Tuesday, August 26, 2008

In which I attempt to make an ice cream torte

Sorry, I must take a deep breath and sigh before I write this.


This was not one of my finer moments in the kitchen. When I first read the recipe it really seemed like it wasn't going to be too difficult, but alas, for me, the amateur, it was. When I made this on Sunday, at every step of the way, something happened to reinforce that fact that I am still, very much, but a learner. Again, sigh.......

It turned out to be surprisingly good in the end, but ugh, what an ordeal. I really think I made this much more difficult by a.)not following the recipe to the letter and (and this pains me to admit, because I know better!) b.)not reading through the recipe carefully beforehand. I read it, but apparently (duh!), I didn't really pay attention. You know how that sometimes happens, you're reading a book and then suddenly your a page farther but have no idea what you just read, right - please tell me this happens to other people too.

Anyhoo, on Saturday morning, (nothing like waiting til the last minute) I was still trying to decide what to mix into the ice cream when my dear friend Christy suggested cherries - great idea, huh, I mean chocolate and cherries, yum! So I decided to macerate said cherries in brandy because the recipe in the book listed liqueur as an option. This part went just fine, started them the night before and they were good to go the next morning. So far, so good.

This, however, was the end of my good fortune.

I don't have much photo-documentation from this point on, because I was to d*mn frustrated too take any pictures and I thought there wasn't any way in h-e-double-hockey-sticks I was going to post this disaster. My second friggin recipe from the book, UGH!

Here's a quick recap of the problems with making the Chocolate Banded Ice Cream Torte (really, it shouldn't have been this difficult and I'm sure there are lots of TWD bakers out there who handled this with nary a problem. The blogroll is here and the recipe is here):

  • Realized the recipe called for 8 inch springform pan - don't own one so used a 9" and knew the torte would be thin

  • Didn't feel comfortable using raw eggs in the ganache because the kids were going to have some - doubled the chocolate and used a combo of 2 parts butter and one part vegetable oil and substituted corn syrup for the sugar - all in an effort to prevent the ganache from becoming brittle. This only sorta-kinda worked. Actually all melty, it looked awfully pretty in the bowl - nice, shiny, beautiful chocolate brown.

  • Tried to put all the ice cream and cherries in my too stinkin small food processor (yes, I know, I should have learned my lesson by now, but no.) and found out, yes it's still too small a bowl for that much liquid. Put in blender - this worked but the color was not very attractive - sort of mauvey gray. Oh yes, and by now my ice cream had become quite the consistency of a milk shake - an ugly, mauvey gray milk shake. On the bright side - ugly as it was, it did taste pretty good.

  • Realized after the second layer of ice cream that I had erroneously divided the ice cream into thirds when there were only supposed to be two ice cream layers. Now my already too thin torte was going to be that much thinner. grrrrrrrrr.
We still ate it for dessert and everyone said it was good, but the kids ended up eating all the ice cream and leaving most of the chocolate. I think if I had used semi-sweet chocolate and/or added more sugar or corn-syrup, they would have liked it more. It was also hard to eat. Not completely brittle, but still hard to dig into with a spoon.

Bottom line: don't think I'll make this again, but I'm looking at this as a learning experience. On tap for next week: Chunky Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Chocolate Chipsters. Cookies, I can definitely handle - should be a piece of cake (famous last words?). Stay tuned!

Oh yeah, and I couldn't resist this one:

I wondered where that saying came from and looked it up online - apparently it was a song from the 1930's. I liked it so I thought I'd share:

Life is just a bowl of cherries;
Don't make it serious;
Life's too mysterious.
You work, you save, you worry so,
But you can't take your dough when you go, go, go.
So keep repeating it's the berries;
The strongest oak must fall.
The sweet things in life
To you were just loaned,
So how can you lose what you've never owned?
Life is just a bowl of cherries,
So live and laugh at it all.

"Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries" was the title of a song by Lew Brown and Ray Henderson, sung by Ethel Merman in Scandals (1931).

In the end, it's all good :-)


Cathy said...

LOL!!!! I have had lots of $%&#$% moments in the kitchen myself. First, I know it might not seem so right now because it is all too raw, but I think in time you will realize that the pain was worth it just for those cherries! They look AMAZING! And I agree that the chocolate/cherry combo sounds yummy. I think that your finished product looks great! Your ganache makes me want to drink it straight up. On to the chipsters!

TeaLady said...

Giggle!!! It looks really good tho'. I also used semi sweet chocolate . Also a 9" pan, but just made half by cutting in half and placing one on top of the othr. Good job!

Rebecca of "Ezra Pound Cake" said...

OH, an awesome recount! And the torte STILL looks good, so this was not an attempt but a success. ;)

n.o.e said...

Well, I think your torte looks amazing! Such a clean slice. And the flavors sound fantastic. Aaaand, way to go with making the ganache fit for children's consumption. For your 2nd TWD I think you deserve a medal!!

Amanda said...

Are you kidding??? I think it looks great...

Flourchild said...

I was a little stressed making this torte. Even though it tasted great ,I don't think I will make it again. Yours turned out so good!

Melissa said...

I think it looks really good considering all of your troubles! At least the kids ate the ice cream. :-)

Hooked on Houses said...

Sorry it didn't turn out as hoped, but it sure looks good to me! I never knew the saying "life's a bowl of cherries" came from that song. How interesting! -Julia

Matt said...

Despite what happened, your torte still looks gorgeous. I was a little concerned about the eggs as well, but I used ones bought that day from the market. No one is sick yet!
And, no, you're not alone in the kitchen mishap department. I've had meals in the oven cooking away only to realize that I've left an ingredient (or two) out.
By the way, the cherries were a brilliant idea. I, however, would have been popping them in my mouth long before they reached the ice cream.
Enjoy the rest of your week!

Prudy said...

I've had many many low moments in my kitchen. I have to tell you thought that that torte looks absolutely amazing! I'd count it as a success.

The DeL Sisters said...

Yours look wonderful!
I couldn't help seeing that you are Eleanor Dashwood. My sister took the test and thats who she is!

Teanna said...

Sorry you weren't crazy about it! It sounded like a tough time! Mine was too! But yours looks so good (much better than mine!)

Jules Someone said...

Oh my. Just chalk this one up to a learning experience. A tasty one, though.

Marthe said...

What an ordeal!! Well, at leat yout torte looks very tasty!!

Barbara said...

Good for you for persisting through all those difficulties! It looks very tasty. Better luck next time!

I've had some memorable kitchen disasters too. There was the cherry pie where I forgot to add the sugar to the filling, for example. And they were sour cherries. Yikes! We ended up peeling back the top crust on each individual slice and mixing several spoonfuls of sugar into the filling. Hardly elegant but at least we could eat it!