Baking for me is the ‘be all and end all of my life’. I wake up thinking about baking and sleep with the same thought; sometimes I even dream about it! But I often wonder if I’m a pastry chef by default or is it a series of circumstances that brought me to where I am now. I know that I’ve always loved baking and creating something delicious — it runs in my family, after all — but I guess adversity is the first part to the truth.
I did my Grand Diplome Professionnel at Le Cordon Bleu, Ottawa, where we were always put under pressure to be good at both cuisine and pastry departments. I did enjoy both the fields, to be honest. Cuisine was always about time constraints, improvisations and working to bring things to life from scratch, whereas, pastry is about pure finesse, true preservance and practice to success. But by the end of the semester, we all had to make the final choice — cuisine or pastry. It was impossible for me to choose, I loved both so much! But for me, the decision was made easy one afternoon in the form of a disaster.
Half way through my final pastry exam, not only had my crčme patisserie in my ‘Mille-feuille Praline’ turned to liquid, but the puff pastry was completely burnt. I ended up ruining the two main components that actually made the dish! I had a decision to make, either face it or leave it. I decided to present it to a panel of highly esteemed external judges and chefs. My teachers were shocked to see such a result since they knew that I’ve never performed in the kitchen like this before. But that was the point I realised, and thought to myself, pastry meant so much to me that there is no way in the world that I wanted to feel like this again. I wanted to give it my all and excel in it — baking was my true calling. From that day onwards, I’ve never looked back. With my mom being a homebaker, it made things easy for me to start ‘Spoonful of Sugar’ and display my love for desserts. Some of the foundation recipes were given by my mom, but the new ones are all my original ones. I’m happy with the decisions I’ve made so far and I’m proud to say that it’s rather a sweet one, literally.
The recipe that I’m sharing today is the classic ‘Molten chocolate cake’ that dates back to the year 1987. I’ve been making this for the past seven years for my friends and family. It’s an easy recipe that can be prepared within 15 minutes and served to anyone, whether they are a chocoholic or not. Molten chocolate cake
Prepare ramekins/moulds by brushing them with melted butter and dusting them with some castor sugar.
Melt chocolate in a double boiler/microwave and add half the melted butter (keep half aside for later) and whisk.
Whisk the eggs with sugar lightly and add flour to this. Mix until no lumps. Now blend the two mixtures.
Add the remaining half of melted butter that was kept aside.
Pour into moulds, do not top off completely. Pour until they are three-fourth full as they will rise.
Bake at 200 degrees Celsius for eight minutes and de-mould immediately.
Serve warm with some vanilla ice cream or fresh strawberries and whipped cream.
Note: The batter can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for a week. Bring down to room temperature before baking, or simply add two more minutes to baking time if baking straight from the fridge.
Yuvna Damani Owner Spoonful of Sugar (She can be reached at email@example.com) (As told to Anila Kurian)