Food & Wine (May 2013)
We make mistakes in the kitchen.
And this post -- Dark-Chocolate Cremoso with Cornflakes and Fresh Fruit -- is a good illustration of that.
Here's what happened.
In the May Food & Wine, there's a nice spread about a barbecue at a winery in Chile. There's an open pit for cooking the food; big, beautiful bottles of red wine; and some dudes wearing funny hats. Tucked into the back of that feature is this recipe for Dark-Chocolate Cremoso.
There's no photo of the dish in the magazine, but we were intrigued by the name -- "cremoso" is fun to say, especially if you say it dramatically, like a vampire -- and the fact that "cornflakes" is in the title. So we flagged it, hoping to come up with a reason to make it. Twist our arms...
A week or two later, some friends were coming for a mid-week dinner and we wanted to serve dessert. Remembering that the cremoso could be made ahead, we dug out the recipe and got to work, making the cremoso two full days ahead of time.
Two days later, it's showtime and we're in a rush. We both had busy days and immediately start on the rest of the meal as soon as we get home. Dinner is simple but very good -- we grill and serve a few salads. Everyone seems happy. Then it's time for dessert.
The cremoso had been chilling in the fridge for two days, so we brought it out of the fridge about an hour before we were ready to eat it, so that it could soften a bit. We had decided in advance to only serve the cremoso with strawberries (the recipe suggests a mix of strawberries, pear and kiwi). This was a decision made less out of bold culinary choices and more from laziness -- we had strawberries in the fridge, other fruit would have required another trip to the store.
So it's time to serve the cremoso, and rather than revisit the recipe in the magazine to see how they suggest we serve it, we just plunge ahead and serve it the way we assume they sugest it's served. We put thinly sliced strawberries on plates, next to a mound of cornflakes, and spoon the cremoso alongside. It doesn't look right. It looks -- as you can see in the photo above -- weird.
We serve it. We all agree that the cremoso is delicious, fudge-like, thick and dark. It pairs nicely with strawberries.
But we all all 100% agree that the cornflakes are odd. "Why serve this with cornflakes?" "Maybe it's a Chilean thing?" "Would you be offended if I don't eat the cornflakes?"
A couple days later, when we sit down to write this post, we pull up the recipe on the Food & Wine website and realize we've made a huge mistake.
Okay, this makes a lot more sense.
Like a ton more sense.
The fruit is finely diced, the cornflakes are finely crushed. It doesn't look like some odd, deconstructed thing. Or like you tried to make a bowl of cereal with nutella instead of milk in a moment of desperation. (Note to selves: Make cereal with nutella.) It looks like an actual dessert. A nice, refined desert. Fancy-ish, even.
Would it taste different? At the basic level, no. But the texture would be totally different, and may actually work well. You'll have to try it and let us know.
There's a lesson here, Bittens. Read the recipe. Re-read the recipe. And if it doesn't sink in, give it a third reading.
And there's another lesson.
Make this Dark-Chocolate Cremoso.
We think you'll love it, with or without cornflakes.
Total Time: 40 minutes plus 4 hours chilling
1 cup whole milk
3 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
7 ounces dark chocolate (70 percent), finely chopped
1 kiwi, finely diced
5 strawberries, finely diced
1 Bosc pear, finely diced
3/4 cup cornflakes, finely crushed
In a saucepan, whisk the milk, egg yolks, cream and sugar. Whisking constantly, bring the mixture just to a simmer over moderate heat, then reduce the heat to moderately low and cook until thickened, 15 minutes.
Off the heat, stir in the chocolate until melted.
Pour the mixture into a heatproof bowl and let cool slightly. Press a sheet of plastic wrap onto the surface of the cremoso and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, until chilled and set.
In a medium bowl, toss the kiwi, strawberries and pear. Spoon the fruit onto plates and mound the cereal alongside. Scoop thecremoso on top of the fruit and serve.