 15 second increments) or double boiler. Stir in warm cream and whisk until incorporated.
  6. To make a little crumble pie, stir up one round until shortbread is crushed evenly. Pour chocolate mixture over intact base, given several rough taps against the counter (to remove air bubbles), and pour in shortbread crumbles. Cool completely before serving; dust with cocoa powder and powdered sugar for decoration
* The recipe advice on epicurious called for the addition of 2 tbsp corn starch to help overcome the crumble problem. I'm convinced the maker of the recipe measured, not weighed the flour, as I was very precise with my flour measurements and chilled the dough quite thoroughly before baking. Ultimately, the recipe is flawed. (Shoot, I really need some more of that crumble pie -- and no, the pun will not get old)


Anonymous said...

Oh, that sounds delicious. I wonder if a pairing of a dark chocolate ganache with a white chocolate would be even more heavenly? Also, I love most of the stuff on your list of dislikes. But I can totally relate to chipoltes!

Kara said...

I think we might have quite a bit in common! I thought I was the only person out there that didn't like vinegar. I am sure glad to see that I'm not. I don't know about the ginger though.

The recipe sounds amazing. All you need is a Muscat dessert wine to go with it.