Monday, April 11, 2011

Coca Cola Pot Roast and Chocolate Tart with Banana Caramel, Pecans, Chocolate Caramel Ganache, and Chocolate Mousse

This past Wednesday, as you may recall, was my dear husband's birthday. When asked what he wanted for dinner and dessert, he said he wanted me to choose. So choose I did!

I decided to make pot roast (for the first time) and didn't find out till a couple days ago that Ryan doesn't even generally like pot roast. But he said he really liked that's good, I guess! We had a half liter of coke left over from a time when he had his brothers over, so I knew I wanted to use that somehow. My dad made ribs this past summer with coke and they were the best ribs I've ever I believe in the power of coke+meat. Though most recipes using coke combine it with some form of pork, I actually found one for beef.

That morning I seared the meat and put it in the crockpot with chopped sweet potatoes and carrots, a package of dry Italian dressing mix, and the coke and turned it on low. The recipe was little more down-home than is typical for me, but it turned out all right!

It was a little sweet...but Tony Chacheres came to the rescue! Tony Chacheres, fondly called "the satch," is a Creole seasoning that was introduced to me by Ryan's family and has subsequently become a staple in my pantry and a topping for all Mexican meals.

We didn't take any nice shots of the roast...but here is a picture Ryan snapped of his plate.

One of the main reasons I choose this as the entree was so that I would have time that afternoon and evening to create the dessert. I choose the recipe from my favorite blog, Cannelle et Vanille. Aran had made it into little tarts, but I don't have 3" molds. So I settled with my 9" spring-form pan. I also used pecans instead of peanuts.

The recipe is three pages if you want it, click on the link above. And don't even ask for the nutritional information. There is no way I'm calculating it. I don't want to know. And besides...the tart's all gone now anyway.

I learned many, many things just from making this one dessert! First, I had to convert everything from grams to ounces and then to cups and tablespoons. Here's a tip: either brush up on your math or get a calculator if you want to cook a metric recipe!

The first step was making chocolate tart dough. I've made tart dough before....keep the butter cold and all that. But one thing I discovered that is so helpful is that if you roll out your dough on parchment paper, then you can just flip it into your tart pan AND completely cut out cleanup time for your rolling space. I prefer to roll the dough around my French rolling pin (it just tapers at the ends--no handles), and then unroll it over the pan. But for cold, crumbly doughs like this, that method sometimes doesn't work.

The recipe directed me to blind bake the tart shell at 350 F. No, this does not mean to put on a blindfold and randomly guess when it is done. As far as I could figure, using the context of the recipe and my googling skills, blind baking means the recipe doesn't tell you how long to bake it...that is up to you and your knowledge of your own oven.

There was no way I was going to let my hard work slide down the sides of the pan and result in a thick chocolate disk (as has happened before!) So I lined it with parchment paper and poured in some handy dandy black eyed peas to preserve the shape.

Next I made the Banana Caramel and the Chocolate Caramel Ganache. These both called for a dry caramel base. This means no liquid...just melt the sugar. The recipe called for a little added glucose...but I was fresh out! :) I don't think you really need it.

Making dry caramel can be very exciting...just make sure you watch it carefully. I made the first caramel in a small, thick-bottomed saucepan and the second in a slightly larger, thin-bottomed saucepan. I definitely recommend going with the thicker bottom, if you have one! It allows the caramel to brown slower. I ruined a batch or two in the larger pan before I realized what was going on. Trust me, you don't want to have to scrape off caramelized chunks of sugar hard as rocks from the bottom of your pan!

Here is what the sugar looks like as it is melting.

And this is with the bananas added:

This was the bottom layer of the once it and the shell had cooled, I poured it in and sprinkled over pecans.

After pouring in the Chocolate Caramel Ganache, I tackled the Chocolate Mousse. This required simple syrup. I had never made it before...but it really is simple. Just heat equal parts of sugar and water until the sugar is dissolved!

I had to chop up a lot of chocolate for this recipe.

The mousse looked beautiful as I was folding it together.

I used my new pastry bag (Walmart has everything!) to pipe it on top. Then I sifted some cocoa over it and sprinkled some chocolate shavings on top and it was done!

Notice the difference in lighting. Above is a shot taken on my stove-top under the "natural lightbulb." Below is a shot taken on my table with a flash.

Ryan loved it! Success!

1 comment:

  1. Yum! That's definitely one gorgeous lookin' pie! That pot roast sounds really good too!